Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the installation of a new bronze sculpture of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The installation, titled “Hope Moving Forward,” is located at the intersection of Northside Drive and Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive near Mercedes-Benz Stadium as part of the City’s MLK Innovation Corridor Project. The artwork is the first of seven installations commissioned to honor the legacy and global influence of the civil rights leader.
“This sculpture is a fitting and timely tribute to Atlanta’s son, Dr. King,” said Mayor Bottoms. “Atlanta is the cradle of the Civil Rights movement and is the birth home and final resting place of Dr. King. Erecting this sculpture underscores our administration’s commitment to creating my vision of One Atlanta while celebrating Dr. King’s dream of a beloved community. Both aspire to create societies based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings,” said Mayor Bottoms. “Thank you to all who had a role in creating this tribute sure to inspire generations of Atlantans.”
Created by the internationally renowned Jamaican-born sculptor Basil Watson, the monument pays tribute to Dr. King’s walk toward peace and equality for all people. Watson’s winning sculpture proposal was selected from a national call for artists released in January 2018, by a selection committee which included representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA), MARTA, and Clark Atlanta University.
“The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs is commissioning world class artworks that celebrate Atlanta’s unique and impactful civil rights history, while honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many other local heroes hailing from the community along the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive corridor,” said Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.
The MLK Corridor Project, managed by the City of Atlanta’s Department of Transportation (ATLDOT), spans approximately 7.2 miles from Northside Drive to Fulton Industrial Boulevard. This project addresses vehicular, ADA and pedestrian safety concerns, while providing additional pedestrian and bicycle access through the implementation of new multi-use trails. A portion of the project, from Ollie Street to Northside Drive, is substantially complete, with the remainder of the project from Ollie Street to Fulton Industrial Boulevard to be completed by spring 2021. Work also includes a protected bike and pedestrian facility from James P. Brawley Drive to Northside Drive.
“The MLK Corridor is an outstanding representation of the complete street concept of urban infrastructure design and the City of Atlanta’s Vision Zero commitment,” said ATLDOT Commissioner Josh Rowan. “The corridor employs a variety of transportation improvements –resurfacing, restriping, signalized pedestrian crossings, bicycle lanes, medians and landscaping—to reduce accidents and improve the quality of life for area residents.”
The artwork was added to the City’s Public Art Collection on Thursday, January 14, 2021. A celebratory event to recognize the improvements to the corridor and public art additions will be scheduled at a later date.