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The Pullman Yard Showcase with Atlanta Contact Point

The face of Pullman Yard!

We had the opportunity to join Atlanta Contact Point in their Pullman Yard Showcase. Pullman Yard is an abandoned train yard in Kirkwood. Atlanta Contact Point’s dream is to see the space trans­formed.  The aban­doned indus­trial site would make an amazing community center. Think an active nature pre­serve, with play fields and an arts complex. Sounds fun, right?! 

Setting up for the Pullman Yard Showcase!

It rained the whole day! Not just a sprinkle, but heavy rain with the big drops that fall like pebbles. It created a unique atmosphere. Families would rush in and then pause in the doorway getting their bearings. Once people made it inside the building, they didn’t want to leave. The result was adults having lingering conversations. Kids running around everywhere, laughing. It made it feel like Pullman Yard had already been transformed into the community space it deserves to be. 

Julie helping a young artist get started at the Pullman Yard Showcase.

We set up shop near an unofficial entrance. We had good light and fresh air. We arranged our tables and chairs, and filled our water buckets. (Dustin found a few leaky spots in the roof and had our buckets filled with rain water in a matter of minutes.) Because of the wide variety of people attending, we decided to do one of our signature murals. (This mural concept was thought up by Morgan Corbett for our Norton Park Elementary School mural project. It's been such a big hit, that it bears repeating.) It was fun telling our story to the grown ups and painting along with the kids. There are so many talented young artists in our city! 

Dustin having a good conversation with a young artist at Pullman Yard Showcase.

Because of the rain and the space, we had the opportunity to slow down a bit. We literally had to watch paint dry. The humidity made for a good opportunity to learn more about the people at the event and what the neighborhood was like. (Answer: Neighborhood - Awesome, People - More Awesome.) 

Pullman Yard painters hard at work!

It was fun to see the kids so wrapped up in their work. The adults would hang back and talk while keeping a watchful eye. Julie, Dustin and I hovered over the table, helping where needed. 

The finished Pullman Yard mural! 
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The finished mural is up in Atlanta Contact Point at Druid Hills. If/When Pullman Yard is transformed, Atlanta Contact Point will probably install the mural in the new arts space. We would love to see this space transformed. It’s obvious the space is well loved by its neighbors and visitors alike. 

Learn more about Pullman Yard in the press:

Pet Portraits with the W-Underdogs

Have you heard of the W-Underdogs yet? Spoiler alert - they are awesome! Led by Gracie Hamlin, The W-Underdogs mission is to lift up children in their community by helping rescue animals. They teach the kids in their community how to manage, care and train dogs and cats and vet them as needed. The children learn personal discipline and responsibility as they rehabilitate the animals. They learn how to care for animals and in turn, how to care for themselves and compassion for others. Through the work, the kids learn teamwork and how to work as a group. All the good stuff, right? We thought so too!

We were so excited to host the W-Underdogs on Saturday December 5th at our studio. Paint Love Artist Dustin Beaulieu wrote out the steps on the chalkboard for easy reference. The W-Underdogs arrived at the studio and after introductions and a few laughs, Dustin kicked off the class. Dustin led the class of 9 students in pet portraiture. Each student painted a portrait of a dog currently part of the W-Underdog program. Dustin taught the steps up at the main easel. After Dustin's demo, we distributed paint and the artists got to work. We walked around and helped each child individually through all the steps. We got into a good flow: demo, working, assisting, repeat.

If you have ever painted, I'm sure you know the frustrations of painting. There is often an intense desire for the piece to come together all at once and fast. We discussed the idea that you have to work slowly and wait for things to dry before adding another layer. It's often the small steps that make the biggest impact. A small brush stroke here and a nose appears. A small dot of white on the dog's eyes and the painting comes to life. It's easy to assume when painting that it's the largest strokes that create the work of art. But really, it's the small steady work on something you love. It's learning to rest between layers and being patient with yourself one small stroke at a time. 

The wide variety of dogs made it a fun project. It was so fun to see each individual artist create in their own style. We love their masterpieces! Take a peek!!

Here are the photos the kids used for reference. See if you can match them up! 

We are beyond grateful for the opportunity to serve groups like the W-Underdogs! Thank you to all our donors and supporters for making the smiles, the laughs and the joy that comes from creating something possible! Special thanks to Binders for supplying canvas boards for our artists! We're so full of gratitude! Thank you!

Pebblebrook High School Mural: Believe You Can

Paint Love Artists Lindsay Ryden working on the mural at Pebblebrook High School

Paint Love was asked to help with a mural project at Pebblebrook High School in Cobb to celebrate their new academy launch. Pebblebrook, a title I school, kicked off the school year with a new brand of education that engages every student with a choice, and a path to college or career – or both. We wanted to tell this story from the artist's point of view! Give a warm welcome to Paint Love Artist, Lindsay Ryden. Lindsay is a painter and illustrator with an amazing heart. I'll let her take it from here. 

When I volunteered to be the artist for Pebblebrook High School’s new mural, I was excited. I had an opportunity to create a larger-than-life visual for their rebranding. Beyond the rebranding, though, I felt an immediate sense of purpose driving through the heart of the project, from start to finish. I had signed on to something bigger than just a simple rebrand. I was part of a mission, broadcasting a visualization of the future. The mural was designed to incorporate the students’ responses to the high school’s new motto, “Believe You Can.” Each participant wrote down what they believed they could accomplish in the school year and beyond. The responses that resonated most with this theme were then recreated, word for word, handwriting for handwriting, onto the wall. I wanted the students to look at the mural and see their words, reflected in their own unique hand. And this is where it got me.

Sketch for the Pebblebrook High School Mural

As artists, it’s easy to get stuck. Stuck in our own heads, stuck in a job that doesn’t allow us the freedom to be who we were created to be, to go through the motions of the day, without giving serious thought to the intentions driving our actions or to the belief we have in them. Like the students wandering the halls, from class to class, it’s easy to keep our heads down and push on to the next task, our vision dimmed from the busyness of life. But without question or hesitation, those students put the life of their words into a brand new and beautifully fresh perspective. Taking each child’s dreams, quite literally, in my hands—scraps of paper with carefully crafted intentions—and making a public testament to their futures. This is what brought purpose to the work. Seeing the kids light up as they looked at what they had written, permanently fixed onto the wall. Hearing their voices, (whether whispered, yelled or even sung across the hallway…) was inspiration enough.

Mural at Pebblebrook High School by Paint Love Artists Lindsay Ryden

Their voices are heard, and will be heard, every time someone looks at that wall. A physical reminder of what they had set out to accomplish for themselves and for the people in their lives who cheer them on. From dreams of graduation and scholarships, to changing the world and making a difference. Hopes and dreams for the future are far too often kept silent or even repressed, especially now—where everything is filtered through a phone screen or the infinite and impossible standards of idealized beauty. Sometimes, all it takes is a handwritten note, filled with promise, to truly make an impact.

Reading over Lindsay's words gave me such a fresh perspective. I especially love this: 
"It’s easy to get stuck. Stuck in our own heads, stuck in a job that doesn’t allow us the freedom to be who we were created to be, to go through the motions of the day, without giving serious thought to the intentions driving our actions or to the belief we have in them."
I am so thankful that we're able to bring projects like this to life and help the students at Pebblebrook High School tell their story a little louder. A big thanks to Lindsay Ryden!

Read more about this project in the press:

Cobb Cast