Dad’s Garage Partners With Atlanta BeltLine To Increase Access To The Arts

Kevin Gillese, Lois Reitzes and Jenny Odom discuss the new partnership between the Atlanta BeltLine and Dad's Garage.
Kevin Gillese, Lois Reitzes and Jenny Odom discuss the new partnership between the Atlanta BeltLine and Dad's Garage.
Credit Erin Wright / WABE

The Atlanta BeltLine is committed to the Arts, most visibly through their Public Art Program and through regular events like the Lantern Parade.

But an internal audit found that the Partnership that oversees the BeltLine and its community programs can do more to increase equitable, environmentally-sustainable access to the Arts.

According to Atlanta BeltLine Communications and Media Manager Jenny Odom, the organization is addressing the issue by forming a partnership with Dad’s Garage.

The storied improv and scripted comedy theatre company is located in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood near the Eastside Trail of the BeltLine, but getting between the transit corridor and theatre space off Ezzard St. can be a bit tricky.

In an interview with Lois Reitzes on “City Lights,” Jenny Odom joined Dad’s Garage Artistic Director Kevin Gillese to discuss plans to connect the BeltLine and Theatre with human habi-trails: the development buzzword for enclosed, insular walkways.

“We just feel like there’s so many people that want to experience the Atlanta BeltLine that don’t necessarily want to go outside, and that’s kind of where this project really comes in,” said Gillese.

While Odom compares the habi-trails to the pedestrian walkways one sees connecting Downtown buildings, both representatives from the BeltLine and Dad’s note that the planned insulated trails will not be sterile:

“We still want them to give [the pedestrians] an opportunity to taste the varied types of landscape Atlanta has to offer” like granite outcrops and simulated Chattahoochee tributaries.

Odom said that the community partners “really want people to feel like they’re in nature.”

“But they won’t be, and that’s what’s important,” added Gillese.

The planned habi-trails are just the first phase in this new development. In a perfect, fully-funded world, Gillese is hoping for “a fully-functional waterslide connecting from Dad’s Garage to the BeltLine.” Details on the habi-trails and waterslide are still being streamlined.

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