Local artist designs map highlighting Black-created art and businesses in Atlanta
Atlanta artist George F. Baker III, also known as GFB3, creates bright, bold artwork to “engage the inner child we all have.” Collaborating with Ideas United, he’s made a new map of the city, a guide to Black-created art and businesses in Atlanta. The project was a Black History Month-inspired undertaking, but this informative map offers discovery opportunities to Atlanta explorers year-round. GFB3 joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about the murals, galleries and businesses he appreciates in our city and how his map catalogs them in style.
The concept for a different kind of city map:
“I wanted to display this beautiful tapestry that we have in Atlanta of all these different, beautiful neighborhoods, and within it, kind of highlight the small and just gorgeous moments that we have of Black artistry and Black businesses within Atlanta,” said Baker. “We know of a lot of beautiful things that we have over in downtown, but I felt like we need to expand that out a little bit. You know, we need to talk about some of the beautiful things that are happening over in College Park, some of the amazing things that are happening over in East Atlanta.”
He continued, “Through this map, this illustrated guide, I wanted people to be delighted and find new things that they didn’t even know were there.”
GFB3’s ideal adventure day in Atlanta:
“If I only had one day … I would probably start off my day by heading over to the Atlanta Breakfast Club, which is closer to downtown, semi-Midtown Atlanta — get some good breakfast, some good waffles. Then make my way back up Northside Drive and take in, uh, Gerald Lovell’s ‘Grace’ mural, which is right across the street from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Just a gorgeous mural to take in.”
Baker went on, “And then, of course, I’m going to start to get a little hungry again because, you know, I get hungry all the time. So I’m going to come back down to Edgewood and go see Slutty Vegan, which I actually did the front facade for, so it’s two forms of Black art getting shown right there … And finally, I would probably end my day over at the Beacon and see the beautiful art that Drew Borders and a lot of other great Black artists have done over there.”
What sets Atlanta apart from other art scenes:
“The main thing that always is just at the center of everything that we do here is change,” said Baker. “In Atlanta, we’re constantly tilling the soil of, just, beauty here. So there’s always something new that’s added, whether it’s by people that have been here for years creating new institutions and new movements, or it’s people that are transplants that then have seen Atlanta from afar and just want to be attached to it, and want to add on to the narratives; they’re coming and bringing their new ideas here.”
“I think the most gorgeous thing about Atlanta is that every single day there’s something brand new that we have to offer here, and it’s something that’s never going to stop. It’s something that’s always going to be just blooming with just creative energy, and you can’t predict what’s going to happen, but you can always embrace it.”
George F. Baker III’s “Atlanta Black Arts” map of the city, and more information about each of its features, can be found here.