Author: Chelsea Steverson

TechsmARTs Podcast : Episode 1 – Net Neutrality, Policy, & Action

Introducing our brand new TechsmARTs Podcast!

C4 Atlanta has launched a new podcast for our TechsmARTs program. This podcast will feature similar content to our in-person TechsmARTs meetups, which will still occur a few times a year. However, we hope that through our new podcast format we can provide a bank of relevant content that artists can access over and over again.  Additionally, we want to keep you up-to-date on trends in art and technology relevant to your arts careers.

Welcome to our inaugural episode! Future podcast content will be released monthly. Click the link below to subscribe. 

TechsmARTs Podcast : Episode 1 | Net Neutrality, Policy, & Action

Image of Protesters with Digital signs that say "Don't Block My Net".
Image by Backbone Campaign through Creative Commons.

Featuring: Adam Huttler from Fractured Atlas

Adam Huttler of Fractured Atlas speaks on the Federal Communications Commission’s current stance on net neutrality, and what the future may hold for artist and arts organizations if net neutrality is eliminated.

Contact your legislators and let them know how changes to net neutrality could affect your arts business. Find My Legislator’s Contact Information By Address

Fractured Atlas is a national arts service organization, serving the needs of professional artists and arts workers across the country. Click here to learn more about Fractured Atlas.

Click the link below to subscribe to the TechsmARTs Podcast!

Click Here to Rate and Subscribe

C4 Membership Drive

C4 Atlanta is please to announce our launch of the 2017 Member Drive.


Lisa Pellegrino shares: “I am a C4 Atlanta member because staying in touch with my artistic side is deeply important to becoming the best version of myself. Thanks to C4 not only do i have health insurance through the KP bridge program, but I also gained the skills and confidence to launch my website for my craft pesto sauce business.” {Image credit: Familiar Roots Photography}

Between now and June 30, 2017 C4 Atlanta has a goal of adding 50 new artist members to our creative family. 

Through our membership program C4 Atlanta connects artists through classes and member gatherings, amplifies artistic voices through advocacy work, and fosters a thriving and healthy arts community.

C4 Atlanta memberships help keep our training classes affordable for all, and insure that we can continue to provide vital services and programs to our community.

Membership begin at only $40 for the year and include many different benefits such as access to apply to KP Bridge health insurance, discounts to C4 Atlanta classes, cross membership with Fractured Atlas and so much more. See the full list of benefits here

Consider a membership for yourself or for a creative friend today!

Already a member of C4 Atlanta? Then help us by sharing your testimonials here.

 

 

5 Types of Bad Websites & How to Avoid

As an artist you NEED a website. All small businesses do. Not only does it serve as a place to sell your good and services, but it provides brand value to your customers. These days building a website is easier than ever, but there are some key things to consider before you begin.

Chelsea Steverson, C4 Atlanta’s Operations Manager and facilitator for Website Bootcamp, took some time this week to screenshot some of her least favorite websites, and breakdown common mistakes many small businesses make.


YOUR WEBSITE REPRESENTS YOU

Websites are an asset to your business. Everything including your social media and business cards should lead people to your website. Isn’t it important then to have a website that professionally represents what you do? This one was top on my list of least favorite sites. Simple, bland colors does not equal professionalism. Not only have they chosen to use Pantone 448C, voted the most offensive color in the world, they don’t even have a logo. Simple choices like color and logos are key in helping customers trust and identify your brand.


DESIGN WITH YOUR CUSTOMER IN MIND

You can be the BEST at what you do. You can win all the awards, and even be certified in your field. But when it comes to your website shouldn’t it be about your customer or client’s needs? This website was clearly designed with the optometrist in mind, not the customer. The entire first page is dedicated to his practice, and doesn’t provide clear, solid navigational options for customers to take action. Really think about what you want your customer to do when they come to your site. In this case, I’m sure this Eye Care business wants to be booking patients and providing eye care services. So why is the main page of this website dedicated to something different?


MAKE PRODUCT NAVIGATION & TRANSACTIONS AS EASY AS POSSIBLE 

If the main purpose of your website is to sell a product… you need to have images of your product. Not only are there no images, but there is no hierarchy of information, no buttons, and tiny text. People don’t buy things they can’t see. This is especially true for the creative sector. The customer has to really know what they want before they ever arrive on this website. This puts potential new customers in a place where exploring these leather goods is not intuitive and makes purchasing difficult. The more difficult browsing and purchasing is the less likely customers are to actually complete the transaction.


DON’T TELL US ABOUT PRODUCT, SHOW US

Wow. Just wow. This Web Solutions company provides lots of text about what they do and how well they do it, but I don’t see any links or images to websites they have actually designed. Without other examples all the customer has to go on is their current website, and I wouldn’t pay to have my business website look like this. Would you?


YOUR WEBSITE SHOULD REINFORCE YOUR BRAND & PRODUCT

There are so many things wrong here, so lets just stick with the basics. I’m sure you’ve heard that a professional looking website provides your business with the first chance at make a good impression on a customer.  What impression is Ling making? Truth be told, this is a pretty infamous website because of the purposeful, careless design. Either way, I wouldn’t be caught dead buying a car from Ling. From the Lisa Frank-ish background to the disturbing GIFs, I question the legitimacy of this business. The whole site feels like a joke. I don’t know about you, but the last time I bought a car it was pretty serious business. Not to mention that Ling felt the need to reiterate how trustworthy he is… kind of makes me not trust him. If Ling’s cars are really that great then he should consider customer testimonials/reviews as a way share this knowledge and build brand loyalty.


Are you in need of a website? Maybe you have one, but it needs major updates. Then join C4 Atlanta for Website Bootcamp, Tuesdays May 16th – May 30th from 10:30am to 1:30pm at Fuse Arts Center. 

Website Bootcamp is a three-week, hands-on workshop for artists and arts administrators who want to learn how to quickly build a website.

Learn more or register here >>

Meet the Panelist for Arts Journalism in the Digital Age

Join us on Monday, April 24, 2017  from 10:30am – 12:00pm for a free conversation on Arts Journalism in the Digital Age. 

We will discuss how the content, style and distribution of arts journalism and artistic critique changed as choices for journalistic consumption have increased. RSVP HERE.

MEET THE PANELIST:

Meredith Kooi  is a visual and performance artist, critic, curator, and educator based in ATL. Using research-based and process-based practices, Kooi engages radio broadcast, performance, drawing, mapping, writing, book-making and zines, video, photography, and installation to illuminate the embodied nature of the electromagnetic spectrum. In recent years, Meredith has been working collaboratively, connecting with others in conversations, oftentimes broadcasting those dialogues on air. She is an artist-in-residence with The Creatives Project (2015-17), a Wave Farm Transmission Artist, Hambidge Fellow, and recipient of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs Emerging Artist Award (2014-15).

Her art and culture criticism has been published in ART PAPERS, ArtsATL, ArtSlant, Bad At Sports, BURNAWAY, Dilettante Army, Temporary Art Review, Wussy, and soon to be Number. In 2014 she started the curatorial platform ALTERED MEANS, and from 2011-2016 she was editor and assistant director of Radius, an experimental curatorial platform based in Chicago.

Meredith is currently working on her PhD at Emory University in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, received her MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2011), and earned her BA in Environmental Studies from Denison University (2007).

Twitter: @kooi_is_birdcage Website: meredithkooi.us


Floyd Hall is a cultural producer, storyteller, writer and documentarian from Atlanta, Georgia. His professional work often relates to the intersection of media and technology as platforms to bring cultures together and make the world a more fulfilling place. As an artist he is interested in the process of how we come to define and design ourselves, and is passionate about how history, culture and art blend together to construct narratives of place.

He has worked across the media spectrum in a variety of roles and capacities, including strategy, research and production; his current and past work spans several industries, including Gaming Retail, Brand Management, Nonprofit Arts, Social Change, Sporting Goods, Sports Media and Luxury Lifestyle.

Floyd counts the experiences of his Intown Atlanta upbringing, childhood summers spent in Augusta, Georgia and living in New York City as an adult as the primary influences on his life. Time spent in these locations gave him moments of clarity and insight about regional perspectives, the immigrant experience, how spaces influence patterns of life, and the imagination and ingenuity of different cultures.

Floyd is passionate about the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts & Mathematics) disciplines and holds a BS in Mathematics from Morehouse College, a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and an MBA from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.

He has supplementary training in Radio & Television Broadcasting, is a Hambidge Center Creative Residency Fellow and has presented as a guest lecturer at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Spelman College, Spelman College Musuem of Fine Art, the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning and is a media contributor to ArtsATL and Americans for the Arts.

He has produced over 700 podcast episodes covering Art, Pop Culture, Fashion, Sports, and Technology, and has worked with several arts-related organizations in the Atlanta area, including Woodruff Arts Center/High Museum, Flux Projects, ArtsATL, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and WonderRoot.

Twitter: @floydintl Website: floydcreates.com Soundcloud: @floydintl


Laura Relyea is Executive Editor of ArtsATL. Her book, All Glitter, Everything, a collection of flash prose, was released by Deer Bear Wolf in March 2015. A portion of the book was included in the 2015 &Now Experimental Fiction Anthology, released biennially by the University of Notre Dame. Her essays, reviews, poems, and features have been published in The Bitter Southerner, Thought Catalog, Monkey Bicycle, Necessary Fiction, and elsewhere. Her book criticism has been published in PASTE, Fanzine, and Vouched Books. She was previously the Managing Editor of Scoutmob, and the Editor & Chief of Vouched Books. Relyea received a BA in Telecommunications and Creative Writing from Ball State University.

Twitter: @laura_relyea @ArtsATLcom Website: laurarelyea.com artsATL.com


Victoria Camblin is a writer, editor, art historian, and curator of public programming. She is the Editor and Artistic Director of ART PAPERS, a 38 year-old arts magazine and non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia. From 2006-2013, she was Editor of 032c, a Berlin-based contemporary culture magazine, where she remains on the editorial board. Her writing has appeared in such publications as Artforum and Texte zur Kunst, in addition to a number of exhibition catalogues and artists’ books, and she has organized and contributed to public programming and exhibitions in Europe, in the Middle East, and in the southeastern United States. Camblin attended Columbia University in New York and the University of Cambridge (UK). She is a recipient of DAAD and Rauschenberg fellowships, and was the 2009-2012 Leslie Wilson Major Scholar at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Twitter: @vcamblin @artpapers Website: artpapers.org


Stephanie Cash has been the Editor of BURNAWAY since November 2013. She was an editor at Art in America magazine in New York from 1993 to 2012. At BURNAWAY, she is responsible for all editorial content for the website and print editions, and for producing the Atlanta Art Guide, a free guide and map of current exhibitions and venues in the city. She also manages the Art Writers Mentorship Program, now in its third year.

Twitter: @stephanie_cash @BurnAwayGA Website: burnaway.org

 

 

Leading Lady : Stephanie Kong

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 final next Leading Lady for March 2017: Stephanie Kong

Stephanie Kong, Program Director for WonderRoot

Where do you work and what do you do?
As the WonderRoot Programs Director, I am responsible and accountable for the design and management of educational, artistic, and public programs which fulfill the mission and vision of WonderRoot. As a senior member of staff, I champion strategic plan initiatives focused on the systematic integration of arts and activism into programs, the evaluation of the social and financial impact of programs, and the management of program staff. I develop indicators of success and program assessment plans, recommend new programs, and oversee the fulfillment of grant commitments. I graduated from the Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta in 2016 and participated on the review committee for the 2017 cohort. I currently participate in the Georgia Council for Nonprofits’ Momentum Program and the Blank Foundation’s inaugural Audience Building Roundtable cohort. I also oversee a fiscally-sponsored project, the Humble Telescopes, with my partner.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I have always been interested in arts. My mother invited her brother from Seoul to live with us in America, start a new life, and to help her raise me and my sister. He is a calligrapher and painter, and he filled our tiny apartments with his illustrations and paintings. My mother was a photographer, but she focused on it as a hobby rather than a craft. Her profession as a pharmacist created greater opportunities for her in this country.

Fugus, 2012, Photograph by Stephanie Kong

Art always has a home in my life. I write short stories and obsessively take photos. I use art as a means of expression and release, and it has been a very private practice. I use photography as a way to document present histories. Being a child of an immigrant from a war-torn country, we do not hold many records that recount who is in our family. I am an emotional hoarder, and I use photos as a means of archiving my life and the context and complexities of the world that continue to shape me.

I have been in arts nonprofit work for almost two years, but I have always had art integrated into my professional life. I hold a Bachelors in Social Work and pursued Art Therapy. I graduated during the recession so I turned to progressive educational pedagogy and integrated arts as the bloodline of that approach.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I (still) want to be a cartoon voice actor, photographer for National Geographics, and a movie director. I thought I’d be the next Steven Spielberg after I watched Jurassic Park.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I’d rather have a potluck or dinner party like Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, and everyone has a plus 1 including Nina Simone, bell hooks, Angela Davis, Asata Shakur, Rebecca Solnit, Yayoi Kasuma, Camilla Paglia, Pussy Riot, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Patti Smith. We’d talk about what I talk about with my friends- our relationships with ourselves, our bodies, our lovers, nature, the state of politics, travelling, food, and cats.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Obviously my mom has had the most direct influence on my life. Perhaps Confucius. Apparently I come from his lineage, and the Korean culture is heavily influenced by his philosophy. There are aspects that I do and do not agree with, and I do not prescribe myself to the constraints of some of the values, however, I also view some of them as utterly beautiful.

How is art a passion for you?
Art is a form of storytelling. It is a mean of archiving emotions and events.

Shroud of Jeju, 2001, Photograph by Stephanie Kong

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
The rise of women is the rise of the nation.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The artists and their passions. I love being with artists when they are fully present and cooking or creating or walking and intentional about each action they take. I love doing that.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
Empathy

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
www.wonderroot.org
https://c4atlanta.org/project/humble-telescopes/

Leading Lady : Mary Ruth Ralston

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 2017: Mary Ruth Ralston

Mary Ruth Ralston is a local Atlanta actor, education artist, fight choreographer, director, and lighting designer.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I work at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company where I am an actor and education artist, as well as sometime fight choreographer, director, and lighting designer.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I grew up in Athens, GA with great exposure to the arts and started dancing at about age 4. I really got into acting and theater my freshman year of high school.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a dancer, marine biologist, and/or Jedi knight.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Ooh, tough one. Right now I think I’d like to sit down and chat with Virginia Wolfe about art, time, culture, and gender. I just read her incredible novel “Orlando”, and I’d like very much to talk with her about it.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents. They both worked very hard to encourage my imagination and to instill in me the desire to work hard, improve myself professionally and personally, and do my best to maintain a strong sense of empathy, humor, and ethics.

Mary Ruth Ralston in Atlanta Shakespeare Company’s production of Henry VI.

How is art a passion for you?
It is honestly very difficult for me to imagine not being a performing artist. I feel very strongly that it is what I need to be doing, and it is a career that, although often difficult, is uniquely challenging and rewarding.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I think it’s moving in a great direction. We’re still in a lot of places facing the old problems of lack of complex female characters in plays and lack of female leadership in the arts in general, but I’m seeing more and more women breaking the mold of outdated gender stereotypes and taking charge as directors, writers, and leaders of arts organizations. I know so many amazing women who are becoming cornerstones of the Atlanta arts scene working incredibly hard to push for diversity and intersectionality. Also, being someone whose passion is classical theater, which can be terribly restrictive for women, I’m benefiting a lot personally from the Shakespeare Tavern and other theaters being willing to cast outside the traditional gender binary.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
I’ve experienced some really moving displays of cooperative and supportive spirit among Atlanta’s artists. I’ve seen so many of my friends and colleagues encourage, uplift, and celebrate each other’s work. I think we have an amazing community of artists who support each other and enable growth, creativity, and collaboration in our city.

Mary Ruth Ralston (pictured right) shows off her skills in the the famous Hamlet vs. Laertes fight from Fern Theatre’s all female production of Hamlet.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I’m hoping that I get to continue playing parts that are traditionally played by men and encourage out-of-the-box casting in that regard, but I think the most important thing I can do is to keep encouraging students to embrace empathy, passion, and open-mindedness and impart the idea that a career in the arts is not just possible but important and useful.

Leading Lady : Yun Bai

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 2017: Yun Bai

Yun Bai is an Atlanta based artist who creates flower collage paintings using porn magazines as an expression of human rights.

Where do you work and what do you do?
It’s been an adventure, being a visual artist. I create flower collage paintings using porn magazines as an expression of human rights to inspire hope and healing. Sharing my art, life experiences, and perspectives have allowed me to engage in speaking, panel discussions, consulting, various collaborations, leadership opportunities, etc. I’m passionate about diversity and women’s rights, especially when it pertains to our willingness in having those difficult, vulnerable, uncomfortable conversations.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I remember embracing art as a small child, but didn’t realize my connection to it until I was fourteen during a high school art class. We were instructed to do self-portraits, and our teacher introduced us to Prismacolor color pencils. I remember being so happy in those art classes. Ever since then, it’s been a necessary part of my life. Professionally I started in 2003, after studying art in college.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist. There isn’t anything else I’d rather be. I was set on it even though my parents wanted me to be a lawyer, doctor, or accountant. When I was younger I thought about being a fashion designer, though part of me thinks being a florist would be fun too.

“Gentle Awakening” 8″ x 8″ Porn magazines, acrylic on wood 2016 Artist: Yun Bai

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
The Chinese empress Wu Zetian, from the Tang Dynasty. She was the only woman to officially lead China. I would ask her how she was able to access her leadership, what regrets she had, what she would do differently. I would ask how she influenced men to be more supportive and respectful of women during her time, and what insights she would give women of the world today. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Zetian

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
There’s so many people that inspire me, but I would have to say my high school art teacher Debi Barrett-Hayes (Florida State University School, Tallahassee, FL). I learned of my love for art through her. It was her belief and investment in me doing well as a student that paved a career commitment to art. She is an amazing teacher who really impact her students.

How is art a passion for you?
Art has become a necessity for joy. Making it, being around it, expressing ourselves through it, being inspired by others’ expressions, all joyful things. Art has many roles – documentarian, speaker, healer, muse. Art is a voice, a observer of the times, comforting inspiration. Sometimes it really is the colorful air I need to breathe.

Yun Bai advocates for continuation of funding for the arts.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
We need more of it (in other industries as well). It’s important to make sure women have platforms where perspectives are heard and respected, so our contributions can flourish. Women bring ideas, connections, resources, labor to endeavors yet often are not given the platform to fully speak, nor participate. We also need more women to sit on the boards of organizations.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
How passionate, committed, and knowledgeable our community is. How fast we are growing. How our city government listens and supports us.

“Expansive Flow” 8″ x 8″ Porn magazines, acrylic on wood 2016 Artist: Yun Bai

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I am passionate about cultivating art collectors and patrons, and hope to collaborate with other members of our community to welcome new collectors into our city’s vibrant art eco-system. Recently I shared an idea with the community that has received positive feedback on how we can go about it, https://youtu.be/dMM4DIbr6aE. It’s always exciting to welcome those unfamiliar with art into our fascinating art world – it would be cool to co-create something as a community that can celebrate each of our perspectives.

Experimentation and taking risks are important to me, both artistically and business-wise. Creating something that never existed before and trying out new ways of doings, it all fascinates me. It’s also part of evolving. I look forward to sharing these ideas and experiments with the community, as we continue to inspire one another through innovation and servitude.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
Website: www.yunbai.com

Instagram: @yunbaiart
Twitter: @yunbaiart
Facebook: www.facebook.com/YUNBAIart.design

Leading Lady : Constance Echo Palmer

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 2017: Constance Echo Palmer

Constance Echo Palmer, local Atlanta aerial and dance artist. 

Where do you work and what do you do?
I manage and teach at The Space: A Movement Arts Studio in Atlanta. We offer aerial, dance, and yoga classes as well as host events and performances.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I began dancing as a child, mostly focusing on ballet. This evolved to aerial arts in my adult life and I haven’t looked back. I opened The Space in the spring of 2014!

 

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?

Constance shows off her aerial skills on silks.

I was planning to be a doctor, I have a B.S. in Biology from Oglethorpe University. I still love science but I also love creating so I decided to take a year off after graduating to see where the arts would take me and here I am.

 

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
There is not just one, but I would love to have coffee with any of the woman of circuses golden age, like Lillian Leitzel, and ask them what it was like to travel the world and perform daring acts under the big top. Now days we have such amazing safety standards and professionals that continue to build state of the art apparatus and safety equipment, but back then these ladies were quite literally putting their lives on the line paving the way for us!

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Definitely my parents. My Mom is always up to chat when I’m alone cleaning the studio at 1 in the morning. I remember calling my Dad before opening the space and asking if he thought I was being foolish for putting everything on the line and taking out a lone to start the studio. He said to me “If you never swing, you’ll never hit anything.”

How is art a passion for you?
When something is the first thing you think about when you wake up, or keeps you up at night because you have ideas and want to work through them, you know its what you should be doing with your life.

Constance preps for a Corde Lisse act which involves acrobatics on a vertically hanging rope.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I am fortunate to be in an industry that has, at least on the performance side of things, a very strong female presence and representation. Behind the scenes in tech and rigging its definitely the opposite and you have to work hard to earn the respect of peers.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The Atlanta arts scene is so diverse with such a broad spectrum. There is so much visual and performance art here that there is always something to do, see, and be a part of. Its also super exciting that we have a huge number of female show producers in Atlanta, such as Sadie Hawkins who produces regular burlesque and variety shows in order to give performers an outlet!

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
The Space was designed to be a place to create, a place to educate, and a place to sustain circus. By providing hours of open studio time every day of the week I hope to have an environment for professional artists to come and practice as well as create works. We host events and shows at The Space that are open to the community to show Atlanta that circus is accessible and that everyone can be a part of it. We offer recreational classes for adults so that anyone can try circus and aerial arts! We also have training opportunities for youth and teens in order to help them develop into professionals.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
Our website is www.TheSpaceATL.com and we are on all social media sites (facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, snapchat) as @TheSpaceATL – check it out because we have some shows coming up including our next Open Grip on April 15th which is a sort of open mic night for movement artists.

Leading Lady : SHANEQUA GAY

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 2017: Shanequa Gay

Shanequa Gay — Atlanta based painter, artivist, designer, and poet in residence with the Creatives Project. Image: Ode to Dantavious Chatham / 36 x 48 / Oil, Flashe and Acrylic / Wood Panel / 2016

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am currently an artist in residence through the Creatives Project. My studio is at The Goat Farm Building 8 Studio UMR – 6 (please stop by). I am a magician and or a painter and or a poet and or a designer and or an artivist.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I have had an interest in the arts all of my life. I was a creative being at an early age, as a kid on into teenagerdom I drew, danced, played the violin and the like. I have been a working professional artist (with on and off moments) for the past 12 years.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Pediatrician and an Artist. Which sort of balanced out, I am a Mother and an artist therefore I play the role of a Pediatrician (albeit unlicensed), I have played the role never the less.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Maya. I would have lunch with Maya on the shores of the Cote d’ivoire. We would talk about how her life story marries so beautifully and unfortunately with mine. I would ask her a million questions about her life’s journey. How did she smile and dance and speak her way out of her pain and deliver so many others along with her? I would sit at her knee eating pineapples and strawberries (because they are my favorite) and ask for her wisdom. She would pull the coil of my hair and say, “Nah, girl listen…” assuring me the Creator has giving me everything that I need. And I would say, “but Maya how do I give birth to nations through my work, too?” I would have lunch with Maya Angelou of course.

(Diptych image)
Dual Citizen / 48 x 48 / Mixed Media / Wood Panel / 2016

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My Mothers. My birth Mother has hands down been the most impactful person in my life, I love her so. However, I would be amiss if I did not speak of the many women who have loved, chastised, supported, blessed, looked out, and prayed for me on this path of mine. There is a gathering of wise, knowledgeable, no nonsense women that are always accessible to me. I am so grateful.

How is art a passion for you?
I live, I breathe, I am my art. It is like a relationship when it is good it is wonderful. We talk all the time, meet up at specific times, talk about our past and plans for our future, make love through the medium, we break up, give each other some breathing room for a day or some years and then hop back to it like we never missed a beat. Me and my art… we are in love.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
It is still lacking and that gets old. The fact that race and gender are still on the table of things we need to talk about equalizing is just an antiquated conversation. How can we claim to be a progressive nation when we still operate in 18th century ideals? Make room. Make room for women and diversity, and this does not mean one standing in place for the other. How long will we be content with museums and creative institutions passing around the same canon of the “great white hope” of male artists when there are ridiculously dope females and ethnic groups that can add flavor and spice to the white rice? How long are we going to be content with only eating white rice with a male only sign ingrained on our napkins, plates, and forks?

What If the Ancestors? / 18 x 24 / Oil, Flashe and Acrylic / Wood Panel / 2016 (An elder dragging a hybrid is depicted) 

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
Atlanta is vibrant! Atlanta is the capital for cultural change. The civil rights movement and OutKast come from this place, does it get any better? I should say not. The Atlanta art community is creating new movements, its own dialogue. Mayor Kasim Reed is “making room” with the 1/10 penny sales tax to fund arts programming; thriving organizations, galleries, and magazines have continued to blossom and rally support for Atlanta artists, the film and production industry is thriving giving the opportunity for the music, theater, and visual arts worlds to collide to create innovative hybrid art forms. I am very excited about the arts in the ATL, something fresh is brewing I intend to be apart of it.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
Through “street mythologies,” video installations, performance and the like, I want to tell the stories of marginalized people here in Atlanta and abroad. I hope to spark a conversation with my work, to create a shift in how we think about humanity, who we assign and unassign humanity to, to question why people need to feel validated by an other, a lesser than. Why does it make people feel good to have another group under them if they are truly secure? This tradition, a sort of ritual of sacrificing people to prisons and systemic poverty because of ethnicity. I want to uproot and shine light on what separates us in order to mend, heal, and make room.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
site — http://www.shanequagay.com/

Insta — https://www.instagram.com/shanequagay/

twitter — https://twitter.com/shanequagay

Leading Lady : Aviva Kessler

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 2017: Aviva Kessler

Atlanta musician and activist, Aviva Kessler.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am a full time musician – activist
I have a band called Aviva and the Flying Penguins and a youtube channel “Avivasingsout” where I have a weekly show “Sunday Songwriting” and write and perform a new song every week often about current events, activism and local art. I also teach exercise classes at the YMCA as well as music lessons.
I founded the Georgia Hemp Economic Revival Organization in 2013 and work tirelessly speaking about how hemp can help our environment, as well as meeting with our legislators and traveling.
I also teach communities how to build with hemp hurd and earthen, sustainable materials as well as upcycling.
I built a little earthen playhouse at Atlanta’s Wylde Center with and for children who now have a real life example of a house they can build with there own hands that is from and kind to the earth. I regularly teach workshops on how to mix this earthen concrete and create as a team.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
My whole life. I always cared about the earth. In fourth grade I asked my teacher if I could go study in the library instead of stay for social studies, found a book on recycling and got totally absorbed. She had to send another student to get me because I stayed there fascinated reading for so long. I had never heard of recycling until then, the machine pictured was so big it took up a whole big warehouse room. That book became more important than so much in that moment. I felt its power. Since that day I saved my paper which finally began getting recycling in our town five years later. Music began even earlier, as young as I can remember. I won a national contest when I was 8 and performed for so many people, maybe thousands. It was one of the scariest things I ever remember doing. It was an instrumental song on piano called “Purple Blue” about the mountains. As a multi-intrumentalist and triple thread performer I studied music, dance and acting all of my life.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?

Aviva leads a re-plastering of Ox the Earthen Playhouse which was built at the Wylde Center. The earthen plaster is made out of lime, sand, and hemp.

I wanted to be a singer but just one day a week. I always saw the importance of staying connected to community. I wanted to be a different thing every day of the week. As a child I remember choosing 6 occupations for each day of the week with one day off- it was Doctor, Farmer, Singer, Dancer, Mommy, Chef.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I am not as keen on just talking as much as doing an activity together, like dancing or singing or mountain hiking or playing trivia, painting, or cooking a meal together. Just eating and talking isn’t as much of an experience. I would want an experience with Sarah Vaughan. (Though I would want Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday to be there too) The talent, depth of soul and truth in their voices melts me. I would just want to learn their life, their favorite recipes, things to do, etc. I would want to sing with them :). I would want to know their dreams and songs they never could sing within the limits of the industry.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
God. I learned who God was when I traveled to Israel by myself at 12 years old. I learned how to overcome fear with love because of God’s presence. I felt God with me and I recognized this support in ways I cannot explain. It gave me courage, a sense of self, humility, and so much compassion in my heart. Struggle with ego is daily and it takes effort, kind of like scheduling lunch dates, doctor’s appointments, etc., and it takes a series of tools even, to sit still and connect with God and this is what directs me every day. God holds my hand, or maybe sends angels to, as I write about my past, get through obstacles from my past effecting my present situations, write music, practice, take risks, whatever it is I feel I am not alone.. I feel guided and accompanied and I know it’s not all about me. I have met so many people along the way who have taught me so many tools and inspired me- and ultimately what I got most from all of these inspirations was coming home to God, to come home to me.

How is art a passion for you?
Art is as important as food and fresh air for me. It allows me to get outside of myself and grow. It gives me space for emotional processing and jumping into the mysteries of life. It gives me a platform to express what I cannot express in any other way. It gives me peace. It frees me from the illusion of mental prisons. It allows me to challenge societal norms. It also give me tools to train my body mind and soul into a joyful avatar, as it were, of poignant messages. It makes me a better person and hopefully inspires other to feel better about their lives as well.

Aviva portrays a lemon for “500 Songs For Kids” with her band Aviva and the Flying Penguins.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I think good intentions are there, however there is a lot of ingrained male dominance. I appreciate anyone, man or woman who has the skills to contribute to a project, I think a lot can be bettered for communication skills between men and women. I think this has posed limitations in the music business especially. I don’t like generalizing, but it makes a whole lot of sense that Women as a whole, I believe, are still finding our voices, still finding that permission to take up a lot of space, still have different sensitivities than our male counterparts. I enjoy working in solitude a LOT, because of the connection I feel to spirit in this peace, but also perhaps because it’s easier and “safer”. Growth in collaboration takes a lot of communication, persistence, overcoming painful triggers, and compassion. Learning to trust our own guidance is key. Music can require long late hours in all of its aspects and that makes family life challenging, but you can say that for a lot of professions, like doctors and reporters. I think having a support team is key.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
I love the tangibility of the music industry. So many great musical artists have cultured here… the indigo girls, India Arie, Janelle Monae, Blind Willie, Outkast, the list is endless really. I love that any night of the week I can find a jam or performance with someone from the horn section, percussionist, drummer, violinist, etc. that works with well-known artists. I love that I’ve gotten to work with such talent. I love the studios and engineers here. Some of the best! I also love the many artists here. There really is a constant state of creation in Atlanta almost anywhere you look for it and quite a bit of activism too. I love all the urban gardens and organic farmers markets that have their own art status and accumulate local artists for their events. There are so many movers and shakers here and its a privilege to rub elbows with them.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
So many dreams here.
I would love to see an earthen artist sustainable village created here.
(More affordable housing for artists in general would be ideal)
I would love to see music stay and thrive in our educational systems here.
I would love to see a bigger hub for artist-activists – perhaps even an artist-activist “coffeehouse”
I would love to see more agents and local venues cultivating local talent by pairing them with well-known touring acts and music-business mentorships.
I hope to keep providing inspirational ear-candy with my musical contributions and collaborations.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?

www.avivaandtheflyingpenguins.com
www.youtube.com/avivasingsout
www.instagram.com/aviva_flyingpenguins
www.facebook.com/avivaandtheflyingpenguins
Facebook Groups: mudbuildersofatlanta and georgiahempeconomicrevivalorganization