Buckhead’s Miami Circle has become Atlanta’s visual arts epicenter – Reporter Newspapers | Candle Made Easy

A mural by Buckhead Murals greets visitors to Miami Circle. (Photo by Isadora Pennington)

In 1993, the Reinike Gallery moved from New Orleans to a space on Miami Circle in Buckhead. The establishment of this art gallery, the first at Miami Circle, kickstarted the area’s evolution into one of Atlanta’s largest centers for art and design.

Nearly 30 years later, Miami Circle is home to a dozen art galleries and a number of specialty design companies for everything from antiques to furniture to fabrics. Interior designers and art lovers alike enjoy being close to so many companies dedicated to art and design, and events like the bi-monthly Miami Circle Art Stroll offer a unique opportunity to tour all of these companies while enjoying drinks, bites and fellowship .

“It’s been really good to see everything growing up around us,” explained Emily West, who took over ownership of Anne Irwin Fine Art in January 2020. Founded in 1985 by artist Anne Irwin, the gallery occupied a space on Bennett Street before moving to Miami Circle. “A lot of companies moved with us when we moved here. At first it wasn’t nearly as crowded as it is now; now it is a hub for the interior design business, which is one of our main customers.”

Emily West with Anne Irwin Fine Art.

West began working at Anne Irwin Fine Art back in 2012 and she has seen the burgeoning art district evolve over the years. She noted that with each new neighbor, from design shops to galleries, Miami Circle’s sense of community has grown.

“Our street has become sort of a one-stop shop for designers and homeowners for art, furniture, rugs, lamps… there really is a bit of everything now. Lots of antiques and frames. We have all of that, too,” West continued.

“What I like about being on the street with so many galleries is that they all have their own personality,” she said. The galleries not only get along, but also refer clients to each other and live the camaraderie that is bestowed upon them by their physical proximity.

West described many of the artworks exhibited at Anne Irwin Fine Art as soft and serene, and the gallery represents over 40 emerging contemporary artists from across the country.

Many of the buildings on Miami Circle were once warehouses, a detail that allowed for easy conversion into art galleries and design businesses. Open spaces with industrial elements such as exposed steel beams and concrete floors are perfect for displaying art.

Another Bennett Street transplant is Thomas Dean’s Fine Art. Established in 1983 and now sharing a building with Anne Irwin Fine Art, the gallery specializes in contemporary paintings, contemporary and historical works on paper, and the occasional sculpture and photograph.

Inside Thomas Dean’s Fine Art

“We moved to Miami Circle because the tenants on Bennett Street were changing rapidly. The street quickly lost its focus on art and antiques,” explained founder Thomas Deans. “An art gallery next to an all-night hair salon wasn’t an ideal combination. Back then the economy was still recovering and there was plenty of space around Miami Circle; and above all, the street was known as a design destination.”

Deans highlighted the benefits of being close to other art and design businesses, noting that it eases the strain of establishing a gallery as a destination in and of itself. “Instead, the street itself is the destination – for all sorts of people interested in art and design – and you’re one of those places to visit or to discover.”

Thomas Dean’s Fine Art strives to showcase a diverse selection of work by American and international artists, including emerging and blue chip artists. Deans strives to provide a superior art buying experience for private and corporate collectors, occasional buyers, designers, museums and art advisors.

Bill Lowe Gallery

Just down the road, closer to the entrance of PATH400 is the Bill Lowe Gallery, now managed by Donovan Johnson following Lowe’s death in 2021. In an interview about his rise to executive director for a recent feature film, Johnson described his first impressions of the gallery when he came to apply for a position as a young man.

“That first experience of entering the gallery was like standing at the base of Niagara Falls. It was an existential moment,” Johnson said. “It was a real spiritual experience for me when I walked through the gallery doors for the first time.”

Founded in 1989, the Bill Lowe Gallery was also originally located on Bennett Street before moving to Miami Circle. While the past few years have been challenging for art spaces in the face of pandemic restrictions, the Bill Lowe Gallery has actually thrived. While in the past many collectors would travel to Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, or abroad to find artworks, when travel became less feasible, many art lovers began looking for galleries that could support them in their area.

“It’s an ever-expanding world,” Johnson explained, noting that increasing the emphasis on her online presence has been key to keeping up with the times and weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. “The digital world is getting bigger and bigger. We have collectors in Europe and Australia, we have collectors everywhere now. Atlanta is expanding exponentially due to the city’s political atmosphere and economic development, as well as the film and music industries.”

Maune Contemporary

Johnson expressed his belief that the Bill Lowe Gallery is uniquely positioned to remain one of the cornerstones of Miami Circle’s Design District while adapting with the times and the changing desires of art collectors.

“Atlanta has an opportunity to reflect the diversity of the city,” Johnson continued. “Our customers come from all walks of life and different population groups. We have a very diverse collecting community here, both in terms of race and age, I hope to extend that to class as well.”

Want to visit the galleries and shops of Miami Circle for yourself? Well you’re lucky. This Saturday, July 16 from 4pm to 6pm, 11 galleries are participating in the Miami Circle Gallery Stroll. Made possible through a partnership with Livable Buckhead, visitors can enjoy drinks, small bites and great art on display at Miami Circle.

Some highlights of the upcoming Gallery Stroll are: ·

Anne Irwin Fine Art – “SURROUND, a solo exhibition by Kit Porter” SURROUND is an exploration through color to express how one’s environment (physical and interpersonal) can alter and shape one’s experience. Thin washes in vibrant hues are used to create shapes reminiscent of flowers and foliage that combine to form a field of life and energy, offering the viewer a sensual experience of abundance. 690 Miami CirNE

Balance art and frame – Located in the heart of Atlanta’s Miami Circle, a street that has become a celebrated icon of art, interior design and antiques, Balance Fine Art is a gallery dedicated to selling original paintings, limited edition prints and sculptures of the finest dedicated to modern contemporaries and impressionist artists. 690 Miami Cir NE, Suite 685

Bill Lowe Gallery – “STEVEN SEINBERG: THE THIRD BOOK ABOUT LIGHT AND SHADOW” In his latest work “The Third Book About Light and Shadow”, the American painter Steven Seinberg is driving forward almost three decades of research into the forces of nature and their cellular connection to our mental balance. 764 Miami CirNE, No. 210

Gallery Marcia Wood

Gallery Marcia Wood – “DEBORAH DANCY: BODY OF EVIDENCE” Bringing together several recently created bodies of work, Body of Evidence offers a comprehensive overview of Dancy’s explorations in various mediums, including painting, sculpture and photography, which she brings together to pursue a perceptive investigation of abstraction. Narrative and the Noxious Undercurrents of American History. 764 Miami CirNE

Mason Art – “Mason Fine Art Artists” Artists featured include: Heather Hilton, Pam Moxley, Tracy Murrell, Ashley Surber and Sally Tharp. Also with Marquetta Johnson, Vivian Maier and Tokie Rome-Taylor. 764 Miami CirNE, No. 150

Maune Contemporary – “JUSTIN LYON’S PERSONAL EXHIBITION: TRUTH OR FRICTION?” Justin Lyons describes his introduction to the world of “street art” as “the spark” that led him to pursue his own form of artistic expression. Justin’s mediums include wood, acrylic, house paint, spray paint, oil stick, epoxy, and pencil. 747-A Miami CirNE

Gallery Reinike – “Colors, Layers & Little Secrets, Paintings by we pugh” After a career in radio spanning more than 45 years, we pugh has come full circle and returned to painting. He relocated from San Diego and settled in Savannah, GA. Pugh’s work consists of several layers of thick acrylic paint, inviting the viewer to look down at the canvas to see every little detail. 761-C, Miami CirNE

September Gray Art Gallery – “RITUALS AND MEMORY…WE WILL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER AND ALL BETTER” The group exhibition features artworks by Romare Bearden, Lilian Blades, Kevin Cole and Faith Ringgold that evoke themes of ritual and memory. The show pays homage to our shared stories, illustrating the corruption and atrocities we still face, the progress made and the changes yet to come. 764 Miami CirNE, No. 150

Signature Contemporary Craft Gallery – “VIRTUAL ARTISTS FEATURE: Keok (KB) Lim” The Singapore-born artist worked as a dentist for twenty years before moving to Atlanta with her family in 2001. Always interested in art, she began making pottery and sculpture 10 years ago at the Spruill Art Center in Dunwoody, Georgia while homeschooling her autistic son. 690 Miami Cir NE, Unit 125

Thomas Dean’s Fine Art – “Jeni Stallings: Sail Away (or Stay)” This exhibition is a group of new and charming oil paintings on Arches paper by Jeni Stallings. Taken during the pandemic lockdown, these imaginative images take the viewer from the backyard pool to exotic locations and into the unknown – using the image of the pool as a portal. 690 Miami CirNE, #905

More Miami Circle Galleries:

Artist studio gallery & studios is Atlanta’s oldest active artist studio for 17 local artists who create and showcase their work in the Miami Circle space. 800 Miami CirNE, #200

Pryor art, which represents over 70 artists whose works range from abstract to representational painting and sculpture, explores a range of expressive styles and draws on traditions from abstract expressionism to portraiture. Open since 1990, this gallery moved from Bennett Street to its current 5,700 square foot gallery on Miami Circle in 2011. 764 Miami Cir NE, Suite 132

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