During the summer of 2023, Flux Projects will present Ghost Pools, a multi-media installation by Hannah Palmer that explores Atlanta’s history with public swimming by creating temporary memorials to two pools in East Point that became a battleground over integration and were eventually abandoned. Of the two pools, one was restricted to white residents while the other was in East Point’s segregated Black neighborhood. Today the two sites are a lawn beside the East Point Historical Society and an overflow parking lot for the John D. Milner Athletic Complex.
Once loud with laughter, shouts, and splashing, what if these sites could talk? And can East Point reclaim and reactivate these formerly segregated spaces in a way that acknowledges the past, while looking towards the future?
A public history and art project, Ghost Pools will create a shared understanding of what happened to East Point’s Jim Crow-era swimming pools – how they were funded, designed, litigated, defunded, and ultimately abandoned.
Collaborating with visual, sound, and performance artists, Palmer will transform the former pool sites into an inviting space to explore and reflect on this complicated, often painful history.
Photos: Spring Avenue Pool (left) and Randall Street Pool (right), courtesy of the East Point Historical Society
With Ghost Pools, Flux Projects continues FLOW, a multi-year series designed to explore Atlanta’s history with water, how it has shaped our city and the potential it holds for our future. FLOW engages issues of conservation, equity, and urban design through installations and performances around the city.
About the Artist
Hannah Palmer is a writer from Atlanta. Her books and essays are informed by her work as an urban designer, always interested in peeling back layers of the built environment to understand the history and wildness that shapes the landscape. Palmer’s work documenting the lost neighborhoods around Atlanta’s “world’s busiest” airport grew into a campaign to restore the hidden headwaters of Georgia’s Flint River (Finding the Flint). Since 2018, this focus on environmental justice led her to other privatized, segregated, and sullied waters of the urban south. Palmer’s current research and writing outline a growing crisis in access to water and how racial and economic segregation has stunted the growth of communities.
A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Palmer earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Sewanee: The University of the South. She lives in East Point with her husband and sons.
Ghost Pools is created in collaboration with the City of East Point.
This project is supported by a matching gift from an anonymous donor as well as the following individuals who contributed to the campaign:
Donors: Corinne & Jeff Adams / Chris Appleton / Amanda Baxter / Sarah Zureick Brown / Anne & Lephiew Dennington / Anne Archer Dennington / Katherine DiGiovanna / Rebecca Dimling Cochran & Michael Cochran / Charlotte Dixon / Sally Dorn / Jennifer Downs / Chip Ebsten / Nikki Estes / Jan Fields / Matthew Garbett / Rachel Garceau / Kate Godwin / Courtney Hartnett / Sally Kraus / Karyn Lu / W. Emmett McNair / Birgit & David McQueen / Joy E. Martin / Amy Miller / Opal Moore / Peter Morich / Quentin Mostoller / James O’Brien / Weston Packard / Yong Pak / Richard Robison / David Ruffel / Jeanne Savelle / Jayne Slagle / Robert Smulian / Deborah & Tommy Steen / Gregor Turk & Murphy Townsend / Lauren Welsh / Frank White
Special thanks to Christopher Swain, East Point Public Art Coordinator; Mayor Deana Holiday Ingraham and the East Point City Council, the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Department of Public Works, and the East Point Historical Society