These graffiti artists give ‘a facelift to this property’ in Macon
Driving down to the end of Lower Elm Street, a surprising sight of bright yellow and blue graffiti appears.
“I always try to kind of work in the initial vibe or feeling that I get with the location and tie it in with whatever I’m gonna paint on it,” said Nels Guzman, a graffiti artist originally from Los Angeles. “When I saw this building, I thought, ‘This would look great if it just had like something really vibrant on it.’”
Guzman came to Macon from Atlanta to help paint a handful of buildings at the end of Lower Elm Street that are part of Triangle Arts Macon, a new hub for artists and innovators.
President of Triangle Arts Macon Ric Geyer said he started Arts Incubators, an organization that creates places like Triangle Arts Macon, in Detroit 15 years ago.
He said it started by partnering with a friend to create a space they could work together: him on wood and his friend on metal. After a few big shows they did together, artists asked if they could have studios in their building.
“We ended up filling up the whole building in Detroit,” he said.
He did the same thing in Atlanta with the 787 Windsor , and he wants to do it again in Macon.
“It started off just like this, an empty warehouse space that was a little bit rundown and a little bit forgotten, and all it takes is a little bit of creativity to put something together that makes it like a welcoming place for creative individuals, and we’re looking forward to having this be a cultural hub for people,” Guzman said.
Guzman said he, along with other artists from across the country, started to give the buildings a “facelift” on May 3.
The goal of Triangle Arts Macon is to provide a space for entertainment, art, creativity and innovation, and he said when he came to Macon, he really fell in love with the city and the excitement around community development.
Geyer said he first realized how awesome Macon was after visiting one of Macon’s musical gems, Grant’s Lounge.
“The other reason I like Macon so much is that I came down, and I went into Grant’s the first night, and I can’t remember, except in Detroit, ever being more warmly welcomed and made to feel like I was part of the deal,” Geyer said. “I really, really fell for the city because of Grant’s and because of the people that run it.”
He said that between the four buildings at Triangle Arts Macon there will be space for studios, two stages for concerts and space for other entertainment events like festivals. He said one of the buildings is called the chapel, and it will be air conditioned with a patio outside for birthdays, parties and even alternative weddings.
“This isn’t really your traditional kind of thing, but then a lot of the people we serve and a lot of the people we hang out with are not traditional people, so this for them is right down the middle,” Geyer said.
Bethany Rogers, the director of business and real estate development for NewTown Macon, said the organization helped advise Geyer about developing this project.
“We’re actually excited to see some new development happening over there,” she said. “There’s some interesting things starting to happen on the other side of the railroad track in that industrial district.”
She said Macon doesn’t have anything like Triangle Arts Macon at this point, and she said she thinks it will put Macon on the map.
“By getting all this art out in this public place and where everybody can see it, it’s kind of like we’re flagging Macon as the spot where, you know, to bring in more of this art and make more of this synergy happen,” she said. “I think there’s sort of cool and visual that graffiti art is doing by kind of marking that space and marking Macon.”
Geyer said the part of the project that really gets to the core of Triangle Arts Macon’s mission is the kids.
“We’d like to get kids who are in some of the tougher neighborhoods who don’t have much to do who wouldn’t mind coming by and learning how to do some art or just hangout or look around, we’d like to make them feel very welcomed,” Geyer said.
To get involved with Triangle Arts Macon, either stop by their office at 206 Lower Elm Street or visit their Facebook page.