As you may know, March is National Women’s History Month. Last year, C4 Atlanta shared the stories of women arts administrators in our city as part of a project with the National Women’s History Project called “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives”.
C4 Atlanta is excited to curate this blog series for the second year in a row! We will be highlighting women’s stories on our blog and on our social media throughout the month of March and into April. This year we have expanded the project to include the stories of more women and to share a diverse range of experiences, including women nationally as well as locally. Sharing women’s triumphs challenges stereotypes within today’s society and overturns social assumptions about who women are and what women can accomplish.
With that being said, we’d love to introduce our next leading lady, Susannah Darrow.
Where do you work and what do you do?
I’m the Executive Director of ArtsATL.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an FBI Agent.
Who was your favorite artist/writer/performer growing up?
Piet Mondrian, Roahl Dahl, Ace of Base
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
My mom, definitely. She always made a point of exposing my sister and I to so many different things growing up and encouraged us to pursue anything we were interested in, regardless of whether or not we were successful at it. We were given room to fail a lot so that we could figure out what we really liked and were good at.
When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
My family is made up of a lot of creative people and supporters of the arts, so I have been interested in the arts for as long as I can remember. I have been working in the arts since I graduated from UGA in 2008.
How is art a passion for you?
I have always been incredibly interested in and excited by the work that creatives produce and am very passionate about extending my passion for that to other people in a way that can help them to build there own relationship with that work.
What are your thoughts on equality and representation of women in the arts?
I think that Atlanta is a great place to see this at work. The majority of arts organizations in Atlanta are run by women, and because of that we have a city that is a very supportive environment for female artists. In terms of the larger conversations about this I think we have made huge strides since the Guerilla Girls days of the representation of women in the arts. I think equally, if not more of an issue today, is equal representation of people of color in the art world.
What in your profession has given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment? Looking back, what would you have done differently? What would you do again?
I am very happy to have been a part of the founding of BURNAWAY and having built it to a point where it could be passed on to the next leadership there. Looking back, I am happy that I had all of the experiences I did but don’t think I would repeat or get rid of any of them. I think those experiences did a lot to inform and teach me how to be better at my job now and influenced where I am now.
What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
I am always excited to see what new people, projects, spaces, and ideas will have the opportunity to take off. Atlanta is a great space to experiment, fail and succeed. It allows the arts community to be playful and off the cuff in a way that leads to some really interesting arts production.
What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community?
I hope to give some context and feedback to the community in a way that helps to promote, develop and propel them forward.
Susannah Darrow is the executive director of ArtsATL. She was the founding executive director of BURNAWAY. Georgia Trend named her one of the top 40 leaders in Georgia under 40 years old in 2014, and the Georgia Center for Nonprofits honored her among the top 30 nonprofit leaders in Atlanta under 30 in 2013. She was in the 2014 class of Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta and is in the 2016 class of LEAD Atlanta. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Advisory Board for Atlanta Celebrates Photography. Darrow received a BA in Art History from the University of Georgia and MA in Art History from Georgia State.