Many art lovers will practically drool over the idea of seeing the Louvre’s art firsthand. In 2009, Americans could behold these masterpieces with their own eyes without crossing an ocean at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.
The High brings in blockbuster art exhibits from celebrated locations like the Louvre on a regular basis. But this museum is only one piece of the thriving arts scene in the Georgia town.
The city also boasts popular art districts like Castleberry Hill and small, eclectic institutions like the Museum of Design Atlanta and the Center for Puppetry Arts.
High Museum of Art
The High Museum’s $18 million deal with the Louvre in 2009 resulted in record attendance. But people have been flocking to the historic museum for quite a while.
“The first exhibit I can remember that had a major impact was when Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996,” said JoAnn Haden Miller, cultural tourism director for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They had a massive exhibit called ‘Rings’ that put the museum on the map. Since then, they’ve had exhibits from the Museum d’Orsay, Terra Cotta Warriors from China and much more.”
The museum’s next impressive touring exhibit opens this fall. Called “Hapsburg Splendor,” the exhibit contains 93 artworks and artifacts from Vienna.
The museum has accumulated more than 14,000 permanent works of art since its opening as the Atlanta Art Association in 1905. Works by Claude Monet, Giovanni Bellini and Dorothea Lange fill the walls with acclaimed art no matter the time of year.
In 2005, the museum debuted a massive expansion to house the expanding art collection. The museum allows groups easy access to the rest of the Woodruff Arts Center, of which the museum is a part. The Woodruff features performing arts and symphony theater, as well as visual arts.
Visitors can add food and libations to their museum visit at the site’s upscale Table 1280 Restaurant.
An area once so desolate it served as a backdrop for a couple of dystopian films, Castleberry Hill is now a hip artistic paradise bustling with activity and innovation.
“I love Castleberry Hill,” said Haden Miller. “There is such a sense of place and uniqueness. It’s very visitor friendly.”
Artists first began renovating former warehouses into studio space in the 1980s. Over time, the neighborhood evolved into an art hub with numerous art lofts, 11 galleries and a variety of eateries.
On the National Register of Historic Places, Castleberry Hill hosts a well-attended Arts Stroll the second Friday of every month. One of the most famous of the district’s galleries, the Besharat Gallery, presents some of the neighborhood’s most illustrious works from both local and international artists.
Many visitors also book a ride on the Atlanta Movie Tours while they are in the neighborhood. The tours reveal film locations in Castleberry Hill and throughout Atlanta.
Groups hungry for both food and art can dine at No Mas! Hacienda and Cantina, which showcases art available for purchase, as well as serving quality cuisine. Pottery, ceramics and sculptures from more than 300 Mexican artists line the restaurant’s gallery showroom.