Doraville businesses, artists and city officials form partnerships to display public art

As part of an Art Master Plan, the city of Doraville is partnering will local businesses that can provide space and funding for murals, sculptures, and other forms of public art in the city.

One of its first partnerships with Halpern Enterprises, which owns the Pinetree Plaza strip mall on Buford Highway, has led to the creation of a new landmark for the city in the form of a colorful mural.

Created by local artist Leah Abucayan, the design celebrates the diverse community of Buford Highway with foods such as tamales, empanadas, naan, gyros, bao, kamayan and ramen, said officials.

“It has already been so gratifying to see the way people are embracing the mural and to see the meaning people are finding in the images,” said Matthew Oppenheimer, director of acquisitions at Halpern Enterprises. “Whether it be people identifying their favorite foods along Buford Highway, to others reflecting on the role these dishes and this corridor played in their family’s journey as immigrants to this country, this mural represents so much of what makes this community a special place.”

To celebrate the new art with community, Halpern Enterprises will be hosting an event July 9 at Pinetree Plaza from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The event will feature Abucayan speaking about her work along with food from Buford Highway, music, and other entertainment. Local organizations such as Doraville Art (DArt) will be present, handing out free art supplies and the DeKalb Health Department will be onsite providing vaccines, health information, and resources for the community.

The recently completed mural is located at Pinetree Plaza and is part of Doraville’s Art Master Plan.

The mural is just the start of Doraville’s transformation through creative displays of public art, stated officials.

A project that produced murals and programming to engage and represent the immigrant communities along Buford Highway will soon be expanding into Doraville to combine public art and public safety, stated a press release.

The project, known as BuHi Walk, will add public art and expand pedestrian pathways to other shopping centers along Buford Highway such as Pinetree Plaza.

Halpern Enterprises will be participating in the next phase of the BuHi Walk project as well through its upcoming crosswalk initiative, stated officials.

“We’re planning an exciting art walkway, carrying pedestrians from the sidewalk in front of Pinetree Plaza all the way to Leah Abucayan’s original mural,” said officials. “The art will be the product of local high school students with Halpern Enterprises partnering with Cross Keys High School to provide art students with an opportunity to design and paint their own murals for their city.”

Doraville officials stated that the public art ordinance, passed in 2020, is allowing the city to become more of a destination spot.

“Public art builds community and generates economic development,” said Doraville Mayor Joseph Geierman. “Four years ago, this mural would not have been allowed in the city of Doraville.

Thanks to a forward-looking city council, that has changed. I’m looking forward to more art throughout our city.”

For more information, visit www.doravillega.us.

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