Thinking of how to capture the essence of his neighborhood and the park itself, George F. Baker III summoned some childhood memories.
“The inspiration behind the design pretty much came from all my experiences growing up here and being around this park,” Baker said. “And playing basketball, seeing people play baseball, seeing the skateboarders coming through.”
And now these scenes of children playing are painted on the face of an old brick building on the side of a hill. They surround the words “Adair Park,” which are scrawled in massive letters in the center of the design.
Murals can often define a neighborhood in Atlanta, expressing the history and culture of a place. In the area southwest of downtown, Adair Park residents are hoping to set themselves apart with the creation of a towering mural designed by one of their own.
The mural is nearly half the length of a football field and three stories tall. It took Baker and two assistants an entire weekend to paint.
He says he hopes the neighborhood will take pride in it.
“No matter what color you’re putting up there, no matter the shapes and sizes, as long as it has the intention and the belief that the community wants to express, you got a good mural,” he said.
And in Atlanta where neighborhood identity is big, it will have an impact, says J. Lawrence Miller, who leads the neighborhood group Adair Park Today.
“One of the goals of Adair Park is to be ‘Adair Park,’” said Miller. “We’ve existed since 1892, and sometimes we’re thought of as ‘West End,’ but we’re not West End, we are historic Adair Park. This really puts us on the map again.”
Miller says the neighborhood is known for its porch parties and watching out for its seniors and those in need during the pandemic. He says the mural is just one thing they’re adding. In another corner of the park, they’ll soon be starting one of Atlanta’s largest community gardens.
The mural was commissioned by the insurance company SafeAuto, which held a picnic Saturday so neighbors could watch the mural being painted.
“We wanted to give back to a community that we’re really in and have connected with throughout the years,” said Amber Yeray, head of marketing for the company. “We really love that it’s come to life.”