Good Neighbor

Brian Egan (B.F.A. '12) is bringing new life to the city's core.

On a Tuesday afternoon just south of Five Points, the peace and quiet can feel downright eerie.


Brian Egan

Bookended by a pair of MARTA stations, this stretch of Broad Street runs from Trinity Avenue to Alabama Street. Parking lots, vacant storefronts and wide sidewalks play host to flocks of foraging pigeons who navigate around the down-and-out seeking shelter under awnings.

Brian Egan strolls down the street and steps inside the Mammal Gallery, the arts and performance facility he co-founded in 2013. Here, Egan oversees programming and brings life back to the neglected neighborhood.

In less than three years, he’s turned the venue into one of Atlanta’s premier springboards for young artists and booked some of the nation’s top independent bands.

“At a basic level, I enjoy throwing a party,” Egan said, “which just means I like bringing people together.”

Egan credits his Georgia State professors for pushing him to think about art conceptually and turn his ideas into practicable strategies. With campus just blocks away, Egan continues to work with the university, giving talks, hiring interns and providing gallery space for students. Egan is working on starting a residency program, upgrading the music hall and partnering with his neighbors for sustainable growth.

“I want to see south downtown become more successful and vibrant without displacing the people who are already here,” he said. “I just want the vacant buildings to be full. I want more neighbors.”

Photo by Ben Rollins