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Consultant paid same rate as artist painting the Decatur MARTA mural

Decatur slideshow

Consultant paid same rate as artist painting the Decatur MARTA mural

Concept art for the MARTA overpass mural provided by Felici Asteinza.
Concept art for the MARTA overpass mural provided by Felici Asteinza.

Concept art for the MARTA overpass mural provided by Felici Asteinza.

Plans to paint a mural  on the MARTA overpass at West Trinity and Atlanta Avenue will cost $30,000, but only 25 percent of that money will go to the artists painting it.

Another 25 percent, or $7,500, will go to a community engagement consultant hired by the city.

Linda Harris, assistant director of community and economic development for the city, provided a cost breakdown of the mural project to Decaturish.

“Part of the grant requirements were hiring both a community engagement consultant and an artist,” Harris said. “No other contracts have been awarded.”

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The project itself hit a snag when it was discovered that steel portion of the bridge had been covered with lead-based paint. The Decatur City Commission awarded a $58,610 contract clean up the contamination, and MARTA will reimburse the city for that cost.

The city received a $15,000 grant to paint the mural, which required a 100 percent match. The Decatur Arts Alliance selected the MILAGROS Collective, from Miami and New Orleans, to head up the mural project. Design concepts were unveiled Aug. 31 and painting was supposed to begin on Sept. 1, according to the city. Given the escalating costs of decorating the overpass, Decaturish wanted to know how the money was being spent.

Harris said Milagros is receiving $7,500, and has received $3,000 already with the balance due upon the completion of the project. The city also paid $7,500 to Lord Cultural Resources to act as a community-engagement consultant.

“We worked with Joy Bailey Bryant on this project,” Harris said. “Lord Cultural Resources did our Cultural Arts Master Plan in 2009. They were also part of the team that created the exhibits in the Beacon Municipal Center that feature the history of the African American community that used to be in that location.”

The rest of the costs are as follows:

– $3,000 for materials, which include artist supplies, paint, brushes, etc. and supplies for community engagement activities and workshops

– $3,000 for a maintenance fund

– $3,500 for a videographer

– $2,000 for a photographer

– $3,500 for a community celebration with food, performances and interactive art

Harris said the $15,000 grant match will come from a combination of funds provided by the city of Decatur, the Decatur Housing Authority, the Decatur Downtown Development Authority, the Decatur Arts Alliance, the Task Force for Global Health and the Decatur Tourism Bureau.

When Decaturish asked for a breakdown of the contributions to the grant match, Harris said, “We will compile a final report of expenses and revenues at the end of the project as part of the grant requirement.”

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