“I don’t know what else to do, so why don’t we walk to the Square?” This was always the go-to phrase when I was growing up. If we couldn’t think of anything else, my friends and I always knew we could at least take a walk to our sleepy little square in downtown Marietta. We would take a lap, see if any shops were open (usually not on a saturday or sunday afternoon), and then hang out in Glover Park until we were ready to go home. Anyone who has lived in Marietta has found themselves in that same situation before, and remembers at a certain point in the last few years, a shift began.
Suddenly there was more energy. New restaurants appeared, art galleries opened their doors and artists could be seen painting around the square, more boutiques opened and started staying open later, many of which are locally owned and sourced. A farmer’s market and artisan market pop-up on the weekend, and people actively go to all sorts of festivals, concerts, and events held in the area. Residents have responded to the changes they were seeing to the Square in the most positive and excited way. Young families moving into the area brought a different energy too, and the city as a whole has supported all of the excitement brewing in the area. Thanks to a mayor focused on the arts in our town, a new era of life and vibrancy has hit full force, and does not plan on slowing down anytime soon.
A major step Marietta has taken has been this recent public art campaign. While most towns, especially ones with a strong historic district, have dipped their toes into street art, Marietta did a cannonball straight into the deep end. With a festival focused on celebrating more accessibility of our town with a new walking and biking trail, the city also kick-started street art in the area when they approved twelve murals, a sculpture garden, and a variety of performers all along the trail. While the powers that be might have initially approved all of this art with the thought that it would all be temporary and no one would care much if the street art disappeared after a few weeks, the public response has instead been so overwhelmingly positive and supportive of what it means for their town to reflect the identity of its citizens, that Marietta now has to totally rethink what she is as a city. Both long-time residents of the area and new visitors have spoken up in approval of these new expressions of creativity around town. Marietta now has a fresh coat of vibrant colors adding to the patina of this historic town, and it’s just going to keep getting better as more “Mariettans” become involved. Next time you find yourself in the area, take a moment to notice why people are falling in love with this town, and join the #MariettaArtScene.