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The Art of Midtown Economic Development

Jun 11, 2020

A key element in the success of Midtown as an attractive Atlanta work-play-live-thrive neighborhood for luxury condos –  and one of the world’s most successful mixed-use urban districts – is the respected nature of the Atlanta arts scene. Investment, and the people who influence it, are attracted to places where art is a signal of economic well-being.

Patrons of the Atlanta arts scene come from everywhere. It was true “then and now” as we look back on the story of Midtown energy that inspired it. Yet, still there’s something special about the border between the granite and the green, just outside the shadow of the skyline, and flirting with the shade of the trees that grow there. The iconic modern building that serves as the vibrant center for art in Atlanta seems like anything but a “museum.”

The High Museum is today the host and the hub for so much creation, communication, education, and enrichment that anyone fortunate to live in the condos nearby is in the vibrant radius and easy reach of every form of art, established and explored alike.

No Building Can Hold It All

The exuberant, sculptural High Museum of Art, designed by Richard Meier, won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize for its “qualities of talent, vision, and commitment,” and the “contribution to humanity and the built environment” that its extraordinary design represents, when it opened in 1983. Known today as the Stent Family Wing, the original building was joined in 2005 by three others, these designed by Renzo Piano, to comprise today’s Woodruff Arts Center, named for former Coca-Cola president Robert W. Woodruff, whose challenge grant raised the funds for the 1983 building.

The magnificent, light-filled atrium of the High has been called a “crowning achievement.” By others is has been criticized for providing no exhibit space in itself, and for its interior columns, which interrupt sightlines that might otherwise display large works, such as modern sculpture. In our view, this misses the point. Being a work of art itself, rather than a warehouse, the Atrium of the High offers a pure welcome, a transition and passage to the works beyond, and very much an experience of art itself.

At the High Museum, the experience of art is not just for the gaze. The respected Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and an energetic calendar of community and cultural events reward those who take the time to prowl this treasure, this embracing space, this nurturing spot for sharing the art that found a home in Atlanta. Their outreach during the time of at-home health precautions, using technology to present exhibits and conduct workshops, has been a model for other cultural resources to follow.

A Story of Resilience for the Ages

And the arts community that calls Atlanta home is no stranger to conquering calamity. Theirs is a story of endurance and commitment that is almost beyond imagining. If a screenwriter pitched it, she might be shown the door. And yet the story is true, and the evidence stands shining before us, here in the High Museum.

On the 3rd of June in 1962, Air France flight 007 crashed on takeoff from Paris’s Orly airport, on its inaugural flight to Atlanta. Of the 122 persons on board, 106 were Atlanta art patrons completing a tour of art treasures in Europe. Though decimated, the Atlanta Art Association carried on. The city embraced their cause and joined ranks with surviving members to open the Atlanta Memorial Arts Center in 1968. The structure we see today came into being after 15 more years of diligent work to channel the passion and prosperity, the energy and generosity of this great city.

Putting today into perspective, as a fine museum can do, gives us solid ground for optimism. This ability persist has long been a key to the success of Atlanta. Those who make their homes in the luxury condos of Midtown are well-versed in this uplifting perspective. For more information on how to own at 40 West 12th, visit or contact us at 404.347.3838.