Leading Lady : Maggie Kane

Atlanta has a strong and growing creative economy. Everyday, we meet women who are on the ground working to break down barriers, build community, inspire, inform, and entertain the people of Atlanta through the arts.

For National Women’s History Month in March, C4 Atlanta will be curating a Leading Lady blog series celebrating the women in the creative economy of Greater Atlanta. Over the last several weeks, we have asked the public to nominate women in the creative sector who inspire and have positively impacted the Atlanta community through their contributions. 

We are proud to introduce the Next Leading Lady for March 2019: Maggie Kane

Where do you work and what do you do?
I’m a serial social entrepreneur who’s founded + developed several community-serving businesses and organizations that promote workforce development opportunities for creatives in Atlanta.

Some of these organizations include: Streetcat.media (social systems research + development), Cut Cake Factory (membership-based woodshop + educational facility for artists who are new to fabrication located inside The Bakery), Freeside Atlanta (educational director + maker programs development), Google Developer Group of Atlanta (lead program organizer for monthly events + annual software developer conference), and more.

I also provide technical assistance, pro bono, in the form of website assistance + business development strategies for intersectional, grassroots non-profits and artists in Atlanta.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
Being a very visual person, I’ve always incorporated artist representation into all realms of my work. In school, I can remember carefully sketching out ideas from textbooks rather than writing down their contextual information for my test notes. This practice would make it easier for me to retain information and more accurately express my interpretation of what I was learning.

I pursued a BFA in Visual Arts as well as a BA in Sociology from Tulane University and blend my academic background with active educational programming development (mostly in technology) for grassroots neighborhood groups, DIY arts organizations, and small businesses.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I revel the pursuit of equity and the cataloging of details, so there were many career paths that I’ve considered over the years.

The first job I seriously considered pursuing (in middle school, of course) was a Crime Scene Investigator because they got to inspect crime scenes for clues and do a bunch of science to catch the bad guys. The next career that I heavily considered was being a tenured philosophy professor. I wanted this job because I was a high school student who was actively applying to colleges and believed that the position being a professor would be one of prestige and omniscience. After taking my first philosophy class in college, I quickly realized that the field of academic philosophy was both too dry and removed from solving real life problems. So I changed paths, again.

Instead of pursuing philosophy, I ended up spending my time in college studying social systems and how to research them. I worked as a research assistant for a cultural sociologist and documented the physical effects of gentrification in several New Orleans neighborhoods. After working as a research assistant, I set my sights on learning more about technology and how it can be an extremely equitable tool set in the hands of marginalized people, especially those who face the negative effects of gentrification.

So my vision for where I would end up in life has changed drastically over the years, but my mission still remains the same.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I would love to wine and dine with Joan of Arc! I spent a lot of my childhood imagining her strength in standing up for her people in the form of leading the French army to fight against English precolonial occupation — as a 19 year old!

I would love to ask her advice on a number of things, from leadership skills to dealing with selfish men in power. Her courage and sacrifice for her people are incredibly inspiring. Plus her battle armor looks were super fresh.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My dad, Justin Kane, is my biggest influence in my life. As a serial entrepreneur and compassionate community leader himself, he’s taught me a number of very valuable life and business skills. Some of these skills include things like passionately leading a team to achieve their goals and providing empathetic support to those in need. I’m very thankful for the role he’s played in my life and everything I’ve learned from him.

How is art a passion for you?
Art has allowed me to explore and express my passions throughout my life. It’s like a language to me – one with lots of power. While my practice consistently evolves, I always employ forms of symbolic sensory expression to explore realms of being and the pursuit of equity.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
This is a battle that I consistently deal with in several industries, including tech, art, and fabrication spaces. While it’s common now for corporate and DIY organizations to promote inclusive hiring + programming practices, I usually see these efforts as a response to toxic cultures that already exist in these spaces. I make it a top priority to incorporate strict codes of conduct regarding harassment into all programs that I develop and be proactive myself in educating people in how to be respectful of others in public spaces or gatherings.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
I moved to Atlanta in 2014, and the most exciting thing about the arts in Atlanta is that I’ve seen more black artists thrive as creatives in this city than other places I’ve lived. I’ve met so many black photographers, graphic artists, musicians, fashion designers, makers, and more that run their own creative businesses, and I think that speaks to Atlanta being an equitable space for creatives to pursue their passion in this city.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I hope that people can learn how to be more independent from me. I tell people that I’m a hacker, and I think that best defines what I do. Hacking is the simple act of solving a problem with a creative solution. I like to show people that they can be creative in all realms of their life, and the more independent they can be in their creativity, the easier it will be for them to lead a comfortable and engaging life.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
You can learn more about my current and past work on my website for Streetcat.media (https://www.streetcat.media/stuff — IG/FB @streetcat.media) and catch a glimpse of my latest community project, the Cut Cake Factory (https://www.cutcakefactory.com/ — IG/FB @cutcakefactory).