GSU on the BeltLine

By Michelle Hiskey

Michael Wsol an assistant sculpture professor in GSU’s Welch School of Art and Design, and graduate students from his three-dimensional art class are constructing a 30-foot covered bridge sculpture on old railroad tracks in Cabbagetown, to reflect the history of that neighborhood on the edge of the GSU campus.

A visitor to the BeltLine Bridge can walk through the nearly 8-foot opening, which looks like a tunnel for trains that brought workers and cotton to the textile factories in Cabbagetown.

GSU on the Beltline

But the tunnel becomes narrower, tapering to a 30-inch doorway at the other end patterned after the entry to a shotgun house, which remains the dominant type of architecture in Cabbagetown.

“The exit will take 15 steps, but it looks like it’s 40 steps,” said Wsol, who uses optical illusions as a tool in his work. “It’s about the passage of time, from past to present, from industrial to residential, from a big scale to a small scale. We believe it has the power to guide a number of conversations.”

The BeltLine Bridge, located between Memorial Avenue and Kirkwood Street until, was chosen as one of 74 temporary works of art and performance along the BeltLine, a proposed 22-mile loop of walking trails that circle Atlanta along former rail lines. So far, nine miles are paved.

The BeltLine Bridge responds to “whether we are making art specific to our city or for anywhere. That’s a big conversation in our world,” Wsol said. “In an era of global mass media, the unique character of a place is one that a lot of artists are exploring with site-specific art.”