John Porter Lasater’s painting of the collapsed bridge on Atlanta’s I-85

A maliciously set fire under an overpass of Interstate 85 in Atlanta caused its collapse, snarling traffic for days and prompting the governor of Georgia to declare a state of emergency. Painters in town for the Olmsted Plein Air event responded by — what else — painting the scene.

The Arkansas duo of John Porter Lasater IV and Jason Sacran arrived in Atlanta early to scope out the general scene. They couldn’t resist this one. The bridge collapsed on March 30. Stewart White and James Richards also painted the aftermath.

A photo of the collapsed bridge
A photo of the collapsed bridge

“Unfortunately, there are no photos of us painting that night, although we were set up side by side in the dark with our Revelites lighting the way,” says Lasater. “It was a circus of jackhammers, backhoes, and vehicle traffic. And, of course, the usual hecklers.”

Jason Sacran’s painting of the scene
Jason Sacran’s painting of the scene

Lasater said the hecklers, when comprehensible, had very little constructive criticism to offer about the paintings.

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