Tag: Arts in Atlanta

Leading Lady : Heather Infantry

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

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

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

Leading Lady – Heather Infantry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.generatorcity.org
IG: @generatoratl

Leading Lady – Ibi Owolabi

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

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

We are proud to Introduce Our First Leading Lady for March 2019: Ibi Owolabi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram – @yungdirector

 

 

Leading Lady : SHANEQUA GAY

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

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

We are proud to introduce the next Leading Lady for March 2017: Shanequa Gay

Shanequa Gay — Atlanta based painter, artivist, designer, and poet in residence with the Creatives Project. Image: Ode to Dantavious Chatham / 36 x 48 / Oil, Flashe and Acrylic / Wood Panel / 2016

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am currently an artist in residence through the Creatives Project. My studio is at The Goat Farm Building 8 Studio UMR – 6 (please stop by). I am a magician and or a painter and or a poet and or a designer and or an artivist.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I have had an interest in the arts all of my life. I was a creative being at an early age, as a kid on into teenagerdom I drew, danced, played the violin and the like. I have been a working professional artist (with on and off moments) for the past 12 years.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Pediatrician and an Artist. Which sort of balanced out, I am a Mother and an artist therefore I play the role of a Pediatrician (albeit unlicensed), I have played the role never the less.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Maya. I would have lunch with Maya on the shores of the Cote d’ivoire. We would talk about how her life story marries so beautifully and unfortunately with mine. I would ask her a million questions about her life’s journey. How did she smile and dance and speak her way out of her pain and deliver so many others along with her? I would sit at her knee eating pineapples and strawberries (because they are my favorite) and ask for her wisdom. She would pull the coil of my hair and say, “Nah, girl listen…” assuring me the Creator has giving me everything that I need. And I would say, “but Maya how do I give birth to nations through my work, too?” I would have lunch with Maya Angelou of course.

(Diptych image)
Dual Citizen / 48 x 48 / Mixed Media / Wood Panel / 2016

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My Mothers. My birth Mother has hands down been the most impactful person in my life, I love her so. However, I would be amiss if I did not speak of the many women who have loved, chastised, supported, blessed, looked out, and prayed for me on this path of mine. There is a gathering of wise, knowledgeable, no nonsense women that are always accessible to me. I am so grateful.

How is art a passion for you?
I live, I breathe, I am my art. It is like a relationship when it is good it is wonderful. We talk all the time, meet up at specific times, talk about our past and plans for our future, make love through the medium, we break up, give each other some breathing room for a day or some years and then hop back to it like we never missed a beat. Me and my art… we are in love.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
It is still lacking and that gets old. The fact that race and gender are still on the table of things we need to talk about equalizing is just an antiquated conversation. How can we claim to be a progressive nation when we still operate in 18th century ideals? Make room. Make room for women and diversity, and this does not mean one standing in place for the other. How long will we be content with museums and creative institutions passing around the same canon of the “great white hope” of male artists when there are ridiculously dope females and ethnic groups that can add flavor and spice to the white rice? How long are we going to be content with only eating white rice with a male only sign ingrained on our napkins, plates, and forks?

What If the Ancestors? / 18 x 24 / Oil, Flashe and Acrylic / Wood Panel / 2016 (An elder dragging a hybrid is depicted) 

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
Atlanta is vibrant! Atlanta is the capital for cultural change. The civil rights movement and OutKast come from this place, does it get any better? I should say not. The Atlanta art community is creating new movements, its own dialogue. Mayor Kasim Reed is “making room” with the 1/10 penny sales tax to fund arts programming; thriving organizations, galleries, and magazines have continued to blossom and rally support for Atlanta artists, the film and production industry is thriving giving the opportunity for the music, theater, and visual arts worlds to collide to create innovative hybrid art forms. I am very excited about the arts in the ATL, something fresh is brewing I intend to be apart of it.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
Through “street mythologies,” video installations, performance and the like, I want to tell the stories of marginalized people here in Atlanta and abroad. I hope to spark a conversation with my work, to create a shift in how we think about humanity, who we assign and unassign humanity to, to question why people need to feel validated by an other, a lesser than. Why does it make people feel good to have another group under them if they are truly secure? This tradition, a sort of ritual of sacrificing people to prisons and systemic poverty because of ethnicity. I want to uproot and shine light on what separates us in order to mend, heal, and make room.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
site — http://www.shanequagay.com/

Insta — https://www.instagram.com/shanequagay/

twitter — https://twitter.com/shanequagay

Leading Lady : Violette L Meier

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

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

We are proud to introduce the next Leading Lady of March 2017: Violette L. Meier

Violette shows off the many stories she has written and published.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am a writer and co-Founder of Viori Publishing and co-Founder of Digidence Social Media Marketing.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?

I have always been interested in the arts, especially writing. I have bee writing since I was 12 years old and I have been published for about 10 years.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a fashion designer and an astronaut. I am still very much in love with fashion and space, but my true gift is writing.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
There are so many women I would love to meet. If I had to pick one it would probably be Maya Angelou. I would ask her how did she learn to be so strong and comfortable in her skin. I find her confidence and inner beauty incredibly powerful.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My mother. She is the epitome of strength; always pushing forward no matter the circumstance. I want to be extremely successful so that I can give her everything her heart desires.

“Ruah the Immortal” written by Violette L. Meier is a story of love, betrayal, and preternatural power penetrating one to the very soul. It is a tale of two sisters who wiggle through never-ending obstacles, wrestle with the sacred and the profane, and ultimately face death in hopes of finding life.

How is art a passion for you?
All I need is the air that I breathe and to write. Writing is my art and my purpose.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
Equality is the only way. It is illogical to consider it any other way. Equal work deserves equal pay.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?

Atlanta is my home and it is exciting to see it evolve and grow artistically. I want to help propel this movement into something that can influence the world in a positive way.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I want to contribute a different and valuable perspective on speculative fiction. I want my work to entertain and enlighten.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
www.VioletteMeier.com
Facebook: Violette L. Meier
Instagram: violettemeier
Twitter: violettemeier

Center for Puppetry Arts – C4 Atlanta Featured Member

There is always something going on at The Center…

The Center for Puppetry Arts is a staple of Atlanta’s arts community. Truly an Atlanta treasure, CPA preserves a long tradition of puppet making and performance; at the same time, CPA employs technologies that distributes their art form globally and fosters creative innovation through programs such as XPT (Xpertimental Puppetry Theatre), workshops and more. What I have always personally appreciated about CPA is their staff.  Always friendly. Always advocates for the arts. For example: Rainie Jueschke, CPA staff member, is always lending her voice in support of arts funding/advocacy. For smaller organizations, like C4 Atlanta, it means a lot to us to see the larger, more established organizations, speaking up for us all.

Photo of The Ghastly Dreadfuls: The Last Ghast plays Oct 11-27
The Ghastly Dreadfuls: The Last Ghast plays Oct 11-27

The Center has several exciting shows, workshops and more coming up in October–for all ages. Visit The Center again this fall. In the meantime, here is a little more about C4 Atlanta Featured Member, The Center for Puppetry Arts, in their own words (as answered by Marketing Director and C4 friend, Daniel Summers, Jr.)…

JH: How long has CPA been around?
DSJ: The Center opened in 1978 and we are proud to celebrate our 34th Anniversary this year. Since our inception, we’ve grown to include two theater spaces,rehearsal space, classroom spaces, museum exhibition galleries, puppet building shop, scene shop, two Distance Learning educational video-conferencing studios, and more. We’re not done yet.

 

JH: Why did CPA form?
DSJ: Vincent Anthony, our Founding Executive Director, was organizing a national convention of puppeteers when he realized that there was a need for a central hub for the puppetry community. He envisioned a place where the centuries-old art form could be recorded, where new trends and styles could be explored, and where both professional and the general public could learn more about the art of puppetry; these three tenets led to the formation of our Museum, Education, and Performance departments.

JH: I have seen more live performance show with puppets over the last few years. What
gives? Is this a trend?
DSJ: Well, puppetry has always been used in performances in numerous cultures; some argue that puppets were some of the first “performers” as puppets have been found in tombs and were used extensively in ancient ceremonies and rites.
Today, it does appear that puppets are being used more frequently again. These choices have been shaped by the great work of Jim Henson, Julie Taymor, and others. In fact, like we do here at the Center, shows like Sesame Street and the Muppet Show have always actively encouraged audiences to try their own hand at puppeteering and being creative.

JH: What is CPA’s vision for 5 years? 10 Years?
DSJ: Our vision is to be the premier puppetry center in the world. That’s right, you got it, the world. To do this, we have a four-year strategic plan, which can be downloaded from our website (http://www.puppet.org/about/who.shtml);
highlights include expanding our Museum, increasing our presence at community events and regional festivals, and expanding our Distance Learning and Outreach programming. We’re big believers in long-term, strategic planning.

JH: Why is Atlanta a good fit for CPA?
DSJ: To a degree, Atlantans have always appreciated the importance of arts and cultural programming; today, our metropolitan region has over 450 arts groups – and that’s not even counting our various community organizations. This sense of the importance of the arts, as well as the proximity to so much of the region (not to mention the world’s busiest airport), made Atlanta the perfect place to launch what has become the nation’s premiere nonprofit dedicated to the puppetry art form. Plus, while we are the ninth largest metropolitan area in the country, we’re still a small enough community that an organization of our size can have a very real, tangible impact. We have never wanted to be “just another arts center”; instead, we’ve always wanted to be a vital part of what makes Atlanta great.

JH: Who is CPA for?
DSJ:Simply put: Everyone. We are honored to be what is often a young child’s first cross-cultural performance

Photo of Fraggle Rock
Be sure to check out the Center’s exclusive Jim Henson exhibits that feature many iconic characters, including the Fraggles.

experience. We work with educators and local school districts so that we are an integral part of our community’s educational matrix, often providing much needed arts-infused educational experiences to balance with classroom curriculum. We present guest artists from around the world and present two different performance series so that children, teens, and adults can find something uniquely appealing. We teach a range of classes from beginner-level Create-A-Puppet Workshops to professional-level Puppet Building intensives. We offer continuing education and professional development courses for educators, performers, and artists. We represent the global art form of puppetry, showcasing how every culture has some form of puppetry within their unique cultural context.

JH: How does one get involved with CPA?
DSJ: We have numerous ways for the public to become more involved. Of course, the simplest way to become involved is to be a patron; the audience is as important a member of the show as the artists. If you want access to exclusive events aswell as a chance to become a donor, then look into becoming a Member of the Center. If you’re interested in learning more about puppetry, then attend one of our museum tours or a lecture or class in our Explore Puppetry Series. Can’tmake it to the Center, but want to involve us in your school or community– book a Distance Learning program or a Puppet Factory. Want to be a part of the creative process – become a participant or director in XPT (Xperimental Puppetry Theater). What’s more, every department at the Center relies on volunteersand interns to help with our daily operations as well as special projects; we are constantly looking for new volunteers and interns (http://www.puppet.org/ contribute/volunteer.shtml).

Happy patron from the Puppet Building Intensive. The Center offers great professional development workshops on a variety of puppetry topics.
Happy patron from the Puppet Building Intensive. The Center offers great professional development workshops on a variety of puppetry topics.

JH: How is CPA involved in the arts community? The community at large?
DSJ: The Center, and its staff, frequently work with area artists and arts groups to incorporate puppetry into their own productions and work. Additionally, it seems that many of Atlanta’s professional arts community have worked with the Center in some form or fashion during their careers; annually we employ about 60 full/part-time artists, designers, directors, painters, musicians, builders, stitchers, docents, curators, teaching artists, administrators, etc. For over 25 years, XPT has encouraged creativity and new works with participants from every walk of life and every level of skill.

Regarding the community at large, the Center is frequent guests at community festivals where we offer fun, educational activities that encourage creativity and an appreciation for the arts. Throughout a season, the Center supports the community at large by offering over 70,000 free or reduced tickets, as well as free museum days, so that everyone has the opportunity to explore puppetry. Each year we donate tickets to more than 400 local organizations for their own fundraising efforts.” 

Thank you, Daniel! And a big THANKS to the Center for Puppetry Arts for being a part of what makes Atlanta a great place to live!