Bennett Street: Atlanta's Hidden Trove of Art and Antiques

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Bennett Street is a small street in South Buckhead that turns off Peachtree Road. The street is known for art galleries and studios, antiques stores and home decoration merchants. Similar attractions nearby include the Miami Circle shopping district, the East Village of Buckhead and the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. The upscale shopping of Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza is about ten minutes away. Bennett Street can be accessed from Interstate 85 or Georgia Highway 400.

The street was once a road through the countryside outside Atlanta. As the city grew north and overran the country, Bennett Street and the surrounding area turned industrial. Warehouses lined each street. In the 1970s, the warehouses themselves began to migrate outward, and the empty buildings they left behind became irresistible to the industrial club scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As the clubs slowly vacated the warehouses, art galleries and studios began to move in, followed quickly by antique and craft dealers.

Today, more than 100 different spaces are occupied by several types of clients, including:

Art galleries. Both fine art and folk art can be found here. The work of some of Atlanta's finest artists is often on display, and many artists have their studios here. Among the notable galleries here are Anne Irwin Fine Art, Gallery Sklo and the Raymond Lawrence Gallery.

Antiques and home dycor. Items can be found here from every style and period, but stores concentrate on English and American antiques and objets. Important dealers at Bennett Street include The Stalls, Interiors Market and Anne Hathaway Designs.

Fine rugs. Imported and domestic handmade rugs and antique rugs can be found on Bennett Street. Merchants include the Kilim Collection, Allan Arthur Oriental Rugs and Overton Oriental Rugs.

Educational space. The Portfolio Center, a commercial art school teaching design, media architecture, art direction, photography, copywriting and illustration is on Bennett Street. The Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia (MOCA GA) has relocated into the street. As well as showcasing prominent working Georgia artists, MOCA GA actively reaches into the community with lectures, films and conversations about art.

Of special note in Bennett Street is the TULA Art Center. TULA is a conglomeration of galleries and studios that now includes MOCA GA. TULA was one of the first art tenants to move into Bennett Street, and she is now the grande dame of the scene. TULA has over 30 working studios and several galleries for its member artists.

The First Thursday art walk is always a big event on Bennett Street. The first Thursday of every month, First Thursdays + Buckhead Gallery Walks visits several galleries, many of which are inevitably on Bennett Street. Refreshments and drinks are served at every stop. The art walks are a great way to spend time with the art as well as with fellow art lovers.

Reviews from antiques and art shoppers generally glow about Bennett Street. One says, "There is always something new to discover!'' She goes on to say that, "Beginning customers will feel comfortable here as well as more knowledgeable collectors.'' Another customer sums it up when she says, "Stop in to experience the joy that is a trip into this treasure chest of creativity.''

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