By Linda Harris, Director, Decatur Tourism Bureau
Spring is in the air and May is officially Celebrate the Arts month in Decatur. It is time to take a walk, enjoy the sunshine, and discover what’s new. Sidewalk Saturdays pop-up in Decatur in April and performers include dancers, drummers, sidewalk chalk artists, musicians, and comedians, to name a few. You never know where these performers might pop up to play a tune on an acoustic guitar, a ukulele, or a violin, have you co-create a sidewalk chalk art masterpiece, or enjoy a Brazilian dance.
While you are strolling, be on the look-out for Decatur’s “secret doors” – 32 miniature secret doors created by 24 artists and located in the nooks and crannies of Decatur. Artist Larry Holland organized this pop-up art project that was funded by a seed grant from the Decatur Arts Alliance. Visit secretdoorsdecatur.com to see a list of artists and their doors as well as this issue’s “If Walls Could Talk” style shoots!
The Decatur Outdoor Art Gallery features 5 juried sculptures placed downtown. Download the Otocast app and hear directly from each artist about each individual piece. If you want to purchase one of these sculptures, they are for sale.
Check out the Valentine statue donated to the city and dedicated to former Mayor Bill Floyd and his wife Sydney. Created by artist George Lundeen, this “couple” is beloved by the community. People frequently leave flowers in their arms, tie scarves around their necks, or fly balloons over their heads.
The Celebration statue was placed on the MARTA Plaza in honor of Decatur’s first African American Commissioner and Mayor Elizabeth Wilson and the community raised the funds to purchase it. Children “fly” around a globe and the statue becomes a fog fountain in warm weather. Sculptor Gary Price describes it this way: “Imagine a world without limits, without boundaries, without prejudice and blame. Imagine an existence full of self-confidence, self-esteem and not only tolerance, but love for others regardless of color, socio-economic or any other standing. To me that is what the future holds. That is what children represent and that is the type of world I would like to help others imagine so it can come to pass.”
In May the arts celebration is in full swing with a community lantern parade on May 13. Enjoy the lights of hundreds of hand-made lanterns in a parade that culminates on the square. Celebrate with your favorite Belgian beer from Brick Store Pub or a margarita on the patio of Raging Burrito.
You’ll find free Blue Sky Concerts on Wednesdays in May from noon – 1 p.m. and free Concerts on the Square every Saturday in May from 7-9:30 p.m. Bring a picnic or pick up a “to-go” special from one of Decatur’s restaurants and sit back and enjoy a variety of musical entertainment.
Memorial Day weekend brings the Decatur Arts Festival and a weekend packed with art – a children’s art festival & parade, juried arts exhibition, literary arts stage, music stage, and over 150 artists featured in the juried artists market. My favorite is the Friday night Art Walk on May 27 – all the participating shops and restaurants offer festive beverages and feature a different artist. Walk from place to place and enjoy the show. If art isn’t your thing, you can still find funnel cakes, kettle corn, and plenty of opportunities to people-watch.
And I didn’t even mention the pop-up signs on the lampposts with quotes by Georgia writers or the murals – but that’s a story for another day.
Decatur is home to award-winning restaurants, plenty of shopping opportunities in unique local shops – and an abundance of (free) opportunities to enjoy the arts. We’re just six miles east of Atlanta. Or, take the MARTA East Line to Decatur and you will exit directly onto the downtown square.
Linda Harris loves all things Decatur and, as a native, she is quick to point out the quirks as well as the hip spots and happenings. As director of the Decatur Tourism Bureau, she hates to leave the city and finds endless sources of entertainment and adventure right in her hometown. www.visitdecaturgeorgia.com.