March 10 – April 28, 2020
Agitprop banners are displayed along the Watershed Reservoir fence on Howell Mill Road and Huff Road in Blandtown on Atlanta’s westside.
Blandtown Banners features high-contrast photographs of Blandtown landmarks (former and remaining), infrastructure, and new construction projects that are accompanied by a word with the prefix “re”, offering up multiple interpretations through wordplay. Placed where traffic frequently backs up, my intent is to prompt a dialogue with viewers on Blandtown: its history, rapid development, and future.
This program is supported by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs through a Neighborhood Arts Grant in collaboration with the Upper Westside Improvement District, Blandtown Neighborhood Association, and the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management.
Named after Felix Bland, whose parents bought the original four acres of land during Reconstruction that became the community’s core, Blandtown thrived as a close-knit, African American community with 200 -300 homes for over 80 years. In 1956 Blandtown was rezoned from residential to heavy industrial by white business owners usurping the neighborhood association. This led to the residential neighborhood’s precipitous decline. Blandtown serves as a case study in Larry Keating’s Atlanta: Race, Class, and Urban Expansion as an example of the removal of black residential clusters from predominantly white portions of the city to minimize the black vote. With only four of the original homes remaining, Blandtown is experiencing a new wave of residential and commercial redevelopment.