Tag: National Women’s History Month

Leading Lady : Ramatu Afeguba-Sabbatt

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: Ramatu Afeguba-Sabbatt

Where do you work and what do you do?

I am a dance instructor, as well as the founder and executive director of Manga African Dance, Inc.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
It is not a difficult question to answer. It was in me from childhood. I dance, sing, act and apply so much creativity in my daily endeavors without thinking about it. I enjoy entertaining and sharing the knowledge of the Arts with people in general.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
An artist (Dancer, musician and a singer).

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
It will be OPRAH WINFREY! I will like to talk to her about life trials and tribulations. Also how to stick with your passion even if it is not bringing you mega bucks.
How to help my art form and the company’s longevity for future generation to benefit from the mission.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents! Outside of home – a lady called Ayesha Imam (founded women’s Liberation movement in Nigeria). I was hired as an assistant researcher during her research on how women felt about polygamy in northern Nigeria. It was an eye-opener for me.

How is art a passion for you?
I believe that it is a way of life. It enhanced every aspect of life for me; education, socialization, and growth all around.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I truly believe in equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce. The presence of a balanced ratio of women in the creative workforce in my opinion can improve the workforce performance level. A workforce that is diverse may increase consumer demand for related products and services. Researchers Kossek, Lobel and Brown (2006) indicated that “the 1992 percentage of the representation of women managers in the largest US firms was positively related to firm performance (return on equity, return on assets)”.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The arts in Atlanta is diverse. All the different branches of art form tend to strive in their own creative ways. Everyone has a place.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
The mission is where I started. The mission statement is to preserve the indigenous African Culture through programs; African dance and drum classes that combine lecture-demonstrations with traditional African social dances, rhythms, songs, and cultural history in exciting and high impact activities; The motto that drives me “Health is Wealth: Fighting Obesity,” campaigns, which are incorporated in every dance class teaching students about good nutrition and healthy behaviors. I work with youths in schools and outside of school using the mission and the motto to create enrichment programs.

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

Website: www.mangadance.org

Instagram, twitter, can be found on the website.

 

Leading Lady : Maggie Kane

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: Maggie Kane

Where do you work and what do you do?
I’m a serial social entrepreneur who’s founded + developed several community-serving businesses and organizations that promote workforce development opportunities for creatives in Atlanta.

Some of these organizations include: Streetcat.media (social systems research + development), Cut Cake Factory (membership-based woodshop + educational facility for artists who are new to fabrication located inside The Bakery), Freeside Atlanta (educational director + maker programs development), Google Developer Group of Atlanta (lead program organizer for monthly events + annual software developer conference), and more.

I also provide technical assistance, pro bono, in the form of website assistance + business development strategies for intersectional, grassroots non-profits and artists in Atlanta.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
Being a very visual person, I’ve always incorporated artist representation into all realms of my work. In school, I can remember carefully sketching out ideas from textbooks rather than writing down their contextual information for my test notes. This practice would make it easier for me to retain information and more accurately express my interpretation of what I was learning.

I pursued a BFA in Visual Arts as well as a BA in Sociology from Tulane University and blend my academic background with active educational programming development (mostly in technology) for grassroots neighborhood groups, DIY arts organizations, and small businesses.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I revel the pursuit of equity and the cataloging of details, so there were many career paths that I’ve considered over the years.

The first job I seriously considered pursuing (in middle school, of course) was a Crime Scene Investigator because they got to inspect crime scenes for clues and do a bunch of science to catch the bad guys. The next career that I heavily considered was being a tenured philosophy professor. I wanted this job because I was a high school student who was actively applying to colleges and believed that the position being a professor would be one of prestige and omniscience. After taking my first philosophy class in college, I quickly realized that the field of academic philosophy was both too dry and removed from solving real life problems. So I changed paths, again.

Instead of pursuing philosophy, I ended up spending my time in college studying social systems and how to research them. I worked as a research assistant for a cultural sociologist and documented the physical effects of gentrification in several New Orleans neighborhoods. After working as a research assistant, I set my sights on learning more about technology and how it can be an extremely equitable tool set in the hands of marginalized people, especially those who face the negative effects of gentrification.

So my vision for where I would end up in life has changed drastically over the years, but my mission still remains the same.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I would love to wine and dine with Joan of Arc! I spent a lot of my childhood imagining her strength in standing up for her people in the form of leading the French army to fight against English precolonial occupation — as a 19 year old!

I would love to ask her advice on a number of things, from leadership skills to dealing with selfish men in power. Her courage and sacrifice for her people are incredibly inspiring. Plus her battle armor looks were super fresh.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My dad, Justin Kane, is my biggest influence in my life. As a serial entrepreneur and compassionate community leader himself, he’s taught me a number of very valuable life and business skills. Some of these skills include things like passionately leading a team to achieve their goals and providing empathetic support to those in need. I’m very thankful for the role he’s played in my life and everything I’ve learned from him.

How is art a passion for you?
Art has allowed me to explore and express my passions throughout my life. It’s like a language to me – one with lots of power. While my practice consistently evolves, I always employ forms of symbolic sensory expression to explore realms of being and the pursuit of equity.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
This is a battle that I consistently deal with in several industries, including tech, art, and fabrication spaces. While it’s common now for corporate and DIY organizations to promote inclusive hiring + programming practices, I usually see these efforts as a response to toxic cultures that already exist in these spaces. I make it a top priority to incorporate strict codes of conduct regarding harassment into all programs that I develop and be proactive myself in educating people in how to be respectful of others in public spaces or gatherings.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
I moved to Atlanta in 2014, and the most exciting thing about the arts in Atlanta is that I’ve seen more black artists thrive as creatives in this city than other places I’ve lived. I’ve met so many black photographers, graphic artists, musicians, fashion designers, makers, and more that run their own creative businesses, and I think that speaks to Atlanta being an equitable space for creatives to pursue their passion in this city.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I hope that people can learn how to be more independent from me. I tell people that I’m a hacker, and I think that best defines what I do. Hacking is the simple act of solving a problem with a creative solution. I like to show people that they can be creative in all realms of their life, and the more independent they can be in their creativity, the easier it will be for them to lead a comfortable and engaging life.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
You can learn more about my current and past work on my website for Streetcat.media (https://www.streetcat.media/stuff — IG/FB @streetcat.media) and catch a glimpse of my latest community project, the Cut Cake Factory (https://www.cutcakefactory.com/ — IG/FB @cutcakefactory).

Leading Lady : Tracee Ginyard

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:  Tracee Ginyard

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am the owner of 95th St. Tacos and have a one year residency at Joystick Gamebar at 427 Edgewood Ave Atlanta, Ga. 30312 Where we serve delicious LA Style Tacos

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
My parents are both artists and always had an interest in the arts at an early age. My mother would Enroll my brother and myself in weekend art classes at the local Los Angeles city colleges and would look forward to learning something new every weekend such as pottery, animation, illustration, photography, and anything creative. My father owned his own custom-made furniture business for almost all of my life. He would take old chairs and make 3 seat and two-seat benches and sell them at local flea markets and swap meets. I’ve been in my line of work for a very long time as an entrepreneur.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
Growing up I always knew I would be creative a business owner in the arts or in beauty or food service.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I would love to have a conversation with visual artist Ann Lee over my signature Jerk Chicken tacos. Her work expressed every day African American life. I would love to ask her about the challenges and victories of being a African American woman artist in American.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life? My father is my biggest influence. He is 72 years old and still loves what he do. He wakes up every Sunday morning loads his truck and sells his handmade craft benches to the people.

How is art a passion for you?
Art will always be a passion for me its an expression that no one can take away and allows me to be free.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
It’s very important for equality and representation for all in the creative workplace. Many women and men don’t know how to address certain issues such as sexism, harassment, microaggression, and discrimination. Often, old traditions and taboos make it challenging to even begin the discussion. This is why many women in the arts community are underexposed and misrepresented. It is important to express our truths through the arts and become a more transparent, vocal and equal society.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
What excites me about arts in Atlanta is everyone is welcoming with open arms. It allows everyone from other cities to collaborate and this is why Atlanta is on the rise as one of the best cities for all creatives.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I would love to continue to use my platform to showcase local upcoming artist and one day have a art fund for future artist.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
95thsttacos.com
Instagram/Facebook: @95thsttacos
Twitter: @95thsttacosatl

Leading Lady : Jenna Gould

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: Jenna Gould

Where do you work and what do you do?
I’m a consultant with Susannah Darrow Consulting. We provide fundraising support and development strategy, mostly for non-profits in the arts and culture realm. My title of Associate Consultant is purposefully vague because I have a variety of responsibilities – grants management, research, client interfacing, and miscellaneous office tasks. I’m a detail-oriented person, which works well since Susannah excels at big ideas and overall strategy. It’s incredibly rewarding to be working with so many different types of clients while also helping build a successful small business. There’s never a dull moment.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I’ve always been interested in the arts. I’m fortunate that my parents took me to art museums as a kid. I studied piano for 12 years and started taking voice lessons in high school. In college, I majored in music and decided to pursue a master’s in vocal performance with the intention of being an opera singer. While I decided not to pursue a career in opera, I currently sing with a classical vocal trio that I co-founded last year called Les Trois Voix, and I’m also a staff singer at Northside Drive Baptist Church. Music and art go hand in hand for me – I don’t think my interest in the arts and arts advocacy is a surprise to anyone who knows me.

I’ve only been working in this realm for the past few years. I had a nontraditional trajectory to get to where I am now. And I think that’s really ok. There’s a lot of pressure when you graduate from college to know exactly what you want to do and to find the perfect job to set you up for your career. I went straight into my master’s program from college, and I worked in the corporate world for about six years after that, but it never felt right. Trying to get back into arts administration was challenging. I had worked as a development assistant for a non-profit in New York, but it was before my time in law firms and finance, so all people saw on my resume was my paralegal experience. It was actually an internship at Atlanta Contemporary that helped me land a seasonal job with Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which in time led to my current position.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a performer. For a while, I wanted to be an actor, although I was always much more devoted to music than acting.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Lunch with Ada Lovelace would be interesting. As pervasive as sexism is now, I can’t imagine the challenges of a female mathematician in the 19th century. I would also love to talk about music with composer and pianist Fanny Mendelssohn.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
If you had asked me five years ago, I probably would have said my parents because they have always been supportive of my career aspirations. But I’ve spent the past several years figuring out what I want for myself instead of what other people want for me. I’m lucky to have a handful of amazing, strong women that I count as friends who also work in creative fields and understand the accompanying challenges. My sister has also been a big influence in such a positive way. She was talking and writing about sexism and feminism before it was a big part of the cultural lexicon and certainly before I was thinking about it.

How is art a passion for you?
Music is my greatest passion. When I moved back to Atlanta in 2012, there were a couple years where I wasn’t singing or performing in any capacity. I joined Festival Singers of Atlanta in 2014 (which is where I met the other two co-founders of Les Trois Voix), and it was such a joy to be making music again. I hadn’t realized how much I needed that creative outlet, especially since I was working in finance at the time. I’m at my best when I can express myself through music and collaborate with other musicians.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
For all the talk in the arts about the importance of representation of women and people of color, there are still far too few women leading creative organizations. Stop talking about how important diversity is to you, and start actually hiring women, especially women of color, and elevating them into positions of power.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
I’m excited that the arts in Atlanta are starting to get the kind of recognition they deserve. People have been doing impressive work in the arts here for a while, and it’s time folks outside of Atlanta pay attention. For example, Atlanta Contemporary hosted the 2019 Atlanta Biennial, highlighting the work of artists throughout the south. The Lucky Penny has also been raising the bar for contemporary dance since its inception in 2011. There are a lot of fierce and savvy women in the arts community – I’m excited to see how the landscape changes with women at the helm.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
One of the reasons I got into fundraising was to help arts organizations grow their capacity to support artists and the arts community. I’m excited to have the opportunity to support not just one but many different organizations that each contribute something unique to this community.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
www.susannahdarrow.com 
lestroisvoix.org
Instagram: @jennamgould

Leading Lady : Megan Schaeffer

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: Megan Schaeffer 

Where do you work and what do you do?
I work at Serenbe, a community south of Atlanta. I am their Art Farm Director and manage art programs ranging from art classes + workshops, gallery exhibitions, to our Art Over Dinner series.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I become interested in the arts early in my life. My parents own a small piano company, so growing up I was surrounded by music and art. In high school I was involved mainly in theater and dance, but once I started college I quickly became interested in visual art. My first internship was at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, SC when I was 19, and since then I’ve been in the arts management field in some form or another.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
To be honest, I can’t really remember what I wanted to be when I was a kid. I probably wanted to be some sort of dancer – I’ve always liked to boogey. It’s a Schaeffer family thing.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I know you specify just one woman, but I would like to go to lunch and share a nice bottle of wine with Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Obama. I’d like to listen to their conversation about diplomacy, expectations, and legacy. Eleanor was one of the first leading women to champion civil rights publicly, which was not a popular thing to do in her day. I want to be there when they meet each other for the first time. Can you imagine how that would go? That’s a fun thing to think about.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents and my grandparents.

How is art a passion for you?
Art is a passion for me because I think is important for everyone. The arts help to make sense of the world.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
We’re working on it, but we’re not nearly there yet. It bothers me immensely that there are so, so many women that work in the arts but when you look at the top positions at major galleries and museums, the majority of those positions are filled by white men.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The growth. I’ve only been here for three years, but even in those three years I have seen more galleries/creative spaces open and more funding allocated to the arts. As compared to the more established (and saturated) NYC or LA, Atlanta wants more and is keen on carving out an international identity. It’s only up from here when it comes to the opportunities for artists and creatives.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I like when art sells. I like when people care about buying locally made artwork and value that work highly. I like when artists feel like their career is being pushed forward and properly advocated for. Whether that’s funding or (the right kind of) exposure that leads to more work, that’s what I want.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
Learn more about the Art Farm at Serenbe at www.artfarmatserenbe.com and follow at @artfarmserenbe on Instagram.

Leading Lady : Becca Parker

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: Becca Parker 

Photo by Colin Pearce

Where do you work and what do you do?
Artistic Director of Live Arts Theatre. Live Arts is a teaching theatre, designed to bridge the gap between community, educational, and professional theatre. I spend a lot of my time working with the school programs supporting them and teaching workshops. I try to teach the students that there is a place for them in theatre after graduation, regardless of the level at which they choose to participate. We also develop individuals who would like to be working at the professional level through our Intensive Program.

In my spare time, I work as a freelance Director, Music Director, keys programmer, scenic and lighting designer, and stage manager. I also serve on the board of Georgia Theatre Conference.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I have been interested in, and a part of theatre my whole life. I started out as an actor at a very young age and have been working in theatre ever since. I graduated from Shenandoah Conservatory in 2003, with a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre and I also hold a Masters degree in Special Education. I have been the Artistic Director of Live Arts since 2010.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
A Broadway star! In my early 20’s, a mentor pulled me aside and told me that although I am a talented performer, I should look at Directing, as I tend to see the whole picture. When I finally listened, I realized she was right, so now I do more directing. This eventually led to my moving to Atlanta and taking over a struggling community theatre, which eventually became Live Arts.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I’m going to name one who is alive and then a few who are no longer with us, because history happens every day. Those who are living are a part of creating tomorrow’s history. So, a woman I would love to have lunch with would be Susan Booth. There are so few women as Artistic Directors of large institutions, and I always enjoy meeting people whose work I admire. Not living would be Martha Lavey or Ellen Stewart. Both of these women successfully founded and built such amazing theatres and I would love to hear about the journey from beginning to end.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
That’s a tough one. Probably my Nana. She always took me to the theatre growing up, and was an awesome cheerleader. After that, my husband Michael and the group known as my boys, who are my close friends and support system. They are always down for pretty much any adventure, and have always tried to support what I do.

How is art a passion for you?
How is it not? Seriously, there is not a day where I don’t wake up thinking of something going on with one production or another. I also fall asleep thinking about the next days events. I think my passion is also for people, and theatre brings people together. There truly is no better feeling in the world than watching someone do something that at the beginning they did not think was possible for them.

I’m actually living my passion right now. We at Live Arts are currently working on a production of Ragtime with Berkmar High School. Most of the roles have a student, as well as an adult mentor cast in them. It has been so great to see the kids being inspired by the adults, and giving the adults the opportunity to give back to our community in such a meaningful way.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
Equality and representation is extremely important to me. I believe in order to be truly equal, each and every one of us needs to be committed to the idea that every individual has something to offer and to then strive to discover what that something is. Each individual has a story to tell, and when we are allowed to tell them, we all become better people. To that end, a good deal of my work involves creating opportunities in the creative workforce for people in our community. Right now, Live Arts is still pretty small, but we are striving to have the makeup of individuals on our stage and working behind the scenes mirror the actual makeup of our community.
Last year, I was given the opportunity to attend the Berkshire Leadership Summit, where over 75 leaders from all levels of theatre got together for a long weekend. All 75 identified as women, and it was so wonderful to be in a room with that many amazing creative women at one time. One project we have done that came out of my time there was actually just completed at Live Arts. Each year, we do a reading series in February, where all the plays revolve around a certain theme. This seasons theme was Women in American Theatre, where we presented 8 plays by women of color. It was amazing for our audience to get to hear the plays that told so many different stories, and to get so many members of our community involved for the first time.

Photo by Liam Davridge

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The diversity! There is so much going on, which means there truly is something for everyone. I also love that we have so much representation at each level, and that we all work to support each other.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I hope to continue to create a place where artists can find a welcoming home in which to create theatre and grow as people. We learn something on every show and every project we do. Live Arts is not just a theatre. We are a family that supports each other in all endeavors. I hope to be able to help other organizations in our community, whether it’s developing an artist that may not quite be ready for one of the professional theatres, inspiring a student, or mentoring a community theatre on ways to make their productions/operations stronger.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
www.liveartstheatre.org
Facebook:  Live Arts Theatre Company

Leading Lady : Andrea N Zoppo

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: Andrea N Zoppo

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am currently self-employed and work for my company Ladybug Events. We are an education and entertainment agency with a focus on nature-based learning. I primarily teach Garden education and farm to early care. I also am a performer, artist, and entertainer. I teach an after-school elementary acting class and I produce, write and build environmental education themed puppet shows with my talented team for local festivals.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
My company is in its fifth year. I’ve been in this line of work, Environmental Education, since about 2008. I’ve been doing family fun programming since I was a child because my mother was a professional clown and had her own entertainment company. I’ve always loved art and majored in sculpture at GSU .

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a photographer for national geographic. I loved looking through the magazines as a child and thinking about adventures and the beautiful wild places across the world. I’ve always been interested in our environment. I also wanted to be a baker but I think I wanted to be that so I could give people yummy treats. I find they like a bunch of fresh grown kale from the garden too. =)

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
There’s so many women from history that Id love to talk with including Mary Queen of Scott, Nefertiti, , but more in recent history, Rachel Carson. She was a biologist and conservationist and her book Silent Spring advanced our environmental activism movement. I’d like to talk to her about little things. Little things like diatoms.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
I’d have to say my grandmother is the biggest influence on me in my life. She passed away a few years ago at 99 and her heart encompassed our family. I always feel loved when I think about her and her love and joy for life and children inspire me everyday.

How is art a passion for you?
I realized last year that for some, art is how you move through life. I’ve learned what makes me special is my art, is how I do things. How I teach is an art form of passion. I am so excited by nature and the little wonders of life that it fuel my drive to create, reach and teach more. To spark wonder about our beautiful planet in the hearts of children is my passion.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
Because I primarily work with children, I’m in an industry or career path that is predominantly female. Women are teachers, caregivers and nurturers and we do so many creative things to liven up our classrooms, inspire, teach so many subjects. I feel that women and teachers are severely undervalued.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
Arts in Atlanta in an ever opening flower. There’s always new things coming up. When I was in art school in the early 2000s we had the Eydrum near Daddy DZs as a Haven for creative expression and so much more. Now I’m excited about places like the Bakery that provide multimedia mixed-use space for community and art events. I love how the City and surrounding areas have embraced mural arts and new ones pop up all the time. That has happened only in the last 15 years thanks to organizations like Living Walls and others. It also seems that local cities have embraced Arts and creativity. The lantern parades are amazing to see all ages come out and participate, making creations and filling the streets with wonder. I love participating in them. Cheers to the Krewe of Grateful Gluttons and Chantelle Rytter for making the lantern magic happen and leading great wkshps!

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I’d like to think of gardening as art. It’s living art. It lives and breathes and contributes to the beauty, the air quality, and is food for beneficial pollinators. Gardens are inspirations for the eyes , heart, and mind. Gardens are places to find peace. I hope that the work I do inspires people to join together and celebrate nature, gardens and the children I teach will continue that effort. I have grown a public Childrens Garden at the Lake Claire Landtrust. We are in our 3rd year and it’s a beautiful spot for all sizes to enjoy.

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

Website: http://ladybugeventsllc.com

Twitter: Msladybugevents

Instagram: followladybug

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http://www.gpb.org/blogs/education-matters/2019/01/10/meet-our-pbs-kids-early-learning-champion-andrea-miss-ladybug

 

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 : Stephanie Kong

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 final next Leading Lady for March 2017: Stephanie Kong

Stephanie Kong, Program Director for WonderRoot

Where do you work and what do you do?
As the WonderRoot Programs Director, I am responsible and accountable for the design and management of educational, artistic, and public programs which fulfill the mission and vision of WonderRoot. As a senior member of staff, I champion strategic plan initiatives focused on the systematic integration of arts and activism into programs, the evaluation of the social and financial impact of programs, and the management of program staff. I develop indicators of success and program assessment plans, recommend new programs, and oversee the fulfillment of grant commitments. I graduated from the Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta in 2016 and participated on the review committee for the 2017 cohort. I currently participate in the Georgia Council for Nonprofits’ Momentum Program and the Blank Foundation’s inaugural Audience Building Roundtable cohort. I also oversee a fiscally-sponsored project, the Humble Telescopes, with my partner.

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 arts. My mother invited her brother from Seoul to live with us in America, start a new life, and to help her raise me and my sister. He is a calligrapher and painter, and he filled our tiny apartments with his illustrations and paintings. My mother was a photographer, but she focused on it as a hobby rather than a craft. Her profession as a pharmacist created greater opportunities for her in this country.

Fugus, 2012, Photograph by Stephanie Kong

Art always has a home in my life. I write short stories and obsessively take photos. I use art as a means of expression and release, and it has been a very private practice. I use photography as a way to document present histories. Being a child of an immigrant from a war-torn country, we do not hold many records that recount who is in our family. I am an emotional hoarder, and I use photos as a means of archiving my life and the context and complexities of the world that continue to shape me.

I have been in arts nonprofit work for almost two years, but I have always had art integrated into my professional life. I hold a Bachelors in Social Work and pursued Art Therapy. I graduated during the recession so I turned to progressive educational pedagogy and integrated arts as the bloodline of that approach.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I (still) want to be a cartoon voice actor, photographer for National Geographics, and a movie director. I thought I’d be the next Steven Spielberg after I watched Jurassic Park.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I’d rather have a potluck or dinner party like Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, and everyone has a plus 1 including Nina Simone, bell hooks, Angela Davis, Asata Shakur, Rebecca Solnit, Yayoi Kasuma, Camilla Paglia, Pussy Riot, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Patti Smith. We’d talk about what I talk about with my friends- our relationships with ourselves, our bodies, our lovers, nature, the state of politics, travelling, food, and cats.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Obviously my mom has had the most direct influence on my life. Perhaps Confucius. Apparently I come from his lineage, and the Korean culture is heavily influenced by his philosophy. There are aspects that I do and do not agree with, and I do not prescribe myself to the constraints of some of the values, however, I also view some of them as utterly beautiful.

How is art a passion for you?
Art is a form of storytelling. It is a mean of archiving emotions and events.

Shroud of Jeju, 2001, Photograph by Stephanie Kong

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
The rise of women is the rise of the nation.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The artists and their passions. I love being with artists when they are fully present and cooking or creating or walking and intentional about each action they take. I love doing that.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
Empathy

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
www.wonderroot.org
https://c4atlanta.org/project/humble-telescopes/

Leading Lady : Mary Ruth Ralston

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: Mary Ruth Ralston

Mary Ruth Ralston is a local Atlanta actor, education artist, fight choreographer, director, and lighting designer.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I work at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company where I am an actor and education artist, as well as sometime fight choreographer, director, and lighting designer.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I grew up in Athens, GA with great exposure to the arts and started dancing at about age 4. I really got into acting and theater my freshman year of high school.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a dancer, marine biologist, and/or Jedi knight.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Ooh, tough one. Right now I think I’d like to sit down and chat with Virginia Wolfe about art, time, culture, and gender. I just read her incredible novel “Orlando”, and I’d like very much to talk with her about it.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents. They both worked very hard to encourage my imagination and to instill in me the desire to work hard, improve myself professionally and personally, and do my best to maintain a strong sense of empathy, humor, and ethics.

Mary Ruth Ralston in Atlanta Shakespeare Company’s production of Henry VI.

How is art a passion for you?
It is honestly very difficult for me to imagine not being a performing artist. I feel very strongly that it is what I need to be doing, and it is a career that, although often difficult, is uniquely challenging and rewarding.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I think it’s moving in a great direction. We’re still in a lot of places facing the old problems of lack of complex female characters in plays and lack of female leadership in the arts in general, but I’m seeing more and more women breaking the mold of outdated gender stereotypes and taking charge as directors, writers, and leaders of arts organizations. I know so many amazing women who are becoming cornerstones of the Atlanta arts scene working incredibly hard to push for diversity and intersectionality. Also, being someone whose passion is classical theater, which can be terribly restrictive for women, I’m benefiting a lot personally from the Shakespeare Tavern and other theaters being willing to cast outside the traditional gender binary.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
I’ve experienced some really moving displays of cooperative and supportive spirit among Atlanta’s artists. I’ve seen so many of my friends and colleagues encourage, uplift, and celebrate each other’s work. I think we have an amazing community of artists who support each other and enable growth, creativity, and collaboration in our city.

Mary Ruth Ralston (pictured right) shows off her skills in the the famous Hamlet vs. Laertes fight from Fern Theatre’s all female production of Hamlet.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I’m hoping that I get to continue playing parts that are traditionally played by men and encourage out-of-the-box casting in that regard, but I think the most important thing I can do is to keep encouraging students to embrace empathy, passion, and open-mindedness and impart the idea that a career in the arts is not just possible but important and useful.