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Public Art Helps Hapeville Bridge from Vital Past to Vibrant Future

Posted on: Aug 25, 2017

The silhouettes of climbing children form a striking arch between two historic buildings in downtown Hapeville.

This newly installed sculpture highlights a piece of this city’s history: For years, a children’s home stood near this spot. But this public art installation also forms a bridge of another kind.

Along with three other sculptures that make up Hapeville’s “Sharing Our Stories” project, the piece connects the South Fulton city’s rich history – Hapeville celebrates its 125th anniversary this year – to a vibrant future as a regional destination and arts and culture hub.

Public art is in high demand these days. It’s attractive. It’s a conversation-piece. And it enables communities to share their stories in a concrete way.

That’s why ARC helped seed Hapeville’s “Sharing Our Stories” project with a $15,000 matching grant from the agency’s Atlanta Regional Public Art Program. ARC also provided grants to three other public art projects, in the cities of Atlanta, Decatur, and Woodstock. Each work celebrates a community’s unique identity while symbolizing the commonalities of our region.

Public art is “especially important to historic downtowns. In the age of big-box shopping and internet stores…downtown has to be vibrant, it has to be a destination, a place that people want to go,” said David Burt, director of the Hapeville Arts Alliance.

Of course, public art offers communities much more than an economic lift.

“Public art is a great way for a community to communicate its values to the world,” says Josh Phillipson, who leads ARC’s Arts and Culture program. “It’s inspiring to see how Hapeville is using public art as a way to bring the community together, reflect on its past and look toward the future.”

The Atlanta Regional Public Art Program was created by ARC and a group of metro Atlanta leaders following the 2014 LINK trip to Philadelphia, where they were inspired by that city’s renowned Mural Arts Program. The leaders raised funds to provide grants to help communities across the Atlanta region install public art.


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