When the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee needed a partner to curate a series of 30 murals highlighting the city’s “civil-rights and social-justice journey”—a project that would capture Atlanta’s historic relevance and its current cultural cachet—the choice was obvious. WonderRoot, the nonprofit grassroots organization founded to promote social justice through art, was uniquely poised to pull it off.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called the resulting murals, which stretched from Vine City to Old Fourth Ward, the game’s “lasting legacy.” Charmaine Minniefield, a former Spelman professor and producer for the National Black Arts Festival, painted two murals of female visionaries—one on MLK Drive of Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson, a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and another on Auburn Avenue of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Ella Baker—both framed by chromatic patterns inspired by West African Ankara fabrics. Near Woodruff Park, Muhammad Yungai painted New Kids on the Block, flipping the script on Norman Rockwell with suburban white children moving into an urban black neighborhood. National media, including CNN and the Chicago Tribune, heralded the series as a permanent tribute to Atlanta’s Beloved Community. Vendors organized walking and bike tours of the artworks.