Living Walls: Street art conference returns, expands to Buford Highway

A mural by 3TT in Summerhill (Photo by Justin Newton)

By Grace Huseth

Living Walls, the annual street art conference, returns this summer with an expansion to Buford Highway.

Monica Campana founded the organization in 2009 with the help of Blacki Li Rudi Migliozzi. Since then, Living Walls has painted more than100 murals and hosted over 30 lectures and other educational events in Atlanta.

However, Campana said Living Walls has decided to slow down producing murals in the metro Atlanta area and is now striving for sustainability and more community missions.

The year will kick off with a public art performance from actor Danielle Deadwyler, the first recipient of the Laura Patricia Calle Grant, named for the late Living Walls programming director. Deadwyler’s project is called “Busted Open,” a multimedia performance on black feminism. The interactive, weekend long performance will be held in April.

In July, Living Walls’s annual conference will move to Buford Highway in a partnership with civic organization We Love BuHi. Campana and Marian Liou, the founder of We Love BuHi, met as fellows through the Center of Civic Innovation and discovered street art would be a great solution to changing perspectives of the corridor.

“The intentionality is different. We want the artists to work with people who know and live on Buford Highway and work together as problem solvers,” Campana said. “The area is so special. Local artists will engage with community groups and schools from the Buford Highway area to develop the concept for the artists to execute.”

In the past, Living Walls has worked with international and European artists, but the focus in 2017 will be on making art local and responding to the times accordingly. Campana said the Buford Highway’s stretch of plazas and businesses do not offer as many large walls fitting for murals, so artists will adapt to the environment to create sculptures and add other cultural touches.

According to Campana, leaders in Chamblee and Brookhaven and responding well to the partnership and are starting their own projects with MARTA to create public art.

For more about Living Walls upcoming events, visit livingwallsatl.com.

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