Come See “Spirit of Macon”


Paul O'Neill, Staff Writer

GC Professor of Art Abraham Abebe recently completed his largest mural yet in downtown Macon-Bibb County. This project was started by the MTA (Macon Transit Authority) with a Downtown Challenge 2.0 grant.

“There was actually an announcement by the country’s transit authority, and I submitted two proposals following the
announcement on the website,” said Abebe. “I have done four before, two exterior and two interiors, but this is the largest I have ever done.”

The MTA hoped this project would improve the bus transit that many considered dreary by adding a lively art mural.

Thousands of people pass this place a year in Macon to look at it and see themselves through it and the creativity that is in there,” said Abeb.

The mural was given the title “The Spirit of Macon,” and is located on the corner of Fifth and Poplar streets in downtown Macon.

“The inspiration [of the bus in the mural] is actually to display the Macon Transit Authorities service and the contribution they provide to the citizens of the community,” said Abebe.

“The birds were to show a conceptual element to reflect terms of excellence, progress and achievement,” said Abebe “I used all the colors to show diversity within the community.”

Before GC, Abebe taught at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada and originally grew up in Ethiopia.

GC senior and art major Emma Dietz took a graphic design class with Professor Abebe. She described him as very explanative and resourceful.

“A lot of the time in class, we do projects that have specific guidelines and don’t give all of us free creativity,” Dietz said. “It’s really cool to see them [professors] creating on their own and finding out who they are as an artist and not just as a teacher.”

Since his arrival at GC, Abebe’s skillset has allowed for the opportunity of a graphic design concentration in BA of art along with a graphic design minor. There have been seven new courses as a result of these two additions to the GC curriculum.

“We talk about that kind of stuff a lot in our classes, about what art does for the community,” said Dietz.

“It is nice to see [my professors] involved in something outside of Georgia College and making a piece of the community better,” said Dietz.

GC senior art major Jessie Deyo described Professor Abebe as a teacher that strongly encourages students to create designs that are currently missing in the art space.

This description perfectly fits just what Abebe was tasked with doing in his mural.

“I have not had the chance to see Abe’s mural in person yet and I’m definitely missing out,” said Deyo.

Abebe has published an experimental typography book and a book of poetry, both in his native language of amharic.

“What specifically inspires me about Abe and his work, is that he is incredibly humble for someone that has such talent,”said Deyo.

Abebe worked from sundown to sunup from mid-December 2021 to mid-January 2022. He worked through Christmas and New Years in the cold weather to complete this piece.

“Abe holds himself to the same standard that he holds all of his students to and never cheats himself out of working hard,” Deyo said. This is evident in this mural project.

When asked if they think Milledgeville could benefit from a mural like the one in Macon, Abebe, Dietz and Deyo had similar answers.

“Definitely because a mural is the center of a community, so the community can engage the mural. It is important to have something like this in Milledgeville,” Abebe said.

“Putting love and effort into the entire community of Milledgeville could provide substantial change for those less served,” said Deyo.

“Yes it is something that could be very cool,” answered Dietz.

“I am from Newnan, Georgia and on all the corners downtown we have animals painted by local artists and it brings something interesting and unique to our community,” said Dietz.

Professor Abebe’s “The Spirit of Macon” mural is now seen by thousands of Macon residents everyday. When people are getting on or off the bus station, they are reminded of the town they call home.