By Michelle Rice
East Atlanta is home to artists of all kinds. The 18th annual East Atlanta Strut on Saturday, September 26, highlights those artists in myriad ways.
On festival day, the Strut will officially present three murals as gifts to the neighborhood. Five artists are giving their time to cover walls that have for years been repeatedly tagged with graffiti. Heather Greenway and Olive47 will each work on a wall of the Nail Shack on Flat Shoals Avenue. Adrian Barzaga, Catlanta, and Squish will each take space on a wall behind the block of buildings that are home to the Flatiron Restaurant and Bar.
Included in this year’s artists market, which always features artists from the neighborhood, is a scholarship market booth where promising art students from the neighborhood’s high schools can sell their work. Artist Carl Janes, aka Future Ancestors, has volunteered to help students create art live before the nearly 10,000 festival attendees.
East Atlanta is the proverbial neighborhood in transition. Although this year it was named by Redfin as one of the hottest neighborhoods of 2015, it is still home to too many vacant storefronts. The Dahlia Project, run by Maigh Houlihan and Lauren Langley, is improving some of those for Strut day with installations that not only highlight area artists but also highlight the buildings as a great place to start a business. The Doppler Projects take that theme one step further, turning a vacant store into a gallery that is hosting a curated exhibition for the day.
All of this is being shepherded by Strut arts coordinator Davy Minor. Minor created something he calls Deer Bear Wolf. It is a multifaceted platform celebrating and connecting Atlanta’s arts, music, and literary scenes. Minor helped the Strut secure one of 11 neighborhood arts grants distributed by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.
The Strut Parade, at 2:00pm, presents the neighborhood’s musical and dancing artists of all ages. Included in the parade is the Street Strut-off in which residents build parade floats to brag about their particular part of East Atlanta. Four music stages will feature local musicians throughout the day and evening. Even the Strut kids’ area is taking on an artistic theme, building games and entertainment around the “Night at the Museum” films.
New this year is Feats and Eats at the Midway, an area featuring games for grownups and contests of culinary overindulgence (Translation: eating contests). The East Atlanta Community Association is embracing the neighborhood’s hipster image by throwing a beard contest in the Feats and Eats area.
Volunteers run all of the events and activities to highlight East Atlanta as a great place to live, work, and play. Sponsors include the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, which awarded the Strut one of 11 neighborhood arts grants, Greyhound Express, Paces Properties, AM1690, and many others.
The festival kicks off with a 5K run at 8:00am, one of three races organized by EAV Runfest, which supports Burgess-Peterson elementary school. The artists market runs from 11:00am to 7:00pm, the kids’ area from 11:00am to 5:00pm, and the music stages from 11:00am until 9:00pm. The Friends of the East Atlanta Library also sponsor a book sale that day. The festival takes place in East Atlanta Village, with the center of the action at Flat Shoals and Glenwood Avenues.
And don’t forget to Roll Before You Strut, with a classic car show filling the Village on Friday, September 25 starting at 4:00pm.
For more info or to volunteer your time the day of the festival, contact Michelle Rice at EAVStrut@gmail.com.
18th Strut Showcases East Atlanta’s Artistic Side
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