Category: C4 Atlanta Professional Development for the Arts

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

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

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.

Sign The Letter to Mayor Reed

Sign this letter asking to Mayor Reed to adopt an equitable funding distribution model for his fractional tax for the arts!

On Monday, C4 Atlanta, along with several other Atlanta arts organizations and artists, sent a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed to ask him to support our model for distribution of funds under his proposed sales tax for the arts initiative. Other supporters of this initiative include: Flux Projects, Hammonds House Museum, glo, Living Walls, MODA, Poem 88, Art Papers, Dashboard US, Moving in the Spirit, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, Soul Food Cypher, and others.This initiative would provide a dedicated stream of funding for arts and culture organizations in the city through a .1% sales tax. The full version of our proposed funding distribution model is available in PDF format here:


Our Funding Distribution Model:

The model proposed by this group includes funding for individual artists and is meant to incentivize growth of small and mid-sized arts and cultural organizations, while also providing financial assistance to larger institutions, too. Funding for individual artists would also be available in this model, as well as for non-arts organizations who would like to create cross-sector arts collaborations that would benefit the community. By nature of their mission, smaller organizations are often those providing the largest share of resources to underserved communities and communities of color. We also understand and appreciate the place of large institutions in our arts ecosystem as well. It is important for a robust arts community to have thriving organizations at all levels in order to support the career growth of arts workers and to provide the greatest array of services to the most people, regardless of race, location, gender identity or socio-economic status. Because of this, we believe this model will continue to cultivate Atlanta’s rich cultural capital and promote even more diversity within our community.

What you can do:

From these links you can:

— View the Letter and Proposal
— Add your name to the letter here, and a notice will be sent to Mayor Reed
— And view the Article on ArtsATL that was published today
What else you can do:
— Share this with others!
— Help us spread through social media. See the C4 Atlanta Facebook Page for posts you can share.
— Reach out to non-arts community organizations to sign as well.  This model supports cross-sector collaborations.

Below is a copy of our letter to Mayor Reed introducing our proposed model and the reasons for asking him to adopt it in the pending legislation to introduce this tax initiative. Names of supporters are added automatically as they sign. If you would like to sign on to this letter encouraging the Mayor to adopt our funding model click here:


Behind the scenes – What goes into making your classes?

A rare photo of me facilitating during Lesson One of our Fall Hatch session. As Education Manager, I'm normally the one behind the camera.
A rare photo of me facilitating during Lesson One of our Fall Hatch session. As Education Manager, I’m normally the one behind the camera.

I love my job. I get to work with artists and help create and manage education that can support their ability to achieve their hopes and dreams. Those hopes and dreams contribute to making an incredibly diverse and creative arts ecology for our community, from which everyone benefits. Each year, C4 Atlanta services over 400 artists through our training services. That’s a LOT of creative hopes and dreams for Metro Atlanta!

In order to service the city’s musicians, painters, circus artists, dancers, film producers, tattoo artists, actors, and more! A lot of thought and preparation goes into what we offer. As former artists ourselves, our staff understands that where you put your (often very) hard earned dollars makes a huge difference, and we are committed to offering as high a standard of adult education as possible. What goes into that? An awful lot.

All too often being a good educator is equated with expertise in a particular content area. But all of us at some point in our lives know that this simply isn’t true. Each of us have been “trained” at some point by an expert who wasn’t actually skilled at education: a trainer who couldn’t explain to you what they were doing, a professor who’s MO seems to be “read the book, and figure it out for yourself”, or a brilliant musician who can’t seem comprehend how to translate their talent to a young student.

In addition to our almost 20 years of combined experience in education, our staff puts and incredible amount of infrastructure behind each class that we offer. So what DOES it take to plan and produce class at C4 Atlanta? Let’s take a look.

Most of our classes start with suggestions from our students. Every educational offering includes an evaluation, and every evaluation includes a question asking “What other educational offerings would you like to see in the future?” Some of our best courses have come from suggestions from artists like YOU!

Let’s assume that we’ve already done the funding legwork to ensure that we have the finances in place to even create a class in the first place. Often this is the longest part of the process. Securing grant funding make take years depending on the program. This can also include the time it takes to develop a relationship with and introduce our organization to a funder who has an interest in the type of education we’d like to offer. Other classes are developed with more agility. We test a concept, get feedback, and expand on it until it becomes a full course offering.

Chelsea facilitates Financial Literacy. She really loves to talk about numbers!
Chelsea facilitates Financial Literacy. She really loves to talk about numbers!

In order to develop a class, we first need to start with visioning the objectives and expectations. What are our goals for student learning and what skills will students walk away with? What is a reasonable given student expectations and feedback? What information is relevant and current? What do we want the class to look and feel like? What kind of student experience will it offer? What kind of time frame is reasonable; is the class a one day offering or will the content require several sessions to cover adequately?

One of the original lesson plans for our Hatch class. This course took over three years to develop, from initial planning to final implementation.
One of the original lesson plans for our Hatch class. This course took over three years to develop, from initial planning to final implementation.

In order to more fully form our overall course objectives, some research is usually necessary. Our staff regularly stays on top of the most relevant research in the field, and what information may be on the horizon to contribute to our learning opportunities. It is important for us to be aware of what is trending in the field and how the needs of working artists may be changing over time.  We are also fortunate to have a wide network nationwide of friends in the field to help point us toward additional information when we need it. In some cases, these friends have also become content collaborators or class partners.

Once overall class objectives have been identified, we can then begin to create lesson plans. For a multi-week class such as Ignite or Hatch, we can break up the course objectives into individual classes, each with it’s own individual lesson plan. For a one day or pop-up class, one single lesson plan is usually all that’s necessary. In our lesson plans, we identify specific learning outcomes for each individual class (based on our larger class objective(s)), activities and modules to be presented, outside support materials for the facilitator for more information, evaluation criteria for both the students and the facilitator, and a list of facilitator and student materials needed to execute the class. Having a strong, robust lesson plan makes our next steps much easier, so we work hard to make sure we get it right.

A student hard at work completing an exercise during Fundraising 101. It's important to include opportunities for hands on learning, no matter what class we create.
A student hard at work completing an exercise during Fundraising 101. It’s important to include opportunities for hands on learning, no matter what class we create.

From these initial lesson plans, we then begin to think about what is called an implementation plan. This is different from our lesson plan in that in addition to more specific detail, it also includes a breakdown of the timing of each section of a lesson. Specific case studies, anecdotes, concepts, discussion questions, or activities are outlined in the implementation plan, as are time for evaluations, introduction and/or closing rituals. This implementation agenda allows the course facilitator to effectively pace the learning of the class. It also allows those building the lesson to make reasonable expectations for learning, plan necessary breaks in learning in ways that will not disrupt the content delivery, and map out a student’s expected learning trajectory.  It’s important for concepts to build upon each other, and for students to have ample opportunities to practice the skills they are learning, and it’s important for this to be built into the design of the class from the beginning.

In our courses, it’s also important to us that students are building a network of colleagues and resources beyond what is provided in the content. Ample time for course discussion is factored into the implementation plan as well.

With strong plans laid, we can then begin to build presentations and supplementary learning materials for our classes. Powerpoints, workbooks, worksheets, exercise write-ups, and graphs or charts are created. Additional write-ups or notes may need to be included here for the class facilitator as well. The learning environment can also affect how we reach learners who have specific learning or ability challenges. The more that modifications or learning designs that can facilitate learning for a multitude of individuals and learning styles can be anticipated, the stronger overall our class will be for all students. To this end, our staff is currently researching Universal Design for Learning, with plans to incorporate this into all of our classes in the future. This is a core tenant of our upcoming strategic plan for the next five years.

Preparing workbooks for Ignite.
Preparing workbooks for Ignite.

Is the class ready to go yet? Nope. It’s time for a consistency check. Everything we have created needs to now be proofed. We’re not just looking for typos and grammatical errors, but also checking to make sure that what we have created theoretically works in a practical format: Did we cover the objectives we identified adequately? Are our timings correct? Should certain concepts be moved in order to facilitate better learning? Have we included a good mix of traditional instruction and activity? Did we plan enough time for breaks? Are the chosen visuals clear and representational of the concepts we are covering? Our implementation or lesson plans may need to be tweaked at this point depending on the changes that are necessary.

Now that the format of the course is complete, we’ll need a way to measure our efficacy at meeting our learning objectives, as well as our course facilitator’s ability to connect and share the content with the class. Course evaluations are an important part of each class. Questions are matched not only with the course objectives, but also with information that could be beneficial when evaluating our overall offerings and services. In the future, we hope to a create a unified assessment plan that includes all of our organizational assessment and evaluation goals and integrates with each individual course evaluation. As a core tenant of our new strategic plan, this will allow us to not only assess learning in a single class, but also to see how an artists’ learning in a single class incorporates with our larger service goals for the community.

It’s also time to begin thinking about class touch points. How are we reaching out to students who will be in the class? If you’ve taken a workshop with us, you know that we traditionally include a welcome and follow up to each lesson, and build a bank of additional resources for students. Chelsea, our operations manager, often helps with getting the resources online, while I maintain them for consistency, switching out certain tools or studies for newer versions. There may also be check-ins mid-course or other reminders necessary for upcoming class dates or homework. And our staff is always available for individual questions or clarity as it relates to our educational offerings. Moving into 2017, we will be remapping Ignite and creating a day-long training session for Ignite artist-facilitators. We hire artists who demonstrate a competency for teaching, breaking down complicated concepts, and who are earnest listeners to help facilitate Ignite and AIM Atlanta. For consistency, we spend a considerable amount of time for these artists to train alongside a staff member or long-time trainer.

Jessyca Holland
Photo of our ED. She would only approve this image. To be fair, she was working on a class design.

All of these considerations, research and planning go the creation of each and everyone one of our professional development offerings. But once the course is created, we never stop updating and improving. As trends change and research is released, our staff continues to work on education. We are committed to providing a high quality, inclusive, accessible learning experience to any and all who walk through our doors.

I’d like to close with that final point: accessibility. The cost of providing such a high quality educational experience is great. In an effort to keep course costs low, C4 Atlanta fundraises throughout the year. While we receive money from government, corporations, individuals, and foundations who believe in our mission to support the careers of arts workers, we also know that for some, any cost associated with professional development education is too great to bare. These are often the artists most in need of our services. In order to keep our classes accessible, C4 Atlanta offers an additional $10,000 in scholarships each year for training and education. Please consider making a contribution to our scholarship fund as we raise money through Power2Give through December 21st. The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs will match, dollar for dollar, each donation given, doubling even the smallest of gifts to make them twice as impactful. Donate here: Donate to C4 Atlanta Scholarship Fund

Have a suggestion for a learning opportunity that you’d like to see at C4 Atlanta? Email me:


Learner-Focused Adult Education

I have been holding onto this post in my head for a few weeks. I attended a convening in early September held by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation in Kansas City, MO. The purpose of the convening is for organizations like C4 Atlanta to meet and discuss current trends, issues, etc. affecting our field. That is an anemic description but I really want to talk about one portion of the convening in which we learned about Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The session was presented by Allison Posey, CAST.

What is UDL?

From the CAST website:

Universal Design for Learning
is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.

UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone–not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.

Why is UDL necessary?

Individuals bring a huge variety of skills, needs, and interests to learning. Image that says, "One size does not fit all"Neuroscience reveals that these differences are as varied and unique as our DNA or fingerprints. Three primary brain networks come into play: Recognition networks, strategic networks, and Affective Networks.

So what does this mean, exactly? Well, it means that learners (yes, even adult learners) need to experience the aquisition of knowledge in a variety of ways to make the learning meaningful. You may be familiar with Dr. Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligences, (MI)” in which GarComic illustration that shows show how not all animals can climb a tree equally: "For a fair selection everybody has to take the same exam: please climb that tree."dner posits that there exists eight ways in which learners exhibit intelligence; thus, integrated learning styles are necessary to reach different types of learners. When I was in grad school for a degree that focused on information technology, Gardner’s work was highly regarded. Both UDL and MI support a learning environment that includes ALL learners. As a colleague pointed out, UDL has a little more neuroscience behind it.  So what about adult learners? 


“Change the learning environment, not the learner.” – Allison Posey, CAST (presentation in KC)

The above phrase has been bouncing around in my head. I think about it everyday. Have you ever noticed that not much attention is giving how people learn past high school? Does dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other learning disabilities (really, this is about perspective) go away once we become adults? Or is the expectation that we have learned how to deal with it? My daughter, who is now a freshman in college, and I talk all the time about the difference between subject matter experts and teachers–people who actually care about learning. Is it fair to have a class for adult learners and to not think about UDL? Maybe fairness isn’t the right question… I had to challenge myself with this question: “As a leader of a nonprofit dedicated to adult learning (regardless of the subject matter), don’t I want every person sitting through our classes to have access to the best learning environment possible?”

The staff and I talked through UDL. I brought it to my board during our annual retreat. I am proud to say that UDL will be integrated into our strategic plan as a programmatic goal: to redesign ALL of our classes around the core principles and guidelines of UDL. This will take some time. The thing about this type of work, teaching continuing ed, is that the field is constantly evolving. We don’t just hammer out a class and are done with it. All of our classes have gone through curriculum updates–some simple, others drastic. For example, Chelsea, our Operations Manager, completely rewrote the curriculum for the Website Bootcamp course to ensure it stayed relevant. Our Hatch curriculum had several collaborators and the staff took weeks to map the content. We did our best to include multiple strategies for delivering the curriculum content: movement, improv, role playing, writing, visual presentations, doodling/drawing, small group breakouts, games, etc.

In a later blog, Audrey, our Education Manager will be discussing all of the elements that go into curriculum building at C4. We put a lot of thought and time into the learning progression, pedagogical framework, evaluation, and touch points. We are also reducing the number of panels we host as a way to promote a more equitable learning dynamic between facilitators and learners. We love what we do and want to be as transparent as possible about our work. All of this takes time and resources but the goals are in place. We will be adding specific tactics and objectives to a timeline soon.

As you think about your professional development trajectory, mull over this: “how do I best learn?” Let us know. Email us. Adults have specific learning needs, that is true, and they may differ from that of younger learners; however, some principles in learning are the same across the board: variety is key. Death by PowerPoint is out. As a field, it wouldn’t hurt us to think more about how our professional development offerings can be more inclusive. Not only more inclusive, but more engaging as well. Even if you are a visual learner, sitting in one spot staring at a screen while a person drones on is not conducive to inspiring genus.

While there is no large body of research to support that the neurological factors that may account for dyslexia are linked to creativity, there are researchers, artists, and educators that are exploring a possible link. Whatever the conclusion, I prefer the challenges of this quote:

…because many Dyslexics do show wonderful visual and spatial skills, we look for an analogous extra something in the brain to account for that. But perhaps we should be doing the opposite – looking for what inhibits creativity.

I look forward to exploring how C4 can modify the learning environment. It will be a journey.

Image of a neuron - National Science Foundation



Working with (Not for, or to) Community – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 1

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ classes by Emily Hopkins from Side Street Projects in Pasadena, CA and McKenzie Wren from Clarkston Community Center in Clarkston, GA. Staff recaps of both sessions are available on our blog in the links above.

For these two classes, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

Session #2 – Themes to consider:

  • depositing information vs. sharing information through dialogue
  • artists coming from a place of privilege
  • managing expectations through all aspects of working with community and with all of the stakeholders involved.

Session #3 – Themes and questions to consider:

  • What are the assets offer by the arts community of Atlanta?
  • What assets are available to you?
  • What are your personal assets?
  • What are the reflections that you had after the discussion about doing with the community (vs. for, or to) based on your own personal experiences?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

These past two Hatch sessions focused on active methods of engaging community and gave us artists a lot of concrete examples of how to do so, either through experiencing methods as a group, or through the breakdown of other projects that had been effective or not. Through this process, we learned about mistakes that can be made and were given a chance to examine our own work through the lens of this learning.

Jessica Caldas (center) with Angela Davis Johnson (left) and Hez Stalcup (right) after her performance of her work "#3everday" at Oakland Cemetary.
Jessica Caldas (center) with Angela Davis Johnson (left) and Hez Stalcup (right) after her performance of her work “#3everday” at Oakland Cemetary.

I was able to reaffirm something I have known about my work: that it doesn’t truly and deeply enter the realm of community work, mine is, thus far, a social practice. This is okay, but my ultimate goal is to develop a practice which also works with the communities I care about and am invested in. What I understand better through these lessons is how to approach that goal. What is seems to involve most is trust, because you have to let go of so very much control if you actually want to work with people, not dictate to them or for them. That requires trust given to them, and building trust in them of you (a herculean task of time effort, energy, and consistency).

The main letting go is of false expectations, which I call “shoulds.” These are process focused methods, the process is where the art is, and the product, or the should, is secondary. I have a mentor who talks a lot of about the fallacy of “should” and this session also reinforced that idea. It may be cliche to say, but in life “should” is a lie we tell ourselves which really only hurts us, and this is as true for art practices as it is for anything. We make the best decisions we can in every moment, everyone who is present are the best people for that conversation, and everything that is said is what needed to be said. When we worry so much about shoulds we do damage, because we are trying to predict something that is unreal and it feels inherently negative because it assumes we somehow did less in the reality of what has actually taken place. That “should” deems less valuable the actual work being done. The asset based community development work we did in the session speaks strongly towards acknowledging only what actually exists, focusing on the reality of what we know, what we can do, and how we can use it to create positive, powerful, solution oriented conversations and I pretty much adore that idea.

As much as I love these ideas, I struggle to apply them to my own life, and I certainly believe that how we engage our communities should be equally reflected in how we work and care for ourselves. So it’s scary to know I am so bad at believing in the reality of what I can do, of what I am capable, and yet to expect myself to use all of these tools to work with others.

by Jessica Caldas

Asset Based Community Development = Looking at the “Haves,” Piling the Bounty

I work in art. Because I always have worked in art. Growing up in rural Georgia: Art, storytelling, puppetry were my solo means of personal fulfillment.
Ironically I kept thinking of this as McKenzie Wren facilitated Hatch Session #3…
My art growing up always began with looking at a pile. A pile of…fur, craft supplies, paints, whatever! And then saying, “Okay, what can I create?”

Scottie Rowell's illustration of "piles" from a deficit based mindset vs. an asset based mindset.
Scottie Rowell’s illustration of “piles” from a deficit based mindset vs. an asset based mindset.

Asset Based Community Development is that. Collectively looking at the “pile.” The skills, resources, and offers of individuals to better a community as a whole…”Okay, what can we create?”

By utilizing the Community’s bounty, their “pile,” the community is intrinsically involved at the core. It is theirs. The project or mission doesn’t exist without the community. The “pile” of assets doesn’t exist without them.

We as artists hold the ability to actualize, curate, and help the community utilize the assets to the fullest.
“Okay Community, what should we create?”

by Scottie Rowell


Content Marketing for Creatives or #CreatingTribes

As our next round of AIM is coming fast upon us, I thought I would take some time to talk about marketing. One of my favorite ways for creative professionals to increase their market and visibility is through content creation and content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as the following:

“…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” 

Quite simply, content creation and curation allows your audience to interact with you based on the content you share through platforms like social media, YouTube, websites and blogs. The goal of content marketing is therefore not to sell, as in traditional marketing, but to cultivate a relationship with your stakeholders and find the “tribe” that is interested in what you are doing. It is that greater sense of loyalty that helps to build your customer base in the long run, by providing a destination for the folks with which you are looking to interact. Through content marketing, you can develop greater brand awareness, help build your customer base, provide added value to your work and services, and establish yourself as an expert in your field or discipline. Another plus is that content marketing is generally a very cost effective form of marketing and even more advantageous to artists and creative professionals working on small budgets.

So how do artists create and curate content? Consider the things you do as part of your practice that other people might find interesting. How you create work, how you run your business, areas or techniques of expertise and thoughts or articles that pertain to your career, core values or industry are all great sources of content. Even posts and pictures that tell more of your story or share your personality are great for getting your market more interested in you as an artist. Likely, if you find it interesting and it relates to your core values or your business, your target market will find it interesting too.

Wanna see how I curate content? Follow me! Twitter/Instagram: @allthatsmash
Wanna see how I curate content? Follow me! Twitter/Instagram: @allthatsmash

From there, consider your market and how you might best deliver this information to your audience or customer base. Your distribution channel should match where your stakeholders go to find information. For instance, concentrating your efforts on Facebook and Twitter might not be your best option if you are a children’s book illustrator (and this depends on what market segment: children, parents or teachers). Performing artists might do better with mediums that allow their work to be experienced more closely to how it is performed.

Content that creates exclusivity is also highly advantageous. As much as I am an advocate for accessibility to the arts, who doesn’t love the feeling of a backstage pass or a members only exclusive? The ability to create exclusivity helps to drive overall demand.

Keep in mind that this is about creating a relationship with those that consume your content. Relationships that are totally one sided don’t usually work very well. Dialogue between yourself and your target market is key to content marketing. So re-tweeting, using hashtags, answering fans’ comments, and being consistent (!!!!) are all important to making content marketing work for you. One more note about consistency – the moment you stop blogging, podcasting, or tweeting regularly is the moment you lose your audience completely. In any relationship, as soon as you break someone’s trust, you’ve usually lost their loyalty. So commit to the things you can keep up with. I have long thought a video series on how singers practice would be great for young singers and professionals. However, having no video production equipment or skill, it would be ridiculous of me to try this. There’s no way I would be able to keep up a regular, quality output.

If done correctly, content marketing can even lead to additional revenue streams. Services like Patreon allow patrons to donate directly to artists for the content they consume based on an amount they find sustainable. It’s also possible that as you establish your expertise in your discipline, others might approach you with opportunities to share you curated content as much as your artwork.

A new Atlanta startup will soon be offering a very innovative form of content marketing. VISIT is a new platform in which makers, artists and creatives can offer exclusive access to themselves through a limited number of phone call or Facetime interactions. Conceived as a limited edition, add-on purchase experience, each fifteen minute visit allows the maker and customer to share in whatever way they wish together. Still in beta, it’s worth keeping an eye on this new model as they launch their full platform soon.

Learn more about marketing strategy with us! Classes start October 20!
Learn more about marketing strategy with us! Classes start October 20!

And finally, content marketing is just one piece of your overall marketing strategy.

Concentrating on just one area of marketing can decrease your overall reach ability. It’s important to understand all the tools available to create a better marketing plan. Which is why we offer AIM, our three week course in Arts Marketing. In addition to content marketing, we also cover lean marketing strategies, social media, traditional marketing and so much more. Classes begin October 20th! Sign up here.


Reworking the Website Bootcamp

The root of the word technology is techne, which happens to be the Greek word for art. And the whole word, with the –ology at the end, means “the study of art.” Technology is a practice, not a product. Not a thing. It’s the practice of examination and experimentation and artisanship. The things we think of as technology are only evidence of the practice. Gwydion Suilebhan

joe-teaches-website-bootcampThe first time we offered the Website Bootcamp it was a big class. Over the course of two days at the Foundation Center I offered lessons in installing, configuring and using WordPress, the software that powers C4 Atlanta’s website and about a quarter of the rest of the web. We had 30 people in the class over those two days. That was back in June of 2012.

A lot can change in three years. And although we have made a lot of tweaks to the Website Bootcamp over that time, services like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace have made it much easier for artists to build attractive websites. The best thing an artist can spend time on is on making art. With a website built and used the right way, you can spend less time and energy to reach more of the right people.

The redesigned Website Bootcamp will include exercises in week one on creating goals and budgeting appropriately, and comparing the options you have in front of you. In week two, we will cover strategies on content and design. And finally, week three will serve as in-class lab time, where everyone will have the opportunity individually work on their sites, but with the benefit of having support resources immediately on-hand.

At the end of the day, no matter the platform you choose, your website will never be complete. The journey of building your site will come with its own rewards.

Enroll Now in the Website Bootcamp

C4 Atlanta partners with GA Tech to continue TechsmARTs program.

C4 Atlanta is pleased to announced that we will be partnering with the Office of the Arts at Georgia Tech as we continue our TechsmARTs program. 

TechsmARTs was created five years ago as a free, meet-up discussion focused on the intersection of arts and technology. The goal of the partnership is to enhance support of the program, expand its reach into the community and create meaningful conversations about the influence and impact of technology on the arts.


Here’s what the Jessyca Holland, Executive Director of C4 Atlanta, had to say about the partnership:

“This partnership happened very organically. C4 Atlanta has always held the belief that artists and technologists are creative thinkers who have more in common than not. The Office of the Arts values this belief. I am thrilled to be working together with them.”




 Jennifer Kimball with the Office of the Arts at Georgia Tech also shares her excitement for this partnership:

“I’m excited to see these two groups join forces to further the dialogue between technology and art. It’s a natural partnership: since its inception, C4 Atlanta has proven itself invaluable within the Atlanta arts community for the business and technology resources it offers. The Office of the Arts is leading the charge to celebrate arts and creativity across the Georgia Tech campus and to further infuse arts into this technology-focused community.”


Upcoming TechsmARTs dates and discussions:

Boomers, Xers and Millennials: A look at how arts patrons across generations use social media.
September 14, 2015, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Held in partnership with the Atlanta Contemporary. The Atlanta Contemporary will also be the venue host, 535 Means St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Panelists include:

Beg, Borrow and Steal: A discussion of the impact of technology on copyright, trademark, content reuse, and cultural appropriation in the digital age. 
November 9, 2015, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Held at 7 Stages Theatre, 1105 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

Panelists include:

“Advanced Social Media” TechsmARTs discussion from 2012

Click here for more information or to RSVP for these upcoming dates!

Artist Spotlight

Art is beautiful…and also healing..


I had the opportunity to interview the talented Megan McSwain.  Read on to learn more about her life, practice, and philosophies..


What is the Georgia Art Therapy Association (GATA)?


Her personal view:

I am licensed art therapist and professional counselor in a private practice in Atlanta. I primarily work with children, teens, and their families. I work with a range of emotional and psychological issue, primarily: problems of life transitions (changing schools, grief, divorce), stress and anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, self harming behaviors, eating disorders, and normal developmental issues of childhood. I also provide workshops and lectures about art therapy and other mental and emotional health issues, such as family communication and healthy relationships.

For more about my private practice please visit my website:



“The Georgia Art Therapy Association (GATA), a statewide non-profit organization, was founded in 1978. GATA is an affiliate Chapter of the national organization, The American Art Therapy Association, Inc. (AATA). Members belong to both organizations, but GATA also includes those who support the practice of art therapy, as a Friend of GATA. We provide activities for art therapists and other professionals in the Southeast to educate the public about art therapy.”


What’s the mission of the association? I would say that the primary mission is both to provide support for art therapists in Georgia and to promote and provide information about art therapy, in the form of workshops and other outreach events.


How can one learn more about the association? Website:


How is art therapy different from other types of therapy?


Art therapy involves the use of art (both making and viewing) as a way to process and heal psychological challenges. The art making process can be helpful in both the diagnostic and healing process. Often the artwork created is as much about the process as the final product.


What are some specific benefits art can offer? Art and the art making process can offer many benefits when utilized therapeutically.  1. It allows people to process and see their problems and strengths in new ways 2. It becomes a tangible witness to the often more invisible process of therapy 3. It utilizes different parts of the brain than talking 4. Offers a way to break out of patterns of communication particularly in families (the art can often become a new voice or way of communicating.) 5. Helps people see their problems as separate from their identity.   Just to name a few (:



How has your background in art shaped your therapy sessions?


As a painter art has always been my therapy, so when I heard about the profession of art therapy it was a natural fit. I think that many artists feel compelled to make art as an outward manifestation or expression of complex internal processes and emotions. I also feel that within all of us is the capacity to create art, and art therapy provides the opportunity to do just that.


How do you feel your art and therapy education have shaped your practice?


As a private practitioner, my practice with clients involving both traditional talk psychotherapy practices and making art. Often I will take an issues, such as anxiety or depression, and process it verbally, i.e.  discussing triggers or history of the problem, then I will have the client use art to process and explore the issues more deeply, such as making a painting of a sculpture about the issue. In the art making clients can see aspects of the problem and solutions that they many not recognize verbally. Often in life we talk about the heart (emotions) vs. the head (logic). I think as people, we can talk from a very head based place about an issue, but the creation of artwork allows us to cut more directly to the heart.


What do you see yourself doing in ten years?


Right now I am also work towards a doctorate (DrAT) in art therapy. This is a relatively new degree that has only been developed in the last couple of years. In my research I am exploring the nonverbal communications dynamics between parents and children. My goal is to create tangible resources for parents to use art to improve their relationship with their children. I think there is much to be gained from the art making process both in terms of self awareness and emotional health.  It is also my personal goal to become more involved in expanding the field of art therapy so that more people can benefit for the healing and insight provided by the art making processes.  I also would like to work towards teaching art therapy at the college level, and create more chances for students to learn about art therapy or become art therapists.