“Wings of the City” adorn Brookhaven outdoor areas.
As one of the metro area’s newest cities, Brookhaven has marked many firsts as it has found its footing. Its latest sign of municipal maturity: adorning several outdoor areas with art. The Brookhaven Arts and Culture Commission was formed in January 2021, and led by Chair Lauren Kiefer, the nine-person committee made bringing art into the city a priority.
“It was one of our marching orders to do public art,” says Kiefer, an attorney and long-time arts supporter who also sits on the board of the Alliance Theatre. “It’s an underlying tenet of the city’s master plan.”
In its first official act earlier this year, the commission arranged to bring dramatic works by world renowned Mexican sculptor Jorge Marin to locations around town.
“Wings of the City,” which launched last month, is one of the artist’s premier collections of nine bronze sculptures that have been touring the U.S., most recently in Raleigh and Greenville. Marin’s other figurative, contemporary works have been feted around the globe.
Born in 1963 in Uruapan, Mexico, Marin studied graphic design and fine art restoration. His work has been featured in more than 320 group and solo exhibitions and gradually transitioned beyond galleries and museums to become part of the urban landscape in streets and squares around the world.
Marin’s work came to the attention of Kiefer’s commission from the Mexican consulate, also located in Brookhaven.
“They showed us this opportunity and asked if we wanted it,” she says. “It was an honor to be asked to present these works. A lot of people on the commission have strong arts backgrounds, and we all recognized and appreciated the sheer artistry of these sculptures.”
The largest of the works is 11 feet high and 10 feet wide; the smallest is just 4 feet tall. Most feature creatures with giant wings ready to take flight. One is prominently placed outside the Mexican consulate on Chantilly Drive; others are on display at Blackburn Park, Oglethorpe University, the Peachtree Creek Greenway and Northeast Plaza and the Latin American Association, both on Buford Highway.
“Several factors went into placing them,” says Kiefer. “Part of it was how easy it was to put the sculptures in place. Others were how visible they would be from the road and how protected they would be. We didn’t want to put them in a flood plain.”
The “Wings” will remain in place until spring 2023. During that time, a variety of educational programs and interactive workshops will be offered around the city to correlate to the artist and his work.
Meanwhile, the commission is already planning for its next project.
“We are so excited and very honored to show off the artistry of these works and the gifts the city of Brookhaven has to offer,” says Kiefer. “But we’re already working on the next two or three things. We have a backlog of projects we need to address, and though they won’t all be of this magnitude, you’ll soon start seeing more and more art in the city.”
PHOTO: Erik Meadows
Atlanta-based writer and editor contributing to a number of local and state-wide publications. Instructor in Georgia State’s Communication department and Emory’s Continuing Education division.