SUMMERHILL — Organized Neighbors of Summerhill, Mrs. John Elder, Councilwoman Carla Smith and Living Walls have partnered to bring street art murals to Georgia Avenue, a stone's throw away from Turner Field. There are 10 different artists from around the globe, painting 13 different walls. Murals ranging from abstract art and diving birds, to jumping antelope, a man crawling through a garden and a face. They are transforming buildings along Georgia Avenue that have been abandoned for decades. Art and color are redefining a community that has seen its share of hard times but urban renewal is in the air.
Summerhill, established in 1865, was home to Jewish settlers and emancipated slaves. It was home to the first public school for African American children, A. B. Johnson. A thriving commercial district along Georgia Avenue served the community, as did Piedmont Hospital.
Georgia Avenue resident Leo Frank, a National Pencil Co. factory manager, was lynched in 1915.
In 1957 land was cleared for highway construction and 3,800 families were displaced. In 1964, the Atlanta Stadium was built and became home of the Atlanta Braves. In 1966, after an African American man was shot by police, riots erupted, reflecting the social tumult of the times.
Summerhill was the home of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, the year that The Ted was built. Summerhill also was home to Sam Massell, the city's youngest and first Jewish mayor, as well as business magnate Herman J. Russell, founder of the H.J. Russell & Co.
This community with its rich history, has been waiting for decades for development and renewal.
For the 2013 Living Walls Conference, their largest concentration of murals began in Summerhill along Georgia Avenue on Thursday, Aug. 8 and will end Sunday, Aug. 18 with a block party at the corner of Martin Street and Georgia Avenue at 5 p.m.
Mrs. Mitchell is president of the Organized Neighbors of Summerhill.