Leading Lady : Megan Schaeffer

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

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

We are proud to introduce the Next Leading Lady for March 2019: Megan Schaeffer 

Where do you work and what do you do?
I work at Serenbe, a community south of Atlanta. I am their Art Farm Director and manage art programs ranging from art classes + workshops, gallery exhibitions, to our Art Over Dinner series.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I become interested in the arts early in my life. My parents own a small piano company, so growing up I was surrounded by music and art. In high school I was involved mainly in theater and dance, but once I started college I quickly became interested in visual art. My first internship was at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, SC when I was 19, and since then I’ve been in the arts management field in some form or another.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
To be honest, I can’t really remember what I wanted to be when I was a kid. I probably wanted to be some sort of dancer – I’ve always liked to boogey. It’s a Schaeffer family thing.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I know you specify just one woman, but I would like to go to lunch and share a nice bottle of wine with Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Obama. I’d like to listen to their conversation about diplomacy, expectations, and legacy. Eleanor was one of the first leading women to champion civil rights publicly, which was not a popular thing to do in her day. I want to be there when they meet each other for the first time. Can you imagine how that would go? That’s a fun thing to think about.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents and my grandparents.

How is art a passion for you?
Art is a passion for me because I think is important for everyone. The arts help to make sense of the world.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
We’re working on it, but we’re not nearly there yet. It bothers me immensely that there are so, so many women that work in the arts but when you look at the top positions at major galleries and museums, the majority of those positions are filled by white men.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The growth. I’ve only been here for three years, but even in those three years I have seen more galleries/creative spaces open and more funding allocated to the arts. As compared to the more established (and saturated) NYC or LA, Atlanta wants more and is keen on carving out an international identity. It’s only up from here when it comes to the opportunities for artists and creatives.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I like when art sells. I like when people care about buying locally made artwork and value that work highly. I like when artists feel like their career is being pushed forward and properly advocated for. Whether that’s funding or (the right kind of) exposure that leads to more work, that’s what I want.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
Learn more about the Art Farm at Serenbe at www.artfarmatserenbe.com and follow at @artfarmserenbe on Instagram.

Leading Lady : Becca Parker

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

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

We are proud to introduce the Next Leading Lady for March 2019: Becca Parker 

Photo by Colin Pearce

Where do you work and what do you do?
Artistic Director of Live Arts Theatre. Live Arts is a teaching theatre, designed to bridge the gap between community, educational, and professional theatre. I spend a lot of my time working with the school programs supporting them and teaching workshops. I try to teach the students that there is a place for them in theatre after graduation, regardless of the level at which they choose to participate. We also develop individuals who would like to be working at the professional level through our Intensive Program.

In my spare time, I work as a freelance Director, Music Director, keys programmer, scenic and lighting designer, and stage manager. I also serve on the board of Georgia Theatre Conference.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I have been interested in, and a part of theatre my whole life. I started out as an actor at a very young age and have been working in theatre ever since. I graduated from Shenandoah Conservatory in 2003, with a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre and I also hold a Masters degree in Special Education. I have been the Artistic Director of Live Arts since 2010.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
A Broadway star! In my early 20’s, a mentor pulled me aside and told me that although I am a talented performer, I should look at Directing, as I tend to see the whole picture. When I finally listened, I realized she was right, so now I do more directing. This eventually led to my moving to Atlanta and taking over a struggling community theatre, which eventually became Live Arts.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I’m going to name one who is alive and then a few who are no longer with us, because history happens every day. Those who are living are a part of creating tomorrow’s history. So, a woman I would love to have lunch with would be Susan Booth. There are so few women as Artistic Directors of large institutions, and I always enjoy meeting people whose work I admire. Not living would be Martha Lavey or Ellen Stewart. Both of these women successfully founded and built such amazing theatres and I would love to hear about the journey from beginning to end.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
That’s a tough one. Probably my Nana. She always took me to the theatre growing up, and was an awesome cheerleader. After that, my husband Michael and the group known as my boys, who are my close friends and support system. They are always down for pretty much any adventure, and have always tried to support what I do.

How is art a passion for you?
How is it not? Seriously, there is not a day where I don’t wake up thinking of something going on with one production or another. I also fall asleep thinking about the next days events. I think my passion is also for people, and theatre brings people together. There truly is no better feeling in the world than watching someone do something that at the beginning they did not think was possible for them.

I’m actually living my passion right now. We at Live Arts are currently working on a production of Ragtime with Berkmar High School. Most of the roles have a student, as well as an adult mentor cast in them. It has been so great to see the kids being inspired by the adults, and giving the adults the opportunity to give back to our community in such a meaningful way.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
Equality and representation is extremely important to me. I believe in order to be truly equal, each and every one of us needs to be committed to the idea that every individual has something to offer and to then strive to discover what that something is. Each individual has a story to tell, and when we are allowed to tell them, we all become better people. To that end, a good deal of my work involves creating opportunities in the creative workforce for people in our community. Right now, Live Arts is still pretty small, but we are striving to have the makeup of individuals on our stage and working behind the scenes mirror the actual makeup of our community.
Last year, I was given the opportunity to attend the Berkshire Leadership Summit, where over 75 leaders from all levels of theatre got together for a long weekend. All 75 identified as women, and it was so wonderful to be in a room with that many amazing creative women at one time. One project we have done that came out of my time there was actually just completed at Live Arts. Each year, we do a reading series in February, where all the plays revolve around a certain theme. This seasons theme was Women in American Theatre, where we presented 8 plays by women of color. It was amazing for our audience to get to hear the plays that told so many different stories, and to get so many members of our community involved for the first time.

Photo by Liam Davridge

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The diversity! There is so much going on, which means there truly is something for everyone. I also love that we have so much representation at each level, and that we all work to support each other.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I hope to continue to create a place where artists can find a welcoming home in which to create theatre and grow as people. We learn something on every show and every project we do. Live Arts is not just a theatre. We are a family that supports each other in all endeavors. I hope to be able to help other organizations in our community, whether it’s developing an artist that may not quite be ready for one of the professional theatres, inspiring a student, or mentoring a community theatre on ways to make their productions/operations stronger.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
www.liveartstheatre.org
Facebook:  Live Arts Theatre Company

Leading Lady : Andrea N Zoppo

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

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

We are proud to introduce the Next Leading Lady for March 2019: Andrea N Zoppo

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am currently self-employed and work for my company Ladybug Events. We are an education and entertainment agency with a focus on nature-based learning. I primarily teach Garden education and farm to early care. I also am a performer, artist, and entertainer. I teach an after-school elementary acting class and I produce, write and build environmental education themed puppet shows with my talented team for local festivals.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
My company is in its fifth year. I’ve been in this line of work, Environmental Education, since about 2008. I’ve been doing family fun programming since I was a child because my mother was a professional clown and had her own entertainment company. I’ve always loved art and majored in sculpture at GSU .

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a photographer for national geographic. I loved looking through the magazines as a child and thinking about adventures and the beautiful wild places across the world. I’ve always been interested in our environment. I also wanted to be a baker but I think I wanted to be that so I could give people yummy treats. I find they like a bunch of fresh grown kale from the garden too. =)

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
There’s so many women from history that Id love to talk with including Mary Queen of Scott, Nefertiti, , but more in recent history, Rachel Carson. She was a biologist and conservationist and her book Silent Spring advanced our environmental activism movement. I’d like to talk to her about little things. Little things like diatoms.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
I’d have to say my grandmother is the biggest influence on me in my life. She passed away a few years ago at 99 and her heart encompassed our family. I always feel loved when I think about her and her love and joy for life and children inspire me everyday.

How is art a passion for you?
I realized last year that for some, art is how you move through life. I’ve learned what makes me special is my art, is how I do things. How I teach is an art form of passion. I am so excited by nature and the little wonders of life that it fuel my drive to create, reach and teach more. To spark wonder about our beautiful planet in the hearts of children is my passion.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
Because I primarily work with children, I’m in an industry or career path that is predominantly female. Women are teachers, caregivers and nurturers and we do so many creative things to liven up our classrooms, inspire, teach so many subjects. I feel that women and teachers are severely undervalued.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
Arts in Atlanta in an ever opening flower. There’s always new things coming up. When I was in art school in the early 2000s we had the Eydrum near Daddy DZs as a Haven for creative expression and so much more. Now I’m excited about places like the Bakery that provide multimedia mixed-use space for community and art events. I love how the City and surrounding areas have embraced mural arts and new ones pop up all the time. That has happened only in the last 15 years thanks to organizations like Living Walls and others. It also seems that local cities have embraced Arts and creativity. The lantern parades are amazing to see all ages come out and participate, making creations and filling the streets with wonder. I love participating in them. Cheers to the Krewe of Grateful Gluttons and Chantelle Rytter for making the lantern magic happen and leading great wkshps!

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I’d like to think of gardening as art. It’s living art. It lives and breathes and contributes to the beauty, the air quality, and is food for beneficial pollinators. Gardens are inspirations for the eyes , heart, and mind. Gardens are places to find peace. I hope that the work I do inspires people to join together and celebrate nature, gardens and the children I teach will continue that effort. I have grown a public Childrens Garden at the Lake Claire Landtrust. We are in our 3rd year and it’s a beautiful spot for all sizes to enjoy.

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

Website: http://ladybugeventsllc.com

Twitter: Msladybugevents

Instagram: followladybug

Tumblr: Ladybugevents

http://www.gpb.org/blogs/education-matters/2019/01/10/meet-our-pbs-kids-early-learning-champion-andrea-miss-ladybug

 

Leading Lady : Amber Bradshaw

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

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

We are proud to introduce the Next Leading Lady for March 2019: Amber Bradshaw

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am the Managing Artistic Director of Working Title Playwrights. Some of my daily tasks include: Overall Management, Daily Admin, Hiring, Casting, Program development, EDI workshop training for the theater community and the WTP board, Training, education and advocacy of our playwrights, Play submissions and the gathering of professionals to those panels, Branding and marketing, Mentoring and outreach for and with new development theatre artists, National outreach, Moderation and facilitation of dialogue, Directing and dramaturgy for our members as part of our programs, and Developing collaborations with theaters across Atlanta.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I asked my mom for acting lessons when I was 10 years old. It just so happens I was in a class facilitated and run by Atlanta’s Pamela Turner! I never stopped acting, but I lost interest during my teen years. I began writing in high school. I followed my love of creative writing to college, and discovered theater again when I took my first beginning acting class with the woman who would become my mentor. Elizabeth Carlin Metz. I was hooked and she was very supportive. She encouraged me to direct in our student theater. I did. There was no turning back. By the time I graduated I had directed 3 times, assistant directed 4 times, and was a teaching assistant for acting classes. I knew this was what I wanted to do.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
No IDEA. Seriously. It felt limited as a girl. I was not sure where I belonged.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Josephine Baker. I would ask her to tell me the story of her life. I would want to talk to her about what it was like to be a spy during WWII and work for the French Resistance. I would ask her about Frida Kahlo and Bricktop and all the women she loved. I would make sure she knew how many women she has inspired, influenced and advocated for simply by being her infinitely talented and complicated self. I would ask her to teach me her favorite dance, her favorite song. We would speak French together. It would be dreamy.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

My parents. My dad taught me to dream big and never let anyone stop me. He taught me that change and adapting is the only way to live. My mom showed me how a woman can stand on her own two feet. She showed me how to have a room of my own. Without the courage to take risks and the privilege of finding a room of my own, I don’t believe I would be where I am today. Elizabeth Carlin Metz has been the greatest artistic influence in my life and I am grateful for her mentorship every day.

How is art a passion for you?

I HAVE to do it. I NEED to do it. I have to find a way to occupy my mind, to create something that I think is authentic and truthful. It’s something I’m deeply drawn to – and in love with. Collaboration is my drug. I love the work. I love the people I work with and the amazing audience that supports artists in Atlanta. Telling the stories of the South has been part of my goals since I started writing as a teenager. I am proud to get the chance to do this work.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I think we have a lot of growing to do. Systemic bias is still a driving force in our society and in our workforce. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and challenges to address the deeper issues. I am deeply inspired by the leaders that are pushing initiatives forward to feature and hire women, but we can do more. I think there needs to be a special emphasis on hiring women of color and people who identify as lgbtqia.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
New work is the cornerstone of this community. It is cherished and upheld. Risks are taken. It’s pretty incredible to see. There’s a lot of exploration in the work done here.

The queer art world is pretty big and bold. Low budget, high budget, performance art, drag, dance, aeria, etc.l – you can find it all. I love Atlanta. I love how we celebrate our Southern culture and find that place for ourselves. It’s empowering.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
New stories, artists that have confidence in their voices, equity and inclusion in all facets of what we do, a perception shift in the moderation of dialogue, and of course, new work!

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

                                                                            Facebook: Working Title Playwrights

Leading Lady : Heather Infantry

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

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

We are proud to introduce the Next Leading Lady for March 2019: Heather Infantry 

Leading Lady – Heather Infantry

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am Executive Director of Generator, a nonprofit start-up whose mission is to bring people together to generate ideas that shape the future of cities.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
It started with a 7th grade drama class. I was such a shy kid, it opened me up. When it came time to apply for college, pursuing a theater degree was the only thing that made sense. Art has been central to life personally and professionally ever since.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I come from a line of educators, so teaching was something I always gravitated towards.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I’d want to have a conversation with Queen Nanny of the Jamaican Maroons on the repercussions of slavery throughout the diaspora.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Art, music, literature, theatre and film/tv have and continue to produce profound epiphanies that shape and guide my life. Second to that is my husband who is always there to listen to my ever evolving understanding of my place and duty in the  world.

How is art a passion for you?
I wouldn’t say it is a passion. I would say it is like oxygen. I do not understand myself or the world around me without art.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I think we need more time at leadership to determine what it should look like for us (as women). I think too often we replicate the examples of men because they have always dominated the industry. What are our instincts? What skills do we bring that are uniquely us? How will the sector shift as a result of leaning into a more women-centric culture? These are the questions I ask myself constantly.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
Atlanta is here for the taking. From the moment I arrived, the city has pulsated with an energy that produces art that is deeply soulful and intimate. It’s southern charm and hospitality combined with our legacy of civil rights and relative affordability attracts passionate creative entrepreneurs and as a result distinguishes us as a critical market.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I want my work to elevate the importance of black identity and expression and advance the prosperity of black artists/creatives and black led organizations.

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

www.generatorcity.org
IG: @generatoratl

Leading Lady – Ibi Owolabi

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 Our First Leading Lady for March 2019: Ibi Owolabi

Headshot of Ibi Where do you work and what do you do?
I am a freelance director here in Atlanta. I work on several film projects and on plays in town at wonderful theaters like 7Stages in Little 5 and the Alliance in Midtown.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I’ve loved the arts my entire life, before it because an option as a career, it was just my imagination and lots and lots of books, giving me lots of different lives and adventures. I’ve been formally directing since I was about eighteen, so eight years.

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

I used to think I would be a pediatrician, because I love kids and I’m Nigerian, so medicine is kind of the default. Unfortunately, I was introduced to chemistry in high school and medicine and I parted ways. I did find theatre in high school, however, and the love has stayed strong.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Octavia Butler. I’d love to talk sci fi and incorporating POC into the genre with a woman who founded so much of it. Octavia existed in an timeline with even less women of color in the genre and flourished despite it. A glimpse into her wildly creative mind would be great.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
However cliche, my mom. I can’t even quantify how much her strength and intelligence shaped me. Watching her step through adversity, seeing her build and own her own business for almost twenty years made the idea of being self made second nature to me. Her pride in being black and an immigrant infused me with the same pride and love for who I am, even when my career forces me to look inward and take some personal hits. I am so grateful for her.

How is art a passion for you?
I am a firm believer that there is no life without art. There is no history, no foundation without art. And there within lies my passion. Art is life changing and vital to who I am and what I want to leave behind. More than leave behind, but what I want to build and Forster the growth of. There is no limit to what can sprout from a creative mind. And that is a thrilling thing.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
With everything that has happened in the last couple of years, surrounding pay inequality, the MeToo movement, and the choking over saturation of arts by white men, I have to say this: hire women. Just women. Until we figure all of this out. It may sound radical, but I believe to offset the waves of toxicity and stale ideas making major companies circle the drain, hire women and pay them what they are truly worth. And I do not think anyone should call themselves any kind of ally if they are not completely transparent with what they are being paid, even if they are not completely sure the women they work with are being paid less. I do not think anyone should feel comfortable working in a space that is not 50% women, and the work to progress an artistic space does not stop once a white woman is hired. I’ve enjoyed much of my professional work, and I can say with complete confidence that women enhance every creative experience I’ve had, and deserve to be in every room.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The most exciting thing about Atlanta’s art is the huge shift that is happening right now. I love how many new companies and new works are churning through the city, and how much of it I get to do.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
My passion is new plays, and I hope that Atlanta will continue to gain national attention for the new work we are putting out. I hope through our work, more will be produced and Atlanta will thrive as a city that puts on amazing new and classic plays.

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

Instagram – @yungdirector

 

 

Meet our New Community Liaison

This last Sunday, C4 Atlanta’s board met to discuss a number of operational things and whatnots. Normal business stuff for a non-profit. However, we did spend some time discussing recent issues within the Atlanta arts community. These issues have ranged from sexual harassment, to racist comments, to problematic power dynamics. From this discussion, the staff and board felt that it is very important that we remain transparent and open. Here are two steps that came from our discussion:

  1. The Board appointed a board member to serve as a community liaison. This board member is not part of the executive committee nor is this person on staff. Please welcome local artist, Lauren Pallotta Stumberg as C4’s new Community Liaison.
  2. The second action is to host a member meeting this summer. This will take place at the top of fiscal year 2020. We will discuss member news at the top of the meeting and then open up the rest of the meeting to non-members for a community lunch. We are hoping to invite a special guest speaker for the member portion of the meeting. This time will be an opportunity for members and non-members to ask questions, give feedback, tell us about their challenges, and to also tell us about their hopes and vision for our city. We do plan to host a community forum this Spring. This is not the same as a member meeting that will now occur annually.

I am sincerely humbled by C4’s trust in me to represent the organization as its Arts Community Liaison. This position demonstrates C4’s dedication to servicing members of our arts community not just as entrepreneurs and advocates, but as complex human beings who deserve safe space to be seen and heard. I take this new responsibility very seriously; much of my work in the arts is about connecting community, advocating for women and amplifying voices. Let’s keep listening.

– Lauren Pallotta Stumberg

Lauren (middle) with other artists in Atlanta

More about the Community Liaison and why we created this position…

C4 Atlanta, like so many nonprofits, is not super flush with cash. We cover our bills and other financial obligations but that leaves little left over to say, employ an HR Director. While we have an employee handbook and a Governance Committee, we don’t have an HR department.

The Community Liaison is a board member. Lauren has been on our board for several years now. However, the Executive Director (my position) tends to work more closely with the organization’s executive leadership: board chair, vice chair, treasurer, and secretary. Someone who wants to be able to approach our organization should feel welcome to do so. Lauren will be available to listen to anyone who has a grievance. She will report back to the other board members for advice (and as an obligation) on the next appropriate actions should there be a complaint. Lauren’s information will be available on our site shortly.

Also, we will be adding at least one of two more community liaisons to our board. Our goal is to have multiple types of representation. Our board is not very big right now and about 4 members serve on as Executive Officers with 2 others who are founders. The board will be working on recruitment between now and June 30 (end of our fiscal year).

This isn’t going to change the world, but we hope it will at least help keep the stewards of the organization accountable, open, and responsible.

Wanna learn more about Lauren? 

Visit her site: http://www.thinkgreatly.com

Lauren’s email: Lauren@thinkgreatly.com

Lauren Pallota Stumberg

2019 Leading Ladies Nominations are Now Open!

C4 Atlanta is proud to announce that nominations for our 5th Annual Leading Ladies in the Arts Blog Series are now open! Each year during Women’s History Month, C4 Atlanta looks to recognize the women making extraordinary contributions to the Atlanta arts community.

Nominations are open to any femme-identifying persons in all artistic disciplines, including arts technicians and administrators. You can nominate yourself or another artist. Nominations may also be made anonymously, if preferred. Once nominated, each nominee will be sent information about completing their blog submission for the series.

The deadline to submit a nomination is March 15, 2019. 

Look for blogs to be released on a rolling basis throughout the month as they are submitted.

Click Here to Nominate a Leading Lady

 

5 Places All Artists Can Find Support for Their Work

So…you’re looking for some places to find money/jobs/grants/work? Where can you even go to research and get started?

It can be confusing to find calls, auditions and other spots for artists’ work. And like many young performers, in my early days of working I wrote off looking for grants and residencies because I didn’t think the accepted applications from artists like me. That simply isn’t true. There are opportunities to fund your work in every artistic discipline, if you know where to look.

Here’s some of our favorite places for artists to find more work (or ways to fund it!):

  1. Opportunity Arts: A local platform for artists in the Greater Atlanta area.

    Opportunity Arts – If you haven’t already checked out C4 Atlanta’s new opportunity board, you add it to your bookmarks immediately. Listings change daily, with upcoming jobs, contract work, RFPs, auditions, grants and more. Listings are also referenced by artistic discipline and opportunity type. Currently free to list and always free for artists to browse. Looking for a space for an upcoming show? Check out the “Spaces” button, which links to Spacefinder Georgia, where you can search for spaces by location, size, event type and budget.

  2.  Foundation Center AtlantaThe Foundation Center Directory Online is an incredible database of grant opportunities. If you search their database from your house, you have to pay a fee. However, Atlantans are incredibly fortunate to have a local chapter of the Foundation Center in Downtown. If you visit the Center, you can use the Directory for free from their office, as well as access other available online fundraising tools. Additionally, the Foundation Center offers classes and training about fundraising, so it’s worth checking out their training calendar of upcoming programs, too.
  3. CAFE (Call for Entries) – CAFE lists calls from all over the world. You can find lots of listings for awards, upcoming grants, and public art in particular. Though the platform is probably already familiar to those looking to find opportunities for public visual art, performing artists and artists of other disciplines can also find plenty of opportunities for grants, residencies and other opportunities to make or fund work. CAFE allows you to upload your own artist portfolio and submit to opportunities directly through the platform. This makes it easier to submit to more opportunities.
  4. Creative Capital – Creative Capital publishes a new list of artist opportunity deadlines every two months. Additionally, there are links to other directories of artist residencies and opportunity boards. There’s always a wide variety of listings among all artist genres, with hyper local opportunities to international calls.  Creative Capital also provides training for artists through in person and online opportunities. Creative Capital also awards their own grant every two years with awards up to $50,000 of support.
  5. Your Local Municipality’s Facebook (or other social media) Page – Ok, this is a little vague. But depending on where you live, your local arts council may be sharing lots of other calls online through Facebook. Georgia Council for the Arts, Fulton County Arts and Culture, Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and many others all share calls for artists on their Facebook pages regularly. Often, calls are also shared through their monthly email newsletters, too. Like and Follow your town, county or other local arts council’s social media to get access to what their sharing.

There are other spots you can look to for finding funds. Feel free to share you favorites with us!

Lastly, if you’re looking for grant support for the first time, check out our upcoming program with Atlanta Contemporary on Saturday, January 26 from 10-12 AM called Grant Writing 101. During this workshop, we’ll cover the basics of getting started looking for grant support including gathering and preparing your grant materials, finding grantors, building a case for support and more. This is a great introduction to the grant writing process for folks who are working on their very first grant or with limited grant experience. Register Online Here.

Talk Art to Me: You’ve Got Mad Skills by Vito Leanza

 

Vito in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in a costume he designed and built.

“Any acrobatics? Tell us more about your rope spinning.”

How many of you have gone to an audition and have been asked similar questions by the folks behind the table at your audition? For me, personally, it happens all the time.

When I first moved to New York City in 1995 to pursue a career in Musical Theatre, the buzz word flying around was “Triple Threat.” For those who don’t know what that means, it refers to being a Singer, Dancer and Actor. What more could Producers and Directors want? That was the whole package!

Back then (and still true today) many dancers, were strictly dancers, some could sing, but their forte was dance. They were known as Dancers who
sing. Singers on the other hand, same scenario, were Singers who could dance or Singers Who Move Well. No one really asked you if you could act, they just assumed you could. They would know more if they handed you sides to study.

In todays competitive world of Musical Theatre, Film and Television, its almost demanded that we have a special skill to make us stand out, to land that role. This is true especially in Musical Theatre where shows are much more flashy, technical and exciting! Take the recent revival of Pippin! You get the picture? Our special skills are just as important as our singing/dancing and acting lessons.

Before I found my way into musical theatre, I just happen to have many special skills. I learned because I was interested in them, not because I needed them for my resume. Here’s my list of special skills that I love to rattle off to folks for fun, but they are all true.

I am a Singer/Dancer/Actor/ Acrobat/Puppeteer/Stilt Walker/Unicyclist/
Juggler/Improv Actor/Writer/Costume Designer. In fact at one point, below
my special skills on my resume, I was bold and wrote “Creative Beyond
Belief.”

Vito as an acrobat in Joseph and the
Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

I learned all these skills bit by bit as time went by. I learned how to ride a unicycle at age 9 because a unicycle club came and performed at my elementary school. As a kid, I was also a springboard diver. I competed in high school and was a scholarship athlete in college. I had always been acrobatic and one day, while hanging around my church gym, I took those diving skills and transferred them into tumbling skills, which lead me to being a Varsity Cheerleader for 3 years. After college, I worked at Walt Disney World where I learned how to be a puppeteer and stilt walker, which were jobs within my job as a character performer and dancer. Eventually that lead me to dance classes and Musical Theatre.

When I moved to NYC and had a real resume, I would be at auditions and the producers would glance down and look at my special skills and almost always ask about my acrobatics. In fact, I got 90% of my jobs because of my special skills.

In 1997, I auditioned for the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I went in and sang and they asked me to return for a call back. Before I walked away, something compelled me to speak up about being an acrobat. It’s important that when you have the opportunity to sell what makes you unique, you do it! The folks behind the table lit up and said when I returned for my callback, I could tumble for them. The next day at the dance call, they asked me to tumble and I did a few tricks for them. I got the job and spent 15 months on the road.

I am now in the Atlanta Gay Mens Chorus and currently working at Stone Mountain Park during their Pumpkin Festival. I was called in to audition at Stone Mountain Park after I was seen at Unifieds. I was asked to prepare a comedic monologue and a song. I did my monologue then sang my song. They (and there were 4 folks behind the table that day) looked down at my special skills and began to ask about each special skill one by one. One director literally said “Stop, I didn’t hear a word after you said Costume Designer.” He was still trying to process that when the others where already asking about my circus skills and my puppeteering. Clearly I got the job. But I actually got 3 separate jobs from that one audition. I was hired as a Puppeteer, an Improv Actor and a Costume Designer. Here’s the kicker, I am also riding my Unicycle in a parade as well as Juggling. 5 skills utilized!

Life is a journey. We learn new things that lead us to other new things. As performers, we have a world of opportunity to learn new special skills.
Atlanta has more and more quality theaters opening all the time, plus more tv shows and movies filming here. I encourage you to seek out a
Puppeteering class, an acrobatics/tumbling class, a circus skills class. Make yourself more marketable. There’s a reason it’s called a Play.

Vito holding a Shrek Dragon Puppet that he made.

Connect with Vito:

Email: vitoworld@yahoo.com
Website: http://vitoworldproductions.com/