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Airport art exhibit remembers the faces of Cabbagetown
By DeAllous Smith

Long before Generation Xers settled there and churches, coffee shops and condos cropped up, Cabbagetown was a mill village east of downtown Atlanta, with residents who worked at the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills. After the mills closed in 1977, local artists captured the hardships and hopes of the area’s residents, and some of these images will be displayed at Hartsfield-Jackson.

The exhibit, “The ‘Picture Man’ of Cabbagetown: Photographs by Oraien Catledge,” features black-and-white photos that depict the district’s working people, their shotgun-style homes and the businesses that lined the community’s narrow streets. 

“The exhibit honors former Cabbagetown residents, many of whom were direct descendants of those who traveled from the Appalachians of North Georgia to work at the mills in the late 1800s,” said Katherine Marbury, Airport Art Program manager. “The photographs not only document a community but also capture their determination, pride and vision to overcome all odds.” 

Catledge began documenting this close-knit community in 1980 and continued to visit for nearly 15 years. He rewarded his subjects with free photographs and eventually became known as “the picture man” of Cabbagetown.

Today’s Cabbagetown — with its artsy vibe, eclectic stores and proximity to jobs and parks — has come a long way from the impoverished area it was in the aftermath of the mills’ closings.

Although many original residents have moved on, Cabbagetown’s strong sense of character still can be found in the homes and commercial buildings in the shadows of its gentrified neighborhoods. Even the former Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills, which once housed one of Georgia's most successful late-19th-century textile mills, has been reborn as lofts for intown dwellers.

“The ‘Picture Man’ of Cabbagetown: Photographs by Oraien Catledge” is presented by Hartsfield-Jackson’s Art Program in partnership with Louis Corrigan, a local art collector.

The exhibit will be displayed in the Airport’s Atrium Gallery through August 11.   

Cabbagetown Residents Atrium Gallery Photo

Oraien Catledge’s photograph of himself (center)
surrounded by Cabbagetown residents is included in an
exhibit in the Airport’s Atrium Gallery.



© 2010 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.

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