Atlanta’s Newest Public Art Piece Flies High Above West Midtown

Staff Report

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Atlanta’s latest public art piece, “From the Ground Up,” a thought-provoking, six-story mural, was unveiled today in West Midtown. Featured on 8West, “From the Ground Up,” designed by internationally renowned artist, Craig Alan, depicts a phoenix rising out of the ashes to reflect Atlanta’s historical relationship with the mythological representation of new life and honor the community’s rich, artistic authenticity.

Mirroring Atlanta from the Ashes, a depiction of the city’s rise from the ashes of the Civil War to become a world city, “From the Ground Up” embodies Atlanta’s rebuilding amidst the nation’s current civil unrest and its fight to unite against the coronavirus pandemic. The piece is also further revolutionizing and showcasing West Midtown’s vibrant, multicultural scene. Seen as one of Atlanta’s boldest neighborhoods, the district celebrates the innovative and industrial charms where railroad and manufacturing interests once thrived.

“Throughout history, Atlanta has endured triumphs and tribulations to create and foster a culture of appreciation and individualism,” said Craig Alan. “My hope for this piece is that it ignites a conversation to demand change in order to unify us as one human entity.”

The allegorical creature joins Alan’s “Populus” series, in which he ingeniously creates artworks using hand-painted people as the pixels. Among the notable local figures featured in “From the Ground Up” are Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; William Hartsfield and Maynard Jackson, for whom Atlanta’s airport is named; Killer Mike; Outkast; media mogul Ted Turner; Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind; and a range of essential workers, including Instacart shoppers, a UPS delivery driver, a janitor, a farmer, nurses and doctors. The broader “Populus” portfolio includes the likenesses of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and John F. Kennedy, as well as more conceptual and abstract pieces. 

"Our hope in commissioning this artwork was to seamlessly blend 8West into the Upper Westside's exciting, diverse environment and give visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves into the historical character and identification of Atlanta as the city that always rises up," said Mack Reese, Managing Partner, Gateway Ventures Real Estate. “Craig’s distinct ability to visualize Atlanta through its power to grow as a united front toward an uncertain but bright future demonstrates our passion to keep this city alive and thriving.”

West Midtown’s latest mural addition spans the height of 8West, a nine-story, 200,000 square-foot, mixed-use facility that seamlessly blends turn-of-the-century industrial character with Class-A modern office design. This inspired construction, directly connected to the Georgia Tech Campus, reflects the artistic character of the West Midtown neighborhood and provides the flexible, creative workspace that tomorrow's pioneering workforce demands.

8West hosts a vast array of amenities including an outdoor rooftop patio, fitness center, indoor bike storage and breakout meeting areas. Walkable to more than 30 of the city’s most buzzworthy restaurants, 8West is the last vital link connecting the ever-growing chain of mixed-use developments that is transforming West Midtown from pioneering to prime.

Located at the corner of 8th Street and Howell Mill Road, 8West features 175,000 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of retail space and 264 apartments, all with views of the city's modern skyline. Slated to be completed in September 2020, the office and retail floorplans were developed in partnership between Gateway Ventures Real Estate and Atlantic Capital Properties, and the residential units were developed by Trammell Crow Residential. The project was designed by MSTSD, Inc. and constructed by BL Harbert International.

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