Atlanta Life and Culture

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'Spinning Tops' installation coming to Woodruff Arts Center plaza

The High Museum of Art has a new spin on how to enliven the Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza.

The High announced Thursday that it will host the site-specific installation “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”), featuring more than 40 three-dimensional, larger-than-life tops in a variety of colors and shapes, from April 24 through Nov. 29. Through a partnership with the Midtown Alliance, seven more Midtown sites will feature spinning tops.

Encouraging a sense of community and fun, the tops will be able to spin on their bases through the efforts of more than one guest. “Only through this interaction and collaboration will the work come to life and be complete,” said co-creator Ignacio Cadena, who along with designer Héctor Esrawe also created 2014’s “Mi Casa, Your Casa” hit installation for the piazza.

“Mi Casa, Your Casa” featured a series of metal-frame "houses" with hammocks and other sources of visitor interaction on the Woodruff plaza between the museum and the Memorial Arts Building.

The High estimates more than 100,000 visitors enjoyed the free installation.

On Thursday, the museum also announced that this "piazza activation program," originally planned as a two-year project, is being extended an additional three years through support from a recent Lettie Pate Evans Foundation grant to the arts center.

“Artistic engagement and enjoyment should begin as soon as visitors set foot on the Woodruff Arts Center campus, not just when entering its buildings," High director Michael Shapiro said in a statement.

That was essentially the challenge put before the co-curators of both installations, High decorative arts curator Sarah Schleuning and Virginia Shearer, the museum's director of education.

Shapiro said working with other arts center divisions and arts organizations throughout the city on public programming to accompany the installations has been "invigorating” for the museum.

As part of its Friday Night Lates series, the High will present evening programs of music and other performances on the first and third Friday of the month during the run of "Spinning Tops." Some presentations will take place on the piazza, some inside the museum.

In addition to the arts center organizations (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Arts for Learning), participating groups and artists will include Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi, the Atlanta Opera, musician and sound designer Ben Coleman, Dad’s Garage, the Institute of Mexican Culture, the Object Group, Theater Argo and T. Lang Dance.

More details to come at

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The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.