The Candidates + Artists (Part Three) – City Council

Yesterday, we posted the candidates for Mayor of Atlanta responses to our questionnaire. You may also download the PDF version of their responses HERE.

We also collected responses from candidates for city council. We received a number of replies from almost all of the districts. This was a little tougher to collect. We received bounce-back emails, some candidates didn’t have a website, or no email information was available on their Facebook pages. After qualification, we culled down our list and used the email contact info found on the city’s site. The initial outreach took hours because of the amount of sleuthing it took to find contact emails for candidates. I mention all of this to explain why we don’t have a majority of responses; however, we do have feedback from some viable candidates (about 15 of them).

I am not going to copy city council replies within the body of this blog–it is a lot of pages. However, we created a handy-dandy PDF with city council candidate responses: City Council Candidates’ Responses on the Arts (PDF)

Image of Atlanta
Photo by Ibstidham0. Courtesy of pixabay.

Just a note from me – nobody owns arts advocacy. Not us. Not anyone. In my opinion, the more voices the better. The more artists are engaged, the better. After this election (and very likely runoff(s)) we know one thing will be true: we will have a new mayor and we will have a city council that looks much different than what we have now.

Stay engaged. Stay engaged. Stay engaged. 

Our elected officials work for you. Volunteer. Join your local neighborhood association and NPU. Your voice matters. I know many in our city have been left out for years. I hope to see those people reclaim their voices in local politics. Look around your local meetings. Who is there? Who isn’t? How can you, as an artist (or arts supporter) use your privilege (education, social status, etc.) to widen the circle of inclusion? Diverse cities are stronger.

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We often ask: “how do we keep artists in Atlanta?” This is a complex question that requires a comprehensive-solution based approach. Education, jobs, affordability, transportation–these are part of the solution for artists and other sectors. But often we leave out civic engagement. Making space for artists to create ties to a city–to strengthen their social cohesion also helps retain artists.  That is C4’s interest. We want to see artists call Atlanta home. This is why we entered with more fervor the advocacy space two years ago. We also support artists self-organizing without institutions within their own networks. Together, we can build the Atlanta that truly supports art workers. Having said that, we are happy to continue to reach out to elected officials on policy matters that affect artists. We will keep doing this now and after the election. So! Onward and upward…and into 2018 which will usher in the gubernatorial race! (I need a nap)

Please vote on November 7th. #ArtistsVOTE

Candidates + Artists (Part Two) – Mayoral Race

We asked the candidates for Atlanta Mayor four questions about artists and Atlanta. It was a brief questionnaire. We are happy to report that we heard back from almost all of the candidates currently running. We did NOT receive a questionnaire response from the following campaigns: John Eaves, Vincent Fort, and Rohit Ammanamanchi. We emailed each campaign several times with reminders and we called each campaign (where we could find a phone number). C4 Atlanta does not endorse any candidate for Mayor or persons for any other elected office. Our goal was to get feedback from candidates about their ideas for supporting artists in Atlanta. There are many issues outside of the arts facing Atlanta–that is not lost on us. However, we serve artists in accordance with our mission so we focused on artists as central to our questionnaire.

Atlanta Skyline

*You may download a PDF Version of candidates’ responses    

To recap, here are the questions that we sent on behalf of our Advocacy Committee (artists, staff, and board members):

  • Who do you consider Atlanta’s Cultural leaders?

  • Considering such models as L.A. and Detroit (to name a few) that incorporate artists into planning and city government, what presence do you see for local artists in city government work beyond Contracts for Arts Services through OCA, Elevate, and city commissions?

  • How do you plan to work with *city council to protect the ways artists work in this city? (Some initiatives on our radar: removing barriers to small business development for artists and entrepreneurs; protection of free speech; freelancer benefits similar to NYC)?

  • How do you plan to include individual artists/freelancers in policies and programs to provide affordable housing and workspace?

    In no particular order, here are the candidates’ responses (note: we did not edit responses)

Keisha Lance Bottoms

“Our cultural leaders come in many forms. They are the young men who create music in their basements, the young women who design and sew their own clothes, the parents who support the Arts through volunteer hours and donations, they are the children who find passion in exploring culture in our Centers of Hope.

Cities across the country have turned to artists to inform their long-term planning. As Atlanta faces the future, we should certainly engage local artists for their uniquely valuable perspectives on the kind of city we can and should be. Minneapolis turned to local artists when deciding how to address a variety of social and environmental issues. San Francisco established an artist-in-residence program to increase public interest in recycling and re-use. And other cities, including Portland, Oregon and Philadelphia, have since adopted the artist-in-residence model, often in their planning departments. I think a program of this type would be a great fit for Atlanta, and I would be excited to work with artists and members of the philanthropic community to explore such a program as mayor.

Artists and artistic expression are vital to Atlanta’s culture and character. But I am connected to the arts in a more personal way: my father was a professional musician and, growing up, I saw everything it took to bring his craft to life. As mayor, I will bring those experiences with me to office, and I am looking forward to working with City Council to find ways to elevate the arts and to protect artists. I’ve brought forward one such idea with my All Rise Atlanta plan, which includes a proposal to support entrepreneurs and small businesses, including artists, by providing workspace, mentoring, and technical and other assistance to help them succeed.

Just like too many Atlantans, artists often struggle to make ends meet, taking on work outside of their creative field – including minimum wage work – just to pay the bills. At the current federal minimum wage of $7.25, a parent who works full time, year round, does not earn enough to be above the federal poverty line. That is why I passed legislation as a City Councilmember that raises the minimum wage to $15 for City of Atlanta employees, and why I will fight as mayor for the ability to raise the minimum wage for every Atlanta worker. I will also use the convening power of the mayor to bring artists and arts organizations together with public and private funders and local developers to address the particular needs of artists with respect to live/work options. Solving these issues starts with a collaborative stakeholder effort to identify the specific housing and workspace barriers artists are up against and – through research including a survey of other cities’ best practices — to identify a potential solutions that will work.”


Peter Aman

“The beauty of arts and culture is that no one has a monopoly. No one has ownership. The City, non-profit executives, and others can be at the vanguard as it relates to growing our cultural footprint, but that does not make them the leaders. If the John Lewis mural impacts your day, as it does for me as I head into the office, then muralist Sean Schwab is a leader. If you watch the show “Atlanta,” and it impacts the way you look at our city, then Donald Glover is a leader. From an arts and culture standpoint, hip-hop has put Atlanta on the map and you cannot talk about hip-hop without groups like Outkast. Atlanta’s arts cultural leaders come from all mediums, their audiences decide who they are.

I love the “City Walls” program in Detroit. Through a government pilot, they’ve taken blighted buildings, and other frequent targets of graffiti, and re-imagined them as canvasses. I would love to transcribe that model here. It’s a creative way to link arts and the built environment to the betterment of both. I am also a large proponent of the HIRE LA’s Youth program. The city partners with non-profits to find paid internships and on-ramps to meaningful employment for young people ages 14 to 24. The Office of Cultural Affairs plays a large part in that. I would like to try something similar in Atlanta where we approach the creative class and look for ways to guide aspiring artists towards meaningful employment.

We will start with bringing the arts and culture community, including artists and stakeholders, together with the City Council, other city departments and government entities to collectively find ways to work together. I often talk about finding ways to improve city services and get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy. That includes access to the city – making it easier to for artists to work with and in the city. Free speech is a particularly important issue in the arts world right now, most notably with murals. Right now, before a mural petition even gets to city council, three different officials have to review and approve it. Penalties can also be excessive. There’s plenty of work that can be done to streamline things. With regards to New York, I think that freelancers, not just in the arts, but in all sectors, should be paid in full and on time. Issuing city penalties for failure to comply is something worthy of conversation.

Dedicated housing for artists is critical. One idea I have is for shared creative spaces. The idea would be to work with non-profits to transition buildings so that the ground level can be used as free studio space while the upper levels could offer affordable units to the people working in those studios. This accomplishes two things that I think are essential: Finding artists an affordable place to live; and creating an environment where artists can work with one another and, in turn, offer a cultural space that the surrounding neighborhoods could frequent and integrate into their communities. The surest way to address housing affordability is by breaking down the silos and put forth a citywide, collaborative plan that tackles displacement and keeps our neighborhoods strong.”


Mary Norwood

“Robert Spano, Gennadi Nedvigin, Michael Shapiro, Susan Booth juust to name a few of many city cultural leaders.

Through my years as a supporter of the arts in Atlanta my husband, Dr. Felton Norwood, and I have championed the diversity of the artistic community as an enriching and essential component of life in our city. As mayor I will create a commission to report back to me with a list of specific needs and initiatives the city council and I should consider enacting. Yes, such an arts commission would no doubt take into account what is being done in other communities across the country and use these ideas to help shape what will best advance the arts in Atlanta.

[combined answer for 3&4] As mayor I will create a commission to report back to me with a list of specific needs and initiatives the city council and I should consider enacting. Yes, such an arts commission would no doubt take into account what is being done in other communities across the country and use these ideas to help shape what will best advance the arts in Atlanta.”


Glenn S. Wrightson

“Jimmy Carter – Andrew Young – Elton John – Evander Holyfield

Need an artist or two or three as advisers to the Mayor’s / City Council on most “public” decisions – where the “flavor” of spending tax dollars impacts citizens.

To insist ( as best as may ) that Council recognize both the expanse and respectable limitations of free speech – to educate the Council on the intrinsic benefit of allowing a broad understanding of allowance of expression beyond bricks and mortar – and to apply open consideration of most creative expressions that are appreciated by the majority of citizens.

I would like to have zoning revised to be open to building geodesic domes in areas of the City – which are the most economical living enclosures one can build and occupy. Would be receptive to allowing work for food and shelter arrangements.”


Ceasar Mitchell

“Atlanta has such as diverse cultural scene. In the music world, we have leaders like Ludacris, Killer Mike, Outkast, Ciara, and the Indigo Girls who have really embraced their hometown, to our amazing Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Kenny Leon has taken Atlanta’s theater world to new levels in his many endeavors here. The many artists who participate in Art on the Beltline have done amazing work in brining art outside the walls of museums and galleries.

To begin, I believe in an open and inclusive government where everyone can contribute. In addition to beautifying our City with innovative public art, I believe artists can play a significant role in addressing some of our most pressing social and political issues. Artists often have a deep sense of community and are connected to and invested in those around them. Because of this, artists have a unique perspective on challenges our residents face and can pose creative and thoughtful solutions to address each. As Mayor, I will engage local artists to raise awareness about and pose solutions to civic and social problems. I envision working with not-for-profit organizations, as well as our school system, to place these artists so that they can reach those who are not otherwise being touched by traditional government programs.

My mom taught art as an APS teach, so I grew up with an appreciation for art and an understanding that artists not only need creative freedom but also access to resources to work. To help protect the ways artists work in this city, I believe we should maintain our low sales tax rate to foster a business-friendly environment. As mayor, I would take a different approach than the current administration and ensure artists also have access to funding. This would be accomplished by utilizing the one and one-half percent required to be set aside in all capital bond projects, by City Code, for creating and maintaining public works of art. This has not been done in the past for other capital bond projects. In concert with securing new funding, I believe we can ensure those dollars go further if we identify a governance structure. We have to bring all of our existing councils together (city, county and state) and allow them, as experts, to determine how those funds are deployed. Finally, we’ve got to be an incubator, and make sure that we are creating and nurturing a new generation of artists. I also believe we should provide a path to success for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and others forging their own way. When I am Mayor, I will work with the Office of Cultural Affairs to implement two very important programs. One program will provide the resources and counsel necessary for artists and other entrepreneurs to start and maintain their businesses, while the other will provide advice regarding benefits and personal finance. I will also work with Atlanta Workforce Development to ensure that our artists have the opportunity to take full advantage of the City’s burgeoning film and entertainment industry by being informed of the various talent needs both on and off the set.

Ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing will be one of my top priorities as Mayor. In addition to requiring developers to designate 20% of new units as “affordable” (up from the current 10-15%), I launch my “Blight to Light” initiative. This approach includes working with various development agencies, such as the Atlanta Housing Authority and the Atlanta Land Bank Authority, to transform 5,000 blighted and vacant homes around the Beltline and other historic neighborhoods into affordable housing options for low-income individuals and families. Working class teachers, police officers, firefighters and artists will be among those who qualify for assistance. Additionally, I will work with Invest Atlanta to create specific grants for artists, freelancers and entrepreneurs to secure housing.”


Cathy Woolard

“Chris Appleton, Radcliffe Bailey, Chantelle Rytter, Kenny Leon, Donald Glover, Lisa Adler, Lisa Cremin, Del Hamilton, Gregor Turk – we have so many great people contributing to our creative city – please forgive me all the people I’ve missed!

Artists should play a central role in any city’s development, and with Atlanta experiencing such tremendous growth, there’s an equally tremendous opportunity to allow our most creative talent a chance to shape our future. As mayor, I’ll capitalize on this moment. One of first things I’ll do is develop a plan for an annual poet laureateship in City Hall, and initiate the process of identifying the program’s first honoree. Other cities across the nation have already taken this step, and with so many great writers calling Atlanta home, it’s time our government acknowledge their contributions in a more significant way. The poet laureateship would be separate from a new artist-in-residence program, which would give one deserving local artist annually creating in any medium an opportunity to influence our city’s development and participate in planning and execution of projects across all departments.

I’d also like to involve artists in the many infrastructure projects this city will undertake in the coming years, from bus shelters and lighting to ironwork and landscape architecture. Not only would I like our new infrastructure to be artfully designed, I want artists to liaise with communities where new infrastructure will be constructed. Big infrastructure projects elicit strong opinions, and as community leaders, artists are uniquely able to advocate on behalf of the needs of residents. They’ll help design projects that actually address a need and respect the desires of the surrounding community, and be active representatives before, during, and after the construction process. Our universities are incubators for talented local artists, and as mayor, I’ll work to make sure graduating students are aware that there’s room for artists in Atlanta’s government.

Supporting and expanding our arts community will need to be a collaborative effort between the Mayor’s Office and City Council. Put simply, we can not be a world-class city until we have world-class support for the arts. Our Office of Cultural Affairs will need to expand its scope to look beyond annual festivals and pledge to help artists on a daily basis. I would work with the Council to assure that artist work spaces meet safety regulations, but aren’t burdened by improvement costs and overzealous code enforcement. New York’s freelance law is a promising step toward ensuring artists are able to work with greater stability. Freelancers deserve clear written contracts, to be paid on time and fairly, and to have avenues to seek redress should their client not uphold a commitment. As mayor, I’ll work with our city council and community organizations to understand what’s happening and what’s needed in Atlanta.  New York City has the ability to enact laws covering labor issues (as well as rent control for example) that Atlanta is not able to do without the express permission of the Georgia General Assembly.  But I’m open to finding ways to make doing business in Atlanta easier and to address any issues that we can manage at the local level.

I know firsthand that pursuing a creative calling frequently comes with financial risk. When I was in my twenties I started my own music production company, and I put a chunk of the expenses on credit and prayed for good weather. It was a gamble for me then, but it needn’t be so much of a gamble for Atlanta’s artists today. They’re an asset to our city, and they deserve our support. One form that support will take under my leadership is indeed artist-specific affordable housing. When artists live and work in our neighborhoods, it gives that area a distinctive character. We need to embrace and enhance that. I’ll offer a 100 percent tax credit per-unit to any commercial apartment owner that pledges to run an artist-in-residence program on their property. This would unleash untapped potential for artists to create in our neighborhoods without them having to worry about how they’re going to make rent. I also want to continue and expand Atlanta Public Schools’ work of converting old buildings into studios and residences for artists. This is an excellent way to make use of resources we already have and keep our creative talent within city limits.”


Kwanza Hall

Fahamu Pecou, Miya Bailey, Adam Harell, Gregg Mike, Chilly-O, David Banner, Deana Marto, ABFF Event , Dragon Con, Donald Glover and the cast of “Atlanta”

First we need to identify and build upon our existing assets within the community. The presence of local artists in city planning will be cultivated by engaging all artists and members of the art community to become part of the conversation for Atlanta’s future, as I’ve done in the heart of the city and Old Fourth Ward. Arts and cultural programming, such as events, festivals and performances, interactive classes and workshops, and a variety of other activities provide education about the historical and cultural context of a community and opportunities for participation in community life. I will empower the OCA and Elevate to create programming that initiate conversation about arts and culture and establish a structure of happenings that venture beyond current forms of expression, with plans that ensure that these activities will continue to flourish. This deliberate continuity will help strengthen creative ideas, inspire citizens, and offer hope that opportunities for the creative class exist, but more importantly matter to the city and community.

My three terms on City Council have taught me how to listen and work together to provide the community with the services they need. Listening to each city council member is the first step. It’s important to work with the city council to expand and create more art community hubs, markets, schools, and even festivals that commemorate Atlanta’s creative culture. Furthermore, work together to find ways to expand on the incentives for artists nationwide to make Atlanta their creative home.

As Mayor I will provide incentives for all citizens, especially artists, with housing incentive programs to build community hubs in underserved areas artists. Not only will artists be provided with affordable housing, they’ll be able to build a creative foundation for new communities.


This discussion aligns with Our Future Atlanta’s policy focus on arts and culture.

Funding for this initiative was provided by Our Future Atlanta and the Center for Civic Innovation. For more about Our Future Atlanta, visit: Our Future Atlanta Website 

Fireside Chats: Artists Thrive!

C4 Atlanta’s work has always been focused on the needs of the arts worker to carve out a career in Atlanta. Beyond skill and talent, there is a lot necessary to sustain a career as an artist, arts technician or administrator. Our scope of service has been based on providing a platform accessible to any artist of skills, resources, and tools for professional development regardless of educational level, previous experience, discipline or demographics.

This is a constant conversation in our office: what do artists need, and how are they receiving it (or not receiving it) in Atlanta? Recently, we’ve been focused on the way that our organization is able to connect artists to causes, issues and resources. Our advocacy efforts over the last year focused on the Presidential and Local elections have centered on providing more connectivity and access between our community to policy makers and the community systems that influence how, where, and why we are able to work. As we’ve worked over the last year on this specific initiative, we’ve seen how this work has been beneficial to artists in other, unexpected ways. We’ve seen culture workers who would not know each other otherwise as collaborators and activists for causes and visions of change.

We’d like to continue and incubate these connections to grow and flourish, without agenda or expectation that we are “here to get it done” – in an hour and a half. While we always wish to move the needle toward goals and ideals that can help the creatives in this city have stronger careers, sometimes, idea sharing, a chance at greater understanding and place to congregate is the most important tool we could provide. In this way, our goal is to provide the tools and get out of the way to allow artists to organically utilize them in a way that is most beneficial to their own goals.

With this in mind, we present our newest initiative: Fireside Chats. Fireside Chats are essentially a series of conversations, lead by the issues identified by artists as most important and in need of discussion. Our goal here is not to promise problem solving – though if consensus was reached or an action agreed upon, great. Rather, we are focusing on curating a space where artists can talk about things that they care about or that affect them, learn and share with other artists and have a space to meet one another. We plan to hold these conversations monthly in our space. And while we don’t promise to solve all of our issues in an hour and a half, we do promise to provide snacks!

C4 Atlanta held the first of these conversations on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. Our future goal is to theme the discussions based on topics chosen by attendees at previous Fireside Chats. But for this first conversation, we decided to focus on a national initiative for organizations that work with artists to measure whether their operations help artists to flourish or quit: Artists Thrive.

Artists Thrive includes a website with a rubric measurement tool of both artists and organizations that work with artists. Visit artiststhrive.org to learn more.

Artists Thrive is a national initiative, organized by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, researched and crafted by a leadership team from across the United States. C4 Atlanta’s own Executive Director was part of the leadership team and recently helped with an unveiling of these tools and resources at a summit in Berea, Kentucky this fall.

At the Fireside Chat, Jessyca Holland shared the goals of the leadership team and invited participating artists and arts workers to share their thoughts about what needs they had and their impression of the Artists Thrive tools.

Before we showed local artists the tool, we asked, “what do you need in Atlanta to thrive”? Here is what they said:

  • Time – artists need collaborating entities to understand how much time in really takes for the production of art. This is not a time-management issue. It is a communication issue between artist and contractor/patron/employer. Artists need time for the full cycle of creation and production.
  • Money – we got into a discussion about value and price but the conversation seemed to center around the need for money to support (once again) the full cycle of creation and production–not just output. For example: grants that fund process as well as product (yes, we know that word but language is hard).
  • Fair wage for fair time.
  • Vocabulary to be able to express fair value.
  • Transparency.
  • Relationship building opportunities.
  • Peer networks.
  • Shared vision with those who work with artists. An understanding of expectations.
  • Capacity resources.
  • Greater tolerance for risk – allow artists to create interesting work that pushes thought and/or boundaries. An environment that fosters innovation and new works.
  • More supporters.
Artists thrive
Artists discuss fair wage, time, and other resources they need to thrive.

We also asked artists about topics they would like to discuss at future fireside chats. Here’s what they said:

  • Artists & Developers – space
  • Artists as tools of gentrification
  • Artists at the table
  • Artists as freelancers
  • Entertainment vs. design vs. fine art vs. folk art
  • Tangible value vs. intangible value
  • Art as a public good. Is art for everyone?

What else? Email us at actionteam@c4atlanta.org with your ideas!

The Candidates + ATL Artists

I'm a Georgia Voter StickerWe need your help in getting the word out about the importance of art and artists in our city’s future. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Encourage Candidates to Answer the Questionnaire About the Arts. C4 Atlanta has released a short questionnaire to all candidates running for Atlanta City Council, City Council President and Mayor for which we could find contact information. C4 intends to publish any and all answers provided by candidates or their campaigns on our blog. Here are the questions that we’ve asked the candidates:
  • Who do you consider Atlanta’s Cultural leaders?
  • Considering such models as L.A. and Detroit (to name a few) that incorporate artists into planning and city government, what presence do you see for local artists in city government work beyond Contracts for Arts Services through OCA, Elevate, and city commissions?
  • For City Council Candidates: How do you plan to work with fellow council members and the Mayor’s Office to protect the ways artists work in this city? (Some initiatives on our radar: removing barriers to small business development for artists and entrepreneurs; protection of free speech; freelancer benefits similar to NYC)?
  • For Mayoral Candidates: How do you plan to work with city council to protect the ways artists work in this city? (Some initiatives on our radar: removing barriers to small business development for artists and entrepreneurs; protection of free speech; freelancer benefits similar to NYC)?
  • How do you plan to include individual artists/freelancers in policies and programs to provide affordable housing and workspace?

Help us get the word out to your candidates! You can help us encourage the candidates that you care about to answer by tagging them in our social media posts. Let them know that you care about these issues and the future of artists in Atlanta. Tag our posts on C4 Atlanta’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Our Executive Director Jessyca Holland recently wrote a great blog post about the importance of artists votes in the upcoming election. You can read it here.

2) Attend Fireside Chat: Election Edition – and bring a friend! Join us for our upcoming Fireside Chat: Election Edition on November 2 at 6:00pm. Fun and joy promised, and information assured! C4 believes that the voting process can be BOTH fun and informational. We’ll be convening artists to discuss the questions and answers provided by candidates to our questionnaire, along with what you believe to be the biggest issues in the upcoming elections for artists. In addition, we promise snacks, button making, a little last minute info about where and how to vote, and maybe even an extra surprise or two thrown in just for grins. Artists Jessica Caldas and Haylee Anne will be joining to talk about their exhibition and project Goldsmack at Eyedrum related to this election. This is a chance for our community to convene one last time before we head to the polls to decide the future of Atlanta Arts and Culture workers. RSVP for the event here. You can share this event with your friends on Facebook here.

 

Fireside Chat: Election Edition

Date/Time: November 2, 2017 – 6:00pm-9:00pm RSVP Now

Location: Fuse Arts Center, inside the M. Rich Center for Creative Arts, Media and Technology, 115 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30303 Click Here for Directions to Fuse

Cost: Free, but you must RSVP. RSVP Online Here

For questions or more information, please contact actionteam@c4atlanta.org.

C4 Atlanta is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and does not endorse or recommend any candidate for any position. The purpose of these events is to share information within the arts community so that artists in Atlanta can make informed choices at the polls based on their personal values and beliefs.

C4 Atlanta is proud recipient of a grant through Our Future Atlanta to fund this project. The purpose of our grant proposal is to encourage discussion and voting by Atlanta artists about the November local elections. Our grant aligns with Our Future Atlanta’s focus area on Arts and Cultural Diversity. To learn more about Our Future Atlanta, visit: ourfutureatlanta.org 

 

From Artists to the Candidates (Part One)

Last month, C4 Advocacy Committee members from C4 Atlanta crafted some questions for candidates for Mayor and City Council. Our committee is comprised of C4 board members, staff, artists and arts administrators–mostly people who work on ground everyday in the arts.

Atlanta Skyline

Much of the dialogue that occurs in the city around the arts focuses on arts organizations and institutions. We know that the arts contributes over half a billion dollars to the local economy. And yet art makers in Atlanta are struggling to avoid displacement, support families, and find job security. This is NOT a divergent conversation from the broader scope of local support for arts & culture–It is more of a “yes, and…” conversation.

I was very pleased with the organization of the Mayoral Forum on the Arts. Several candidates presented some plausible ideas for supporting arts & cultural organizations + artists. Both are essential to retaining our creative workforce in Atlanta.

The questions below were crafted to drill down a little deeper about policies that would affect people–people who work in the arts. I want to note that C4 Atlanta is an arts service organization–think of our role in advocacy as similar in approach to a trade coalition. We see how what benefits ALL Atlantans will also benefit ALL artists. However, we have a mission to support arts workers (seriously, that is pretty much our mission statement on file with the IRS). We also understand that there are unique challenges artists face in regards to live-work space, transportation, affordable housing, and so forth. For example: artists are typically freelancers and paid under the 1099 structure. Many of the affordable housing initiatives in our city are based on working wage (hourly or salaried, w-2, employment). From a structural standpoint, the 1099 can be a barrier to affordable housing programs because of how traditional underwriting works. We hope that by changing the dialogue around how we view the workforce for artists, we are also addressing issues in other sectors: technology, design, consultants, insurance, appraisers, and the list goes on.

For a good part of my life, my father was self-employed. I know a little about what he went through to support a family of seven. The system is not always stacked in your favor as a self-employed worker–I digress only to say that I really have a place in my heart for artists, sole proprietors, entrepreneurs, and people doing the hustle everyday to make ends meet. It is more than just talk for me.

We sent an email to every candidate for mayor and city council for whom we could find information. We asked that they address these questions about arts workers, specifically. At the end of the day, artists vote, not institutions. There are thousands of artists in Atlanta. When Mayor Kasim Reed was first elected, he won that election by less than 800 votes. Arts Professionals: We have a voting bloc! If you think about it, 800 votes is probably equivalent to you and your closest friends’ network of colleagues. Art votes count!

We will be sending an invitation soon to invite you to a gathering right before the election to review the answers provided by candidates. More on that event in the next blog… For now, here are the questions we sent:

  • Who do you consider Atlanta’s Cultural leaders?

  • Considering such models as L.A. and Detroit (to name a few) that incorporate artists into planning and city government, what presence do you see for local artists in city government work beyond Contracts for Arts Services through OCA, Elevate, and city commissions?

  • How do you plan to work with *city council to protect the ways artists work in this city? (Some initiatives on our radar: removing barriers to small business development for artists and entrepreneurs; protection of free speech; freelancer benefits similar to NYC)?

  • How do you plan to include individual artists/freelancers in policies and programs to provide affordable housing and workspace?

*This question was modified for city council candidates, “work with the Mayor’s Office…”

 P.S. We have had some replies already. We really look forward to engaging our candidates as they share their vision for the future of Atlanta!

TechsmARTs Podcast: The Modern Day Actor

During the last week of each month, C4 Atlanta features a new episode of our podcast Techsmarts | Art + Technology. Listen, Rate and Subscribe on iTunes and Soundcloud.

TechsmARTs Podcast : Episode 4 | The Modern Day Actor with Victoria Temple. 

Victoria Temple is a Film and TV Agent for the Atlanta based talent agency People Store.

Featuring: Victoria Temple, Film and TV Agent for People Store, an Atlanta talent agency

For this month’s TechsmARTs podcast, Film and TV Agent Victoria Temple gives tips for the Modern Day Actor. How has casting changed with the advent of casting through self taping? How should actors present themselves when submitting to auditions and agents? What can help Atlanta actors to be competitive with actors from other markets?

Click Here to Subscribe to TechsmARTs

Check out more about People Store online:

People Store

Facebook | InstagramLinkedIn | Twitter Website

People Store provides a great list of resources for Atlanta based talent. Check out their list here.

 

Fall 2017 Hatch Training Intensive Artists Announced

Art by Bethany Pelle - The Good Feelings. Site specific installation of over 1,500 slip cast porcelain flowers created as part of the East Row Garden Walk in Newport, KY. Photo by Bethany Pelle.
Art by Bethany Pelle – The Good Feelings. Site specific installation of over 1,500 slip cast porcelain flowers created as part of the East Row Garden Walk in Newport, KY. Photo by Bethany Pelle.

C4 Atlanta is proud to announce the twelve artists selected into the Hatch Training Intensive for Fall 2017. This will be the fourth cohort of artists that have participated in the Hatch Program since it was started in 2015. Over the next four months these artists will learn skills for creating art projects with community, with a final culminating public presentation on December 16, 2017.

The Hatch Training Intensive was established as a training program through C4 Atlanta in October 2015 with the generous support of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. The course is a result of three years of collaboration, research and curriculum development with both national and local experts in the field of community driven art projects. The purpose of the program is to address the skills needs of artists working in a variety of community contexts. The artists work independently and in groups to build skills for a variety of different community work. While many of the artists who participate are already active in community projects, others seek out the program in order to gain the skills and vocabulary necessary for more specialized work such as urban development or planning projects.

Art by Tiffany LaTrice - In Memory of Mary Turner. In Memory of Mary Turner is a tribute to the life of Mary Turner and other women subjected to mob violence and<br />
Art by Tiffany LaTrice – In Memory of Mary Turner. In Memory of Mary Turner is a tribute to the life of Mary Turner and other women subjected to mob violence and lynching during Jim Crow South. Photo by Sarah Gormley.

A major program focus is building “soft” skills in cultural organizing, understanding and establishing identity, identifying key community stakeholders, and working with community in ways that are sustainable for both artists and community members. In addition, one thing that makes the Hatch Training Intensive unique from other community art programs is that it also emphasizes important career development skills necessary to do social and civic practice work, including working with city planners, applying for RFPs/RFQs, negotiation and budgeting.

“Through this training program, we hope to provide greater access to resources for artists doing community work,” said Executive Director Jessyca Holland. “We’re incredibly proud of the work our past Hatch artists are doing around Atlanta, regionally, and even internationally. ”

Star Taker. Lead Artist - Alison Hamil, with a team of 4 other student artist. Located in Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece, the mural references celestial navigation in Ancient Greece.
Star Taker. Lead Artist – Alison Hamil, with a team of 4 other student artists. Located in Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece, the mural references celestial navigation in Ancient Greece.

“We want to make sure that not only do the artists benefit from the training, but that they also benefit from working with each other so closely, ” said Education Manager Audrey Gámez. “There is a lot of hands-on group work in this program, which helps with developing skills for collaboration and broadens the participants’ artistic networks.”

Selection of artists for this cohort was made by an independent committee of public art professionals who work directly with artists. The committee included Katherine Dirga of MARTA Artbound, Brandon Jones of WonderRoot, and Josh Phillipson of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Artists selected to the Spring 2017 Hatch Training Intensive include:

Artist Angela Bortone. Photo by Haylee Anne
Photo by Haylee Anne

Angela Bortone – Painter, Video Artist, Arts Critic

Angela Bortone is a painter, video artist and freelance art critic. She mixes other people’s voices into her paintings and videos. Born in the Dominican Republic, Bortone was raised in Brooklyn and spent nearly a decade abroad in Germany before moving to Atlanta in 2002. She earned a BFA in studio art with a concentration in drawing, painting and printmaking from Georgia State University in 2010.

 

Artist Sally EppsteinSally Eppstein – Sculptor, Visual Artist

Sally was raised in Augusta, Georgia but her first real education was moving to New York City and going to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  Living in the city and being exposed to so much diversity with all the different nationalities and so many art museums was a huge part of her education. She majored in jewelry where she did both design and studio work.  After Sally completed the associate program, she moved back to her hometown to complete her B.F.A. at Augusta College (now Augusta State University).

After receiving her B.F.A, Sally taught art for 10 years to kindergartners through high school students in both public and private schools. While teaching she continued her art practice by selling jewelry and paintings throughout the southeast.

The biggest influence in Sally’s art has always been nature. Her latest series of paintings has focused on different feathers of song birds, birds of prey, and waterfowl. As part of her Artist-in-residence at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve she made an eight foot tall stainless steel feather sculpture. Sally sees feathers as being so fragile just as she sees our environment which has inspired her to be come a big tree activist.

Sally was inspired to start to do sculpture when she saw the Art on the Beltline and it is amazing how many skills that she had learned from her jewelry training have translated for her large totems.

Other achievements are getting into Vermont Studio Center, being awarded the first Artist-in-residence at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, being awarded an Emerging Artist Award for the Gasparilla Festival in Tampa, FL and being a part of Art Leaders of Metro Atlanta with Atlanta Regional Commission 2016.

Artist Bria Goeller

Bria Goeller – Visual Artist, Sound Artist, Designer, Writer

Bria Goeller is passionate about art and social change. Bria works in a multitude of mediums including photography, film, 2D visual art, sound art, graphic design, creative writing and illustration/comics. Already a leader in her own right, Bria has been the Director of Design & Technology for TEDxEmory,  Executive VP of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Executive Board Member for the Homeless Outreach Awareness Project, Founding Member and Design Chair of MR.MA’AM: Emory’s Queer Literary and Art Journal, and Genre and Visual Arts Editor for The Pulse Anthology. Bria is currently a student at Emory University studying English/Creative Writing and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Culinary Artist and Stylist S. Promised Gourdet.S. Promised Gourdet – Culinary Arts, Photographer, Stylist

Promised Land Kitchen explores the intersection of food, imagination, taste and community. Promised has partnered with community gardens, local food purveyors and food justice advocates in the fight for food sovereignty in under-served communities in metro Atlanta. She strives to address the urgency in addressing malnutrition and food insecurity in our communities, and the link between dietary habits and overall health and wellness.

Theatre Artist Rachel Graf Evans. Photo by Hoberman Studios.
Photo by Hoberman Studios.

Rachel Graf Evans – Theatre Artist, Composer

Rachel Graf Evans is a writer and theatre artist most interested in the telling of forgotten and silenced stories.

Rachel Graf Evans grew up in in Baltimore, Jerusalem, and Jakarta, before attending Quaker boarding school in Westtown, PA. After one year in the musical theatre performance training program at NYU – CAP21, she transferred to Oberlin College. She graduated from Oberlin with High Honors BA in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, as well as a BA in theatre, for the writing and composition of Vessel: A New Musical. RGE currently serves as the Dramatists Guild Regional Young Ambassador for Atlanta, is a member of Working Title Playwrights, and recently completed a Playwright Apprenticeship at Horizon Theatre Company. Her work can be read on the New Play Exchange.

Prior to Atlanta, RGE spent four years in NYC working in various capacities (including as playwright, producer, props designer, and/or performer) with New Georges, LCT3 at Lincoln Center, PowerOutNYC, Hot Pepper Theatre, York Theatre Company, Fresh Fruit Festival and Theatre for the New City’s Dream Up Festival.

She is an Associate Member of the NYC women’s barbershop chorus Sirens of Gotham.

AArtist Alison Hamil.lison Hamil – Visual Artist, Graphic Designer

Alison Hamil’s creative spark began at an early age. As a child, she was constantly building, sculpting, making, and creating. She fondly remembers doing imaginative things like constructing a robot entirely out of recycled materials on a whim, and holding an art show at a pop-up gallery in her parents’ garage. Throughout her childhood, she won several art contests, and decided to be a cartoonist in fourth grade. That didn’t quite pan out, but she wasn’t far off.

In high school, Alison realized that she was the only student not using ceramics class as an excuse to slack off, so she decided to pursue formal training and a career in art. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Georgia State University with a concentration in Drawing and Painting in 2010. She also studied the art of graphic design while she was in school, and now specializes in using what she’s learned to bridge the gap between technology and traditional drawing and painting.

Currently, Alison is a working artist in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. She has a diverse body of work including murals, sign painting, graphic design, paintings on paper, and drawings. Most of her work incorporates bold colors, patterns, symmetry, and bright colors.

Alison has been awarded several scholarships, and was named Best Emerging Visual Artist in Creative Loafing’s Best of Atlanta 2013. Although she is based in Atlanta, Georgia, she has painted murals in various places across the globe including Nicoya, Costa Rica, and Kefalonia, Greece, and several various towns throughout North Carolina. She has exhibited in Kibbee Gallery, Mason Murer Gallery, The Granite Room, MOCA GA, MINT Gallery and Gallery 1526, and she has been included in several art showcases in Atlanta, including the 2013-15 and 2017 Hambidge Art Auction and Performance Gala.

Plant Artist Erin Hayes.Erin Hayes – Plant Artist

After returning to Atlanta from teaching in international schools in the United Arab Emirates and Brazil, Erin Hayes found herself back in her hometown of College Park, Georgia eager to get involved in the revitalization efforts taking place around Atlanta. As a third generation educator, Erin has long realized the role that education plays in one’s life. Hailing from a long line of gardeners, Erin brings her varied interests in city development, education and horticulture as well as her experiences from living abroad to the forefront of her work. After the passing of a dear friend in March of 2017, Erin began to seek ways to honor his legacy by bringing city-dwellers closer to their natural world. She conceived the idea of combining enterprise, urban farming and horticulture along with education to address the accessibility gaps that largely affect young men and women in her community.

CArtist Christopher Jones.hristopher Jones – Graphic Designer, Visual Artist

Christopher Jones is the founder of SeeJones Creative, LLC, a creative services firm that helps mission-driven organizations and visionary leaders expand their reach through impactful visual communications. Notable projects include: a community mural in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood; helping a local co-working space to build a sense of community within its space through incorporating hand-drawn chalk murals on its walls; developing brand identity and marketing collateral for several non- and for-profit entities.

Christopher earned a BFA in graphic design from The University of Tennessee and an MBA in Marketing from Lincoln Memorial University. His career path has revolved around serving in leadership roles and providing corporate communications for non-profits. Chris feels that because of his background in service to his community, he understands the challenges that the organizations that he works with have faced.

Artist Krista Jones.

Krista Jones (“Jonesy”) – Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Muralist

Jonesy is an Atlanta based Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Muralist. She has over a decade of professional graphic design experience and provides services in print advertising and design, logos, branding, illustration, hand-painted signage, residential and commercial murals. Her public art can be seen in Decatur and Avondale Estates and her illustrations in local shops around Atlanta. She is a published designer, writer and illustrator. Jonesy’s artwork has been featured multiple times on the cover of Aquarius Magazine. Some of her clients include: Atlanta BeltLine, Unscripted Way, Sustainable Wellness, Aquarius Magazine, Brandshake Creative, Precision Performance Atlanta, Expression Chiropractic, Virtually Staging Properties, Lake Claire Community Land Trust and City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

Artist, Curator and Arts Administrator Tiffany LaTrice.Tiffany LaTrice – Visual Artist, Curator, Arts Administrator

Tiffany Latrice is an Atlanta based visual artist, curator and arts administrato. In her work, she seeks to understand the psychology of human emotion through the female body. The female body is used as a means to unveil the variety of emotions, especially the emotions that are hidden deep within a woman. She has always been passionate about women’s stories and how she depicts those stories on canvas. With a degree in international relations with a concentration in gender, culture, and global society from the University of Southern California and a masters in women’s history from Sarah Lawrence College, her art is a feminist statement that seeks to combat androcentric world views of women’s role in society. Through her compositions and texture, she tells the story of marginalized voices and systematic oppression. By the use of bold colors and vivid brush strokes, she moves women from marginalized spaces to spaces of power and agency. She combats objectification and commodification by allowing the viewer to undergo a journey through the elaborate imagery that she depicts on the canvas.

Tiffany is the Founder and Executive Director of TILA Studios, a visual arts incubator, co-working and shared gallery space serving female visuals artists in Metro Atlanta area. Located in East Point, GA, TILA Studios strives to be a place where women can work, collaborate, and exhibit to create a more inclusive art industry where women’s voices are heard and recognized.

Actor and Artist L S LewisL S Lewis – Sculptor, Fabricator, Writer, Actor, Comedian

Working in mixed media to accurately express the emotional language that underlies current events, L S Lewis’ work captures human processes in various struggles in a relatable and often humorous manner. L S has participated in several group gallery shows and has independently undertaken public installations. She resides in Atlanta, GA.

 

Ceramic Artist and Educator Bethany Pelle.Bethany Pelle – Ceramicist, Arts Educator

Bethany Pelle is an artist, craftsperson, and educator with over four years teaching experience at the university level. Bethany has twelve years of technical experience in support of academic, commercial and private ceramics studios. She is an ardent supporter of greater inclusivity, equality, and social justice. Bethany is currently an Adjunct Professor at Northern Kentucky University. Bethany brings a breadth of perspective and connections to the diverse art communities in Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New York.

The selected artists will present their final public presentation on December 16, 2017 from 2-4pm at Fuse Arts Center. Hatch artists will present group projects that represent hypothetical community scenarios which they may encounter as part of their work. Though the prompts are hypothetical, all are based on actual RFPs or Calls for Artists. These projects allow the artist to exercise skills learned in Hatch without fear of harm to themselves or an actual community during the learning process. More information and RSVP for the final presentations will be available online at c4atlanta.org/training at a later date.

For more information about the Hatch Training Intensive, please visit c4atlanta.org/hatch.

TechsmARTs Podcast | Episode 3 : Engaging Your Following

The last Friday of every month, C4 Atlanta features a new episode of our podcast Techsmarts | Art + Technology. Listen, Rate and Subscribe on iTunes and Soundcloud.

TechsmARTs Podcast : Episode 3 | Engaging Your Following, with Brock Scott of Little Tybee

Singer Brock Scott performs with his band Little Tybee at C4 Atlanta's recent #ActivateATL concert.
Brock Scott performs with his band Little Tybee at C4 Atlanta’s recent #ActivateATL concert. Photo by Haylee Anne Kitties.

Featuring: Brock Scott, sculptor, visual artist and musician. 

Brock Scott of Little Tybee stops by C4 Atlanta to talk about social media and artistic creation to engage your following. Scott explains how he and his bandmates transcend the traditional cycle of audience engagement for musicians and create a unique artistic experience for their fans. What do 6 radios, over a hundred fans and locations across the world have to do with creating one of their most successful music videos?

Click Here to Subscribe to TechsmARTs

Check out more of Brock’s work online:

Check out the video for “Quiet As a Sail”, which utilized videos from all over the world of footage containing the transistor radios altered by Brock Scott.

On the Grid Creative

Facebook (On The Grid Creative) | Website

Little Tybee

Facebook (Little Tybee) | Twitter (@littletybee) | Instagram (@littletybee) | YouTube (Little Tybee) | Website

Brock Scott 

Instagram (@brockscott) | Solo Album Info

 

Cake Dishes Her Favorite ATL Artist

Atlanta is full of amazing artists creating work all over our city. In order to highlight all the artistic assets in our community, we reached looked to local artist for their recommendations. Presenting My ATL heART Crush, a limited weekly series documenting artists in Atlanta and the artists that they love. We will release one each Friday on our blog and Instagram for the next four weeks. Series shot by Jeremiah Davison.

Meet visual artist and tattoo artist Cake, co-owner of Black Owl Tattoo and Art Gallery.

An alumnus of City of Ink, Cake is now co-owner of her own tattoo shop and art gallery in East Atlanta Village with partner Roger Parrilla called Black Owl Tattoo and Art Gallery. Know for her custom color works for all skin tones, you can find Cake’s work on Atlantans all around the city. In addition, Cake creates murals, illustrations and visual artwork that have been featured throughout Atlanta.  To find out more about her work, visit lovelivecake.com. Follow her work on Instagram at @lovelivecake.

 

Find out more about Cakes’s favorite Atlanta artist:

C. Flux Sing – Graphic Designer, Painter

cfluxsing.com/

Twitter: @cfluxsing

Facebook: C. Flux Sing

Instagram: @cfluxsing

C. Flux Sing Blog