Category Archives: Sculpture

Across the Board – How to Ride a Bike in Freedom Park

By Steve Cushing, Immediate Past Chair

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.

New Endings by Diane Kempler

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.

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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.

“One Woman Rising” permanent installation dedication

On Wednesday February 11, 2015 Eve Ensler, founder of One Billion Rising, representatives from the City of Atlanta, members of The Chelko Foundation, and representatives of the Freedom Park Conservancy convened in Freedom Park for the dedication of the permanent installation of “One Woman Rising “.

Learn more about the artwork here.

One Woman Rising Dedication Ceremony
One Woman Rising Dedication Ceremony

Open Invitation to the dedication of the Tree of Life & Kan, by Yvonne Domenge

Invitation - Tree of Life Dedication March 20, 2013 4pm
click image for larger view of the invitation

All are invited to the dedication of the Tree of Life & Kan by Yvonne Domenge March 20, 2013 at 4pm in Freedom Park. The sculpture is at the intersection of North Ave and Oakdale Rd. Keynote speakers will include Mayor Kasim Reed, Councolmembers Kwanza Hall and Alex Wan, Director of Cultural Affairs Camille Russell Love and the artist Yvonne Domenge.  There will also be a performance by Blake Dalton/CORE dance of Corazon Abriendo – this performance is based in Mayan concepts as is Tree of Life and Kan sculpture.

The artist will also give an exclusive talk about the sculpture beginning at 6pm at the High Museum of Art – the talk is free and open to the public.

 

 

Tree of Life Unveiling March 20.2013, 4p

Tree of Life by Yvonne Domenge
Tree of Life by Yvonne Domenge

The City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs is pleased to announce the unveiling of Yvonne Domenge’s monumental scale artwork “The Tree of Life” at Atlanta’s Freedom Park.  The art unveiling ceremony will occur from 4pm to 5pm on Wednesday March 20th and participating dignitaries will include Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the Mexican Consulate General.   The artist will receive the Phoenix award from the City of Atlanta at this ceremony.  After the unveiling ceremony, the Ms. Domenge will speak at the HIGH Museum of Art later that evening.

 

 

One Woman Rising sculpture unveiled on Thursday

Atlantans joined activists around the world in a global movement called, One Billion Rising on Thursday. The goal is to demand an end to violence against women and girls. A sculpture in support of the movement was unveiled in Freedom Park on Thursday, atop the hill east of Moreland Ave. The sculpture is a 12-foot tall, female figure intended to represent a woman rising in dance, which is the whole idea behind the one billion rising initiative.

One Woman Rising One Woman rising

The Chelko Foundation came up with the concept and enlisted the help of sculptor Phil Proctor. He says a project like this would usually take 6 weeks, but they’ve been asked to do it in a little. The sculpture will be on display at Freedom Park until March 30.

See a video report of the making of the sculpture from FOX5 here.

One Woman Rising

The Tree of Life Scuplture by Yvonne Domenge – Have you seen it yet?

The City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs was able to secure the donation of a permanent sculpture installation – The Tree of Life by Yvonne Domenge (click to read more about the art and artist). It is now installed near the intersection of Oakdale Rd and North Ave in the eastern section of Freedom Park. Watch for updates, there is a dedication of the sculpture with the artist tentatively scheduled for March. Watch the Freedom Park Facebook or Twitter feeds or check back here for updates.The Tree of Life