Living Walls & Monica Campana

Living Walls is easily considered the Grandfather of the Mural Art Scene in Atlanta. However it would be more accurate to call it the Grandmother since this organization was created by Monica Campana, a transplant from Peru who was working as a Barista at a local coffee shop in Atlanta when the idea of Living Walls came to her. Soon after, passion and determination took over.

In 2009, Monica invited artists to come to Atlanta and paint murals.  She secured the walls and funding for the supplies and at the end of the first year, Atlanta had 18 new murals. The second year, Living Walls incorporated a two-week long conference in conjunction with the mural painting activity. Over these five years, this idea grew into a recognized art organization that has engaged over 150 mural artists, over 800 volunteers and by the end of 2014, credited with installing 115 beautiful and thought- provoking murals in public spaces of Atlanta.

At the close of the 2014 Season, Monica decided to take a planned hiatus from the work and go north to the capital of mural art cities, Philadelphia. Her goal was to reflect on her experience in Atlanta and learn all she could about how a well-funded successful street art program is run. “The Philadelphia Mural Art Program has over 50 full time employees and a multi-million dollar budget to create art on the streets. We did so much with so little over those five years and Philly has been doing this for over 30 years”, says Campana.

When I spoke with her about the future of Living Walls, she assured me we would be seeing Living Walls again.  “We are exploring how to create something sustainable for the artists and the organization. We are assembling our new board, designing our strategic plan and exploring corporate sponsorship”, say Campana.

As a big fan of Living Walls, I am grateful Monica was able to spend time in Philly and learn from the “masters” as they say in the art world.  Atlanta has much to look forward to upon the return of Living Walls. Learn more at livingwallsatl.com

Bantam Pub and Cabbage Pie

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When you are sitting across from a restaurant owner who is explaining the finer details of preparing lobster macaroni and a few minutes earlier he told you about his career as a chiropractor and mixed martial artist, and then describes how he selected and built out everything in the space, from the walls to the fixtures in this rustic and gorgeous neighborhood pub, you realize how much the term Renaissance Man is overused. To hear Timothy Lance, the owner of Bantam Pub and Cabbage Pie, tell his personal story is fascinating. Tim is a New Yorker, but in 2009, he made Atlanta his home for the second time after closing a construction business in Florida. He picked the Old Fourth Ward because of the creative vibe that was brewing at every corner.BantamPubFixture (4)

Bantam Pub, most likely the smallest pub in Atlanta, opened in 2013. Lance and his partners set the goal of making this pub “the pride of the O4W”. The way Tim believes you do that is putting the surrounding neighbors first. Lance explains, “We don’t close for movie productions or corporate events. We are ‘this neighborhood’s pub’. We don’t have wi-fi or televisions. You come to here to connect with people you are sitting next to. That’s how an artistic community can really grow, sharing your creative thoughts with each other. If you don’t have a vehicle, in other words, that place to share those creative thoughts, it’s a more starved community.” Tim_Lance_HeadshotRecognizing they wanted to be the community’s pub, there is tremendous focus on high-quality food sourcing, variety and delicious affordable meals.

In 2014, Tim and his partners acquired their second restaurant space in Cabbagetown, another well-known artist community. And with great enthusiasm, Tim was at it again, tearing out walls, designing and building out this beautiful space. I’ve introduced many friends to CabbaCabbagePie_GREATge Pie. “Wow” is the first thing they say when they enter the front room. Most restaurant owners rely on well season interior designers to pull off what Tim calls, “Victorian smashed into mid-century modern.”

The pizza is fantastic at this “Pizza Bistro” as Tim likes to refer to it – but don’t fooled by the name, because there is a full range of culinary options on the menu with a full bar and a very popular brunch served on Sundays. Cabbage Pie has been a favorite stop on many private party bike tour events and we look forward to working with them on our Street Art events. To learn more about these fine establishments, visit Bantam Pub and Cabbage Pie.  

Welcome to the Bicycle Tours of Atlanta Blog!

Oakland_Rolling (11)Welcome to the Bicycle Tours of Atlanta Blog! Here we’ll post news and information about our various guided tours, cool events happening in Atlanta, discounts on tours, special news from our shop, and, really, anything else we might find interesting. We want to do our best to highlight the best parts of this city, the nooks and crannies only locals know, the artists who have found hope and inspiration in the Atlanta streets, and a culture that thrives on the nourishment of it’s Southern roots. We’re excited to have you; stick around, we’ll be posting more soon!