The before and after photos of Skin Alley says it all. The once mundane cinderblock building that could be seen by both drivers and pedestrians from the Alley, Lillian Webb Park and downtown, has now been transformed into a work of art. Enacted by the Norcross Public Arts Commission (NPAC), the vision for Skin Alley ArtWay is to create a colorful, welcoming and engaging space for the entire community to enjoy and experience. The Skin Alley mural is just a starting point of creativity for the new ArtWay.
“The Skin Alley mural is the first brush stroke of what is to come for the City of Norcross’ new ArtWay,” commented Cindy Flynn, president, Norcross Public Arts Commission. “Our vision is to develop the area into a cultural gathering place for Norcross where art exhibits, musical, dance, culinary arts and other types of artistic endeavors will be enjoyed.”
The mural, titled “Tumblefield," will be the cornerstone to the Alley. The mural narrative entails that Norcross is known for its red foxes, which can be known to be playful and mischievous. The design combines the whimsical feel of play against a backdrop of abstracted elements that have intentionality from the artist but are open to interpretation by the viewer. Other design subtleties include birds that represent positive omens of change and homage to Norcross parks; circular elements that represent community; and linear elements representing train tracks.
After much deliberation, the NPAC chose two highly qualified local artists to collaborate on the mural—Lauren Pallotta and Jon Graham. Pallotta is a painter, designer, and illustrator in Atlanta. Graham is an Asheville, NC based artist working primarily within the two-dimensional realm who travels around the country painting murals, moments and ideas. The NPAC also worked with the commissioned design firm, KSDesign, to bring the mural to life.
Mural guidelines were provided to the artists to ensure the finished product accurately reflected the City of Norcross’ community. This included being colorful, vibrant, light and playful; incorporation of architectural elements; large-scale; thought-provoking design with surrounding elements; optimistic, uplifting and inspiring; welcoming to all ages, cultures, walks of all life without political undertones; artwork may be literal or figurative but should have a message or story.
The final concept was presented to focus groups as well as the community for input. The Architectural Review Board, the mayor and city council then approved it.
In celebration of the completed mural, a champagne toast was held at Skin Alley on Thursday, November 17th at 5 p.m. City dignitaries, NPAC board members, the community focus group, and artists all gathered to celebrate the momentous occasion. During the celebration, NPAC also presented Keif Schleifer, principal, KSDesign, with its first annual Artful Imagination Award.
Citizens and visitors are encouraged to join in the celebration and awareness of the Skin Alley mural by posting a selfie with Norcross' newest masterpiece to social media and tagging the photos with Norcross Public Arts Commission "npac", or hashtag #SelfieinSkinAlley #FoxyNorcross. Look for more to come from the City of Norcross acclaimed Skin Alley ArtWay!