C4 Atlanta Open House – Meet the Art Sale Artists

Hi friends!

We’re so excited to finally host you in our new facilitates for an open house! We can’t wait to finally welcome you into our new home at 132 Mitchell St SW!

In July 2019, C4 Atlanta moved into a new location just two blocks from our old home at 115 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SW in the M. Rich Building. This location had been home to FUSE Arts Center and the C4 Atlanta offices for nearly 7 years. Moving to a new location was something we had been planning for 2 years prior. We knew there was a need for more artist studio spaces at our new facility and more classroom spaces for our programming to grow.

After a long search, we found the perfect spot at 132 Mitchell St. And to welcome you, we’re throwing a big party to celebrate our grand opening. You can RSVP here to hang out with us in our new space on November 14, 2019.

There’s lots to celebrate, but we’re especially excited to let you know about the Art Sale we’re hosting with some of Atlanta’s best local artist talent. Work will be for sale at affordable prices just in time for the holidays. Come check out, pick up something for yourself or someone else, and get to know more about these C4 Atlanta artist members:

 

A photography piece by Davion Alston with a man holding an magnifying glass in front of his face. Davion AlstonAlston (b.1992) is a German born, Georgia native, where earth is his playground, and Atlanta is home. His exhibition and education spans from a multitude of Galleries, a handful of museums, with a BFA Georgia State University. He describes himself as an organized system of complexity, with accidental accessibility. See more of Davion’s work on Instagram at @davionalston.

 

 

 

 

A picture of a portrait painted by Angela Bortone.Angela Bortone – Angela Bortone is a Dominican-Italian painter and muralist based in the metro Atlanta region. She is also member of the artist collective Living Melody Collective. Born in the Dominican Republic, she spent nearly a decade abroad in Germany before moving to Atlanta in 2002. Her energetic works of abstract figurative realism are inspired by feelings, emotions and thoughts. Figures coexist with inky splashes that represent swirling subconscious mind.

Bortone earned a BFA in studio art from Georgia State University in 2010. Her work has been exhibited across various venues Atlanta including Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, MINT Gallery, and Whitespace Gallery and across the US. She has painted murals for the Marietta Museum of Art, the Center for Civil and Human Rights and even a painted a school bus with Living Melody Collective to promote voter engagement as a mobile civic inspiration machine. Learn more about Angela and see more of her work at angelabortone.com.

 

a piece of artwork by Rachel De Urioste

Rachel De Urioste – Rachel De Urioste is an Atlanta based multimedia artist, designer and fabricator. She works in a variety of mediums including digital design, cast resin, oils and felted wool. Her work is both playful and grotesque, exploring an imagined world of kind monsters, cynical cupcakes, and oysters with teeth.

In addition to her personal work, Rachel enjoys collaborating with individual artists and fabrication studios on a wide range of projects, including large scale puppets, costumes, miniatures, stop motion puppets, and public art installations. She loves learning new skills, and is always looking for a challenge.

 

 

A photo of a painting of hands by Krista M. Jones.

Krista M. Jones – Krista M. Jones (a.k.a. Jonesy) is an Interdisciplinary artist based in Atlanta, GA, USA. She was born to a military family in Dallas, Texas in 1973 and spent her life traveling both nationally and internationally. Jonesy has used art most of her life as a tool to express and process the human experience.

Jonesy studied Fine Art at University of Texas at Arlington and gained her BFA at Columbus State University in Photography and Painting. After taking on an internship as an Assistant Art Director she began a 13-year career in Graphic Design. Jonesy has embraced creative entrepreneurship full-time and focuses predominantly on canvas paintings and murals. She is affiliated with AIGA, Graphic Artist Guild, Alternate Roots and C4 Atlanta, where she graduated from Ignite and HATCH programs. Hatch is designed for artists working in community based public projects. Some of her clients include Atlanta BeltLine, Unscripted Way, Sustainable Wellness, Aquarius Magazine, Brandshake Creative, Precision Performance Atlanta, Expression Chiropractic, Hales Photography, Virtually Staging Properties, KGA Creative, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Third & Urban, Lake Claire Community Land Trust, MARTA, Modera Vinings, Livable Buckhead, ABV Agency, Path Foundation and Living Walls. She was a recipient of Laura Patricia Calle grant in 2017 for Living Walls in collaboration with four other women for a mural project called “In Solidarity” and assisted world-renowned artist Hopare in the creation of Atlanta’s largest mural to date. Her own murals can be seen around the Atlanta metro area and are rich with animal imagery, patterns, vibrant color and symbolism.

In her studio practice, she is currently working on a large body of work called “Pulling Light from the Darkness”. This ongoing work includes several series that focus on self-expression, gender, sexuality, empowerment, LGBTQI advocacy and intersectional feminism. This body of work focuses on human form, lighting, pose and position to express emotion and illustrate aspects of the human experience. Learn more about Krista and her work at jonesyartatl.com

 

A photo of a mixed media art piece by Michael Jones

Michael Jones – Michael Jones was born in Dallas, Texas, where he attended the famed Booker T. Washington High School for Performing and Visual Arts. He relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in 1994 where he received his bachelor’s degree in Painting and Sculpture from Atlanta College of Art (SCAD) in 1998. His focus was in non-objective, abstract paintings. = Newer works deals with definitions which he uses mixed medium, collage, found objects in addition he operates within interior and exterior urban spaces and honor the mundane materials that filter through our day to day lives.

My new work is driven by definitions of targets. A subject can be defined in many ways given the environment it is placed, the situation it is in, or the context in which it is used. I choose a target because it is the object at which efforts are directed. It places nouns as the aim of attack. Targets can be anything, which is why I feel the need to define them. Being an artist, I too am a target, since I represent the art that will be the subject of your criticism.

The new work is process driven. The physical act of shooting the target starts this process. I’m drawn to opposing things so the controlled randomness of the bullets traveling through the background sets the perimeters for the procedures. The gun becomes the first tool for marking or changing the surface of the target which exploits the notion of where my efforts are directed or the subject of attack. In addition found objects and mixed medium is added as a way for me to get the audience involved but letting them create their own conclusion of what they see in each target. Different pieces have themes that question one’s definition of
what or who a target is or can be. Learn more about Michael and see more of his work at letter75.com.

 

A photo of a painting names Ascension by Lauren Pallotta Stumberg.Lauren Pallotta Stumberg – Think Greatly, LLC is an art + design projects incubator led by Lauren Pallotta Stumberg – an artist, muralist, designer, illustrator and creative consultant based out of Atlanta, GA.

Lauren received a 2016/2017 Emerging Artist Award from the City of Atlanta. She serves on the board of C4 Atlanta as an artist voice as well as the Arts Community Liaison. Additionally, Lauren leads beautification efforts and community arts programming opportunities as a board member at large for Fourth Ward Neighbors Association.

Lauren is represented by dk Gallery in Marietta, GA. Inquiries to purchase her paintings and sculptures should be directed to Donna Krueger, dk@dkgallery.us.

Notable projects include the Moreland Mural Project; public art funding from the City of Atlanta, Norcross Public Art Commission, Hapeville Office of Economic Development; community art events such as Forward Warrior and Little Five Arts Alive; design work for small businesses in Atlanta and beyond; retail products at local shops such as Crafted and Sugarboo. Learn more about Lauren and see more of her work at thinkgreatly.com

 

A photo of a piece called A Moment of Transformation by Bree Stallings.Bree Stallings – Breanna “Bree” Stallings is North Carolina-native multi-media artist, illustrator, writer and activist.

Bree graduated from Queens University of Charlotte in May of 2013 with a Bachelor Degree in Studio Art and Creative Writing. She resides near uptown Charlotte where she works as a painter, illustrator and muralist. Currently, she teaches adults and children intermediate and advanced drawing and painting techniques at her studio called the Learning Lab.

Using art as her vehicle, she raises awareness for many causes that affect her life and those closest to her such as economic mobility, sexual health advocacy, displacement and homelessness and environmental consciousness.

Through the programs, curated art shows and fundraisers she has helped put on, Bree, alongside her creative team and partnerships with Project Art Aid, Behailu Academy, the Mecklenburg County Health Department, the Disappearing Frog Project, Pearls for Creative Healing and many more have helped raised over $500,000 for furthering development in Charlotte’s art and humanities scene.

Her works of art, poetry, and mixed-media collage have been covered and published in various print and online magazines including Creative Loafing, Charlotte Viewpoint, Indigo Rising, My City Magazine, MAYO, The Borgen Project, Society Charlotte, Charlotte Magazine and others.

In recent news, her partnership with the Mecklenburg County Health Department and students at Behailu Academy have provided the opportunity for 2 large-scale public art murals in designated “food deserts” to highlight the pressing issue of food insecurity in our communities. She is also an Artist As Change Agent Fellow of 2019 as sponsored by EmcArts, Artists Campaign School of 2017 Fellow as sponsored by Fractured Atlas, the 2018 GOLD Alumni Award Winner from Queens University of Charlotte and the 2017 Outstanding Leader In The Arts Award Winner from The Arts Empowerment Project.

Bree Stallings has been asked to speak, live paint, read poetry, present and facilitate workshops at the Community School of the Arts, Get Ready With Words, ImaginOn Library, C3 Lab, Blumenthal Arts and the Knight Theater, Discovery Place, the Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center, The Levine Museum of the New South, the Liberal Arts College Symposium, Industry Charlotte, the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, UNCC Higher Education Symposium, the Foundation for the Carolinas among many other private and public events. Learn more about Bree and see more of her work at breestallings.com

 

A picture of a work by Anita Stewarts called NZ Lacy Lady with Attitude. Anita Stewart – Her parents would never have guessed that the red bearded Santa in kindergarten and the art lessons at the “Y” in junior high would have lead to this. She graduated from the University of Memphis in 1977 with a major addiction to art and a minor one to art education. After moving to Atlanta in 1983, with her family, she advanced as both artist and art teacher. As an artist she achieved awards in national, international and local juried competitions. Her work has graced the walls of universities , art museums and private collectors. Her work has aired on TV on numerous occasions. Her Anita’s ArtsCool founded in 1998, was recognized as one of the “crown jewels of Buford,(Georgia).” (Gwinnett Daily Post)

Her passion is traveling and painting solo in different countries :South Africa, Italy, Peru, Ecuador, Panama and Australia ..Where next? These resulted in series that sing “Celebrate the Differences”.Many of her pieces were done on site in different countries.Such a wide scope of wonderful experiences for anyone!

She has drawn,painted while sitting on the ground next to cathedrals and lemon trees in Italy.She painted in the presence of a glowing sunset in South Africa and combined it with nearby mysterious ancient rock art .She painted the emotional responses witnessed in the faces of pilgrims doing penance in Panama .She painted a life size diptyct of a little girl in Equador confronted by an iguana longer than she was tall!! .

Her latest honor was to reside in Beverley, Australia for a month as their first international artist in residence.

Patrons connect with her crazy real life stories that inspire her art. Many can’t wait to bring a piece of her international adventures into their home or business to inspire them to reach for adventure as well. Learn more about Anita and see more of her work at anitastewartgallery.com.

 

A watercolor painting of a landscape with city buildings, a river and a cruise ship.Diana Toma – Diana Toma is an award winning Romanian visual artist currently teaching and creating in Atlanta, Georgia. Influenced by the European culture in which she was raised and enriched with American flavor, her style arrived at a unique cross that blends traditional techniques in a contemporary approach.

Diana has been engaging with the art community since 1995 showcasing her work in over a hundred international group exhibitions & eight solo art shows. Holding a Master Degree in Fine Arts from the prestigious Romanian University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, Diana is often invited to judge and jury art shows, and to speak on behalf of the working artist on open panels, such as The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and at The Contemporary museum in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2015 Diana became the grand prize winner of the Michaels Springtime in Paris, a national contest with over 11,000 submissions. Between 1995 and 2019 Diana won an array of awards, on state level, nationally and locally. Her artworks have been showcased in art magazines, billboards, and acquired by her county and corporations to be displayed in public spaces. Diana has recently completed a one year artist residency at Anne O Art gallery in Buckhead. Diana is the demonstration chair for Georgia Watercolor Society. Diana also teaches painting classes for adults in Atlanta area as well as at other art centers within US and abroad. Her teaching approach focuses on fast, free-flowing painting release, and creative un-blockage. Learn more about DIana and see more of her work at artbydianatoma.tumblr.com.

 

C4 Atlanta Art Sale 

Featuring works by Davion Alston, Angela Bortone, Rachel De Urioste, Krista M. Jones, Michael Jones, Lauren Pallotta Stumberg, Bree Stallings, Anita Stewart and Diana Toma

Part of C4 Atlanta’s Open House and Mural Unveiling with WarnerMedia

Thursday, November 14, 2019

6:30pm – 8:30pm

FUSE Arts Center

132 Mitchell St SW, Atlanta, GA 30303 – Third Floor

FREE, but you must RSVP

RSVP ONLINE HERE

Artist Highlight: Meet Davion Alston

Davion Alston is an inaugural Warner Media Creative Resident here at C4 Atlanta. His exhibition Project 1B: Works on Paper & Other Interpretations will be on display for our Open House event on Thursday, November 14th at 6:30PM.

Can you tell us about your exhibition?

Davion Alston in his natural environment surrounded by his art.
Davion Alston in his natural environment surrounded by his art.

This exhibition revisits past photographic work with a little more room to ambiguously play with spatial arrangements. I am intentionally collapsing the sense of chronological order within the use of some of my past work and recontextualizing its purpose by way of sculptural installation.

The exhibition explorers my overarching interests in resiliency, immobility, and desire. All themes being vaguely or directly in touch with one another are meant to spark ambiguous joy and supple means of pleasure. I use materials that are meant to help assist other finer materials, like painters tape, builders construction paper, or thread. My use of these materials leans into critique within institutional structures, while also contending with the commodification and purpose of its form.

I own nothing, I learn to unlearn and to constantly let go. I work intimately, quietly, and collectively.

What has been your experience as a Warner Media Creative Resident so far?

Work from “Project 1B: Works on Paper & Other Interpretations”

I feel my time within the incubator is very fruitful and vast. In this year alone, I utilized C4 Professional Practices, programs, and resources to provide full health insurance as well as finding structure provided by organization by doing the residency program, giving me subsidized space. Ever since being here, I have felt very welcome with open arms as I am softly allowed to experiment within their new spaces. My cohort is equally inspiring within their realm of work. It feels good to be seen and heard by the C4 Organization and creatives.  

About Davion Alston

Alston (b.1992) is a German born, Georgia native, where earth is his playground, and Atlanta is home. His exhibition and education spans from a multitude of Galleries, a handful of museums, with a BFA Georgia State University. He describes himself as an organized system of complexity, with accidental accessibility.

 

Where Can I Find Out More About Davion Alston’s Work?

Instagram: @davionalston

Come see Alston’s work on display Thursday, November 14th at 6:30PM at our new location on Mitchell Street. With food by Chef Kory DePaola of Empire State South, art sale with C4 artists and mural unveiling by Michael Jones. RSVP online here.

 

Project 1B: Works on Paper & Other Interpretations by Davion Alston

Part of C4 Atlanta’s Open House and Mural Unveiling with WarnerMedia

Thursday, November 14, 2019

6:30pm – 8:30pm

FUSE Arts Center

132 Mitchell St SW, Atlanta, GA 30303 – Third Floor

FREE, but you must RSVP

RSVP ONLINE HERE

 

 

C4 Atlanta Welcomes Sara Montijo!

We are excited to announce that C4 Atlanta has welcomed a new member to our team. Meet Sara Montijo! Sara joins the C4 Atlanta team as our new Program Assistant. Get to know our newest addition to the C4 Action Team below:

 

   

Tell us about your education!

I graduated from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where I received an Honor’s BA. At Gallatin you don’t just go to class, write a paper, get a grade. You craft an argument wielded by curiosity. You sign up for whatever classes on whatever topics interest you. You aren’t expected to know why, you just follow some innate urge to understand. Prior to graduation, it’s required to put your class choices, urges, and ideas (however expansive, however conflicting) into coherent conversation. You make a text list, sit at a roundtable for a few hours with faculty, and argue a rationale of study while they quiz and prod you into enlightenment. Something like that.

I positioned philosophical questions about agency around possibility for healing and resistance to hegemonic formulations. I combined coursework in political science, history, creative writing, and media studies, wrote poems, studied abroad in Buenos Aires, helped lead a poetry club, and received grant funding for postgraduate exploration in multimedia storytelling. I arrived at agency—which I understand as our individual and collective ability to imagine and to make choices about our life and lives—as a starting point after realizing how much I still had to unpack regarding my father’s suicide, which happened when I was eight.

I’d also like to celebrate non-traditional education modalities:

I have learned from the service industry—how to be calm, how to be quick, how to ask questions, how to notice, how to think ahead and prioritize, how to describe complex flavors simply, how to connect. I learn everyday from the everyday. From the wind! I’m learning from repetitions of the mundane and the transcendent to enjoy life-as-process, life-as-journey. Also, my sisters!

 

Where are you originally from and why are you in Atlanta (if you aren’t originally from here)? 

I’m from Tucson, Arizona. Grew up at the base of the Catalina Mountains. Here in Atlanta due to a confluence of factors. Mainly, there’s a point around the near-decade mark living in NYC where you start to crave fresh air and quiet, living alone or nearby family, where you start to imagine that beginning again is more challenging, and possibly more rewarding, than staying.

 

What is your favorite food?

I love this question because I used to be a fabulously picky eater. Now, it’d probably be easier to give a direct answer to what foods I don’t like.

But! for favorites… I like food that satisfies, preferably food that’s been made with love and care and time and food that’s sharable. Mmmm so many international food favorites! Food that’s made (and packaged) in sustainably friendly ways is also a turn on.

Maduros is one of the foods I will never turn down.

 

Favorite Artists?

Clarice Lispector, Anne Carson, James Baldwin.

Marina Abramovic, Agnes Varda, Lola Arias.

Billie Holiday, Bon Iver, Ani DiFranco.

Mary Lacy, Rhys Tivey, Elena Mudd.

 

Favorite Quote?

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.

If you block it,
it will never exist through any other medium
and be lost.
The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is;
nor how valuable it is;
nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly,
to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly
of the urges that motivate you.

Keep the channel open.
No artist is pleased.
There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction;
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes us more alive than the others.

A Letter to Agnes DeMille : Martha Graham

 

Dogs or Cats?

That’s Charlie (orange) and Jetson (black) and me (8?). We snugs together. And have our own lil language. Jetson chews cords for a living, and is ultra assertive. Charlie was a Brooklyn stray who would scurry under the bed/couch as a kitten totally afraid of everything. I’m the person who dug him out and held him til he purred. He’s now a charming lil lap cat who has learned it is very effective to wake me up in the morning by pawing my face.

 

What is C4 doing in 5 years

Fiscally sponsoring the opening of my bookstore/cafe/venue! No. But. Really.

 

Weirdest dream?

I think it’s pretty weird how often I dream about lightning, about being the cloud out of which the bolt begins.

C4 Atlanta Welcomes Morgan Carlisle!

We are excited to announce that C4 Atlanta has welcomed a new member to our team. Meet Morgan Carlisle! Morgan joins the C4 Atlanta team as our shiny new Membership Services Manager. Get to know our newest addition to the C4 Action Team below:

Morgan dancing; arms out with one knee up.

Tell us about your education!

I graduated with a degree in Dance at Kennesaw State University waaaay back in the day, but I like to think of myself as a lifelong learner. I love hands on learning and the best way is by showing up and getting those hands dirty! The past decade, I have emeshed myself in the nonprofit arts community, by serving on multiple boards and committees. I’m nosy, and ask a lot of questions, because Atlanta is constantly changing and it’s important to keep up with what’s up.

Where are you originally from and why are you in Atlanta (if you aren’t originally from here)? 

I grew up in a small rural farming town outside of Paris, Tennessee (yes, there is a Paris, Tennessee).

I’m here because Atlanta Influences Everything. Also the food.

What is your favorite food?

Nachos, chocolate chip cookies and chicken livers! Eaten separately of course!

Morgan sitting next to her husband Carlos.

Favorite Artists?

My friends. I’ll see/hear/read their works all day long.

Favorite Quote?

“Give control to gain control” and “it’s not that serious”.

Dogs or Cats?

A Rhodesian Ridgeback named Brick (aka, Brickypoo, Poobear, Poobelly or Pooberrypumpkinpie).

Dog "Brick" in a sweater, sitting in front of a bookshelf.

What is C4 doing in 5 years

Getting ready to celebrate its 15th anniversary as a thriving organization.

Weirdest dream?

I dreamt I was in a zombie apocalypse every night for 4 years straight (I no longer do that).

Morgan power posing in China making a sad face.

C4’s New Arts Business Incubator & Partnership

C4 Atlanta Announces Dynamic Partnership with WarnerMedia for New Arts Business Incubator and Selection of Inaugural Artist Cohort

Atlanta, GAC4 Atlanta, in partnership with WarnerMedia, is excited to announce the creation of the new WarnerMedia Creative Residency at Fuse Arts Center. This new residency was created to nurture the business and career goals of six artists or arts collectives over 12 months. Six artist groups have been selected for 2019-2020. An open house and mural unveiling will be held on November 14, 2019 to announce the program partnership.

To support the program, WarnerMedia is investing $20,000 to support the WarnerMedia Creative Residency. This program combines C4 Atlanta’s arts entrepreneurship programming with low-cost, subsidized studio space and year-long mentorship on artists’ self-defined business goals. Residency artists will work out of studios at Fuse Arts Center, located in South Downtown Atlanta. They will also attend monthly cohort building activities designed to strengthen their arts business knowledge. Through this program, C4 Atlanta hopes to both stimulate intense growth for six arts businesses over the course of a year and keep creative workers at the center of development in South Downtown. Additionally, because of WarnerMedia’s commitment to support homegrown filmmakers in Atlanta, one spot each year will be reserved for a filmmaker or film collective.

Artists were selected for this inaugural through a competitive application process. Preference was given to femme-identifying artists and artists of color who are traditionally underrepresented at the highest levels in the arts.

South Downtown has long been an important part of Atlanta’s creative legacy. Largely known for the many music venues and clubs that once inhabited Kenny’s Alley at Underground, the area has also been home recently to many arts organizations like Murmur Media, MINT, Eyedrum, Mammal Gallery and others. However, recently, many of these organizations and artists have been forced to move to other areas of the city to find affordable real estate and suitable workspace.

Artist Michael Jones has been commissioned to create a mural commemorating the partnership that will be installed at Fuse Arts Center. An unveiling ceremony for this piece will be held on November 14, 2019. This event is free and open to the public. Attendees must RSVP.

“This residency has been a dream of our for a long time. It was important for us to keep these workers in the core of our city to contribute to a thriving South Downtown,” said Executive Director Jessyca Holland. “Downtown has been an important area for the arts for a very long time, yet artists also continue to leave. We hope our presence here helps to keep arts workers as a central part of our Downtown core.”

“We believe that this group of artists is very special.” said Audrey Gámez, Education Director. “They represent a diversity of age, experience and discipline. We’re not only excited to see what these artists accomplish utilizing the tools and resources at their disposal. We’re also curious to see how working near one another for a year will need to cross-pollination of their ideas and expertise.”

“Warner Media is excited to be a funding partner supporting the work of our local creative entrepreneurs in Atlanta,” said Dennis Williams, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for WarnerMedia.. “We see this as an important step to be a catalyst for the artists in our own community. We want to amplify Atlanta’s status as the cultural capital of the Southeast.”

Artists and art businesses selected to the 2019-2020 WarnerMedia Creative Residency:

A picture of XerophileXerophile, a documentary film production studio lead by Stephanie Liu and Monica Villavicencio (WarnerMedia Filmmakers in Residence): Monica Villavicencio and Stephanie Liu founded Xerophile, a documentary-style production company, in July 2019. They’re passionate about helping individuals and organizations create compelling narratives for a better world. Monica and Stephanie are recent arrivals to Atlanta from San Francisco, where they met working at Twitter’s Live Video team. Born in Chengdu, China and raised in Mississippi and Tennessee, Stephanie is a writer, filmmaker, and sci-fi devotee. She has produced content from Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, and the Comoros for the World Bank and made TV for ABC News and CCTV America. In previous lives, Monica reported and produced for NPR, the PBS Newshour, and the University of San Francisco. She also writes fiction.

Erin Washington HeadshotSoul Center, a space that curates art, conversation, and community for youth lead by Erin Washington: Erin Michelle Washington is an artist, community builder and teaching artist from Montgomery, AL. She attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and obtained her MFA in Acting from San Francisco’s award-winning, American Conservatory Theater. While in the Bay Area, Erin co-lead a youth initiative, The Nia Project, which provided artistic outlets for youth residing in Bayview/Hunter’s Point. In 2009, Erin started ​Soul Productions​, a company that exposes urban communities to emerging independent artists who are pioneering new approaches to music and theatre. She has since taken her thoughts on community on the road. She has participated as a New Play Producing Fellow in the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage, A Community Producer at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Public Theater for “Party People”, a multimedia community-based theatre piece that explores the movements of the Black Panther Party and Young Lords.

Washington just recently served as a Producing Associate at American Conservatory Theatre where she was a producer and strategist for the Women’s Leadership Conference, Creator and Producer of the Bayview Arts Festival.

Washington is currently living in Atlanta, GA and is teaching at Spelman College in the Theatre and Performance Department.

 A photo of Davion Alston

Davion Alston, Fine Artist: Davion Alston is an Atlanta transplant, Georgia native, and received his BFA from Georgia State University. Alston has been featured in regional and national publications such as VICE’s The creators project, The New Yorker, and Burnaway. He has exhibited in noteworthy spaces such as Yale University’s Green Gallery, Winston- Salem State University’s Diggs Gallery, Alfred University’s Fosdick- Nelson Gallery, and The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

 

Najah Ali, Actor, Director and Radio Producer: Najah Ali is an Atlanta actor and director. She is from Philadelphia, and received her theatre and math BA from Goucher College. She started her Atlanta performing arts career as an apprentice at the Shakespeare Tavern. Her local projects include: Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and others! She now manages a non-profit online radio station.

 

 

A photo of Taneka Badie-GearyBadie Designs, a graphic design and illustration company led by Taneka Badie-Geary: Taneka Badie-Geary is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She has been an entrepreneur since the age of 15. Since a child, she has always loved art and design. Taneka founded Badie Designs in 2012, when she was still in college. While being an honors student she built up her clientele through resources from the school’s career services department, volunteered and completed two internships. She earned her bachelor’s of fine arts degree in graphic design from the Art Institute of Atlanta. Taneka Badie is very hard working and determined to succeed in her career.

Four years later, she has expanded her business into an award-winning creative agency that provides branding, web design, and marketing services to small businesses, government agencies, and corporations. She manages a team and is very hands-on with every project. She is very detailed oriented and that’s what her clients love about her. Taneka has worked with over 100 small businesses, EMC (a fortune 500 company), and House of Cheatham (a global hair product company). She considers herself a creative problem solver. She is an expert in branding because of her knowledge in helping brands to grow from the startup phase. In February of 2019, she earned her Women-Owned Small Business certification, which lets her compete on set-aside contracts issued by the federal government.

A photo of Gibron ShepperdGibron Shepperd, Fashion Designer: Gibron Whitney Shepperd was born in a multicultural/multiethnic home in Southern California. The oldest of four children, he spent much of his youth in the nature of Northern California with his family. These exposures have influenced his perspectives on design, creating an attitude of a bourgeois bohemian. He creates for a design world that is sophisticated and sensitive.

Shepperd is currently living in Atlanta, developing a menswear brand that is both smart and beautiful.

 

To attend the Open House and Mural unveiling, RSVP online at http://bit.ly/C4OpenHouse

C4 Atlanta Open House and Mural Unveiling with WarnerMedia

Date & Time: Thursday, November 14, 2019 – 6:30pm-8:30pm

FUSE Arts Center, 132 Mitchell St SW, Third Floor, Atlanta, GA 30303

Tickets: FREE for All Ages

C4 Atlanta Forums on Power in the Arts – Part 2

A photo of Brea Heidelberg at the event.
Dr. Brea Heidelberg

C4 Atlanta is committed to the needs of a thriving arts community in our city. To that end, we’ve been working over the last few months on exploring power dynamics and distribution within our own arts ecology and within the organizational cultures of our arts organizations. Inequality in our city is well researched and well-documented. A Bloomberg study in 2018 found that Atlanta had the worst income inequality of any major city in the United States. But wealth is only one form of power. In an industry where so-called “diva” behavior is not only accepted, but even encouraged, we wanted to see what other organizational pressures and disparities our community had faced. What had Atlanta artists, arts administrators and arts organizations experienced, and what resources existed to help us create the arts environment that Atlanta deserves?

Our second part of this series focuses on our second program around power in organizational culture. On August 22, 2019, C4 Atlanta held Arts and Leadership Forum: Diversity Equity and Inclusion with Dr. Brea Heidelberg at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Dr. Heidelberg is an arts management educator, consultant, and researcher focusing on the intersection of the arts and other fields of study. She joined the Entertainment & Arts Management faculty at Temple University in 2017 and currently serves as Assistant Director of the program. Dr. Heidelberg is a respected expert in organizational culture in the arts, and a sought after speaker on this topic. We were honored to welcome her to facilitate the day’s activities. Organizational leaders and arts administrators gathered with individual artists to consider how toxic organizational culture manifests both in our organizations and in our Atlanta arts ecosystem. This program was once again presented in partnership with our friends at Alternate ROOTS. Here is a summary of what was discussed, what came out of this conversation, and what are the next steps.

Event Summary:

C4’s Executive Director, Jessyca Holland welcomed participants and set a general expectation for the overall day. Lauren Tate Baeza, Director of Exhibitions for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, shared with us more about the Center and the work they are currently doing to help ground us in place.

Jessyca then introduced Dr. Heidelberg, who both shared information and facilitated conversation throughout the day regarding how organizational culture can affect diversity, equity and inclusion goals within organizations and the Atlanta arts eco-system. Organizational culture is the values and behaviors that shape the dynamics, practices and psychology within your workplace. Organizational culture is different from organizational policy, although some organizations may have policies that help shape their culture. For instance, policies about how folks are expected to dress and what happens if they are late may shape the attitudes that folks have about their workplace. But often many aspects of organizational culture are more informally shaped by whom is in leadership and the behaviors and attitudes of those who work for the organization.

Organizational culture manifests in behaviors such whether everyone gathers in the break room to discuss a TV show, how guests in your work space are treated, and even attitudes regarding what is appropriate behavior within the organizational environment (i.e. are weekends sacred or do your co-workers email outside of work hours?). An organization’s culture can also shape who is attracted or repelled from working there. If employees do not feel welcome or respected within the organization’s culture, they may look elsewhere for a place that feels more comfortable. This can work against the stated diversity, equity and inclusion efforts of an organization, and can lead to employee turnover. Simply creating policies for greater equity isn’t enough. Dr. Heidelberg underscored that organizational culture can either undo intentions or keep us accountable.

The purpose of Dr. Heidelberg’s presentation was to provide an opportunity for arts leaders and individual artists in the community to have a place to discuss how organizational culture manifests and how we can disrupt models that work against a more equitable system. Dr. Heidelberg explained the many ways that organizational culture can manifest and what it can look like for folks to feel like outsiders within the organization. Toxic organizational culture is culture that can breed unhealthy work behavior, psychology or habits. Dr. Heidelberg mentioned that she is also a consultant for organizations looking to diagnose why their organizational strategic shifts aren’t working, and this is often related to organizational culture.

Organizational culture is strong, and individuals are the culture bearers of their organizations. It is up to individuals within the culture to be accountable for culture shifts, and this can be difficult if you are the only individual within your organization working to change the culture within. Many participants expressed stress and feelings of hopelessness when working within a culture that they felt actively stifled the changes they were trying to make within to become more equitable. Dr. Heidelberg stressed that changing inequity within the arts required both a well stocked “toolkit” of resources and a penchant for self preservation. Sometimes the appropriate response to certain situations requires nuance and finesse, while humor can sometimes more effectively convey a sensitive message. But above all, she stressed that folks not be accept being abused or taken advantage of.

Dr. Heidelberg facilitated a few group discussions throughout the day. In one, participants were asked to identify indicators of the nature of organizational culture within the Atlanta arts community. Some of the following were identified as indicators:

  • Artist and administrator pay.
  • Attitudes towards the arts.
  • Money allotted by foundations and government for arts and culture.
  • Attitudes towards individual artists.
  • Professional development opportunities available for younger arts professionals.
  • Who is involved in conversations that pertain to individual artists and to arts organizations? Who is regularly given a seat at the table, and who is never given a seat at the table?
  • Public commitment or policies for diversity, equity and inclusion with no femme-identifying senior leadership or employees of color.
  • Staff turnover rates.
  • Board leadership.

After this initial discussion, Dr. Heidelberg lead participants through an understanding of how to consider their own organizational culture. Steps to diagnose and change culture included:

 

Dr. Heidelberg stressed that policy and action plans aren’t enough. Plans are only as good as the folks within an organization that hold themselves accountable for change. Organizational culture is pervasive and stubborn. There is a REASON why that was the default culture prior to trying to shift. It’s important that EVERYONE be on board for the cultural shift. It is not one person’s job to be accountable for the organizational culture change for the entire organization, but everyone’s responsibility. Without accountability from all who experience it, previous organizational culture will not change.

To that end, Dr. Heidelberg stressed that at times that can also mean that organizational culture WILL NOT change until those who actively oppose the change or passively block change from happening end up leaving that culture.

At the end of our time together, Dr. Heidelberg asked us to come together to think about some of the aspects of organizational culture that we wanted to change within the Atlanta arts ecology and some ways to make change Some of the suggestions were:

  • Nurture and provide support for employees even if it means they may eventually leave for more pay or more opportunity at other organizations that you are not able to provide. Instead of worrying about losing good people, be the best training ground possible for administrators and artists in your community.
  • Where you can’t provide improvement in wages, provide training and other benefits. Examples: a seat at the table in important conversations, a fantastic work culture, opportunities to learn new skills, etc.
  • Pay people a livable wage.
  • Create standard procedures for exit interviews conducted by staff who are not in supervisory roles over the person leaving. Make exit interviews a part of your culture and a way to learn more about the reasons why people leave your organization.
  • If you haven’t done so already, create procedures for complaints.
  • As an individual, document complaints or problems in work culture that drive you to leave for your predecessor and yourself. You can share these with those who come after you to share the burden of responsibility for change with them. Additionally, you can also choose to keep this for yourself to document what you are not willing to tolerate moving forward.
  • Refuse requests to operate in an inequitable way, and explain your choice to your colleagues should they request that you do so.
  • Know what tool is appropriate to point out toxic behavior when necessary. Sometimes a hammer is necessary, and sometimes humor is necessary.
  • Take care of yourself and your needs.

Thanks to all who attended!

Photos by Krista M Jones

A picture of the crowd at the event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C4 Atlanta Forums on Power in the Arts – Part 1

C4 Atlanta is committed to the needs of a thriving arts community in our city. To that end, we’ve been working over the last few months on exploring power dynamics and distribution within our own arts ecology and within the organizational cultures of our arts organizations. Inequality in our city is well researched and well-documented. A Bloomberg study in 2018 found that Atlanta had the worst income inequality of any major city in the United States. But wealth is only one form of power. In an industry where so-called “diva” behavior is not only accepted, but even encouraged, we wanted to see what other organizational pressures and disparities our community had faced. What had Atlanta artists, arts administrators and arts organizations experienced, and what resources existed to help us create the arts environment that Atlanta deserves?

This first blog post is dedicated to the first of these two programs which occurred at Hammonds House Museum on May 19, 2019. A second post will be forthcoming on our second program at the Center for Civil and Human Rights on August 22, 2019.

Two hands holding. Digital syle. One red and one blue. Futuristic and glowing.

C4 Atlanta, in partnership with our friends at Alternate ROOTS, invited artists, art administrators, and community members to take part in a conversation about power in the Arts Community at Hammonds House. Over 40 arts workers showed up on a Sunday evening to share their stories and experiences in working with and within the Atlanta arts community. The conversation was facilitated by Christine Gautreaux and Karimah Dillard, both members of Alternate ROOTS. Both Karimah and Christine have backgrounds in social work and the arts. In an effort to avoid triggering events and past traumas of attendees, groups were asked to focus on broader systemic issues rather than personal encounters. Here is a summary of what the event timeline was, what came out of this conversation, and what are the next steps.

Event Summary:

The meeting began with a grounding poem titled “Invitation to Brave Space” By Micky ScottBey Jones and A Call to Acknowledgement read aloud by Jessyca Holland. Terms and definitions were dispersed among the attendees for common vocabulary that might be used. The group at large collectively agreed upon “community agreements” (collective rules of conduct for the evening) by unanimous consensus.

Attendees were divided at random into six Story Circle groups. Story Circle is a device commonly used by members of Alternate ROOTS for sharing stories in a group. The Story Circle worked like this: 1) Each group had a designated scribe assigned to listen and write down themes of what they heard shared. 2) Each person in the group gets a set specific amount of time to share whatever they would like based on the question asked of the entire group. 3) The only person allowed to talk during this designated time is the speaker. All questions or comments must be held until everyone has had a turn to speak. 3) Once everyone has had a turn to speak, the scribe summarizes common themes back to the group. The entire group can comment on the themes shared, provide clarity and ask questions.

Group responses were recorded on large flip board charts for all to see in the space.

Break-Out Session 1:

Prompt 1:

“Why are you here tonight?” OR “Why do you feel this was important?”

Collective Responses (Edited for brevity by C4 Staff):

  • I am here to intentionally acknowledge that harm has been done.
  • I want to continue to offer freedom to collaborate but mature as leaders and be an ambassador to community values.
  • There is a trend of prioritization “saving face” and PR, rather than authenticity.
  • I want to be involved in the reshaping of how we want the arts community to viewed going forward.
  • Arts professionals/artists have been forced to silence self to be complicit in order to succeed.
  • People are listening and are present but still not responding.
  • Addressing abusive personal/professional relationships.
  • Taking responsibility for your own role in community.
  • Recognizing trauma
  • Wants to see an ethical handling of complaints/transparency.

Break Out Session 2:

Prompt 2:

Prompt is “I wish…” or “My solution is…”

  • Take more responsibility for your own role in community. How you’re perpetuating or contributing to those narratives.
  • Shift from solution based to progress based.
  • Continuing having conversations across community to protect your own and provide spaces to heal.
  • Thinking of ways to share power outside of financials.
  • Hold leadership accountable.
  • Have a designated person on an org’s your Board for sharing the grievances of those you serve. That way, if folks are not comfortable talking to staff, there is someone else to listen.
  • I wish Atlanta artists didn’t feel so undervalued because we default to patterns of people we see in power.
  • Close the gap between artists and administrators so that administrators have access to artists’ experience as foundation to the work.
  • I wish more people were willing to listen.
  • Process a community as call-in vs call out culture.

Additionally, facilitators captured some topics that we had heard artists tell us they had experienced in the past. The facilitators developed a colored dot system where dots corresponded to personal experience with each issue. Artists were asked to place a dot next to any of the issues that had affected them in some way. Below are photos of this exercise.

Facilitators asked participants to respond to key themes based on their experiences using a colored sticker system. Each sticker color stands for a different experience.
A photo of a flip board chart showing colored stickers under community issue topics.
Artists left stickers to share whether they had personally experienced the issue, had seen it happen to someone else or had heard of it happening.
A photo of colored stickers placed under issues in the arts community.
Utilizing the colored dot system, issues that had affected the greatest number of people where easy to identify.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this event,

 

C4 let participants know that a follow-up on power distribution within organizational culture in the arts with Dr. Brea Heidelberg would be forthcoming. Stay tuned for the update from this event coming soon!

 

 

 

 

Atlanta Welcomes New Cohort of Artists Ready to Serve Community

A picture of Artist Bree Stallings standing in front of one of her murals.
Hatch cohort artist Bree Stallings stands in front of one of her murals.

C4 Atlanta is proud to announce the twelve artists selected into the Hatch Training Intensive for Fall 2019. These artists will spend the next five months learning skills for creating art projects with community.

The Hatch Training Intensive was established as a training program through C4 Atlanta in October 2015. 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. Now in its fourth year, Hatch graduate-artists have gone on to work on public art projects locally and nationally. The program emphasizes 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. The program 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.

“Hatch is creating a pipeline of artists well trained to work in community development on both civic and artist-led community projects. Protecting both the interests and the integrity of community members is central to this program,” said Executive Director Jessyca Holland. “We also know that the artists involved need skills to protect their business and artistic interests in order to do this work, and that is part of their training, too.”

“We are excited by the diversity of experience and expertise that this current cohort brings,” said Audrey Gámez, Education Director. “These are dynamic artists who span an array of ages, identities and disciplines. Their work is an expression of love for the communities with which they work. It is very important to us as an organization that we help guide artists towards work that will preserve and amplify the cultural legacies of Atlanta.”

Artists selected to the Fall 2019 Hatch Training Intensive include:

A headshot of Rose Barron.Rose Barron, Visual and Performance Artist: Rose M Barron currently works and resides in Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America. She has a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Georgia, an MA in Photo Concentration from Georgia State University, and an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Photography. Her multi-disciplinary art work has been exhibited in several solo exhibitions across the southeast including Atlanta and Huntsville, as well as internationally at the Espacio Común in Panama City, Panama. Collections of her work include the Four Seasons in Morocco, the Fulton County Arts and Culture fine arts acquisition Program, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Marriott Courtyard in Nashville, the March of Dimes Corporate Office Collection, the APG Collectors Portfolio. Barron has shown in many group exhibitions across the nation including the Athens Center for Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, the Art on The Beltline, the Art Center in Xi’an, China, Fe Gallery in Pittsburgh, and Umbrella Gallery in New York City.; awarded artist residencies include Taller Portobelo, the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Science, University of North Texas, and the Rensing Art Center.

 

A headshot of candi dugascandi dugas, Writer, Producer and Director – candi dugas is an award-winning writer, producer, and director of creative projects that change conversations to compel complete freedom. Her most recent works include 30-minute one-acts about grief and women’s friendships: “That Day” and organic soul connections within society’s racial boundaries: “eye of the storm” – along with her full-length scripts for stage and screen: Wild + Free (navigating the 2nd half of life and the realities of post-modern racism in a small, Georgia town) and Desire’s Kiss (celebrating feminine sexuality despite traditionally religious taboos), which won Best Full-length Screenplay during the 2013 Urban MediaMakers Film Festival. candi has also written three self-published books, with a fourth on the way, on meditation, sexuality and spirituality, and navigating the spiritual journey. Currently she is producing Broadway Brunch (BB) at Grace Church in Midtown ATL. Designed and developed by candi, BB brings together professional theatre with community over a meal in safer space to explore themes that uplift and challenge the people. More than doubling average weekly attendance, BB’s greatest success is being a springboard to action for community needs, like affordable housing. candi is a native Atlantan, proud mother of Jordan, clergy with the Church Within A Church Movement, pastor of Worship & Arts at Grace, and a member of the Dramatists Guild, Working Title Playwrights, Suzi Bass Awards, and United Way of Metro Atlanta’s Volunteer Involvement Program. She can’t wait to get started with her peers during C4’s 2019 Hatch Training Intensive for Artists in Community! Learn more and connect at candidugas.com.

 

A headshot of Nicolette EmanuelleNicolette Emanuelle, Performance Artist: Nicolette Emanuelle is a professional performance artist known for her fierce stage presence and her ability to mix multiple mediums in her performances. Her talents include aerial arts, stilt walking, burlesque, acting, musical composition, and musical performance on multiple instruments (e.g. cello, piano, vocals, and accordion). She is also the founder and co artistic director of The Hereafter Artist Collective whose mission is to bring the works of past artists to life through performance art. She currently teaches aerial arts and coaches a teen aerial performance company called Earth to Sky Performance Co. Nicolette has a passion for community centered artistic events and creative collaborations. She produces and performs regularly around the Atlanta area (which she is happy to call home).

 

A headshot of Emily GetsayEmily Getsay, Visual Artist, Curator and Arts Administrator: Emily M. Getsay (M.) is a Queer Conceptual Artist, Activist, and Curator. As a conceptual artist, their pieces stem from ideas that allow an expansion of oneself through relatable and textual lens. As an activist in their hometown community of Atlanta Georgia, M. addresses the many social and political issues that arise living as a queer, non binary person, in the south. Their work opposes systematic and cultural barriers such as stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDS, Sexual Harassment, Human Trafficking, Gender Identity, and coping with mental illnesses. Through their work, they explore the liminal space between perception and actual reality and create work that translates those ideas to others. As humans we are always excepting new information and trying to comprehend how we can apply it to our lives, all the while moving through time and space. M. tries to  bring those ideas and knowledge to the surface so that it becomes transferable across cultures and society.

 

A headshot of Bridget McCarthy.Bridget McCarthy, Writer and Actor: Bridget McCarthy is just tickled to be in such great company. She is an actor, activist, comedian, writer, and theatre maker who is proud to call Atlanta “home”. In 2013, she stepped into a prison in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and witnessed a theatre-making circle. She fell in love with theatre as a tool of amplification, empowerment, and connection for unexpected voices. She has devised and produced new theatre pieces with her neighbors experiencing incarceration, homelessness, folks who are reintegrating into life after sexual slavery, with those battling addiction, and with brave new Americans coming to the US seeking asylum. In addition to community work, she is an advocate for eating disorder awareness and mental health destigmatization. Her one woman show is called Fat Juliet: One Woman’s Unsolicited Thoughts About Eating Disorders, Christian Extremism, Shakespeare, and AC/DC. It premiers this summer in Atlanta and is available for booking starting this fall. For more information or to connect, please visit BridgetMcCarthy.net , or connect on Instagram @SomethingWittyPlease.

 

A headshot of Okwae Miller.Okwae Miller, Dancer and Choreographer: Okwae A. Miller is an Atlanta-based professional dancer and emerging choreographer who strives to create progressive experimental and research-based interdisciplinary work rooted in personal identity, history and the universal human experience. Heavily influenced by social injustice and intersection of cultural communities, his work has a high regard to identity politics, social anthropology and creative environments. With a highly graphic choreographic approach each work beholds distinct integration of technology, characterization of quality and collaboration. Mr. Miller is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has studied and trained in dance at Duke University, The Ailey School, American Dance Festival School, and Spelman College. His work has been featured at The Bakery Atlanta, The B-Complex, the MAD Festival and Emory University. Miller is the Artistic Director of Okwae A. Miller & Artists.

 

A headshot of Magdalena O'Connor.Magdalena O’Connor, Sculptor and Body Painter: Magdalena O’Connor is a sculptor, welder, body painter and special effects artist living and working in Atlanta, GA. Body painting since 2006, Magdalena has won many competitions internationally and went back to school in 2014 to study welding/fabrication. Passionate about learning and sharing knowledge Magdalena has taught props and mask making workshops for many years with participants going on to win international competitions.

 

A headshot of Lee Osorio.

Lee Osorio, Theatremaker: Lee Osorio is an actor, teaching artist, and playwright based in Atlanta. Lee’s one-act play Faith was a finalist for the Latinx Theatre Commons 2018 Carnaval. He is a two time Alliance Artist Reiser Lab recipient and his work has had staged readings presented by Essential Theater and Found Stages. Lee’s work as an actor has been seen at the Alliance, Aurora, Actor’s Express, True Colors, Serenbe Playhouse, and the Shakespeare Tavern, as well as Off-Broadway. He is currently an Artistic Associate and the Communications Manager at Out of Hand Theater where he is currently devising a piece with the seniors at the Helene S. Mills Senior Multipurpose Facility.

 

A headshot of Bree Stallings.Bree Stallings, Muralist and Visual Artist: Bree graduated from Queens University of Charlotte in May of 2013 with a Bachelor Degree in Studio Art and Creative Writing. She resides near uptown Charlotte where she works as a painter, illustrator and muralist. Currently, she teaches adults and children intermediate and advanced drawing and painting techniques at her studio called the Learning Lab. Using art as her vehicle, she raises awareness for many causes that affect her life and those closest to her such as economic mobility, sexual health advocacy, displacement and homelessness and environmental consciousness.

 

A headshot of Ashley Thomas.Ashley Thomas, Muralist and Art Educator: Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Ashley credits her bold colorful painting style to the plethora of colorful experiences growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia. Ashley is said to be a very unique teacher with a knack for hooking even the most disengaged student to art. From oil portraits to city murals Ashley loves to change the energy of any street block or home/office hallway through her energetic and lively style. Ashley was trained at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. She enjoys spending time with her rescue dog named Bud and going to live performances around the city of Atlanta. Ashley has provided free art clinics for all ages in Atlanta, Georgia. She has taught for over thirteen years in public schools from Hampton Virginia to Atlanta Georgia and everywhere she goes people are delighted by her talents. In 2012, Ashley was chosen as a finalist by Wonderroot to create a public art piece for University Ave in Pittsburgh Atlanta. She was a finalist in the Verizon HBCU art competition and has shown in a plethora of juried exhibitions across the southeast. In 2018 Ashley completed a mural at Westlake High School and a mural on Cleveland Ave. Ashley is not only up for any creative task but always leaves her mark. She has also run a fine arts non-profit, The Big Picture, in Hampton Virginia where she held weekly art clinics and artist mentorship to the kids and teens of Lincoln Park Housing Projects in Hampton, Virginia. Ashley is currently looking for opportunities to paint murals in the city of Atlanta.

 

A headshot of Ankhet Williams.Ankhet Williams, Poet and Visual Artist: Ankhet is an artist and poet from Atlanta, Georgia. She uses Acrylic and oils for paintings and free verse poetry.

“I love studying and focusing on people who left legacies of love and bravery and placing them in history as they deserve. I use poetry and art to venerate thsese figures with the goal of impacting how we perceive these cultural figures now and in the long term. Figures such as: Sarah Baartmen, Peter Gordon, etc.”

Ankhet has a BS Sociology and Anthropology from Valdosta State University. Founder of “The Art of Esteem”, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the esteem of students through art and culture.

 

A headshot of Kristan Woolford.Kristan Woolford, Digital Media/Filmmaker and Art Educator: Kristan Woolford is a Video Production Teacher at Maynard Jackson where he works to train Atlanta’s future generation of filmmakers. He currently serves as the Creative Director of Black Noize Media Group, which is a web based digital media distribution platform that utilizes entertainment and media to serve as a nexus for hip hop culture, community engagement and activism among youth and youth adults.

 

 

About C4 Atlanta:

C4 Atlanta Inc. is a non-profit arts service organization whose mission is to connect arts entrepreneurs to the people, skills and tools they need to build a successful artistic career in metro Atlanta. The organization was founded in July 2010 in response to a growing need for business services for Atlanta’s arts community. C4 Atlanta fulfills this mission by offering professional practice classes for artists, fiscal sponsorship, co-working space, and more. C4 Atlanta’s program offerings are geared toward creating a new foundation of sustainability for arts and culture in the Atlanta region. For more information, visit c4atlanta.org.

 

Investing in Atlanta’s Arts Educators is an Investment in Atlanta’s Youth

Why investing in Atlanta’s Creative Youth Should Also Include an Investment in Atlanta’s Arts Educators

By: Elisabeth Herrera-Very for C4

 

Atlanta is known for it’s vibrant, diverse, expanding arts community. From the amazing street art adorning our neighborhoods to blockbuster film projects; we have so much art to celebrate. Atlanta seems like a likely place to invest in the future of it’s arts community, however, the accessibility of arts education for Atlanta’s youth tells a different story. Wouldn’t it make sense to grow our own artists within the educational institutions we already have established? Wouldn’t more arts programming in our public schools add only greatness to our already robust arts scene? A greater emphasis on the arts sounds like an amazing idea but for that to happen we need to invest in supports for our arts educators.

All students in Georgia do not have equal access to a quality education in the arts. Data collected by the Georgia Council for the Arts (2015) show that nearly 40% of Georgia’s youth do not have access to high quality visual arts education, this means that students are being taught by a person who is not certified to teach visual arts, and 19% of those students do not have access to visual arts education at all. Arts disciplines such as theater arts have an even lower amount of high quality teachers in the field with 76% of Georgia’s youth going without any access to theater programs in their school (Bell, 2015, p. 17). One may ask, why don’t schools hire more arts educators? Historically, arts have been undervalued in public schools with little to no investment in growing arts programs, however, a more pressing problem is having access to high quality arts educators to fill those vacancies in the event that a school or district decides to invest in the arts. Keeping high quality educators in the field is problematic due to ever increasing teacher turnover.

SEE FULL ARTS EDUCATION REPORT HERE

In Georgia, like across our nation, teacher turnover is high. The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education stated in it’s Top Ten Issues to Watch in 2019 report that 13% of Georgia’s teachers leave the profession after only one year and 44% of teachers leave the field by their fifth year (GPEE, 2019, p.24). This high level of teacher turnover costs our public schools over 2 billion dollars every year (Phillips, 2015, para. 3). Many factors contribute to this alarming rate of attrition (teachers leaving the field) but the lack of supports for teachers is high on the list of reasons. The findings from GADOE’s “Georgia’s Teacher Dropout Crisis” survey (2015) show that one of the main reasons teachers leave the field in Georgia is the lack of professional development (Owens, 2015, p.4).

DOWNLOAD FULL PDF HERE 

As a visual arts teacher, I have spent the past near decade working in a variety of metro-Atlanta districts serving traditionally underserved populations. I have seen first-hand how the lack of supports for teachers affect the success of students. With pay freezes and furloughs, high-stakes testing, and general apathy or disregard towards the profession by the public it isn’t hard to see why so many people choose to leave the field. This is especially problematic in the fields of fine arts. So many principals do not have an understanding of what we do and so many school districts see us as extraneous additions to the curriculum. When a trained professional is treated as one of the least important members of the staff it is hard to maintain morale. In the majority of metro-Atlanta districts arts teachers exist on an island of isolation. Being the only art teacher in a school can be lonely; there is no one to bounce ideas off of, no one who speaks the language of the arts fluently, and sadly, no room to grow. Sitting on the lowest rung of the ladder year after year is exhausting and disheartening. Upon sharing my findings with a group at C4 one member stated that her husband had been a theater teacher but chose to leave the field. She stated matter of factly “…and he was such a good teacher”. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. Those of us who have a true passion for teaching in the arts are often crushed by the lack of supports or lack of access to supports.

I share these findings with the intent of sparking conversation in regard to what we value about the arts in Atlanta and the correlation between growing our artists and supporting our arts educators. Investing in Atlanta’s creative industries means investing in the educators who nurture and facilitate the growth of those creatives. We have all turned to someone to learn something new at some point in our life and those experts in their field supported us. Now it’s our turn to support those who teach in the arts because without their expertise our vibrant arts community will fade and for some of our most creative kiddos, their most effective means of communication with their world will cease to grow.

Resources:

  • Bell, A. (2015). Arts Education in Georgia: Public School Data and Principal Perspectives. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.georgia.org/sites/default/files/wp-uploads/2018/07/Arts-Education-Research-Report.pdf
  • Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (2019). Top Ten Issues to Watch in 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from http://www.gpee.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/GPEE-Top-Ten-2019-Final_1-7-19.pd
  • Owens, S. J. (2015). Georgia’sTeacher Dropout Crisis A Look at Why Nearly Half of Georgia Public School Teachers are Leaving the Profession. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Documents/Teacher%20Survey%20Results.pdf
  • Phillips, O. (2015, March 30). Revolving Door Of Teachers Costs Schools Billions Every Year. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/03/30/395322012/the-hidden-costs-of-teacher-turnover

C4 Atlanta Celebrates the 2nd Annual Spark Awards!

WOW. We just finished up our second year celebrating local artists at the C4 Atlanta Spark Awards yesterday, April 17, 2019. The event was held at the Crowne Plaza Midtown in the Georgia Ballroom.

For those of you that came out to support our mission, know that we cannot do this work without you! We love you and we know you love artists.

If you missed it, check out these awesome event photos below by the talented Cindy Brown.

Thank you to all of the local artists and arts groups that participated: Tasha LaRae, Soul Food Cypher, Havoc Movement Company, Kimberly Binns, and the artists of TILA Studios who’s gorgeous work was displayed in our registration space at the event. All of the artists that participated in this event with us, including our event photographer, have been a part of programming offered by our organization. We’re really proud of their accomplishments with their individual arts businesses and we expect great things from all of them.

Jessyca Holland, our Executive Director, announced that we are fundraising for our new space at the event. If you’d like to be a part of our legacy at 132 Mitchell by adding your name to an artist paintbrush or pallette, you can donate online here.

Thanks to all of our sponsors, friends, table sponsors and event vendors that made this event and our pre-event cocktail hour possible: Crown Plaza Atlanta Midtown, ChooseATL, Atlanta Downtown, City of Atlanta Department of City Planning, Whitespace Gallery, Provenance Media, Chef Melissa Allen Foltz, Specialty Wines Georgia, Synchronicity Theatre, Dad’s Garage, The Bitter Southerner, Binders, Blick, Alternate Roots, Georgia Lawyers for the Arts and Janke Studios.

Please feel free to comment below if you would like to share your experience at the event!

 

Board Members and Volunteers help make this event possible! Our Board Co-chair Ashley Walden Davis and Volunteer Yun Bai make sure everyone gets checked in.
Board Members and Volunteers help make this event possible! Our Board Co-chair Ashley Walden Davis and Volunteer Yun Bai make sure everyone gets checked in.

 

Board Co-Chair Shannon Price chats with local artists about their work during registration.

 

Vocalist Tasha LaRae dazzles the crowd with her performance.
Vocalist Tasha LaRae dazzles the crowd with her performance. Tasha is an internationally renowned singer, songwriter and vocal coach.

 

2019 Artist Champion of the Year Katherine Dirga of the MARTA Artbound program shows off her award. The awards were created by local glass artist Matt Janke, of Janke Studios.

 

Eyedrum Board Member Grace King enjoys the entertainment.
Eyedrum Board Member Grace King enjoys the entertainment.

 

Mistress of Ceremonies Odetta MacLeish-White reminds participants why donating to C4’s mission is so important.

 

 

Performers Havoc Movement company are pumped about the festivities!
Performers Havoc Movement Company are pumped about the festivities!

 

Havoc Movement Company excites the crowd by sharing a new work in progress. The performers first demonstrated their rehearsal process and then performed the piece in it’s entirety.

 

Keynote Speaker Jamie Bennett shares why artists are an essential part of every community.
Keynote Speaker Jamie Bennett shares why artists are an essential part of every community.

 

The crowd goes wild as we announce that we met our fundraising goal for Text-to-Give!
The crowd goes wild as we announce that we met our fundraising goal for Text-to-Give!

 

C4 Atlanta Executive Director Jessyca Holland shares a joke about Futurama to educate folks about how professional artists are viewed by the public in the City of Atlanta.
C4 Atlanta Executive Director Jessyca Holland shares a joke about Futurama to educate folks about how professional artists are viewed by the public in the City of Atlanta.

 

MCs from Soul Food Cypher close out the afternoon.
MCs from Soul Food Cypher close out the afternoon.

 

Soul Food Cypher uses their "Nice Bars" rap battle format to complement attendees and performers.
Soul Food Cypher uses their “Nice Bars” rap battle format to complement attendees and performers.
2019 Arts Entrepreneur of the Year Daniel Flores accepts his award.
2019 Arts Entrepreneur of the Year Daniel Flores accepts his award.

 

And that’s a wrap! See you all next year for the 2020 Spark Awards Luncheon.