Atlanta On the Rise

Imagine you were a foreigner traveling to the United States for perhaps your first time. You do not know much about U.S except for the common misconceptions that Americans are loud, busy, and quite unhealthy. Now let me ask you, what cities or places would you want to visit the most? Most people would probably say New York, maybe Miami or Los Angeles, Washington D.C. Now what if I were to ask you this same question, except this time you are from anywhere but the Southeast? As an American, you have quite a bit more knowledge about your country. This might change your choices a bit, maybe you might say Boston or Nashville. The odd person maybe has Atlanta in their wish list of places to go, and for good reason. Atlanta is a city that is open and accommodating to everyone whether that be sports, universities, jobs, history, talent, diversity, you name it. Atlanta is a city that has always been at the forefront of change and will continue to evolve and adapt to our quickly developing world.

Aeroplane synchromy in Yellow-Orange, Macdonald-Wright 1920

During the 1950s and 60s, America was in great turmoil. The civil rights movement was in full effect, and cities all over the United States were sites of large protests, gatherings, marches, and boycotts. Of the many cities, Atlanta was at the heart of it all and was home to the great Martin Luther King Jr. While many places, especially in the South, were reluctant to change, Atlanta embraced it. In the painting Aeroplane Synchromy in Yellow-Orange, this idea of a diverse group of individuals banning together to bring about change is displayed. The wide variety of colors used in this painting shows the diversity of people that came together to support the protests and the civil rights movement as a whole in Atlanta. When looking at this painting, there is noticeably a hand protruding, and it appears that it is holding some kind of tool. This detail in the picture symbolizes the meticulous process of building Atlanta into a city where everyone has a chance at achieving their American dream. Upon closer inspection, the image seems to be an aerial view of a city with building and skyscrapers growing higher and higher. Unlike the previous more symbolic elements of the painting, these structures show a more direct representation of Atlanta and all it has to offer economically.

Pertaining to Yachts and Yachting, Charles Sheeler 1922

The above image, Pertaining to Yachts and Yachting, illustrates how Atlanta is a melting pot of culture and ideas being brought from all over. The yachts in the image represent how Atlanta is rapidly growing in population and even in land area. Atlanta is known as the “capitol of the South”, and according to recent migration trends, people are moving south at an even higher rate than in previous years. This will lead to even greater growth in the future for major cities in the Southeast, especially Atlanta. With more people passing through the area and the actual city, along comes many more ideas. Ideas can never hurt, so the more that are in and around a city, the better. Atlanta will continue to progress and grow due to the average person’s desire to move south to a warmer climate. Looking back at the image, if one were to glance at this artwork for the first time, he or she may not realize that the image is of boats. At first glance, the sails appear to be pages. These pages look like they are all being flipped. This idea of flipping a page conveys Atlanta’s evolving and ever-changing nature. There is a common saying about turning a page which symbolizes moving on or starting new. This idea is embodied by Atlanta. Atlanta is always at the forefront of change whether that be social change or scientific advancements or economic change. This city is accepting to all people, all races, and all genders. This open to all ideas mentality is a huge reason for past success and will continue to be a big part of why Atlanta will continue to rise on the list of top cities in America.

La Plena, Rafael Tufiño 1952

Rafael Tufiño captures Atlanta’s busy nature in his mural, La Plena. When looking at the image for the first time, it almost feels overwhelming. There are so many different people doing various task, there are animals and monsters, as well as bones and skeletons everywhere. The mural looks so busy with all that is going on. The busyness portrayed by the image symbolizes the daily occurrences in Atlanta. There is always a lot going on with businesses, schools, sports, and travelers. Back in 1960s, Mayor Ivan Allen coined the phrase “the City too busy to hate” when referring to Atlanta. The essence of this quote is captured in the above image. La Plena pictures each individual occupied with some sort of task. It conveys a chaotic feeling towards the audience; however, upon careful analysis, it seems as if the image is divided into 6 squares. This changes the chaotic nature of the artwork to a more organized chaos. This organized chaos is far more representative of Atlanta. While one would not necessarily describe living or being in Atlanta as chaotic, one who is not from the area might come to this “chaotic” conclusion on first glance. Although there is a lot going on all the time, the city is still perfectly able to function and run smoothly like a well-oiled machine. There are lots of moving parts, which are all integral to the success of the city, but each has a role to play.

Georgia Institute of Technology Football Field, Jake Imhulse 2020

The image above is picturing the Georgia Institute of Technology whose campus is located in the heart of Atlanta. Atlanta is home to two major universities, Georgia State and Georgia Tech and has many other universities whose campuses are within driving distance from Atlanta. This is significant because Atlanta has a large number of young individuals who are talented, smart, and driven to be the best they can be. This is very attractive to businesses that need young talent or who are looking for interns and future employees. Being home to major universities is also important for the facilitation of new ideas and culture. Of Georgia Tech’s student body, around ten percent of students are considered international students. These students come from hundreds of countries around the world and bring their knowledge, way of life, and ideas to the city of Atlanta. Having these universities in town not only attracts international students, but it also attracts students from all over the United States as well. Around thirty percent of Georgia Tech’s student body is from outside Georgia, so not only are ideas and culture from outside the country coming to Atlanta, but ideas and culture from inside the borders of the United States are coming to Atlanta.

Coca-Cola building in Atlanta, Jake Imhulse 2021

There are many companies that have headquarters in Atlanta with one of the most popular drinks in Coca-Cola being headquartered out of Atlanta. Due to Atlanta’s overall standing among cities in the United States, as well as future protections for the city, there are a vast number of businesses that are already in Atlanta or are looking at moving to Atlanta. A couple years back, Amazon was looking at a location for its second headquarters. Now we all know how big of a company Amazon is, so even though they ultimately decided against choosing Atlanta, it is still big news that Atlanta was a top contender for a potential headquarters location. As mentioned above, there is a lot of top-notch, young talent in Atlanta because of the various universities that are located in the area. Companies are always looking for people to intern or co-op, so Atlanta always catches the eyes of business executives.

Atlanta connector, Jake Imhulse 2021

The major I-75/I-85 connector is shown in the picture above. The highway symbolizes connection and how Atlanta is in a prime location in the United States. There are many major highways and roads that travel through and around the city. These highways typically get a high volume of cars and trucks that use them every day. Although no one likes traffic, people traveling through, to, and around Atlanta only benefits the area. Atlanta is also home to the busiest airport in the world. According to CNN, Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta’s airport, saw 110.5 million passengers in 2019. Having an airport with that much traffic goes to show how interconnected Atlanta is to the rest of the world.

Knowing more about Atlanta now, would you choose to visit or perhaps think about living there? Atlanta is a city that has so much to offer. Atlanta is a city that will welcome all walks of life with open arms. Atlanta is a city that you know will continue to prosper and grow. Because of its tumultuous past, Atlanta is more than open to change. It is a city that will continue to move our world forward socially and economically. Atlanta will always be evolving and changing with the times, and it will continue to lead forward into the unknown territory of change.

Works Cited

Pirani, Fiza. “How Does Atlanta Compare to America’s Other Big Cities?” Ajc, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10 Sept. 2018,

Hunter, Marnie. “The World’s Busiest Airports in 2019 Face a Steep Uphill Climb.” CNN, Cable News Network, 19 May 2020,’s%20busiest%20airport%2C%20Hartsfield,110.5%20million%20passengers%20in%202019.

“Phoenix Rising: Atlanta in 50 Objects: Exhibitions.” Atlanta History Center, 19 Nov. 2020,

Hobson, Maurice J. “The King of Atlanta: Martin Luther King Jr. and Public Memory.” AAIHS, 7 Apr. 2018,

“Collection.” La Plena | Museo De Arte De Puerto Rico,

“Aeroplane Synchromy in Yellow-Orange.” Aeroplane Synchromy in Yellow-Orange – Design Library Image Collection,

Art, Philadelphia Museum of. “Pertaining to Yachts and Yachting.” Philadelphia Museum of Art,

One Reply to “Atlanta On the Rise”

  1. Hi Jake, I really like how you were able to showcase the city of Atlanta in your essay. You were able to connect three artworks during the modernist era and compare them to three photographs from the city we live in today. I like how you were able to take the paintings from foreigners (given Macdonald-Wright, Sheeler, and Tufiño are all not from Atlanta) and give them a definition that strikes with the city itself. If you were to do this project again, I would only recommend maybe quickly defining what style of art each of these three painters used (was it surrealism, cubism, etc.?), as that could add further background for your argument. The pictures you took of present-day Atlanta symbolize three of the biggest drawing points to the city today (education, wealth, and connectivity), and I thought you did a good job at explaining how your pictures continued on the growing trend and popularity of Atlanta. Overall, good job on your project!

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