On June 8th, Living Walls founder Monica Campana and We Love BuHi founder Marian Liou convened an intimate group of supporters at the Atlanta office of Seyfarth Shaw to unveil their partnership: The BuHi Walk conference. The conference, a mashup of Living Walls and We Love BuHi, will bring street artists and academics from across the globe under the same roof with the intention of engaging in meaningful discourse about our public space. Marian Liou of We Love BuHi and Mónica Campana of Living Walls were joined by Beltline visionary Ryan Gravel in a conversation moderated by Rohit Malhotra, where they talked about their vision for the conference, their partnership, and what the conference will mean for Atlanta.
During the evening's conversation, Mónica reflected on the “living walls" that she and featured artists create and how the art catalyzes neighborhood change and alters the way people think about their neighborhoods. Marian hoped to change the way people thought about the Buford Highway Corridor as well, and works to “sell” Buford Highway to itself and the city it is a part of, celebrating its unique diversity along the way. The two met for the first time through the Civic Innovation Fellowship, and the partnership of their ventures speaks to their common purpose of making our communities better and the power of bringing Atlanta’s social entrepreneurs together.
For both, the collaboration through the conference is personal. Marian spoke to the unique diversity that Buford Highway harbors due to its strong immigrant communities and to the many meals she and her sons shared there. In one case, her son exclaimed his curiosity for why the family always ate at the Chinese restaurants along the corridor as he was “not Chinese.” From there, Marian vowed to make Buford Highway a place that he and other members of the BuHi community could be proud of.
Mónica has long been involved in coloring the walls of this city’s communities, and in turn, the lives of its people. In her eyes, the beauty and meaning from these Living Walls was rooted in the perspectives and backgrounds of the artists that created them. For this reason, Living Walls is extremely proud to support an incredibly diverse group of artists, with many women and people of color that call Atlanta their home. The artists whose work will energize the Buford Highway community through the conference will truly be representative of the diverse BuHi community and the identity that makes Atlanta special.
Mónica and Marian are superstars. They're original members of our inaugural Civic Innovation Fellows cohort who continue their engagement with the Center for Civic Innovation through the Civic Women's Fellowship, supported by the Sara Blakely Foundation. We are incredibly proud of the work that Mónica and Marian have done, and we are honored to count them as Fellows at the Center for Civic Innovation, who continue working to drive impact to make Atlanta a better place. Join us in celebrating their next project to enrich our community, and be sure to join them for the Living Walls 2017 Conference on the Buford Highway Corridor.