Bends Toward Justice - CODAworx

Bends Toward Justice

Client: City of Atlanta - Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

Location: Atlanta, GA, United States

Completion date: 2022

Artwork budget: $500,000

Project Team

Vice President

Chrissy McMillan

Creative Machines

Project Manager

Alexandra Kirschbaum

Creative Machines


The six arches of this gateway suggest a time-lapse sequence moving towards perfect closure (justice). Each side of the street features three arcs that get closer until they almost meet over the center of Martin Luther King Junior Drive. At the base of the largest arc on each side are handprints with pressure sensors inviting people to lean in and push. As people press, then control the lighting in the arcs, visible from a great distance. We expect people to pose and post photos of themselves doing their part to push the arcs towards justice.


The area’s culture is internationally significant. It was home to intellectual leaders of human rights, including W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. The goals for this commissioned work were not only honor the name of Atlanta’s most famous resident, but further the City of Atlanta’s vision to preserve its historical past, maintain the livability of the present, and transform its future through the highest quality of implementation to enhance the level of service it provides to all people of Atlanta.

The title of my gateway design comes from a phrase by Dr. Martin Luther King Junior that has since been repeated often:
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Dr. King’s use of this phrase was always part of well-developed arguments that stressed the causality of people ‘pushing’ the moral universe towards justice. King would never suggest that the arc bends of its own accord and if you listen to the full context of his speeches it is clear that the arc only moves when people of courage take history into their own hands.

Additional Information

Dimensions: 80' W x 32' H | Medium: Steel, Polycarbonate, LED lighting, Pressure Sensors