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Should The Cyclorama Stay In Grant Park?

City says there is a 50-50 chance it may move

Grant Park is one of Atlanta's crown jewels of tourist attractions.

There's the park itself, of course, but there also is and the , which houses the world's largest oil painting. That painting depicts the 1885-86 Battle of Atlanta, f, including East Atlanta Village and Kirkwood.

Despite the three-in-in tourism appeal, the Cyclorama doesn't draw as much attendance as the zoo.

The thinking at City Hall? Perhaps a change of venue might do the Cyclorama some good.

Mayor Kasim Reed has already formed a task force — whose members include Russell Baggett, the Grant Park Neighborhood Association's president — to study the issue.

There's a 50-50 chance it may move and potential venues include the old World of Coca-Cola building near Underground Atlanta, near Centenial Olympic Park or the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.

The existing Cyclorama building underwent an $11 million renovation in 1996 and its estimated moving it to two of those three locations would cost about $20 million because it would require new construction to house the painting.

Paul Simo, chairman of the GPNA's Historic Committee, says it should stay put.

Simo's committee, which is spearheading efforts to keep the Cyclorama in Grant Park, has gathered some 500 signatures to a petition aimed at that effort.

East Atlanta Patch caught up with Simo Tuesday night after the GPNA's monthly meeting, to ask him why is it so important to keep the Cyclorama where it is.

There are three key reasons, according to Simo:

  • Its historic ties to Southeast Atlanta as it depicts the Battle of Atlanta
  • Its economic affects on other businesses such as restaurants in the surrounding neighborhoods
  • Since being gifted to the city, its home has always been in Grant Park
Loren Heyns September 23, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Grant Park is not the original Atlanta location of the traveling painting. It first resided on Edgewood Avenue from 1892 to 1898. The owners went bankrupt because "few Atlantans wished to see a Northern-biased painting that glorified the defeat that would lead to the destruction of their city." This painting is designed to travel and we should not be limited to thinking it needs to reside in Atlanta. If a global exhibit would allow us to generate the money needed to repair the painting, then the city should lease it out for an eventual return visit to Grant Park. Use the Cyclorama as a theatre and movie space shared with the zoo with an emphasis on history presentations.
Péralte Paul September 23, 2011 at 01:18 PM
You make good points, Loren. But the condition of the painting itself - I wonder if traveling would put too much stress on it?
Christy Ann Hall September 24, 2011 at 02:34 AM
It belongs in Grant Park, not worth the risk of damaging the painting. The cost of moving the Cyclorama could be better used in our police force so visitors and residents can feel safe visiting and living in Atlanta.

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