May 3-5, Freedom Park Conservancy is excited to be the Atlanta host of Jane’s Walk.
Visit www.JanesWalkAtlanta.com to learn more!
May 3-5, Freedom Park Conservancy is excited to be the Atlanta host of Jane’s Walk.
Visit www.JanesWalkAtlanta.com to learn more!
I recently met with a small group of Atlanta businessmen about topics unrelated to Freedom Park. When I mentioned I was on the Freedom Park Conservancy Board of Directors, they shifted forward in their seats to hear more. It was just one of the many times I’ve experienced the interest and connection the entire Atlanta community has to this wonderful asset. I told them it was part of the Conservancy’s mission to advocate for improvement of the park and it was clear from their follow-up questions that they felt the park has a lot of promise and that now is the time to act. This public perception is one of the main reasons I agreed to represent my neighborhood on the Freedom Park Conservancy’s Board – to have an opportunity to apply my expertise in a meaningful way to generate results that the public can recognize as benefiting the park and surrounding areas.
Freedom Park is an enormous green space that ties together the neighborhoods of Candler Park, Druid Hills, Inman Park, Lake Claire, Old Fourth Ward, Poncey-Highland, and Virginia Highlands. Depending on which stats you review, Freedom Park is larger than Piedmont Park, and is Atlanta’s largest passive park.
What does “passive park” mean? Passive recreation refers to activities that do not require prepared facilities, like tennis courts, sports fields, or pavilions. Passive recreation typically can include activities like bird watching, walking, photographing nature, and bicycling. While this can be a bit restrictive, we are also a Public Art Park, and as such boast multiple pieces of permanent outdoor sculpture and host temporary art installations. These features differentiate Freedom Park from Atlanta’s other green spaces and motivates us to be creative in how we engage visitors. We hope this adds a wonderful dimension to the enjoyment of Freedom Park.
What does it take to create programming, to successfully plan events, to make improvements in landscaping, and to implement the countless other ideas we and our constituents have for the park? Citizens like you that are willing to give of their own time and expertise to contribute to the process. Input from across the region from readers like you on what you would like to see in the park. Donors like you that provide critically needed funding to make the community’s dreams a reality.
I hope you’ll see an opportunity to make a meaningful difference. It doesn’t have to be a large investment, but every contribution of every type helps! I hope you’re leaning forward in your chair and deciding that you, too, will have a hand in making Freedom Park the best community-treasured passive park it can be.
Dwelling would not be possible without:
Alice Franklin and Dennis Hawk
Emory Center for Digital Scholarship
Dwelling Project Team:
Creative Directors: Victoria Walsh, Nancy Boyd
Freedom Park Conservancy, Executive Director: Laura Hennighausen
Artists: Mark Wentzel, Robert Henry
Writer: Michael Ross
Dwelling Graphic Artist: Anna Ladson, Gensler
Location Map Graphic Artist: Emma Ming Kayhart
Printer: Tower Press
City of Atlanta, Parks: Doug Voss, Daniel Calvert, Bretta Hunnicut, and crew
Special thanks to:
Emory Center of Digital Scholarship (ECDS)
Wayne H. Morse Jr., Co-Director ECDS
Michael Page, Geographer, Geospatial Specialist
Randy Gue, Curator, Modern Political and Historical Collections, Rose Library
Kim Collins, Art History/Classics Librarian and Research Engagement Services,
Robert W. Woodruff Library
Joanna Mundy, Digital Project Specialist
Anandi Knuppel, Senior Digital Scholarship Specialist
Melanie Kowalski, Copyright and Scholarly Communications Librarian,
Robert W. Woodruff Library
An exploration of lost landscapes, a site specific art installation with a digital interface that adds to a layered understanding of Freedom Park.
Dwelling starts as a line drawing and leads us to an exploration of Atlanta’s lost landscapes. Abandoned stoops, broken sidewalks, historic markers, trails, and Freedom Park’s natural features unfold and invite you to dwell on the history of this place and engage with the site through your own imagination.
Dwelling is a temporary, site-specific art installation in Freedom Park at N. Highland Avenue and Carmel Avenue, on view to the public for the month of March during park hours. Visitors are encouraged to use their smart phones to visit www.dwellingfpc.org during their visit to enhance their experience.
By Jessi Noreault
At 210+ acres, Freedom Park is one of the largest green spaces within the Atlanta area. A hidden gem located in the park at the corner of North Avenue and Candler Park Drive is the Freedom Park Bird and Butterfly Garden, a site for the reintroduction of native plants and shrubs for bird and pollinator habitat.
On January 15, 2019, Freedom Park Bird and Butterfly Garden became Atlanta’s first certified Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary of 2019! With the certification, the garden will be joining a network of approximately 450 Atlanta properties in reestablishing and adding wildlife habitat for threatened birds and other species to our urban area. To find out more about Atlanta Audubon’s Wildlife Sanctuaries or how you can certify your own property, visit: Atlanta Audubon.
This past November, Beech Hollow volunteers Pandra Williams and Jessi Noreault, worked with members from Cub Scout Pack 586, a Scouts for Equality Inclusive Unit from the Candler Park, Lake Claire, and Inman Park neighborhoods of Atlanta.
Pandra and Jessi guided Cub Scout Pack 586 in identifying invasive species to be removed from the area, how to properly remove plants, identifying desired native plants and how to plant new material. Together we removed Bradford Pear/ Pyrus calleryana.
Pack 586 are fierce with a shovel and did an amazing job digging right down to the roots to get these invasive species out of the garden to make room for planting native plants. Since it was Fall, plants were hard to identify, and some desired native plants had their roots revealed. No worries though, the plants were put right back in the soil without any plant injuries. Best of all, this created a great educational opportunity to discuss and look at plant roots and plant dormancy.
Once we cleared a few areas in the garden, Pandra did a demonstration on how to plant. The scouts planted several native plant species including native Baptisia ssp, Purple Coneflower/ Echinacea purpurea, Georgia Aster/ Symphiotrichum georgianum, and Black-Eyed Susan/ Rudbeckia hirta
Make sure to take a walk-through Freedom Park this spring to check out the blooms from our plantings!
We love being able to get the word out about native plants, work with and help other local groups and get native roots back into their home soil whenever there is an opportunity! If you are part of an organization that is interested in education or plant installations of native Georgia plants, please reach out to us. Every new connection we make is just one more step toward healing our environment. We can’t do it without y’all!
Thanks to thirty-four generous donors, Freedom Park Conservancy exceeded our first Georgia Gives Day goal of $5,000, raising $5,420 in the twenty-four hour day of giving!
This funding is dedicated to several park improvement projects FPC has identified for 2019, including:
– Eight volunteer work days in the park to remove invasive plants, mulch trees, and address erosion issues
– Enhancement of, and Audubon Society Certification for, our Bird and Butterfly Garden (located at the corner of North Avenue and Candler Park Drive)
– The addition of at least two small native pollinator gardens
– Identifying and preserving snags for woodpecker habitat
Although $5,000 may seem like a small amount, these projects will propel FPC into 2019 as we begin to work with our surrounding communities to enhance Freedom Park for a diverse public. Successful projects will allow FPC to demonstrate our ability to tackle much larger projects in the future and target larger funding amounts from private foundations.
Thank you to our Georgia Gives Day supporters and the many others who have supported FPC financially in 2018. If you would like to make a difference, please consider making a donation today using our secure web portal below.
It’s winter and fewer people are using the park. But while the grass lies dormant, Freedom Park Conservancy (FPC) has been busy planning for an exciting 2019 featuring public art projects, new plantings, public events, and more. FPC is eager to implement new projects in partnership with partners like the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Audubon Society, Trees Atlanta, and Park Pride. We can’t wait to share details!
As FPC has been gearing up, many of our board members have been asked about a proposal to build a pedestrian bridge in Freedom Park over Moreland Avenue. A pedestrian bridge over Moreland Avenue was one of several proposed pedestrian bridges in the original concept plan for the park, all of which were not built. A new grassroots effort has brought the idea forward once more.
FPC’s Board of Directors, made up of representatives from our surrounding neighborhoods and other stakeholders, dedicated a meeting to discussing the idea. We talked about the state of the park today and how the bridge concept intersects with our mission to promote the improvement of the park for a diverse public. It’s important to us that the Conservancy encourages the exploration of all ideas that would improve the connectivity, safety, and beauty of the park. We’re very glad to see people talking about Freedom Park and how it’s used!
We concluded that we would like to see the concept studied with full public participation and the complete involvement of all stakeholders, particularly the neighborhoods bordering the park. We intend to be part of that conversation and anticipate the bridge will be explored as part of our upcoming master planning process.
While the bridge idea has generated a lot of discussion, it’s far from the only improvement our park needs. When Freedom Park was first laid out, a beautiful concept plan was created. Many ideas in this original plan were never implemented, and as a result most of our 200+ acres are missing what many may consider to be basic park amenities: benches, landscaping, lighting, picnic tables, drinking fountains, and more.
In an effort to enhance the park in ways that would benefit the diverse community who loves it, FPC is fundraising now for a new master plan for the park to address long-delayed improvements, big and small. We recently received a $50,000 gift from an anonymous donor to help us kickstart this fundraising. That’s a lot of money, but we need at least $100,000 more to create a comprehensive plan that spans the parkland running through all seven neighborhoods. Please consider making a donation today to help us improve our park.
If you’re curious about the original plan for the park and what’s missing, you can view high-resolution scans below. Please keep bringing us your ideas and we’ll keep working hard to make Freedom Park the best park it can be.
Freedom Park Conservancy has a Park Improvement Committee charged with tracking physical issues and opportunities within Freedom Park. The Committee and Executive Director regularly walk the Park to keep track of the Park’s status. Issues noted include incidents of graffiti, erosion, invasive plants, tree canopy issues, and more.
If you have noticed an issue in the park, please feel free to reach out to the Conservancy to make sure it is on our radar. Email Laura@FreedomPark.org or call the Conservancy at 404-480-3018 to bring it to our attention and we will do what we can to make sure it is addressed!
Like many of us who live and work in East Atlanta, I spend my work days looking at a computer screen. It’s either a desktop flat panel HD monitor, a smartphone, or tablet. Typing and reading emails, creating spreadsheets, analyzing data for cost benefit analysis or project implementation…I know, yawn—stretch—ugh is it only 3:30?
One of my favorite ways to unwind at the end of a day is to go out for a bike ride in Freedom Park. Now—I love road biking, and modern, high-end bike technology. A carbon fiber frame road bike with electronic shifters, an 11 gear rear cluster and 23cm wheels is the cat’s meow—but that’s not for Freedom Park. No, in fact I roll my eyes when I see road bikes on Freedom Park, at least as much as they will roll inside a rectangle.
No, for Freedom Park you just need an old, slow, heavy bike. One cobbled together from broken bikes eagerly given to you by friends, or a hand me down clunker is just fine. Thanks to the foresight of the early CAUTION members and the first plans drawn up by EDAW with the input of the neighborhoods, Freedom Park trails are not designed to get you from Point A to Point B. The paths in Freedom Park are designed to slow you down so that you will enjoy the space in between those points. Miles Davis once famously said of Jazz that the most important part of his music was the space in between the notes. Freedom Park is the space in between seven neighborhoods. To ride in Freedom Park, you need to take your time. Heck, get off the bike and walk.
Sometime in this past September, toward the middle of the month, it was a particularly pretty day outside. Clouds like shipwrecks were scuttling across a snappy blue sky. Far off in the Atlantic a low pressure center was pulling in cool, clear air from the north toward its slow vortex. Here in Atlanta, we sat on the perimeter watching it all go by. I got on my city bike, a 20 year old mountain bike that I’d striped down of shocks and other non-essential hardware to become a spunky curb jumping red ATV. It weighs a ton, but has lots of granny gears and is bullet proof, perfect for riding in the city.
It was late in the day and the sun cast long rolling shadows across the grand meadow. A lone sunbather was stretched out in the acres of late summer grass. Beyond the single figure, trees bordering Druid Place drew a dark line of natural patterns that separated the earth from sky. Some of the trees were older, well established oak trees that once stood in the yards of homes; now the trees and lone steps leading from the sidewalk are all that remain.
I stopped at the Domenge sculpture, Tree of Life, located just east of Oakdale Road at North Ave, which had been recently refurbished. It’s vibrant red color and cursive, calligraphic shape were catching the afternoon’s last light. I was feeling better already, my eyes slowly returning to their natural shape. My next stop was near Euclid Avenue,at the Diane Solomon Kempler multi-part bronze, water and stone sculpture entitled New Endings. Now the afternoon light was cutting in steeply as it set. The water feature was on and the fairytale Jack and the Bean Stalk feel of the bronze was even more dramatic – it looked like a water fountain from some larger than life creature that was going to come harvest the bronze tubers.
Nearby a large lush stand of flowering Canna Lilies added to the imagery of harvest, their leaves well munched on by voracious caterpillars. I spent time at each sculpture, taking pictures with my smartphone and wishing I’d brought a real camera, before riding down to the eastern terminus of Freedom Park at the slowly crumbling Jackson Heights Baptist church. The path below Candler Park golf course is one of my favorite spots. The stone work on the bridge is nice for portrait photography and the stream, rejuvenated thanks to efforts by neighborhood organizations, is now home again to beavers that migrated upstream from the Chattahoochee.
On this day, I don’t bother to ride the full eight miles of trails in Freedom Park. I take my time riding back toward home, enjoying the play of light in the trees, stopping to snap pictures, dawdling in a way that only the green and light of outdoors can help you do. No need to repeat a mantra, each step or pedal stroke is another breath, troubling thoughts come and are released. This is the way to ride a bike.
Steve Cushing is a photographer, sculptor, and former Board Chair of Freedom Park Conservancy. He, and his wife “Miss Laura” have lived on Seminole Ave and enjoyed Freedom Park for 27 years.
The artwork in Freedom Park is owned and maintained by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.
Freedom Park Conservancy has existed since 1997, when CAUTION took this name as a reflection of their new mission to support Freedom Park.
Now, after 20 years, Freedom Park Conservancy is rebranding to better reflect our goals for the future.
A special thanks to Perkins + Will for making this a reality.