September 22, 2013

And now for ‘something totally new’

Dancers, artists to infuse downtown with art

By Christopher Smith
christophersmith@daltoncitizen.com

— Linda Floyd says the local community is in for a “surprise.”

It involves a large mural to be at 200 N. Hamilton St., north of the Dalton Depot restaurant. What goes on the mural “won’t be revealed (until completion)” to build anticipation, said Floyd, director of the Dalton-Whitfield County Library.

Whatever it is will be painted by members of the Living Walls group (livingwallsatl.com), an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization of street artists known for creating murals in public spaces.

The group is set to arrive on Wednesday and complete their work for reveal by Saturday as part of the Traveling Show: Revolutionary Public Art Tour of Georgia. The tour brings Atlanta-based artists and dancers to six cities in the state throughout the fall.

While community members wait to see the finished mural, they will have a chance to see dancers perform from the gloATL troupe (gloatl.org) and visit art-based lectures throughout the county.

“gloATL is a wonderful dance troupe that’s known internationally,” Floyd said. “They perform contemporary dance. And it’s going to be free wherever they go.”

Free is important, Floyd said. The local community, she said, deserves to “know what public art is all about (and) the change it can bring.”

Floyd said part of the tour includes artists talking with local students about creative careers at Eastside Elementary School and Blue Ridge Elementary.

gloATL dancers will also perform an interpretation based on “The Red Balloon,” a children’s book written by Albert Lamorisse, at the schools, Floyd said. Several students have been reading the book in preparation for the visit, she added.

There will also be several adult-focused talks about the importance of art as a means to “advance (communities),” Floyd said.

Terry Tomasello, executive director of the Creative Arts Guild, said she “truly hope folks will come out and be a part of it.”

“This is a rare opportunity for our community and we are thrilled to be a part of it,” she said. “Mural art and dance as performance in a public setting will be educational and provides an arts experience few get to experience.”

Pam Partain, communications director for Dalton State College, said college officials are also “excited” for gloATL dancers to visit the college on Thursday.

“This is a provocative and timely topic as we partner with other institutions to develop creative solutions to community challenges,” she said.

“We hope to hit a diverse group in Dalton,” Floyd said. “So many people say we don’t have opportunity for art in Dalton. This is something totally new. I think the public wants for something different and I’m hoping people embrace it.”

“The Traveling Show is made possible in Dalton through a partnership between the Dalton-Whitfield County Library, Creative Arts Guild, Downtown Dalton Development Authority (DDDA), city of Dalton, Dalton State College and Kellie Smith Design Studio,” a DDDA press release stated.