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16 || Dobbs Plaza / Auburn Avenue / Downtown

Photo Credit: Morgan Beasley
John Wesley Dobbs Memorial -
Artist: Ralph Helmick
(b. Pittsburgh, 1952, r. Newton, MA)

This monument and plaza on Auburn Avenue at Fort Street pays tribute to civil rights leader John Wesley Dobbs. Among other accomplishments, Dobbs was a Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge of Georgia, a leader in voter registration and political thought, and a famous orator who coined the phrase “Sweet Auburn.” Based on the 12th century Nigerian Iife-sculpture tradition, the bronze sculpture forms a “portrait mask” of Mr. Dobbs with text and quotes inscribed on the interior from which Auburn Avenue can be literally “viewed through his eyes.” The artist was selected through CODA’s nationwide Call for Artists Initiative and installed for the 1996 Olympic Games.

MATERIALS: Silicon bronze, exposed aggregate concrete pedestal

Sculpture – 5’-0” w x 5’-6” d x 7’-4-1/2” h
Base – 12’-1” d x 13-1/2” h

CONSULTANTS:John Wesley Atlanta

Stanley, Love-Stanley
Design Team Coordinator
EDAW, Inc. Landscape Architect
Palmer Engineering Company Structural Engineer
Digging It Up, Skip Mason Historic Interpretive Consultant
Shidoni Foundry, Inc. Fabricator
Baker Concrete Construction Co., Inc./ InSite General Contractor

John Wesley AtlantaLOCATION: John Wesley Dobbs Plaza, Auburn Avenue at Fort Street

Corporation for Olympic Development in Atlanta (CODA)
Installation: 1996