The Athens Cultural Affairs Commission (ACAC) announces five new inductees for the Athens Music Walk of Fame in downtown Athens, Georgia.
Athens is known for its creative and diverse music scene, as Athenians have enjoyed a rich musical heritage dating back to the 19th century. With sidewalk markers for the first ten inductees placed in September 2020, the Athens Music Walk of Fame enhances the visual and experiential appeal of downtown Athens, helping to foster community pride and a better awareness of the shared musical inheritance and cultural legacy for Athenians and visitors alike.
“From rustic folk sounds to hip hop to futuristic pop, Athens has supplied sounds that have inspired the world, and we are excited to celebrate a new class of artists on the Athens Music Walk of Fame,” says Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz.
The five new inductees for the Athens Music Walk of Fame are:
- Bob Cole – Born in Athens in 1868, Cole was a national figure around the turn of the 20th century, best known for collaborating with brothers J. Rosamond and James Weldon Johnson on over 200 compositions. Cole helped elevate vaudeville performance beyond minstrelsy and stereotyping towards the sentimental, romantic, and elegant.
- Lo Down & Duddy – Groundbreakers of local hip hop, this duo helped put Athens on this genre’s map with appearances on national television with David Letterman, collaborations with Bubba Sparxxx, Timbaland, Yung Joc, and tours with musicians such as Blink-182 and Maroon 5.
- Nuçi’s Space/Linda Phillips – Phillips founded Nuçi’s Space in memory of her son in 2000 with the mission to prevent suicide. With a focus on musicians, the organization advocates for and helps alleviate the suffering of those living with a brain illness. Standing in the shadow of the famed St. Mary’s steeple, on the eastern edge of downtown Athens, Nuçi’s Space maintains a health and resource center for musicians. The building is home to low-cost rehearsal spaces, subsidized health care, youth programs, a recording studio, and a safe space to seek support and guidance.
- of Montreal – Lead performer and songwriter Kevin Barnes has solidified of Montreal’s reputation by releasing an album per year for over two decades; still active and touring, they have become a mainstay in psychedelic pop nationally while continuing to call Athens home.
- Art Rosenbaum – Known also as a visual artist, University of Georgia professor emeritus, musician, and folklorist Rosenbaum has documented Athens-area and other traditional musicians around the country, winning a 2008 Best Historical Album Grammy award for his Art of Field Recording Volume I: Fifty Years of Traditional American Music Documented by Art Rosenbaum.
These five new inductees will each have plaques placed in the sidewalk of the two-square-block area bound by Pulaski, East Washington, North Lumpkin, and East Clayton Streets, encircling many of the notable music venues in downtown Athens, including the Morton Theatre, the Georgia Theatre, and the 40 Watt Club. The Athens Music Walk of Fame will have five new inductees each year moving forward.
“I’m proud that the Athens Music Walk of Fame has room for our chart toppers, those who solidified Athens’ ‘indie’ reputation across musical genres, and our lesser known figures,” says Andrew Salinas, Chairperson of ACAC. “The nomination committee unanimously agreed that Bob Cole warrants inclusion among the first fifteen nominees, and he would be better known locally if he didn’t have to leave Athens at the age of fifteen after a bloody altercation with the son of a former Athens mayor. People like Art Rosenbaum and Linda Phillips highlight how deep our musical heritage really is.”
Allen Sutton, an Athens-based multidisciplinary designer, created the design for the Athens Music Walk of Fame sidewalk plaques. The shape of the plaque was inspired by both a guitar pick and a location pin to illustrate the link between the medium and the place it was created. The Athens-Clarke County Transportation and Public Works Department’s Streets and Drainage Division is planning to install these five plaques by August.
Mayor Girtz appointed a selection committee of local residents to choose the inductees for the Athens Music Walk of Fame. This committee includes David Barbe, Michelle Davis, Montu Miller, Nathaniel Mitchell, Mariah Parker, Andrew Salinas, and Velena Vego. This committee weighed considerations such as contribution to the identity of Athens, historical context, breadth of career, distinct musical style, and diverse representation.
The Athens Music Walk of Fame is funded by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission and supported by community partnerships, including the Athens Downtown Development Authority and the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Arts Division.
For more information, visit www.athensculturalaffairs.org or contact Tatiana Veneruso, the Athens-Clarke County Public Art Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.