Today in Street Art: Atlanta BeltLine’s Southside Trail is home to three new murals 

It’s a safe bet that most locals know about the BeltLine; after all, it is Atlanta’s largest urban redevelopment project. Perhaps the most enthralling part of the BeltLine project is the public art that can be seen along its trail. Since 2010, murals have manifested all along the trail as a part of Art on the Atlanta BeltLine’s BeltLine Walls initiative, which finished its fifth wave of mural installations in June.

“The goal for Art on the BeltLine has been to drive people to new, unexplored sections of the trail to encourage that vision of building community,” said Miranda Kyle, the BeltLine’s Arts & Culture program manager. “Art on the BeltLine was envisioned as a tool to get people on the trails. Nobody goes to the BeltLine to take selfies in front of apartments; they go to shop, to exercise  and to see the artwork.”

The featured murals in Volume Five include Field Trip by Seven, Passerine by Jonesy and Terri’s Heart by Aysha Pennerman. All three murals are painted on varying sides of the Argos USA wall on the Southside trail, transforming the otherwise gray cement plant at 885 Glenwood Ave. into a colorful haven of art.

Come with us as we explore the murals below.

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Terri’s Heart

“This one was really special to me because I dedicated it to my aunt who passed away last year,” Pennerman said. “Her favorite animal was an elephant. They represent a strong family unit, strength and memory. [Auntie Terri] was a pillar in our family and one of the reasons I wanted to become an artist . . . I wanted the mural to be warm colors and a gradient similar to a sunset because the sun’s rise and setting represent a life cycle.”

For a second part of Pennerman’s mural project, Art on the Atlanta BeltLine partnered with Parkside School so she could teach local students about the process of making art. Students created and pitched proposals for their art pieces, created budgets and presentations and eventually painted their own artwork. They even helped paint the foundations of Terri’s Heart.

This isn’t the first time Pennerman has taught about public art. She created Impactful Brush, a nonprofit that shows children the importance of and process of creating art.

“I started [Impactful Brush]  a couple of years ago,” Pennerman said. “I still consider it in an early phase. The purpose is to create public art installations in partnership with communities and schools in need. Murals and colorful walls create a better learning environment. We had a community paint day at Atlanta Heights Charter School, where we painted the whole school . . . I’ve been teaching a lot this year, showing kids the possibles of art and combating [the stereotype of] the starving artist by showing them that you can make a living as a full-time artist.”

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Field Trip

This mural by Chattanooga-based artist Seven incorporates colorful elements of nature and white lines inspired by sacred geometry to evoke emotion in the viewer.

“I create pieces that don’t always have deep meaning,” Seven said. “It’s subjective. Field Trip is a metaphor, a representation of our connection to Mother Nature. We’re all connected to this universal consciousness. We are moving into this new shift or awakening in our consciousness. [The girl in the mural] is touching the Earth, grounding and connecting to that universal connection — sometimes called God or Mother Earth.”

Seven has created the Burnin Bridges Street Art Project, a multifaceted project involving various mural projects in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Through this endeavor, Seven seeks to educate people on the cultural importance and artistic relevance of street art. He hosts an annual “mural jam,” a term he coined to describe the gathering of around 25 muralists to network and create art.

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Passerine

This mural features a red-winged blackbird, a type of songbird, and the swooping curves of purple and green represent the bird’s song.

“I decided to use some color choices that aren’t usual for me,” Jonesy said. “It’s an exploration of color theory and how color makes us feel as humans. I wouldn’t paint [these bright colors] in my house, but, on the outside — in the world — it’s unexpected to see something so bright. The shapes got more complex with this mural. A lot of it was done with rollers, which was a challenge to see how clean I can get the lines. The loops and curves aim to symbolize movement and growth and also allow me to do both of those things while working.”

Jonesy is an Atlanta-based contemporary artist with a history of creating murals, and she started a new series in 2019.

“This particular mural is part of a series called Formations,” she said. “In the series, I explore the use of color, patterns and elements of nature to break up sterile areas in urban environments. The ultimate goal for me as a muralist is to provide unexpected joy to someone that might walk by or drive past a mural.”

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Luke Gardner is an Atlanta-based journalist with a history of covering the arts. Luke is passionate about serving local communities and celebrating marginalized identities. 

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