DUNWOODY, Ga. — After years of study and debate, public art is debuting all over Dunwoody, with Spruill Center artists leading the way.

The formation of the Dunwoody Arts Commission last September has paved the way for artists to find public venues to display their works in public places like the Spruill Center for the Arts and beyond. And it's a welcome addition, according to Spruill's CEO Alan Mothner.

"After years of trying to implement public art, it's great to see the murals and other public art beginning to pop up around town," Mothner said. "I think the commission is finding its footing in regards to their role."

City of Dunwoody sketches plans for future art, bike routes

Spruill artist Diana Toma's mural, "Daydreaming," was the first sanctioned art to be approved and installed under the new public arts regime. It is installed at Spruill's entrance on Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

"The mural is amazing and inspiring," Mothner said. "My office has a window out to our front entry, and I can't tell you how many times I've seen cars driving into the parking lot just to take a picture."

Since that installation, Spruill artists have worked with the commission to install two more murals at the building — one entitled "Shine Your Light" by Megan Reeves, and "Wooded Wall" by Maureen Engle.

"Soon visitors will see a mosaic mandala wall, nearly a dozen ceramic totems in front gardens and the annual unveiling of the AMPLIFY installation mural at the Spruill gallery in October," Mothner said.

Dunwoody Economic Development Director Michael Starling said he thinks the program is unfolding nicely.

"Like any program, it takes a while for the process to get going, but I think we are well on our way to making Dunwoody public art a real part of the fabric of the city," Starling said.

Officials are looking into programs the city will fund, the first being a request for proposals for art-inspired bike racks placed in areas with a heavy bike presence, Starling said.

The city published a document outlining the parameters for the bike racks, with proposals due July 16.

According to the request for proposals, "the city seeks artwork that captures the spirit of Dunwoody and should take inspiration from the themes identified in Public Art Implementation Plan."

Mothner said his only criticism involves the way the proposed art must follow the themes established by the Dunwoody Arts Commission.

"I feel that the themes for art as established by the city are a bit limiting and conservative," he said. "If you look around other cities, public art is utilized to not only bring beauty, but also to elevate conversation and discussion among a diverse population. I think Dunwoody should strive toward that, allowing art to perform its magic at bringing communities together."

Cathy covers local government and community news for the Dunwoody area.

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