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 2020 : Miranda Kyle
Where do you work and what do you do?
I am the Program Manager of Arts and Culture for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) and curate the annual Art on the Atlanta BeltLine Public Art Exhibition. I support the department of Design and Construction to incorporate art into park and trail design, engage developers to consider public art in their construction, and advise on secondary design elements like benches and future transit stops. Additionally, I work on interdepartmental collaborations with Community Engagement and Planning by managing relationships with outside arts organizations and institutions such as the National Black Arts Festival, the Woodruff Center for the Arts, Living Walls, Southern Fried Queer Pride, and Artlanta Gallery.
When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
Art was always used as a problem solving tool in my house growing up. So it was considered just as essential as being able to write well, perform first aid, of solve for x. It was just a part of my toolkit for life, and that was my normal. It wasn’t until I got to college that I was ike…whoa you don’t build a maquette of the inner ear while studying it for anatomy class? You JUST read about it and look at pictures? I felt like other people were learning lopsided.
So I was in college to be a Mythbuster (that isn’t a real discipline, but what I wanted to be so I was studying chemistry) then I took a metallurgy class and went to an iron pour, fell in love, and became a foundry rat.
Being a sculptor allowed me to continuing solving problems through and for space, which lead me to curation, which lead me to my current job. I have curated exhibitions locally and internationally for over a decade, ranging in disciplines from performance to public art., and in a variety of environments.
What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
Oh man, there was so many different things I wanted to be. I wanted to be a dolphin trainer for a while (was was an emergency veterinary technician for nearly 17 years-how I paid for school/living- so I got to work with them medically just not in the Flipper kind of way), a jockey (I was waaaaay too tall), a circus equestrian (do you see a pattern here?) – I grew up surrounded by animals and riding horses so when I was a kid I just thought my career would be critter-related. I almost went to vet school instead of scad. And of course when I was in highschool I wanted to be a Mythbuster. Art was never it, because art had always been integrated into everything, it never felt separate.
If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Wilma Mankiller. She was the first female Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation in the modern era. She was a pioneer for native women’s rights, tribal sovereignty, and healthcare. She was a planner and program manager, and rose to fame by fighting for, and bringing running water to Cherokee homes in the Nation. She won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.
I would love to talk to her about her activism, battling oppressive regimes and what it takes to make lasting change happen.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
I think each season of our lives sees different influential figures. But my mother has by far been the greatest influence on me. From teaching me to listen to trees and bottle feed baby deer, to how to do carpentry and plumbing, my mom is a rockstar. All the cool things about me are because of her.
How is art a passion for you?
It is in everything. The most beautiful art is math and our whole universe is mathematical. Aristotle thought the best we could do as humans is mimic nature. And we do, we make art about big nature around us, the small natures in us, and the spaces in nature we share.
I love those stories we make and share, and I want to elevate them, explode them, and grow them
What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
We have so much work to do. And our numbers are so skewed. Even if we see women in leadership roles in the arts-how many are BIPOC? How many are queer, trans or 2spirit? I think there are a lot of allies out their but folks gotta graduate to accomplices. Make and hold space. What does your board look like? Who are the artists you are hiring/commissioning? If you are a curator are you decolonizing and decentering your aesthetic pallet? If you are an artist getting a lot of work, how are you uplifting and supporting talented and skilled artists who are getting overlooked because they don’t have your brand recognition?
What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
I like seeing the brave and new conceptual/contemporary work that is starting to emerge. It speaks to a savviness that Atlanta desperately needs. I and THRILLED to see Spelman’s new curatorial curriculum, it is fucking fire and they are gonna graduate an incredible class of brilliant curators and arts admins.
What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
Setting barriers on fire. I want to make it easier for folks to understand and get consistent and big commission work. Navigating governmental grant systems is a nightmare and very prohibitive for a lot of folks, especially people who do not have a euro-centric arts education. Bias in our processes can really damage accessibility. I want to change that.
I want to leave a legacy for this city and change how the world sees us in terms of public art and our creative class.
Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?