Downtown Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill neighborhood traces a colorful history, from its days as Snake Nation — a rowdy red light district in the 1840s — to its industrial roots, when merchants and grocers like namesake Daniel Castleberry set up shop in factories and warehouses. But its most intriguing era may well be today. The long overlooked and under-appreciated area has become one of the hottest up-and-coming arts districts in the South.
Just one mile from Hotel Indigo Atlanta Downtown, the Castleberry Hill Historic Arts District is home to galleries that please all tastes, whether you collect traditional paintings, sculptures and photography or seek out edgy, emerging artists.
To point you in the right direction, we’ve picked out three of our favorite destinations in this downtown Atlanta art mecca.
Besharat Gallery, 175 Peters St SW
With a sister store in France, Besharat Gallery embodies the classical art and flair of a European salon in the heart of the South. In addition to world-renowned National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry’s permanent collection of photos on display, Besharat hosts the works of artists like Thierry Mutin and, in the adjacent Besharat Contemporary space, Robert Jessup on a rotating basis. Don’t miss the sculpture garden behind the gallery, where outsized works of art dazzle the senses.
The Granite Room, 211 Peters St
Although it’s not much to look at from the sidewalk, the Granite Room is home to some of Atlanta’s hottest up-and-coming artists. The gallery specializes in short-term art exhibits — renting out the space to local artists for Castleberry Hill’s monthly Second Friday Art Stroll — giving multiple artists the chance to be discovered. Housed in a historic building that was once a chicken hatchery and furniture store, the Granite Room mixes pieces of its past lives like exposed heart-of-pine timber and 14-foot ceilings with contemporary lighting and curved walls for an utterly unique art experience. We guarantee you’ll be impressed by the space and the works of art it displays.
ZuCot Gallery, 100 Centennial Olympic Park Dr SW
With a focus on original pieces by living African American artists, ZuCot Gallery’s modern, industrial space hosts rotating exhibits — each with artist talks — that feature some of today’s most prolific and intriguing artists. Tamara Natalie Madden, Alfred Conteh and Steve Prince are among the most recent artists to display in these carefully curated exhibits. Drop in on Saturdays between 1 pm and 4 pm, or call for an appointment to view ZuCot’s current works.