The VA-HI Mural.


 PROJECT NAME: The VA-HI Mural, of course.
Our Plan: Create a good wall

On April 18, 2019, friends, neighbors, kids, collaborators, Atlanta City Councilmember Jennifer Ide, a couple of dogs, and the Virginia-Highland Civic Association came together to party and partake in the unveiling of a new neighborhood mural aimed at celebrating the community and adding visual identity to the namesake intersection of Virginia & North Highland Avenues. The mural, conceptualized by Atlanta design studio PROPER on behalf of Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate as developer and Highland Real Estate as owner, is representative of the area’s historic charm and welcoming character.



“We were excited to create a mural that celebrates the rich history and essence of Virginia-Highland (VA-HI). We collaborated with neighborhood historian Lola Carlisle to dig through the archives which led us to The Virginia-Highland Voice. In these old print newsletters, there were lots of little illustrations used to add visual interest. In the November issue of 1980, one of these drawings was of birds perched in a tree that we instantly felt a connection with. We adapted the illustration to a peachtree and updated the look of the birds. We added a bold “VA-HI,” and “Welcome to the Neighborhood” to give it that landmark feel,” shares Jason Orme and Jonathan Lawrence, co-founders of PROPER.



DJ Dookie Platters (aka Scott Morris), a historic preservationist and Atlanta legend, came in to spice up the celebration and spin some records…the kids seemed to love it, as did we.

Once PROPER did their part, it was time to paint. Cue The Loss Prevention, a team of artists providing high end art installations and visual storytelling around the country including a few Atlanta notables like the neighborhood murals of Candler Park, Little Five Points, Grant Park, and the John Lewis HERO mural on Auburn Avenue – another landmark collaboration with Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate.


The “VA-HI” Building, built in 1910, is currently being re-energized by GK|CRE. A historic preservation project, the development team has big plans and “tasty” new concepts arriving January 2020. YES, Paolo’s Gelato is staying!

Why go through all the effort? We see this mural and the experience of working together with incredible collaborators as a wonderful creative opportunity to celebrate the Virginia-Highland neighborhood as a place of culture, commerce, and community, and to help foster a greater sense of both individual and civic identity – to take a wall and transform it for common good. It’s what we do.



Gene Kansas Virginia-Highland Mural.jpg