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