By Howard Pousner
In a move of literal and figurative historic proportions, plans call for the Cyclorama, one of the city’s most valuable cultural artifacts, to leave its Grant Park home of nearly a century and relocate to a new building at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.
The announcement, which has an appraised value of $25 million, is being made by Mayor Kasim Reed at a City Hall press conference Wednesday morning.
A surprise part of the news is that the history center, having recently completed an unrelated $21.1 million capital improvement campaign, already has raised $32.2 million. That amount is sufficient to move the painting, construct a 23,000-square-foot building that will be accessible to visitors from its main entrance, conduct an extensive restoration and create an endowment to maintain it.
The Cyclorama painting would remain the property of the city. The history center and city still have to reach a long-term license agreement, and the deal will be contingent upon City Council approval.
A building in Grant Park has housed the massive, panoramic, city-owned painting, which depicts the Battle of Atlanta, since 1921. With the painting in need of a restoration estimated at more than $8 million, the city appointed an advisory group in 2012 to explore options.