#FreeArtDecatur and Sodabooze


Image courtesy of Emily Chapman. Art courtesy of _CheckTheBox_. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I grew up just outside of Decatur, an intown suburb of Atlanta that bills itself as “a city of homes, churches, and schools.” (Yes, really.) Though it’s not really Atlanta, in a metro area that still includes suburbs 2 hours outside of town, it is close enough. The town is basically what Berkley would be if it happened to be in Georgia; there are competing, longstanding independent coffee shops, and art fairs, and an annual book festival. A lot of earnest high school students are always around, playing ultimate frisbee.

It’s a lovely town. I would be charmed if I discovered it as an adult. But I didn’t, and as a result I’ve maintained an uneasy relationship with it into adulthood: I like it, I should like it, I am a product of it, but it seems like cheating to stay in it. I’m not establishing myself as an adult in any meaningful way if I’m still getting coffee at the same coffee shop I’ve been loitering at since I was 15, even if it’s a wonderful coffee shop (and I drink beer in it, now). So, I’ve been staying away, finding new coffee shops in my new neighborhood a few miles away. It’s been a good choice, I think.

But I was reminded how much I like the place this weekend, when I went back for the second annual Great Decatur Art Hunt. The event grew out of Free Art Friday/#FAFATL, a city-wide group of artists (loosely affiliated in some cases, unrelated in others) which drop art around town for folks to find. This was a concentrated version of that: starting at noon on Saturday, the artists gathered to drop art and watch as folks gathered it. Decatur was such the neighborhood for it: lots of families with small kids who wanted to participate, high walkability for finding drops on foot, a huge number of earnest people who Want to Support Art. Continue reading

Three Festivals, One Weekend


I’ve written about this before (like, approximately 600 times this summer), but street festivals are absolutely my favorite part of Atlanta. This weekend was–even by my festival-ridden standards–pretty chock full o’ street fairs. I managed to hit three–the East Atlanta Strut, the Emory Block Party, and the Festival on Ponce. Running through them all would take more words than anyone needs to read about my weekend, so we’re going to do this Amazon review style. Review time!

East Atlanta Strut

Pros: This is basically my favorite festival in Atlanta. Set in the coolest bar district currently gentrifying, the festival is a dense set of food trucks, dog rescues, and weird art goods. I purchased a PBR-themed charm bracelet, a gold glitter Pray for ATL hands magnet, and a print of Darth Vader painted up as the madonna. Plus, I played with a beagle for like 20 minutes. All of my favorite things!
Cons: To get to my volunteer booth by 7:45 am, I had to get up at 6:45, which is earlier than anyone should have to get up on a Saturday. My co-boothers were an hour late, as is the way with nonprofits. It was frustrating.

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