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Megan Reeves Williamson with her “Shine Your Light” mural at Spruill Center for the Arts.


Megan Reeves Williamson with her “Shine Your Light” mural at Spruill Center for the Arts.
Megan Reeves Williamson with her “Shine Your Light” mural at Spruill Center for the Arts.

When restaurants faced the pandemic fallout last year, Dunwoody stepped up to the plate with picnic tables and paintbrushes. In a maverick marketing move to boost business, colorfully decorated tables were placed outside area eateries to provide socially distanced seating options, with a map to follow the al fresco dining trail. Now, the city has unveiled a few more public art projects, including splashy murals at the Dunwoody MARTA Station and Spruill Center for the Arts.

Diana Toma’s “Daydreaming” mural at Spruill.
Diana Toma’s “Daydreaming” mural at Spruill.

“Public art does so much to benefit a community, from acting as an economic driver to serving as a unifying aspect. As Dunwoody continues to grow, public art provides a sense of connection for our citizens and represents our dedication to improvement,” says Michael Starling, Dunwoody’s economic development director.

Art to Go

Public transit was the perfect place for Neka King to unleash her artistic vision. Her murals at the Dunwoody MARTA Station, titled “The Commuters,” tap into the kinetic energy of the hub’s hustle and bustle in a larger-than-life streetscape, playing off the orange, yellow and blue color palette of the operator’s logo.

“Being a citizen of Atlanta, going to MARTA always reminds us how diverse the city is. Everyone is living their own lives, almost like a little movie,” says King, a frequent passenger while attending Georgia State University. “You may have a person getting flowers for his wife or a dad and his son going to a game. That’s just what I wanted to capture in this mural–the life that happens in these ‘in-between’ places.”

The vibrant addition is part of MARTA’s Artbound public art program to jazz up stations with visual art, dance, theater and live music.

Neka King’s “The Commuters” mural at Dunwoody MARTA Station.
Neka King’s “The Commuters” mural at Dunwoody MARTA Station.

Making a Scene

Spruill Center for the Arts has blossomed from the inside out this year as a trio of talented instructors transformed the exterior of the ho-hum building on Chamblee- Dunwoody Road into a spectacular open-air gallery.

Diana Toma led the charge with “Daydreaming,” a fantastical scene of light, color and symbolic elements reflecting a rainbow-hued world of art and creation at the center’s entrance. After several weeks of prep work, she headed outdoors with supplies and ladder in tow to tackle the 22-by-9-foot canvas. Toma engineered a technique combining liquid paint and spray-painting for the rough stucco texture.

Two new murals in the plaza are receiving plenty of fanfare as well: Megan Reeves Williamson’s “Shine Your Light” and Maureen Engle’s “Wooded Wall.”

“My hope is that when people see my mural, they feel uplifted and guided to spread their own brand of magic and positivity,” says Williamson, who created a “selfie” wall with her spiritual themed work. “The idea of someone holding a flashlight and shining their light filled with good vibes and wondrous things into the darkness was the perfect concept for what everyone has been going through.”

Maureen Engle had a little help with her enchanting forest of birch trees, serendipitously painted during Spruill’s summer camp for kids. “The children took quite an interest in the project and wanted to join in, and so I let them!” she says.

The pint-sized Picassos picked their favorite colors and added leaves along the bottom. “The mural evolved from the original concept into an even more colorful landscape,” she says.


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