A curated life

  • Adam Kincaid / For the AJC
11:04 a.m. Friday, May 26, 2017 Homepage
Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Matt Arnett strolls through the Folk and Self Taught Art exhibit at the High Museum of Art.

There is no grocery on Home Street.  

It would be easy to mistake Grocery on Home for a corner store. Above the threshold to Matt Arnett’s red front door on Home Street in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood is a small, hand-painted sign that reads simply, “Grocery.” 

The building was indeed once a corner store, tucked among one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhood streets. 

“It stopped being a grocery store in the early 1980s,” Arnett, 49, explains, examining the dirt under one of his fingernails. “It was later a storage space, an event planner’s fabrication studio, and before that a beauty shop. It was just an empty shell downstairs when I moved in around 2009.” 

Most days, the first floor at Grocery on Home is Matt’s living room. The grocery aisles are long gone; only the exposed brick walls remain from the structure’s previous incarnations. 

Against that brick backdrop are a classy clutter of things. A handmade quilt hangs on a wall next to Southern folk art from Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Purvis Young and others. In the bathroom are relics Arnett has collected from the civil rights era, including a faded portrait of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. attached to a stick fan handle. 

There are countless other interesting things among Matt’s possessions. He has vintage things, fancy things, rustic things, hand-me-down things, famous things and things that aren’t valuable or historic to anyone but himself. All of it collected by Matt and carefully curated, much like his life story.

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