In 1993 Reinike Gallery moved from New Orleans to a space on Miami Circle in Buckhead. The establishment of this art gallery, the first on Miami Circle, set in motion a progression of the area into one of Atlanta’s largest hubs of art and design.
Almost 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 fabric. Interior designers and art lovers alike enjoy the proximity of so many businesses that are devoted to art and design, and events like the bi-monthly Miami Circle Art Stroll provide a unique opportunity to tour all of these businesses while enjoying drinks, bites, and socialization.
“It has been really good to see everything grow up around us,” explained Emily West, who took over ownership of Anne Irwin Fine Art back in January of 2020. Founded in 1985 by artist Anne Irwin, the gallery occupied a space on Bennett Street before relocating to Miami Circle. “A lot of businesses moved with us when we moved here. In the beginning it was not nearly as busy as it is now; now it’s a hub for the interior design business which are some of our primary clients.”
West began working at Anne Irwin Fine Art back in 2012, and she has witnessed the burgeoning art district evolve over the years. She remarked that with every new neighbor, from design shops to galleries, the sense of community on Miami Circle has grown.
“Our street has become kind of a one-stop-shop for designers and homeowners for art, furniture, rugs, lamps… there’s really a little bit of everything now. Lots of antiques and framing. We have all that too,” continued West.
“The thing I like about being on the street with so many galleries is that they each have their own distinct personality,” she said. The galleries not only get along, but they also refer clients to one another, embracing the camaraderie lent to them by their physical proximity.
West described many of the art showcased at Anne Irwin Fine Art as soft and serene, and the gallery represents over 40 emerging and mid-career contemporary artists from across the country.
Many of the buildings on Miami Circle were once warehouses, a detail that allowed for easy conversion to art galleries and design businesses. Open spaces with industrial elements such as exposed steel beams and concrete floors are perfect for showcasing fine art.
Another Bennett Street transplant is Thomas Deans Fine Art. Founded in 1983 and now sharing a building with Anne Irwin Fine Art, the gallery specializes in contemporary paintings, contemporary and historical works on paper, as well as the occasional sculpture and photography.
“We moved to Miami Circle because the tenants on Bennett Street were changing rapidly. The street was quickly losing its art and antiques focus,” explained founder Thomas Deans. “An art gallery next to an all-night barber shop wasn’t an ideal pairing. At the time, the economy was still recovering and space was plentiful on Miami Circle; and importantly, the street was known as a design destination.”
Deans highlighted the benefits of being located near other art and design businesses, noting that it eases the burden 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 are among the places to visit, or discover.”
Thomas Deans Fine Art seeks to showcase a diverse array of works created by American and international artists, including emerging and “blue chip” artists. Deans is committed to providing an excellent art buying experience for private and corporate collectors, casual buyers, designers, museums, and art consultants.
Just down the street closer to the entrance to PATH400 is the Bill Lowe Gallery, now under the leadership of Donovan Johnson in the wake of Lowe’s passing in2021. In an interview about his rise to the position of executive director for a recent feature, Johnson described his initial impressions of the gallery when he, as a young man, came in to apply for a job.
“That first experience of walking into the gallery, it was kind of like standing at the base of Niagara Falls. It was an existential moment,” said Johnson. “It was a real spiritual experience to me when I first walked through the doors of the gallery.”
Founded in 1989, the Bill Lowe Gallery was also originally located on Bennett Street before relocating to Miami Circle. While the past few years have been challenging for art spaces given the restrictions of the pandemic, the Bill Lowe Gallery has actually flourished. Whereas in the past many collectors might travel to Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, or abroad to find artwork, when travel became less feasible many art lovers started looking for galleries to support closer to home.
“It is an ever expanding world,” explained Johnson, noting that the increased emphasis on their online presence has been key in keeping up with the times and weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. “The digital world is ever expanding. We have collectors in Europe and Australia, we have collectors everywhere now. Because of the political atmosphere and the economic development of the city, and because of the film industry and music industry, Atlanta is expanding at an exponential rate.”
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 also adapting to the times and the changing desires of art collectors.
“Atlanta has an opportunity to be reflective of the diversity of the city,” Johnson continued. “Our clients come from all walks of life and different demographics. We have a very diverse collector community here both in race and in age, I am hoping that I can expand that to class as well.”
Want to visit the galleries and shops at Miami Circle for yourself? Well, you’re in luck. This Saturday, July 16 from 4 to 6 p.m., 11 galleries will be participating in the Miami Circle Gallery Stroll. Made possible by a partnership with Livable Buckhead, visitors can enjoy drinks, small bites, and great art showcased at Miami Circle.
Some highlights from the upcoming Gallery Stroll include: ·
Anne Irwin Fine Art – “SURROUND, a solo exhibition by Kit Porter” SURROUND is an exploration through paint to express the way in which one’s environment (physical and interpersonal) can alter and shape one’s experience. Thin washes of vibrant hues are used to create shapes reminiscent of flowers and foliage that combine together to make up a field bursting with life and energy, giving the viewer a sensory experience of abundance. 690 Miami Cir NE
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 antiquities, Balance Fine Art is a gallery dedicated to selling original paintings, limited edition prints and sculpture by the finest modern, contemporary and impressionist artists. 690 Miami Cir NE, Suite 685
Bill Lowe Gallery – “STEVEN SEINBERG: THE THIRD BOOK ON LIGHT AND SHADE” In his newest body of work, The Third Book on Light and Shade, American painter Steven Seinberg advances an almost three-decade-long exploration of the forces of nature and their cellular connection to our psychic equilibrium. 764 Miami Cir NE, #210
Marcia Wood Gallery – “DEBORAH DANCY: BODY OF EVIDENCE” Bringing together multiple recently created bodies of work, Body of Evidence provides a comprehensive survey of Dancy’s explorations in various mediums including painting, sculpture, and photography, which she unites to pursue a trenchant investigation of abstraction, narrative, and the pernicious undercurrents of American history. 764 Miami Cir NE
Mason Fine Art – “Women Artists of Mason Fine Art” Featured Artists Include: Heather Hilton, Pam Moxley, Tracy Murrell, Ashley Surber, & Sally Tharp. Also showing Marquetta Johnson, Vivian Maier, & Tokie Rome-Taylor. 764 Miami Cir NE, #150
Maune Contemporary – “JUSTIN LYONS SOLO EXHIBITION: TRUTH OR FRICTION?” Justin Lyons credits his introduction into 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 resin, and pencil. 747-A Miami Cir NE
Reinike Gallery – “Colors, Layers & Little Secrets, Paintings by w.e. pugh” After a forty-five year plus career in broadcasting, w.e. pugh has come full circle and returned to painting. He moved from San Diego and has settled in Savannah, GA. Pugh’s work features multiple layers of heavy acrylic paint that invite the viewer to peer into the canvas to see every small detail. 761-C, Miami Cir NE
September Gray Art Gallery – “RITUALS AND REMEMBRANCE…WE WILL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER BY AND BY” The group exhibition features artwork by Romare Bearden, Lilian Blades, Kevin Cole, and Faith Ringgold, evoking themes of ritual and memory. The show pays homage to our shared histories, illustrating the corruption and cruelties we still face, the progress made, and changes still yet to come. 764 Miami Cir NE, #150
Signature Contemporary Craft Gallery – “VIRTUAL ARTISTS FEATURE: Keok (KB) Lim” The artist was born in Singapore and worked as a dentist for twenty years before moving to Atlanta in 2001 with her family. Always being very keen on the arts, she began making pottery and sculpture 10 years ago at the Spruill Art Center, Dunwoody, Georgia, while homeschooling her autistic son. 690 Miami Cir NE, Unit 125
Thomas Deans Fine Art – “Jeni Stallings: Sail Away (or Stay)” This exhibition is a group of new and enchanting oil paintings on Arches paper by Jeni Stallings. Conceived during the pandemic lockdown, these fanciful images take the viewer from the backyard pool to exotic locales and into the unknown—using the image of the pool as a portal. 690 Miami Cir NE, #905
More Miami Circle Galleries:
Artists Atelier Gallery & Studios is Atlanta’s oldest working artists studio for 17 local artists who create and showcase their works in the space on Miami Circle. 800 Miami Cir NE, #200
Pryor Fine Art, representing over 70 artists whose works vary from abstract to representational painting and sculpture, explores a range of expressive styles, and engage traditions from Abstract Expressionism to portraiture. Open since 1990, this gallery relocated from Bennett Street to its current 5,700 sq ft gallery in Miami Circle back in 2011. 764 Miami Cir NE, Suite 132