Last weekend, I took to the graffiti-infused streets of Atlanta to photograph Saint Lucian designer, Kimberly Solana. She is the creative architect behind 8ttava, a company Kimberly created as a way to translate her colorful visions into hand-painted artistic masterpieces, ranging from canvas art to clothing and jewelry. As the brains and beauty behind this unique new brand, she posed, twirled, and hula-hooped her very own handcrafted wardrobe all across the Atlanta BeltLine, a 22-mile rail corridor that encircles the city.
What’s so significant about the Atlanta BeltLine is its gritty history. Atlanta is no stranger to disparity, but its residents have never given up hope in revitalizing the city into something everyone can be proud of. Instead of destroying Atlanta’s troubled neighborhoods, the BeltLine project sought to improve them with a combination of railways, trails, greenspace, housing and art. The community came together to preserve the unique charm of each neighborhood and connect them together through a collection of new transit offerings.
The BeltLine project is perhaps one of the most comprehensive transportation and economic development initiatives ever implemented in Atlanta and it’s still ongoing. Once complete, it will boast 22 miles of pedestrian-friendly rail transit, 33 miles of multi-use trails, 1300 acres of parks, historic preservation, and a heap of public art for both residents and tourists to enjoy. Atlanta has even gone the extra mile of making art accessible through technology by creating an Atlanta BeltLine app (download here: Apple or Android). One of the great features of this app is its ability to show you all the art exhibitions on an interactive map.
During her temporary stay in The Peach State, Kimberly describes her observations of Atlanta’s big makeover:
“What started out as a grassroots campaign evolved into a complete transformation of the city of Atlanta into a tapestry of art connected by trails and rails.”
Before heading back to her home in Saint Lucia (read my St. Lucia travel guide) where she plans to officially open a boutique for 8ttava’s globally inspired designs, Kimberly decided to take a stroll in her neon yellow heels around the city of Atlanta one last time:
“With 1300 acres of parks and historic preservation movements and public art, I needed to visit some of these sites before I made another big move. I needed to see the city I once called home, actually transformed into the vibrant and playful colors and patterns I see in my dreams.”
So what exactly happens when Saint Lucia fashion meets Atlanta street art? The ultimate explosion of color. Here are some of my favorite images from our vibrant BeltLine photo shoot—and next time you visit Atlanta, be sure to include a BeltLine tour in your itinerary.