Beltline community residents highlighted in ‘45x45’ project

‘We wanted to connect people and to allow conversation to happen around the portraits.’


For the past three years, renowned French street artist JR has helped communities across the world install large-format wheatpastes — similar to the kind he plastered on walls in Old Fourth Ward during the 2013 Living Walls Conference — of local residents as part of an ongoing participatory art project known as “Inside Out.”

  1. weloveatl, a loose collective of cellular shutterbugs based around the Instagram hashtag, has partnered with Art on the Beltline on an “Inside Out” project that features 45 portraits of residents living in 45 different neighborhoods adjacent to the 22-mile loop of parks, trails, and greenspace — aptly titled the “45 x 45: Neighbors Connected” project. The 15-foot-by-50-foot wheatpaste, comprised of monochrome portraits positioned in a 3-by-15 grid, was plastered last weekend onto a drab concrete wall on North Avenue near the Beltline and Historic Fourth Ward Park.

“We wanted to have a place that had a monumental quality to it,” #weloveatl Co-founder Brandon Barr tells CL. “We didn’t want to divide the installation into individual photos. I like it because it’s located at the heart of the Beltline. That location shows what the Beltline has done for eastside neighborhoods and it hints at the promise of what the Beltline can do for westside neighborhoods.”

  1. weloveatl reached out to 45 different photographers who actively contribute to the group’s Instagram community. They assigned each cameraman with a specific neighborhood adjacent to the Beltline, provided them a neighborhood contact and map, and asked for a portrait of a community resident. The “45 x 45” photographers had varying degrees of experience — some are professionals, others solely post iPhone photos on Instagram — and used a wide range of equipment for the project.

“We’ve always been about encouraging people to connect offline and online,” Barr says. “We wanted to connect people and to allow conversation to happen around the portraits. Some used the neighborhood contacts and others roamed the streets. What you get is a diverse sort of selection of people. In some neighborhoods, people have been involved for 30 years, other times it’s someone walking their dog in Atlantic Station.”

The “45 x 45” project’s larger focus remains on how the Beltline interacts with its surrounding neighborhoods. It also allowed photographers to engage in different communities through the city. There were photographers who documented a person in a familiar neighborhood. For others, like commercial photographer Keith Taylor, who photographed Sister DeBorah Williams in West End, it allowed them to explore a new neighborhood that took him out of his comfort zone.

“I went down to West End not knowing the neighborhood,” Taylor tells CL. “I never had a reason to go there during my 14 years in Atlanta. ... Some places you get the idea you’re an outsider there. But I was there to tell the story of a resident as a photographer. It was one of those things where I’m a commercial photographer that gets paid by companies. It’s going out to photograph strangers like that makes me feel alive and appreciate what I do.”

  1. weloveatl and Art on the Beltline will be putting the finishing touches on the “45 x 45” project between now and Sept. 6. Once it’s complete, you can head to weloveatl.org to see the portraits online and read interviews with each of the residents about their relationship to the neighborhoods.

? ? ?

  • Jason Travis
  • #weloveatl Co-founder Brandon Barr wheatpastes one of the 45 portraits.


  • Jason Travis
  • One of the 45 portraits get prepped for wheatpasting on a concrete wall near the Atlanta Beltline.