Category: What we’re up to

Fireside Chats: Artists Thrive!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What else? Email us at with your ideas!

C4 Membership Drive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



First Amendment Rights with Georgia Lawyers for the Arts

Street musician with guitar
Image by artist Coffee.

In Atlanta, there has been a lot of interest lately in art in the public realm. What is and is not allowed in the public sphere has been brought further to the forefront as the interest in public art, political art, and performance in public space grows.

I would be remiss not to mention several very visible controversies over an artist’s rights to freedom of expression lately that prompted an interest in sharing this topic. One of the most well known examples in the city are the two murals painted in South Atlanta by international artists Hyuro and Roti that sparked interest in Atlanta’s mural art permitting process in Atlanta. C4 staff also learned anecdotally through our personal circles of musicians arrested for playing in public spaces. And within the last month, artist Kyle Brooks (Black Cat Tips) posted an account on his blog of the citations he received as a result of displaying his own work on his privately owned property. All three of these instances deal with artistic expression in the public right of way and in some way relate to the artist’s ability to exercise freedom of expression.

For artists confronted with these issues, Georgia Lawyers for the Arts (GLA) is a tremendous resource.  If you aren’t familiar, GLA provides everything from general education on issues of relevance to artists to low/no cost legal council for artists. They are an incredible resource to the artistic community, and one that every artist should know about.

C4 Atlanta recently partnered with GLA to offer a free workshop to the arts community around First Amendment Rights when working in the public right of way. GLA Executive Director Meredith Raigins, Esq., and Director of Operations Matthew Goings, Esq. presented the free workshop at 7 Stages Theatre on May 9, 2017. The contents of the presentation are available for download in the PDF below. Additionally, we have included other helpful links for more information.

Download 1st Amendment Rights Presentation by Georgia Lawyers for the Arts

**Disclaimer: The resources provided are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal council. They should not be viewed as a substitute to working with an attorney or law professional.

Additional helpful links:

Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Information (includes information on permitting for public art)

A Guide to the Visual Artists’ Rights Act (VARA)


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:


“Love, Artists” and “Entartete Kunst”

exposure bucks parody image
This awesome image is by Sarah Lawrence.

There are always a fair share of questions that arise when any non-profit begins planning a fundraiser. Most of these evolve from the need to reach financial goals while supporting the mission. Arts organizations are always looking for exciting new ways to engage donors, often using art sales, pin-up shows, or silent auctions to reach those goals.


These methods have all proven to be great opportunities to support an organization’s mission while cultivating donors, but what consideration is given to the artists who provide the art that makes all that possible? Is exposure really enough?

As C4 Atlanta began the process of planning for ArtoberFest 2016 there were many questions which needed to be answered. We knew we wanted to provide more than just musical entertainment for the evening, but we struggled with what it meant to ask artists to provide work for our fundraiser.  As an arts organization, people expect something “artsy” at our fundraisers and events. There were many deep conversations which arose at our conference room table including:

  1. Who are we serving? – with the fundraiser and in terms of mission

  2. How does the fundraiser align with our commitment to Equity?

  3. How do we leverage our assets to better serve our community?

  4. What are we giving up? What do we hope to gain?

  5. How do we raise enough money to offset what we need to charge for classes and other services?

entartetekunstThe night before our ArtoberFest planning meeting, our Executive Director, Jessyca Holland, texted me letting me know there was a documentary she just watched called “Degenerate Art: The Nazi vs Expressionism”. This documentary covered Hitler’s infamous art exhibition entitled “Entartete Kunst,” or Degenerate Art. This exhibition opened to the public in Munich in 1937 showcasing 650 pieces of art which Hitler felt insulted German feeling, destroyed or confused natural form, and unveiled an absence of adequate manual or artistic skill. Over a million people showed to see these this exhibition which consisted completely of modernist artwork. Nazi Germany had now branded modern artists as enemies of that state and a threat to German culture. Hitler’s disdain for not just the art, but for the artists themselves ran deep.

Jessyca wanted to question the system today. In a very small way, we want to challenge the system by celebrating, not art, but artists.

Individual artists are undervalued by society, in comparison to art itself: while 96% of Americans value art in their communities and lives, only 27% believe that artist offer value to the communities in which they live.

*Society perceives making art as frivolous or recreational. Many artists report that people have no sense of what artists’ time or products are worth and often expect them to ‘donate’ both for nothing. – Urban InstituteInvesting in Creativity- A Study of the Support Structure for U.S. Artists. 

Those numbers don’t sit well with us.

“Love, Artists” was conceived out of the desire to demonstrate that artists are valued people. They are certainly valued by our organization, the staff, the board and our donors, but they bring tremendous value to their communities. Artists are humans, sisters, brothers, moms, dads, spouses, partners, friends, PTA members, volunteers…workers.

This post is not a judgement on other events, fundraisers, etc. but it is an exploration of how C4 Atlanta can better enhance our mission of serving artists. We work with many artists who gladly donate to arts organizations for events such as fundraisers, auctions, etc. Giving back is an ethos we support. This show was a challenge for us and is, in a way, a curatorial endeavor.

We did ask our members to submit images of themselves working for the show. In essence, they are donating work. We are not selling the photos during ArtoberFest. If an artists wants to sell his/her image, that is their prerogative, and they may keep all the money from that transaction. However, ArtoberFest’s financial success is not dependent on the sale of art. We will earn from the sales of tickets and alcohol. We have many generous sponsors that will make this a successful event.

Artists are donating a print of themselves working. The art is the process.

Unsolicited, photographer Cindy Brown, volunteered to take photos for artists who needed her expertise. She, too, is interested in the subject matter–an archive of sorts of Atlanta area artists. We have such a generous community, and we thank Cindy for her gift of time and talent.

We are fortunate to have a Board of Directors who also believes that artists contribute significantly to our society. So come party with us!

This blog was co-written by Chelsea Steveron & Jessyca Holland, C4 Atlanta

*This study was published in 2003. There have been some updates to the body or research, including a 2016 report conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Center for Cultural Innovation.

“Book of Colors” to play ArtoberFest 2016

C4 Atlanta is proud to announce that “Book of Colors” will be the musical entertainment for our ArtoberFest 2016 celebration.

Who is this wonderful band? We’re glad you asked…

BOC press photo2016

Book of Colors is a band that constantly skirts the edge between torn-open soulfulness and delicate restraint. Their melodies are dreamy and hypnotic, and lead singer André Paraguassu’s distinctively warm, crooning voice carries them with an easygoing authority.

The lineup of musicians involved is somewhat loose, the band name functioning more as a moniker for Paraguassu’s musical endeavors than as a static group. Live shows typically feature six to eight band members with lush instrumentation and layered vocal harmonies.

“There is an amazing music scene happening in Atlanta right now. It’s a major city overflowing with world-class talent, but the amount of camaraderie within the artistic community makes it feel like a small town,” André says as he reclines lazily on the classically southern front porch of their drummer’s home in Little Five Points where they rehearse. “I’ve always loved playing with large ensembles and this city has been the gift that keeps on giving in that regard. Everyone is so supportive and eager to collaborate. I feel incredibly lucky to be working in such an inspiring creative atmosphere.”

André’s list of songwriting influences is long and eclectic, but the majority of artists and albums he mentions are from the sixties and early seventies, with a heavy slant toward music made in the UK, Brazil, France, and the southern United States during that time period. As such, traces of Nick Drake, Harry Nilsson, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke can all be heard in his vocal delivery, with dark raspy low notes and a soaring, bell-like upper register. Psychedelic elements that bring Broadcast, Pink Floyd, and Caetano Veloso to mind mix with introspective lyrics and symphonic orchestration in Paraguassu’s often complex song structures.

Book of Colors has played alongside national and international acts that include Kishi Bashi, Bright Black Morning Light, Little Tybee, Horse Feathers, Della Mae, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and Streets of Laredo. They’ve also performed in numerous festivals and events in and around Atlanta and the Southeastern United States.

“Book of Colors sounds like that elf you meet way out in the woods strumming a harp made of dreams and rainbows. And his band is a tough gang of unicorns high on Gummi juice.” -Artlantis





Don’t miss your chance to see “Book of Colors”. Tickets are on sale now for ArtoberFest 2016. Buy today! 


C4 Members at Work

Summer is full of warm weather, vacations, and happenings… lots and lots of happenings! From festivals, to performances, to recognition, C4 Atlanta’s members are working hard to make things happen in the arts. Below is a list of recent and upcoming activities involving a few of C4 Atlanta’s members. 

Jessica Miller : AIM Alumni & Member

23a77b1a-1e1d-44d1-ba7a-c2b0320f6153Jessica recently accepted the role of Executive Director of Burnaway, an online publication for the Arts in the Southeast.

Jessica says: “I look forward to bringing my dedication and enthusiasm for the art community to the position of Executive Director at BURNAWAY. As a Georgia State alumna and Atlanta native, I have relied on BURNAWAY to inform my understanding of the artistic landscape of the Southeast. I am thrilled to be a part of advancing BURNAWAY’s mission and growing the amazing reputation that this organization has already established.”

Read more about Jessica’s new position here!

Roxane Hollosi: Ignite Alumni & Member

0630GO-ROXANNE-HOLLOSI_Roxane Hollosi is working hard in Gainesville this summer putting together a new collage piece called “Echoes VI”. This project is led by Quinlan Visual Arts Center with the goal of promoting “art within the community through the creation of large-scale works of art installed in the public sphere throughout the city of Gainesville and Hall County,”

Read more about Roxane and this project here. 


Lauren Pallotta: Ignite & Hatch Alumni, ArtsForce Member

Recent Hatch Alumni, Lauren Pallotta, shares her current ArtsForce project with the community of Inman Park, Candler Park, Edgewood, and Reynoldstown with an initiative to put murals on the Moreland Avenue underpass using 20+ female artists including Hatch artists Jessica Caldas, Shannon Willow, Charmaine Minniefield, and Angela Davis Johnson.

For this project the community offered their thoughts and ideas on the mural this past weekend in Little 5 Points during Little 5 Arts Alive.

This project is a neighborhood-driven initiative spearheaded by Carly Berg of Little Five Points, and local artist Lauren Pallotta Stumberg of Think Greatly. Together they are working to create vibrant public spaces that connect artists with community and pay artists fair wages for their time and talent to further beautify our city.

Learn more about this project and donate here!

Chelsea Steverson: C4 Atlanta Operations Manager

IMG_1429When she’s not hard at work behind her desk at C4 Atlanta, Chelsea Steverson is on-stage acting in Atlanta. This summer she will be appearing in Essential Theatre‘s original production of “When Things Are Lost” by Derek Dixon. This is one of two shows happening in Essential’s Summer Festival. Essential Theatre focuses on producing new works by Georgia playwrights.

Learn more about Essential Theatre Festival from WABE here!

Read an interview with playwright Derek Dixon. 

Buy ticket to this season’s festival and support here! 

Karen Anderson & Tiny Doors ATL:  ArtsForce Member

2ndbirthday-805x1024If you love Atlanta then you love Tiny Doors ATL. You’ve probably seen these famous doors at your favorite places around Atlanta including the BeltLine, Krog Street and Paris on Ponce. ArtsForce Member Karen Anderson is the Principle Artist and co-founder of Tiny Doors ATL, and she’s getting ready to have a tiny party!

Their very first door is turning two! You can celebrate with Tiny Doors ATL Thursday, July 28th at Hodge Podge Coffee.

Learn more about her event here! 



Kathy Rennell Forbes: Ignite Alumni & Member

2016055736263dea77dKathy Rennel Forbes a local artist and Kennesaw State University professor was selected to have her water color painting, “Woman in Blue”, put on display at the Georgia State Capitol in the Office of the Governor this summer as part of the “Art of Georgia II: Portraits of a Community” exhibition. This is the second time she has been selected for this honor.

Kathy also recently won 1st place in the Paint Quick competition held at the 2016 Olmsted Plein Air Invitational this past May. This event helps to benefit the ongoing work of Olmsted Linear Park Alliance.

Read more about Kathy and these awards here!

Charmaine Minniefield: Hatch Alumni & Member

43a54719-f2e8-4e88-b935-c93a753b2052Charmaine Miniefield recently completed “Watch Me Learn”, a mural in Atlanta’s King Historic District in collaboration with Dr. Doris Derby. Thanks to this project, Charmaine will not be going to East Harlem, New York to continue her on-going community-based work through the NOT A CRIME campaign.

“Now that the NOT A CRIME campaign features my work and is going to Harlem, to focus on the rights to education, it gives an opportunity to be intentional about a wide range of relevant issues which can spark conversation and awareness in ways that are meaningful. This is the work that of the artist/activist. I am excited.”

Read more about Charmaine and the amazing work she is doing here!

Hez Stalcup & Danielle Deadwyler: Hatch Alumni & Members

downloadThis powerhouse team is no joke. These two Atlanta based performance artists took a moment this summer to talk about what it’s like to make performance art in Atlanta and their mutual interest in under-represented identities. This is one conversation you won’t want to miss.

Read their full interview here.  

Jordan Robinson: ArtsForce Member

13599849_1757541854492942_5781529589087425560_nJordan Robinson is hard at work in his final quarter of his MA in Arts Administration from SCAD Atlanta. For his final thesis he will be working with another soon-to-be SCAD photography graduate, Joshua McFadden, for an exhibition entitled “Colorism”. This exhibitions tackles contemporary issues that affect men and women of African-American communities.

In the wake of one of the most traumatic weeks in US history and with #blacklivesmatter on everyone’s lips this exhibition will be one to remember.

To learn more about this exhibition and how you can donate click here!

Stephanie Lloyd : Ignite Alumni & Member

ThreepennyWhen she’s not actively painting in the studio, Stephanie Lloyd  is offering her talents to the Atlanta stage. This summer she will be starring in the upcoming production of The Threepenny Opera with 7 Stages in Little 5 Points. This poignant shows looks at the rich vs poor and the powerful vs powerless. This classical musical is sure to rock your summer.

Click here for more info and tickets.

Sneak Preview of Dive into Social Media….

Social Media… two simple words that when used together often initiate fear and frustration in small business owners. Now a days not having a presence on Social Media isn’t an option since it is expected that 2.5 billion people world wide will be using social media by 2018 (STATISTA).Thumbs up, like button on white background.

It’s also not difficult then to understand the importance of Social Media as a marketing tool… It’s where the people are.

Nonetheless, I am constantly approached by artists and creative workers who struggle with social media, don’t want to use it, or are daunted by where to begin. I hear questions like:

  • “I have a Facebook, but no one is following me. What am I doing wrong?”
  • “Do I really have to pay for Facebook Ads?”
  • “How do you use Snapchat?!”
  • “No one is RSVPing to my event.”
  • “Why is no one following me on Twitter?”
  • “Can you please explain a hashtag?!”
  • “Do I really need a separate business page on Facebook?”
  • “What do people use Snapchat for?”
  • “Should I buy supporters/followers?”
  • “Do people even still use Twitter?”
  • “How do people sell art through Instagram?”

All of these are important questions which most creative entrepreneurs struggle with. This is why C4 Atlanta has developed “Dive into Social Media”. My hope is to answer questions associated with the major social media platforms and their audiences while providing tips for effective (and authentic) engagement. Below is a sneak preview of a few specific topics which will be covered in this 3 hour class hosted by C4 Atlanta at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

How to use Snapchat:

Snapchat can no longer be ignored. With 57 million American’s using it, 70% of which Millennials,  Snapchat is the largest growing social media platform on the market (MEDIAKIX). Unfortunately, many people find the user interface less than friendly. During this course we will do a deep dive into how EXACTLY to use Snapchat and the many features associated with it. We’ll take a look at “all-star” users such as Shonduras and GrubHub and see what they are doing to grow an audience. Trust me, you’ll be a Snapchat pro before you know it.

Which audiences are using what platforms:

The PEW Research Center recently released new information showing that 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites. This is good news! More people are on more social media platforms, but identifying which ones can be difficult. Each platform is unique in it’s offering and therefore also unique in its users. During “Dive into Social Media” we will take a look at exactly what demographics are using which platforms so that you can target the right audience for your business.

What platforms are right for my creative business:

With all the different platforms out there it can be daunting trying to figure out which ones are right for your business or practice. No single person can manage them all, and the last thing you want is to waste time and energy on a platform that isn’t reaching your audience. For this course we have designed an activity to look specifically at your marketing goals/audience and match them to the RIGHT platform.

How do I best utilize Facebook:

Lets face it, almost EVERYONE is on Facebook nowadays. Friends, colleagues, Grandma, and even your anti-social cousin are on Facebook. It is still the most widely used platform in the world with over 1.35 billion people using it monthly… that’s almost equal to the population of China (Washington Post). Because of it’s large user base Facebook rivals other platforms in regards to the marketing opportunities available, but not everyone understands the differences in these opportunities. For this class we will look at Ads VS Boosted Post VS Organic Reach as well as a Pages VS Groups VS Events in hopes that Facebook will no longer be a marketing mystery.

What is branding and how can social media make it stronger:

The word branding is tossed around a lot in small business. As if it’s some magic key that when found will open up all the doors for making money. But what is it really? If we take a step back and look at the origins of the word branding it comes from the labeling of livestock. Branding is the literal mark made on animals so that others can identify who it belongs to. “Branding” is often used interchangeably (and incorrectly) with the term marketing, and even though they can work hand in hand, Branding is really the established presence your business has. For this class we will look at how to build a stronger brand using social media so you’re not simply pushing content but pulling your audience into your offerings to keep them coming back for more.

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Want to learn more? Enroll in “Dive into Social Media” today! 

When: June 25, 2016 from 10:30am to 1:30pm

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia 

Cost: $35 Non-Members; $25 for C4 Atlanta Members

Why We Support the Arts – Chelsea Steverson, C4 Atlanta Operations Manager

Each of us in the Atlanta arts community has a unique and inspiring story about our relationship with arts and culture. C4 Atlanta would like to share our own personal accounts of what the arts means to us at and what brought us here:

Chelsea’s Story —

Chelseas first summer in Atlanta.
Chelsea and her best friend, Rachel, hanging out during her first summer in Atlanta.

If you had told me 6 years ago that I would one day be the Operations Manage for an arts service organization, I would have laughed in your face. 6 years ago I was simply trying to graduate with my BFA in Media and Performing Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design and figure out what my next acting gig was. In no way was “non-profit administration work” part of my vocabulary as I was dedicated to the idea of being a professional Shakespearean actress or nothing at all. Of course, things change, priorities shift, and you simply can’t deny “your calling”.

Of course, all stories have a beginning and I would be doing both myself and you a disservice if I didn’t divulge a little history into how art shaped me into the lady I am today.

You can take the girl out of the South, but not the South out of the girl.
You can take the girl out of the South, but not the South out of the girl.

I would like to say that I lived a normal, small-town childhood, but that would be a lie. Coming from a military family the world I existed in was always black and white, and because I grew up in the small farming community of Blackshear, Georgia this was easy to do. No one thought outside of the box, everyone attended church on Sunday, and your personal business was never kept secret for long. This was all I knew until a few weeks prior to my 7th birthday when my whole life changed. I was diagnosed with Burkits Lymphoma, a type of Nonhodgkins Lymphoma…. in layman’s terms…cancer.

For the next year of my life I was poked, prodded, and tested only to be pulled from the 1st grade early. Chemotherapy was the only answer, and within weeks of beginning treatment I had lost every speck of hair on my body.

I mention this not because of what I learned during my time in and out of the hospitals, but what I learned when I came back and had to begin 2nd grade. As one can imagine, I was ostracized immediately on my first day back. No one understand why I was the only one kid who got to wear a hat; why I couldn’t participate in recess; and why the “girl” from last year now looked like a “boy”. Needless to say, I learned the hard way how to be my own best friend.

Chelsea Steverson, 7 years old, wearing her new hat with the bow.

As a young girl, my self-esteem was quickly smashed and socializing was a thing of my past. My nights were plagued with nightmares of humiliation and my days were lonely. Therefore, I looked to my education and reading a way to entertain myself. Unfortunately, my quickly rising grades and high academic level was more fuel for my peers to make fun of me.

At the beginning of my 3rd grade year I was encouraged to audition for the school chorus by my church youth leader. After mustering up the courage and buying a new hat with a bow to cover my peach fuzz of a haircut, I  went out for the auditions. To my surprise I was accepted, but what I didn’t realize is that moment would change my life forever. Chorus rehearsal were filled with an energy and friendliness that I had never found before, and the people accepted me regardless of my hair. This was my first step in finding performance as a outlet for expression and rebuilding my damaged self-worth.

Because all Storm Troopers look better in a sundress.
Because all Storm Troopers look better in a sundress.

As one can imagine, being diagnosed with cancer caused me grow up very early. I was faced the concept of death early on and had to deal with many problems and situation that an average 7 year old should never have to face, but I found an outlet in art. Performance was the first, and from there I found painting, writing, and acting. If you had told 7 year old Chelsea sitting in the bathroom crying during recess that 10 years down the road that I would graduate from high school at the top of my class with a scholarship to a private arts school for acting I would never have believed you. Truth is, those experiences of misunderstanding from my peers taught me to value each and every person for their uniqueness while art taught me that being unique is perfectly okay.

I have spilled this story forth not to induce pity, but to express a sense of pride I have in myself and the art that I make. All of my priorities stem from these early life experiences and how they have shaped me into the person I am today. It led me to college and helped me find a life purpose in the arts.

In 2007, I begin my journey through the Savannah College of Art and Design. There are no words to prepare a small-town southern girl for the experience of private art school. It was single-handedly the best 4 years of my life. The education was great but the opportunities and the people I met left the most important impressions on my young adult life. Where else could I share a beer and have a single conversation that encompasses both Star Wars, Buddhism, and gender equality? This was a truly revolutionary time for me.

Backstage fun time at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Chelsea (left) as one of the witches in Macbeth.

I spent my summers in undergrad acting for Shakespeare companies across the US including the Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ. Upon graduation I moved to Atlanta to fulfill an internship with the local theatre Actor’s Express. As many free-lance artists, I found a day job in corporate retail and was quickly moving up the internal managerial ranks. By 2012 I was managing the number one store for Paper Source in the nation. Sounds perfect right? Unfortunately I was deliriously unhappy, and not just with my day job. I was finding myself unfulfilled by acting both on stage and on screen. After much soul searching and the normal mid-20’s breakdown I realized that I loved art but I loved the ARTIST more.

Its the people and the minds behind the work that were really inspiring to me. I found that more and more artists in my life (myself included) felt like they had no control of their artistic careers and were wondering around a diluted and often unfriendly market. I had found a new calling…. the artists and their needs. There was untapped inspiration in the idea that my efforts weren’t specifically focused on just the product of art, but instead supporting the people and their process of making it.

Chelsea Steverson as young Lara Croft, DragonCon 2015

In 2014 I took myself back to grad school to answer for this hole in my life. SCAD welcomed me back with open arms, and I found a new home in the Arts Administration field. Here I was able to use my innate skills in business while also being more active than ever in the arts. Thanks to my graduate degree I’ve had the chance to work for organizations like The Atlanta History Center, Arts for Learning at the Woodruff, Actor’s Express, and the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.

When I’m not busy wearing my administrator hat I run a small arts collective, Catalyst Arts Atlanta, perform with theatres around Atlanta, paint in the comfort of my own apartment, spend my summers at arts/music festivals, and let my nerd flag fly actively cosplaying at DragonCon each year. Additionally, I’m honored to serve as the inaugural chair of the Ambassador program at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

Chelsea advocates for arts funding at a local Commissioners Meeting.
Chelsea advocates for arts funding at a local Commissioners Meeting.

I am a very blessed and lucky woman. I’m educated, have the best friends and family in the world, and have been in remission for almost 20 years. I have many people to thank for where I am today, but mostly I want to say thank you to each and every person that loves and supports an artist. I am who I am because of the arts, and so I dream of being an ambassador for the arts. Thanks to C4 Atlanta I get to actively work towards that goal everyday.



TechsmARTs: Interactive Media and Tech Savvy Audiences

Mark Gindick DramaTech Box OfLast week C4 Atlanta and the Office of Arts at Georgia Tech had the pleasure of sitting down with Mark Gindick to talk about his use of technology and social media in his one man show, Wingman, for our January TechsmARTs. During our discussion Mark spoke quite a lot about what it takes to integrate technology of this kind into live performance, and where the inspiration for his show came from.




If you missed our discussion you can listen full recording here:



DSCN2232Mark Gindick has been in residence with DramaTech for the last few months working in partnership with the students to find solutions and innovative ways to continue adding technology to Wingman‘s already tech-savvy experience. Their time with Mark was spent developing a new website which would be integrated into the audience’s experience watching Wingman.

The students were unable to join us Monday, January 25th for our TechsmARTs discussion, but they did send over some thoughts about their experience and time working with Mark and this new website.

Here’s what they had to say…

David Howard, DramaTech member & Technical Developer

Being able to track the activity of the website, I was honestly surprised at just how much it was used during the show. Not only was it used, but the audience was able to have fun with it without much prior knowledge beforehand. I think the more tech savvy audience members were able to more easily use it, but that only fueled the entertainment that went to the screen for everyone else. And while not every performance needs this kind of interactive element, this show proves the relatively untapped potential you can have with the interactive environment. On a personal note, it was a fun and slightly surreal experience being able to be in an audience using a product I helped developed. I do a lot of theoretical work and projects in the classrooms here, but I was never able to take our work into the live field until this show.

Christina Herd, DramaTech member & Web Designer

What stands out to me the most about working on this show is honestly the message the show presents to its audiences.  In this age, it seems that the digital version of yourself can be more important than your actual self, and Wingman points out (in the funniest, but heart breaking, way) that this is just not the case.  Knowing that this was the case made designing this site an amazing experience. David, Dennis, and I were designing a website for a show that promotes human interaction over digital interaction. In order to do this, we worked with Mark and Jason VERY closely during the lead up for the demo (early December) to make sure the site did what the show needed it to do. Final touches were completed in early January, and bam the website did (in my opinion) exactly what the show needed. Working with Mark and Jason was such a treat, and I am very honored to have had the small impact on this performance that I did. It is truly an experience I will not forget.  I feel the website makes the show seem Tech Savvy for an audience that may or may not have that quality. It was awesome to watch the young people who use twitter frequently interact with each other on screen, then see the older people being to pick up tweeting.  Being Tech Savvy is important in today’s day and age, and I think the way art is handling that is very interesting. I believe this is truly a transition period for theatre, and soon we will have some art incorporating audience smart phone use as easily as they do lights/sound/set/costume/props/etc.  Art reflects culture, and our culture has shifted to smart phones being the norm and social media being very important, and art will soon follow in that direction.


Thanks to everyone who showed up for this incredible conversation.

For more information regarding Mark Gindick and his work check out his website :