You may have had a “what the heck?” moment if you drove by Freedom Park yesterday, as you noticed a giant structure going up made entirely of ladders. Ladders of all kinds stick out from every angle, leaving passersby wondering what’s going on and how that thing isn’t collapsing.
It’s Rise Up Atlanta, a public art installation by artist Charlie Brouwer, designed to not only give us something cool to admire, but to bring the community together. And you can be a part of it.
But what does it all mean?
“The idea behind the project is simple,” Brouwer said. “Think about if you need a ladder. You could go to Lowe’s and get one or you could go down to a neighbor’s house and borrow his or hers to get the Frisbee off of your roof. It’s all about that personal connection between neighbors — the lending and getting back and the interaction in that whole process.”
The ladders in the structure are donated by individuals, business, churches and everyone in between. If a lender does not wish to have his or her ladder returned, it will be donated to the Atlanta Community ToolBank to further serve a purpose in the community.
“I wanted to make it about the community and this way, people might want to donate the ladders to me. I think of it as the ladders being the hopes and dreams of the individuals, families, churches and community entities that donate them. They all come together, supporting and holding each other up. It’s a strong metaphor,” Brouwer said.
Brouwer has done similar projects in cities like Grand Rapids, Mich. and Winston-Salem, N.C. In Atlanta, the project is funded and supported by Flux Projects, the admirable organization that has bettered Atlanta’s art scene by supporting artists in creating innovative public art throughout the city.
“I think it will be this beautiful and unexpected piece sitting there at the end of Freedom Park,” said Louis Corrigan, founder and president of Flux Projects. “And, when the sculpture is completed, you can walk around and find your ladder.”
Anyone can be a part of this impressive exhibit. Ladders are being accepted through Thursday, April 28 from noon to 8 p.m. To drop off, park on Druid Place (off Moreland Avenue just south of Freedom Park). If you need assistance carrying your ladder to the installation site, please visit the site and ask the help of a volunteer.
Rise Up Altanta will be on display through May and then the ladders will be returned or donated to the Tool Bank.