Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/8/19

Urban Catalyst Lab To Enlist Local and Global Artists For Community-Centric Project

Underground Atlanta developer WRS today announces the approval for non-profit Urban Catalyst Lab to install the first Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based local-to-global art installation on property. The installation will find its home in the heart of the city amongst the 4-block Underground redevelopment. With the ambition to advance urban resilience and sustainability, the installation will be created in partnership with renowned local and global artists and the Atlanta community creating an inclusive and visionary experience spotlighting the community’s most pressing issues.

“Following the success of the Pillars Project at Underground, we worked alongside the team at Cultivating Cultures to envision an installation that would generate an even stronger sense of culture and collaboration,” said Scott Smith, CEO of WRS, Inc. “The Pillars Project represents togetherness, diversity, and inclusivity, and Urban Catalyst Lab’s art installation is set to extend the conversation around those values even further. We are happy to support an initiative that is not only forward-thinking but also, and most importantly, community-driven. This art installation will live beyond the streets of Underground for years to come.”

Urban Catalyst Lab has strategically curated a strong list of brilliant artists that will bring to life their mission of contributing positively to urban space by using Art-As-A-Solution for a resilient and equitable community and city. Urban Catalyst Lab will kick off the art installation by hosting a launch event on Tuesday, May 14 at Underground. The names of three Atlanta-based artists and two global artists working on the project will be announced at the event, invitations to follow.

“We salute WRS’ openness to our progressive vision of elevating Art-As-A-Solution and positioning Atlanta as the city of new art. Together with three Atlanta-based artists, and two from Africa and Cuba (Afro Cuban), we invite the entire community of Atlanta to participate in creating a permanent art installation that captures Atlanta’s identity – its heritage, present, and future. We are excited to be working with WRS and Cultivating Cultures in broadening the perception of people-private-public partnerships,” said Ruxanda Renita, CEO of Urban Catalyst Lab.

“At the height of its success, Underground attracted 10 million visitors annually. Underground is the perfect location for the art installation because it is a vibrant hub for our community and visitors alike,” said Craig Waters, General Manager of Underground.

Installation of the art will begin in 2020 on Lower Alabama Street. The future-focused installation will constantly evolve, creating a connection between the past, present, and future. It will be powered by Urban Catalyst Lab’s proprietary IoT and AI technology, collecting and measuring real-time and meaningful community impact. This installation and framework will be the first IoT and AI based local-to-global art installation in the world.

“The sculpture will be cutting edge, embedding pioneer IoT and machine learning to provide much-needed data about the impact of the installation to urban resilience and sustainability,” said Christophe Choquart, CFO of Urban Catalyst Lab, who is actively engaged in fundraising to get the project off the ground.

A board of advisors for this initiative has been created and includes Steve Weir, Housing Innovation VP of Habitat for Humanity International; John Cushnie, VP of Georgia Chamber of Commerce; Stephane Pinel, Manager of Data Science at Mailchimp; Jerry Thomas, lawyer and art collector; John Cushnie, VP of Georgia Chamber of Commerce; and Michelle Wiseman, Waste Management & Recycling Officer of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Resilience. Additional advisors will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Creative consultancy Cultivating Cultures will play a crucial role in engaging local communities and stakeholders.

To follow updates on the art installation and transformation of Underground, visit: