Last week, the C4 team journeyed to Memorial Drive in Atlanta to visit Wonder Root. Wonder Root is more than just a building. They provide a place and a mission for artists in Atlanta to unite around. According to their website, this is the Wonder Root mission: “WonderRoot is an Atlanta-based 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization committed to uniting artists and community to inspire positive social change.”
Their community center offers a place for artists of different disciplines (film, visual and music) to create art. On our tour, the C4 team was greeted by Omotola Ajibade (or Tola for short). Tola guided us through Wonder Root’s community center: the sound studio, a room full of film editing equipment, a darkroom, a ceramic studio… The space reminded me of the old Dr. Who–the building is far more expansive than it looks from the outside (sorry for the old-school geek-out).
After our tour, Tola, Lyre, Joe and I all sat down to talk about arts in Atlanta. We discussed the philosophy behind an arts service organization (like C4). Service organizations are defined more by who we serve than by how we serve. C4 serves the arts community. I think we all felt that room for collaboration is wide open among arts peers.
Real quick about collaboration: I am very familiar with this word. It is now a buzz word in education, arts, nonprofits, and other sectors. It is a way to stretch dollars. Good. I get it. However, what we need to distinguish quickly within the arts community is true collaboration verses cooperation. Very different. In my experience, most of the so-called collaborative experiences have really been just nice cooperation. Not always a bad thing, arts disciplines (and arts service nonprofits) need to retain some autonomy to stay relevant. Otherwise, we begin to water down individual organization’s strengths.
Now I will return to the Wonder Root story. Thank you for indulging me.
Whether your are a seasoned professional or you would like to dabble in a new adventure, I would suggest looking into a Wonder Root membership. It is not a lot of money, and you get access to their resources. It is on my “to do” list. My husband and I would like to use the darkroom. I have been wanting him to teach me how to develop film, old-school way, for about 10 years now…
For more about Wonder Root, check out this article from Creative Loafing.