Summerhill, one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods, celebrates a rich history that dates back more than 150 years. It’s one of Atlanta’s oldest black neighborhoods, with freed slaves and Jewish immigrants as early settlers. It’s found south of downtown, and connects Grant Park, Mechanicsville and Peoplestown. Georgia Avenue is Summerhill’s main artery, running between Zoo Atlanta and Georgia State Stadium.
The construction of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in the 1970s dramatically reshaped the neighborhood, as did the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and Centennial Olympic Stadium. It then became Turner Field and is now Georgia State Stadium.
For almost a decade, Summerhill has been home to murals from Atlanta and international street artists. Georgia Avenue, once full of blighted buildings, hosted the Living Walls Conference in 2013, an event that brought color and liveliness to long-empty buildings. Summerhill is again undergoing a wave of change, with small businesses and residents moving in. In November, the public art nonprofit Living Walls returned to refresh some of Summerhill’s murals. Meet four of the artists.
Where: 39 Georgia Ave. SE, facing Fraser Street SE
3ttman (real name: Louis Lambert) is a French artist based in Madrid. He tours internationally to create street art that resembles a mosaic of folklore images. 3ttman made his second trip to Summerhill to update his 2013 mural, a rare occurrence. The impermanent nature of street art makes this restoration quite special. The eye-catching bold shades and creatively quirky characters now shine anew.
Where: 68 Georgia Ave. SE
Artist Joe Dreher, better known as JOEKINGATL, is an Atlanta street-art alum. He works across multiple disciplines, including photography, wheat paste and sculpture, and is a SCAD grad with a master’s degree in architecture. He often focuses on social-justice issues, depicting images tied to the community. His Summerhill mural is one example. It’s dedicated to Mary Phagan, the National Pencil Co. worker murdered in 1913 at age 13, an event that led to the conviction and subsequent lynching of factory superintendent Leo Frank, whose guilt has been in doubt ever since. Look closely at the orange-red lines to find the young girl’s face amid the flowers.
“TELLAS” FABIO SCHIRRU:
Where: 39 Georgia Ave. SE
Tellas was born in Cagliari, the capital of the Italian island of Sardinia, and is widely known for contemporary paintings inspired by natural landscapes. His art practice consists of work inside the studio and in public spaces. His notable work includes partnerships with the prominent Italian high-fashion brands Ferragamo and Marni.
JASMINE NICOLE WILLIAMS:
Where: 85 Georgia Ave. SE, facing Terry Street
This debut mural from Jasmine Nicole Williams displays characteristics of her woodcut relief printmaking. It represents her black, Southern and femme identity. She honored the history of Summerhill families by inviting neighbors to help her paint.