Atlanta top muralists join forces on MLK Day

Photo by John Spink Sr. for the AJC

Photo by John Spink Sr. for the AJC

Ten Atlanta artists join forces to creating mural at Frederick Douglass High School on Atlanta’s westside during the King Holiday on January 21, 2019. Organized by Atlanta artist Charmaine Minniefield, the mural is sponsored by Spelman College for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service with Hands On Atlanta.

The project will return the portrait of Douglass originally painted in 1972 by then art teacher, Mr.William Murray to the school. Mr. Murray will be present on Monday to meet the artists and to lend a hand. The project features some of the city’s most prolific artists, including Fabian Williams (Occasional Superstar), Joe Dreher (Joe King ATL), Sachi Rome, Lauren Pallotta Stumberg (Think Greatly), Michael Jones (Letter 75), Angela Davis Johnson, Krista Jones (Jonesy), Shannon Willow and Sean Irving (BlesOne aka DeeJay Rebellion).

All artists are donating their time, and leftover paint from murals past, to model community service and civic duty on the 2019 MLK Day of Service. Hands On Atlanta volunteers, Spelman College students, and Clark Atlanta University students will join the team on the day as well. Over the weeks to follow, artists will work with former Frederick Douglass HS art teacher Murray, current art teacher Dr. Mark Jones and students to complete the wall.

The Frederick Douglass High School Alumni Association, Frederick Douglass Ole School, staff and faculty will host this mural project during the 200th anniversary of the birth of abolitionist namesake Frederick Douglass to return the portrait of Douglass to the campus grounds after renovations covered its original image a few years back. Frederick Douglass High School is the alma mater of Atlanta’s Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms. Minniefield worked with non-profit, fiscal sponsor Culture Centers International to bring attention, support, and talent to this important effort as a continuation of its Westside Murals project which seeks to preserve important Atlanta cultural histories and legacies in the community through public art and creative programming.

This wall is the fourth wall in this series now on the Westside. The first, which honored Adrienne McNeil Herndon, was sponsored by, Spelman College and Hands On Atlanta last year during the King Holiday on the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail. Since, other walls include a wall on the Adair Park Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine which honors Carrie Steel, matriarch and founder of the Carrie Steel Pitts Home for Children; and most recently the wall for Civil Right hero Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson, sponsored by the WonderRoot Off The Wall Project for the upcoming Super Bowl.

As an artist, arts administrator and producer for over 20 years, Charmaine Minniefield has worked with such arts organizations as the National Black Arts Festival, the King Center, Fulton County Department of Arts and Culture, Flux Project and the High Museum of Arts. She was a recent feature in the Mercedes Benz Greatness Lives Here Initiative and has been doing murals in schools during the King Holiday for many years with Hands On Atlanta. Minniefield states, “I am excited to collaborate with this group of amazing Atlanta artists. It is an honor to stand with as artist activists, working in communities as an example act of service during the King Holiday.

This is an exciting time in our city’s history. Each year during the King Holiday, we honor the shoulders on which we stand--the freedom fighters, the abolitionists, the suffragists, the organizers of resistance--who have come before us and are inspired by their example to use our work and our voices to affect change today.”

Participating Artists:

·       Fabian Williams (Occasional Superstar)

·       Joe Dreher (Joe King ATL)

·       Sachi Rome

·       Lauren Pallotta Stumberg (Think Greatly)

·       Michael Jones (Letter75)

·       Angela Davis Johnson

·       Krista Jones (Jonesy)

·       Shannon Willow

·       Sean Irving (Bro Sean aka BlesOne)

·       Charmaine Minniefield