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When the Atlanta-Fulton Central Library reopens in spring 2020, it will feature two new public art commissions worth a total of $247,000. The iconic library at 1 Margaret Mitchell Square in Downtown Atlanta has been closed since July 2, 2018.

The winning submissions, chosen after a national call, come from the artist collectives AREA C projects of Cranston, Rhode Island, and Luftwerk of Chicago.

Applicants were asked to use the themes of light and enlightenment and to respond to the library building and its design by modernist architect Marcel Breuer, a leader in the Bauhaus movement.

AREA C projects

AREA C projects plans a piece titled Of If and Like. Artists Erik Carlson and Erica Carpenter will lead an effort to gather thousands of phrases from Atlanta-based writers — all beginning with the words “of,” “if,” “and” or “like.”

They’ll be displayed on a wall installation of mirrored dichroic glass, framed in a wooden wedge and integrated into the library entrance’s main feature wall. The work will be visible from both inside and outside the library, according to AREA C’s outline. Custom-written software will let the artists comb quickly through large archives and collections to extract a wide base of phrases.

AREA C projects created Unbound for the Chapel Hill Public Library in North Carolina. (Courtesy of AREA C)

Previous AREA C projects can be seen at the San Diego International Airport, the Denver Public Library, the Dubai Mall, Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Chapel Hill Public Library in North Carolina and the Lentz Public Health Center in Nashville.

Luftwerk

Luftwerk, the artistic collaboration between Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero, plans a piece titled Sparks of Thought. It’s described as a suspended sculpture made of 300 text-inscribed mirror discs. The discs are arranged like leaves on a tree-like frame of aluminum tubing that, when illuminated, will turn the library’s light well into a colorful burst of light and thought. The work will stretch from the ground level to the fourth floor, be 35-feet high and shift at intervals to correspond with the openings of each floor.

Luftwerk created Parallel Perspectives for Chicago’s McCormick House. (Courtesy of Luftwerk)

Previous Luftwerk projects took place at the Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House in Elmhurst, Illinois; in Barcelona, Spain; at the 21c Museum in Kansas City, Missouri; at Cleve Carney Art Gallery in Glen Ellyn, Illinois; at the Chicago Cultural Center; and at Design Miami.

The funds for these sculptures, OK’d by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, come from the library renovation project, which includes one percent of its capital improvement budget dedicated to public art and to acquiring fine art.

In August 2018, commissioners approved a $44.2 million contract for Central Library renovations and awarded the contract to Atlanta’s Winter Johnson Group.

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