Manhattan has Tin Pan Alley. Seattle has Post Alley. Tallahassee has Gallie Alley. Lately, the alleyway might be more aptly coined “gallery” alley given its recent multi-mural makeover. The alleyway’s history is as storied as downtown. Its tradition for art is similarly longstanding.
“It’s an incredible block that I think often times we take for granted,” said Elizabeth Emmanuel, CEO of the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority (TDIA). “The economic impact it brings is significant for downtown.”
The maze of passageways and courtyards that make up the alley has entrances on South Adams Street and East College Avenue.
Its name is derived from the former Gallie Hall opera house built in 1873. As the years have worn on, its passersby have evolved from horses and wagons to foot-traffic from delivery workers and business people who use it as a clandestine shortcut.
This is not the first time Gallie Alley has sported a new look. In 1987 it was paved with bricks to make it safer to walk and drive on. TDIA sponsored a project with Florida State University students to paint a mural of a storefront façade in the mid-2000s.
Since then, many artists who have passed through town have left their mark, some who created a “cult-like affinity” for certain symbols says Emmanuel. Among them is a squid and a logo for the hip-hop collective Wu Tang Clan — both of which she says were preserved in this latest project.
Emmanuel says the project came together quickly. When businesses in the downtown district are fined for vandalism, it is up to the business owner to clear the citation and abate graffiti.
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