Atlanta Preservation Center Names David Mitchell Executive Director

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

The Atlanta Preservation Center, whose mission is to promote the preservation of Atlanta's architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings, neighborhoods and landscapes through education and advocacy, announces David Mitchell as its new Executive Director. 

Mitchell follows Boyd Coons, who led the Center for 21 years and will continue in an advisory role. Coons decided to step down more than a year ago. The Board of Directors identified Mitchell, the Director of Education and Operations, as the best candidate. 

“On behalf of the board, I’d like to extend my gratitude to Boyd Coons for the unparalleled expertise, thoughtfulness and determination he brought to the APC over the last two decades,” said Howell Adams, President of the Board of Directors, APC. “We began working on the succession plan many years ago, and through careful deliberation and discussion, we were fortunate to have an ideal leader already in the organization. David Mitchell knows APC inside and out and will benefit greatly from Boyd’s ongoing association.”  

Mitchell served on the Board of Directors before being hired by Atlanta Preservation Center two years ago as the director of Education and Operations. He has greatly expanded partnerships and programs and has regularly voiced the preservation center’s position in the media.  

He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  He is a past recipient of the Society of Georgia Archivists President’s Award for his work with the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia.  

“I am grateful to Boyd, who has been a steward of Atlanta’s historic and cultural resources,” said Mitchell. “My goals include building on 40 years of preservation efforts by expanding our advocacy to be more thoughtful with cultural identity components of spaces to further enhance what preservation can offer for our entire city.” 

Under Coons’s leadership, APC purchased and restored the historic Grant Mansion, which the late historian Franklin Garrett deemed “Atlanta’s most historic building.” It serves as the organization’s headquarters today.  

During Coons’s tenure, the APC led the seven-year battle to save the Peters House, Atlanta’s oldest example of Queen Anne architecture, and the landmarking of Philip Shutz’s Spring Hill Mortuary and the Excelsior Mill complex. It prevented the demolition of half a block of the Fairlie-Poplar historic district, the Constitution Building and the Paschal’s complex. 

In addition to APC’s preservation successes, the organization is known for Phoenix Flies, a month-long celebration and partnership highlighting 100 critical historic places and organizations to the public for free. It also coordinates walking tours and summer camps for school-aged children. 

Through Easements Atlanta, an institution APC co-founded, 43 important Atlanta buildings are protected with historic easements. 

“I want to thank all of our supporters, members and partners, who have been so supportive of our mission during my time here,” said Coons. “David has the experience, energy and vision to guide the Atlanta Preservation Center as it enters its fifth decade. He understands the challenges and the opportunities.”