Athens rapper LG performs at the 18th annual Hot Corner Festival that took place at the corner of Hull and Washington Street in Athens, Georgia on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9, 2018. Hot Corner Festival, founded by Homer Wilson, owner of Wilson’s styling shop, was created to celebrate the historic African-American business community of Athens and featured local businesses, live music, dancing, and food. (Photo/Tony Walsh)

South Florida-based artist and activist, Elio Mercado, has been tasked by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission with designing and painting a mural on a side wall of the Morton Theatre.

The ACAC invited professional artists to submit mural concept proposals for Hot Corner: An Athens Legacy project. The deadline for artist applications was Jan. 27. According to a Facebook post from the ACAC, Mercado was chosen from 40 nation-wide applicants by a panel “comprised of community members with past or present ties to Hot Corner and its businesses.”

Mercado, who goes by the artist-pseudonym Evoca1, is a well-known Dominican-born street artist from Miami. Some of his large-scale murals can be found in Mexico, Australia, his home of the Dominican Republic as well as other locations around the world.

Part founder of the “Sketches for Mankind” project, an initiative to feed hundreds of homeless people in Miami, Mercado’s art typically addresses the history of the area he’s working in, his subjects symbolizing topics such as childhood, struggle and cultural experiences.

The final mural is planned to be unveiled during the Hot Corner festival in June, said Tatiana Veneruso, ACAC Administrative assistant. Last year the festival was hosted on June 8 and 9, and it included performances, food, speeches, prizes and a celebration.

“We’re definitely honored that our site was chosen for this particular project,” Lynn Green, facility supervisor at Morton Theatre, said. “We are working tirelessly with ACAC to get this project moving to the point where the mural is actually on the side of the building.”

The budget for the mural is $24,000, funded by ACAC and the National Endowment for the Arts, Veneruso said.

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