WonderRoot is proud to announce the completion of a mural displayed on the King Memorial MARTA station, as a part of a community-based public art project, En Route. The concept for the mural was created by lead artist Fahamu Pecou, with a particular respect to both the history of the neighborhoods surrounding the station and the feedback gathered by the residents who live there. The product of this community engagement features an image that references a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” The mural engages with the life and service of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a way that retains its relevance to the community today by inspiring an enduring sense of self-empowerment.
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
En Route project partners include MARTA, Fulton County and the TransFormation Alliance, while funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Wells Fargo, the Ford Foundation, the Georgia Council for the Arts, and the Atlanta Regional Commission. Of particular note, En Route represents a component of MARTA’s pivotal Transit Oriented Development (TOD) work.
MARTA defines TOD as the development that occurs within walking distance of transit and where the buildings, streets, and open spaces are designed primarily for pedestrians. While every place and every project is different, TOD usually combines a rich mix of land uses, it is concentrated and dense relative to its surroundings, re-examines parking, and is pedestrian-oriented. As a transit agency, MARTA does not control zoning, or local land use planning. Other public agencies, from state government to regional planning groups to counties and cities, can promote sustainable growth and high-quality communities by using a “tool box” of available strategies, including:
• Station area improvements like streets, sidewalks, parks, trails, bicycle facilities and attractive lighting and signage
• The location of public buildings like schools, libraries, or agency offices next to transit stations, to make these services more accessible to the community while using public investments that need to be made anyway to promote TOD
• Tax allocation districts or other innovative finance mechanisms for public infrastructure
• Targeted use of existing finance programs for mixed-income, elderly, and workforce housing
• Special TOD zoning codes to create walkable, enjoyable mixed-use environments with less required parking
Amanda Rhein, MARTA’s Senior Director of Transit Oriented Development, has been one of En Route’s biggest supporters and has played a major role in advancing the project thus far.
— Amanda Rhein (@MARTATOD1) June 12, 2016
While MARTA and Fulton County are well known entities to many Atlantans, the TransFormation Alliance may be a little less visible. As a broad partnership of organizations from the private, public and nonprofit sectors, the TransFormation Alliance is dedicated to creating thriving mixed-income communities anchored by transit and linked to all the opportunities and amenities that make Atlanta great. So much of the thinking behind En Route was shaped by the organizations and individuals in this partnership and their support has been critical to the project’s evolution.
“Creative place-making has the opportunity to enable a process to envision a better future, but also uplift and empower communities. The mural created through En Route at King Memorial MARTA Station is an excellent example of how a community-based arts project can empower the community.” – TransFormation Alliance Member Marisa Lang Ghani, Senior Planner, Community Development, Atlanta Regional Commission
“En Route is a unique project bringing back public art into public transportation. WonderRoot has framed the cultural context of historical Atlanta neighborhoods through exciting conversations between artists and local residents. The result is a powerful gush of creativity that looks and feels like its surrounding.” – TransFormation Alliance Member Simon J. Berrebi, Ph.D. student, Georgia Institute of Technology
“Creative place-making positively impacts communities by thoughtfully engaging community members in a dialogue and process to engender a unique sense of community and place. The EnRoute project at the King Memorial MARTA station exemplifies a successful model for this positive social and physical change through the installation of collaborative, beautiful and inspiring public art murals.” – TransFormation Alliance member Alex Trachtenberg, Project Manager, Community Sustainability Services and Policy, Southface
Along with the artistry of Lead artist Fahamu Pecou, the mural was implemented by Supporting Artists Joe Dreher and Fabian Williams. Dreher is an Atlanta based artist who works with a multiplicity of tools in various mediums. His wide-ranging talent is unified by an attention to the community in which his art it exists and the multidimensionality of the people within it. Williams has made a name for himself in Atlanta as an artist whose work exhibits a similar expression of socially and politically relevant themes. With a talent in various forms of artistic expression, Williams thrives creatively on the streets of Atlanta and his collaboration on the King Memorial mural is no exception.
As the completed project materializes, the mural seeks to commemorate the history surrounding the MARTA station and reflect the limitless potential of the King Memorial community.
Watch a quick video of the mural coming to life below!