Beltline, Bees and a Victory for our Communities!

A good turnout appeared this morning to listen to Fred Yoularis, Director of Design for the Beltline. Residents  from four different surrounding neighborhoods: Capitol View, Capitol View Manor, Sylvan Hills and Adair Park came out to make clear their continuing opposition to this tires-as-art installation by the Beltline.

Fred Yoularis announced  this installation would be taken down.  That is  great news.  Starting Monday, they will begin the work to dissemble and haul away the 2000 plus tires.  We will keep watch on this site to make sure  these promises become a reality.

There seem to be some sour grapes  amongst some of the Beltline folk…and part of this when people asked if there would be another installation on this site for this community…and Fred was fast to say “No.”

LOL!  We think that Fred and Company didn’t really believe there would be so much opposition to their  installation.  But that’s ok, we will still continue to support the Beltline project, but with our eyes open.

Over and over we heard from the communities:  Health concerns with mosquitoes breeding and West Nile Virus….and the god-awful usage of tires: something we are trying to get rid of, not glorify as sculpture.

All this was a learning experience for our combined neighorhoods, and possibly for some within the Beltline who can open their  minds.

They didn’t lose:  we all won.  They still will have our support for other projects.

The lesson is this:  Be more sensitive to the conditions  people face where they live:  Art in the abstract is sometimes a flop where artists try to place it.  You have to be sensitive to concrete conditions, to the history of the area, to the daily challenges these neighborhoods face:  otherwise, it’s ‘art’ misplaced and disconnected.

One of the young architects there….said that he was more aware now to this business.  It’s certainly not an issue of ‘art in the abstract’ when you place it outside people’s front doors.  This young architect will have a deeper sense of community and the humanistic issues involved in his profession.  He said that he didn’t realize how emotional people felt about this installation.

That’s a very BIG step for this young man.  Hopefully others of the Beltline will sum up some of these positive lessons.

As for the Bees???

Well, I didn’t expect the amount of support and interest for this idea from our combined communities.  This is truly exciting!  So Fred and Company don’t want to touch it.  It really should belong to our community efforts….not the Beltline.

So we will, over the for those interested to come and sit and throw out ideas here.  Laurel Rummel was a bee keeper….in 4H….and hey! we’ll take any experience here to get it started and to guide us further.  We will make those contacts with the East Point Beekeeping Association and will connect our communities further.

But the true victory here is this:  These tires will be gone soon…and the Beltline has heard us loud and clear.  Something most of us suspect they were rather surprised about.  Fred mentioned somewhere in his speech  this installation would go into some other neighborhood…..and GOOD LUCK with that!

But we doubt it.  If it does…then the Beltline haven’t learned a damn thing,…but we think they have.


Many thanks go to so many people, but especially Lisa Yeiger of Studio B Complex for bringing this issue to our collective attention, Laurel Rummel for spreading it, and all those who showed up to voice their opinions. And to those Beltline people who saw the light.  This is the way democracy is supposed to work.

Lady Nyo

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4 Responses to “Beltline, Bees and a Victory for our Communities!”

  1. Margie Says:

    Democracy in action! Yea! Congratulations on such a quick and positive response! As an artist, I am very interested, and encouraged, by public art and I think another installation might be welcome. But more from the standpoint of safety those tires had to go! (Well, I thought they were ugly as can be, but that’s MY judgement and aesthetically some might disagree).

    Good luck on the bee project!


  2. Berowne Says:

    Congratulations! Might be wise to proceed cautiously with the bee project, though. Many people are nervous about bees and if one child gets stung, never mind if it was careless, the public mood could turn against it. Are there any stingless honeybee varieties?


  3. ladynyo Says:

    Well, your point is well noted! But this will be a private project….and we are in no rush to put it in place. It will be a learning adventure here for the neighborhoods.

    Actually, I want it to be a very slow process because we need time to learn all about it. Fortunately, we do have people in the community that know a lot about bees and beekeeping.

    I think I would be happy if a couple of honeybees showed up in my garden!! I’ve planted beebalm and have containers of flowers on the wall….will post some pix tomorrow probably….so perhaps this will encourage the little buggers to come around on a regular basis.

    I have never heard of any stingless honeybee varieties. Sort of neutered bees??

    Thank for for the congrats. I am so glad those people who came out and those who wrote privately and on the blog did so. I met so many new people from the four different connecting neighorhoods….and this was the biggest plus!

    Plus a real eyesore will disappear…..(and we get mixed messages about all this from the Beltline folk, but it doesn’t really matter now.) And that we have befriended the architects and will support them in the future is also good news.

    It’s a great day to celebrate!

    Thanks, Berowne, for your advice also.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    LOL!! Remember that “No soup for you!” saying?…..well, that’s the message we get from Fred Yoularis (Design Director of Beltline) about any more installations, etc…for this community..actually Adair Park.

    So what? We got action because he and the other Beltline folk saw that we were really pissed at what went down: how they did it, (no consulting apparently…) and the ‘installation’.

    Were they finally brought around to the issue of safety? I’m not exactly sure. I know sentiments are rather high right now….and it will take a while for both sides to analyze what happened and what is the future.

    However, as much as they want to crow about “art is controversial” and this brought the community together….well….We are brought together on many, many issues, sometimes daily….and this was just the straw that broke….you know.

    I love most public art! And so do many people here. Actually, as we took stock…our four neighborhoods are ‘lousy’ with artists…of all kinds. The Studio B Complex in Capitol View leads the way with some marvelous sculpture artists. THIS would have been supported heartily by the communities. Zack Coffin is a sculpturer here in Atlanta and elsewhere…and has a park in this neighborhood where his sculpture is on display. Marvelous huge pieces of metal, boulders, etc. Kinetic stuff….wonderful stuff. Goats eat the feet of these giant pieces! LOL!

    I don’t think these Beltline folk even considered the local artists in this area. But we understand that the ‘budget’ for this installation (and most of the temporary ones…) was only $2,000.

    For Christ Sakes! That is pissy considering the wealth in Atlanta…but shows something about Atlanta’s art support. What, anyone can draw their own conclusions.
    The feelings of a lot of residents here was this: The Beltline people (not the architects…) put this here because they thought we didn’t have any voice to oppose it. They found out quickly that they were damn wrong. I think they will proceed more cautiously with us…and hopefully with other neighborhoods around the Beltline. If they don’t they will find the same opposition.

    Hopefully they will become more sensitive instead of just bureaucrats. But we will have to see what happens.

    There are so many lessons to sum up here….and it’s just the beginning.

    Thanks, Margie for your support and comments on these issues. They help!


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