Tag: Creative Loafing

Hatch(ed) – Lauren Pallotta

In March, C4 Atlanta wrapped up a 6 month long pilot of our newest educational program, Hatch. This program is designed to help educate artists in the “soft” skills needed to perform art within a community context.

While our C4 Atlanta team is hard at work this week mapping out the final curriculum of our Hatch program (look for application details this summer), we wanted to highlight one of the pilot program graduates who has been utilizing her skills to produce artwork in the Little Five Points Community.

Lauren Pallotta is a painter, mural artist and graphic designer who’s work in community has, until recently, been mostly confined to two dimensional artwork. Through her recent project as part of Little Five Arts Alive, Lauren was given the opportunity to not only explore work in a new community but also within a new context. Here is her story in her own words:

 

Since 2016 began, I have promised myself to better align my actions with my aspirations. The result so far – I have become more integrated with my community through art. The kaleidoscope of my creative offerings gained new complexity when I joined the Little Five Arts Alive roster. With the encouragement of Arts Alive Curator Rachel Parish, my community mural idea evolved into urban place-making, which became “spontaneous sculpture” from upcycled materials. I was asked to make things from junk, to “set the stage” per se for the performances in the plaza. I was not in my comfort zone. So of course my answer was a bold yet shaky yes.

 

I’ve spent lunch hours dumpster-diving to forage for materials. William [Massey] graciously offered me advice on materials (Nothing spongy or water-catching, check. Bailing wire, check.) My plan was to be plan-less, to show up with materials and let the community be my guide. Focus on the process! On April 15, I unloaded the trashy treasures into the plaza – old electronics, computer cords, landline telephones, plastic car seats, modular shelving, CDs, garden hoses, fire extinguisher canisters, etc. – and got out some bright paint.

Community Members in Little Five Points help construct and create the artwork conceived by Hatch participant Lauren Pallotta.
Community Members in Little Five Points help construct and create the artwork conceived by Hatch participant Lauren Pallotta.

Then we made stuff. We made stuff with teenagers from the suburbs, train kids from “that side” of the plaza, a mother and daughter on a day out, a little girl who liked pink, a human rights canvasser on her break, passersby, tourists and locals. Ava made a peace sign with a garden hose and some blinds. Fred painted flowers on an old amplifier. We teased out the creative capacities of the community with random acts of art-making. By the end of the weekend, we had jazzed up the space to mirror Little Five itself: eclectic, vibrant and a little weird.

Creative Loafing called me a “sculptor.” I laughed. I am hardly a sculptor. But I did get to build some awesome new experiences because of the social, experimental and exploratory aspect of Little Five Arts Alive. I am incredibly grateful. It has let to new friendships, new projects and new vigor to keep living the life I have imagined.

By Lauren Pallotta

You can see Lauren’s project on display now at Finley Plaza in the Little Five Points neighborhood as part of Little Five Arts Alive, running every weekend until November. Little Five Arts Alive is a community building arts project produced in partnership between Horizon Theatre Company and the Little Five Points Community Improvement District. To find our more about Little Five Arts Alive, please visit www.littlefiveartsalive.com.

4 Ways to Not Get Priced Out

The C4 team has been attending various panels, talks, sessions around town about planning, culture & development and more. Artists being out-priced in a particular neighborhood has been a hot topic. With “placemaking” initiatives popping up all over the U.S., this issue is not unique to Atlanta. The list below is not intended to be a magic solution. The fact is, gentrification, real estate, education, etc. can be complex issues.

1) Advocate for fair wage

Please Pay Here
Photo by stevendepolo

Much of the discussions I have heard over the last week centered around the rising costs of real estate. A number of solutions have been researched and presented by people way smarter than I. However, as Ryan Gravel pointed out during the Future of Atlanta panel (audio available here) hosted by the Museum of Design Atlanta, there is another economic player in the room: wage. Affordable housing may be a relative term if you are living at only 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Arts workers: we have got to demand fair pay. Also, stop working for exposure.

I would challenge every working, semi-established artist in Atlanta to join the W.A.G.E. coalition. W.A.G.E. stands for: Working Artists and the Greater Economy.

Founded in 2008, Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) is a New York-based activist organization focused on regulating the payment of artist fees by nonprofit art institutions and establishing a sustainable labor relation between artists and the institutions that contract their labor.

Non-profit producing/presenting organizations: become W.A.G.E certified. We have to be part of the solution. It isn’t always easy, but paying artists a livable wage should be a priority. Arts administrators are often woefully underpaid AND over worked. Funders can help by lifting tight restrictions on project dollars in regards to indirect costs, or more funders can offer general operating support.

W.A.G.E. Certification is a program initiated and operated by Working Artists and the Greater Economy that publicly recognizes non-profit arts organizations demonstrating a history of, and commitment to, voluntarily paying artist fees that meet a minimum payment standard.

2) Fight for equity across the board                         

Apartments
Photo by La Citta Vita

This is something I heard Chris Appleton from WonderRoot mention at the Culture Over Condos meeting hosted by the Center for Civic Innovation Atlanta and Creative Loafing. I also heard a community organizer from the Queens Museum stress this same point at a convening in New York City (same issues exist there too!). If we align ourselves with other cross-sector causes, then we have strength in numbers. Housing, insurance accessibility, transportation, etc. are not issues that solely belong to any one community. They affect us all–whether directly or indirectly.

3) Connect with organizations

C4 Education Manager, Audrey Gámez, wrote about this point in her last blog post about getting involved in community. I don’t want to harp on this too much…what the heck, I do want to harp on it! Community organizations and nonprofits provide a myriad of direct services, but they also act as a clearing house for relevant information to your trade or area of interest. WonderRoot, Alternate ROOTS, C4 Atlanta, and others are often your direct line to issues affecting the arts community. If you have a question about a particular issue, reach out to a local arts service organization. If we don’t know the answer, we will do our best to find out. At the very least, check out their social media presence. C4 shares blog posts, articles, videos and more that are relevant to our mission. Interact with us. We like it.

4) Familiarize yourself with policy

I know. Yawn, right. But sometimes it is necessary to lobby for top-down change. Grassroots efforts and community building can help influence positive change, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Think about funding for the arts or housing. It may take policy change to interrupt the status quo.

pol·i·cy

ˈpäləsē/

As applied to a law, ordinance, or Rule of Law, the general purpose or tendency considered as directed to the welfare or prosperity of the state or community.

So this is an area I am still navigating. The best place to start is by doing some research. What are the issues that are important to you? I have been working in nonprofit arts for over ten years, and I learn something new every week. I have learned to enlist the help of mentors and advisers. These are informal relationships with people whom I can call when I have a question about existing or proposed policy changes.

In San Francisco, the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) is a public/private supported fund to help arts organizations remain stable (not be out-priced) in a volatile real estate market. When you know about other efforts in other cities, you can pull research, best practices, or even a model to help bring to elected officials or decision makers in your community. I learned about CAST by through an RSS feed aggregate about arts and culture. This is part of my daily research. I spend about an hour every day researching trends that affect arts and culture and, more specifically, arts workers. Always having an ear to the ground helps stay abreast of all the issues and changes that happen constantly and to be aware of any relevant case studies that may provide insight.

I guess I don’t have the best advice when it comes to navigating the murky waters of public policy other than it takes time. Democracy is work. The day you are born, you have entered into a social contract with other human beings.

Photo by stevendepolo

Photo by La Citta Vita