Tag: Women’s History Month

Sheoyki Jones Invests in Atlanta’s Endless Talent

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 2020 : Sheoyki Jones

Where do you work and what do you do?
I work for Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta’s official economic development agency. I head our Creative Industries department. My role includes creating programs to invest and grow our local creative small businesses, being an advocate for local creatives, educating entertainers on economic and community development resources and best practices, and marketing the City of Atlanta as the global leader in entertainment.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I have been a ballet dancer, since the age of 5. As a dancer, I was exposed to all different types of creatives, from artists, theatre, musicians, and more. I have always had a passion for the creative industry, and was blessed enough to find a job that I can help support creatives. I have been in economic development for almost 5 years, and have been leading the creative industries work for over 2 years.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
My goal was to be a lawyer. I actually have a degree in paralegal studies, as I was on the path to be a lawyer. Quickly after working in a law firm, I learned that that was no longer my passion. However, I knew that I wanted to continue to help and advocate for people. I moved to Atlanta to serve as the senior legal assistant for Invest Atlanta, and immediately fell in love with the organization and how it served the community. Two years after being at Invest Atlanta, with the blessing of my CEO and former SVP, I was able to be more community-facing and activated the creative industries sector for Invest Atlanta.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
If I could have lunch with any woman from history, it would be Michelle Obama. She is the epitome of beauty and brains. I would love to learn from her how she carries herself with grace and compassion, despite everything that is going on around her. Also, I would love to learn from her how she remained a powerful leader, all while supporting and uplifting her husband. Lastly, I would love to discuss with her, her experience and advice around being an advocate for the global community

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
The biggest influence in my life would be my sister. Even though we are the complete opposites, she balances me out. She has taught me a lot about myself, and has always supported and pushed me. She is one of the strongest and most talented people that I know.

How is art a passion for you?
Arts is a passion for me because I believe it is underrated, undervalued and not supported as it should be. Arts influence culture, identity, create jobs and tells a story. Everyone taps into art is some way, whether it is through painting, music, film, etc. It is a big contributor to our economy, but one of the least respected and supported. Through my role, my goal is to position Atlanta to be a leader in showing other cities globally, the importance and benefit of supporting the creative community.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I believe that we are transitioning into a time where women are more represented and are leaders in the creative workforce. In every aspect of the creative workforce, women leaders are showing up and implementing change. Of course, we have some ways to go, but I feel I look into our workforce today and I see myself represented and various genres.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
Opportunity is what most excites me. Atlanta is in a great position to show how cities support the arts, and be a leader in this space. From our Mayor down to our agencies, they have identified creative industries as a sector that needs support and to be championed. I have been blessed to work with our partners on marketing and supporting the local creative community, and have seen real resources go to being intentional in supporting the local creatives. We have learned there is so much we can and need to do, and have been moving forward in being disruptive and innovative in how we support the local creative community. I am excited to see new programs, resources and more that will be coming to fruition this year.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I hope to contribute change and awareness. I thrive off of helping others dreams come true. I am blessed that everyday at Invest Atlanta, I am in a position to do just that. I hope that my passion and work is felt and changes lives, create jobs, and bring awareness to the endless talent that is located here in the City of Atlanta.

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

www.investatlanta.com
instagram: @invest_atlanta/ @sheoykialexis
twitter: @investatlanta/ @sheoykialexis
YouTube: Invest Atlanta TV

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 : Amber Bradshaw

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: Amber Bradshaw

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am the Managing Artistic Director of Working Title Playwrights. Some of my daily tasks include: Overall Management, Daily Admin, Hiring, Casting, Program development, EDI workshop training for the theater community and the WTP board, Training, education and advocacy of our playwrights, Play submissions and the gathering of professionals to those panels, Branding and marketing, Mentoring and outreach for and with new development theatre artists, National outreach, Moderation and facilitation of dialogue, Directing and dramaturgy for our members as part of our programs, and Developing collaborations with theaters across Atlanta.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I asked my mom for acting lessons when I was 10 years old. It just so happens I was in a class facilitated and run by Atlanta’s Pamela Turner! I never stopped acting, but I lost interest during my teen years. I began writing in high school. I followed my love of creative writing to college, and discovered theater again when I took my first beginning acting class with the woman who would become my mentor. Elizabeth Carlin Metz. I was hooked and she was very supportive. She encouraged me to direct in our student theater. I did. There was no turning back. By the time I graduated I had directed 3 times, assistant directed 4 times, and was a teaching assistant for acting classes. I knew this was what I wanted to do.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
No IDEA. Seriously. It felt limited as a girl. I was not sure where I belonged.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Josephine Baker. I would ask her to tell me the story of her life. I would want to talk to her about what it was like to be a spy during WWII and work for the French Resistance. I would ask her about Frida Kahlo and Bricktop and all the women she loved. I would make sure she knew how many women she has inspired, influenced and advocated for simply by being her infinitely talented and complicated self. I would ask her to teach me her favorite dance, her favorite song. We would speak French together. It would be dreamy.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

My parents. My dad taught me to dream big and never let anyone stop me. He taught me that change and adapting is the only way to live. My mom showed me how a woman can stand on her own two feet. She showed me how to have a room of my own. Without the courage to take risks and the privilege of finding a room of my own, I don’t believe I would be where I am today. Elizabeth Carlin Metz has been the greatest artistic influence in my life and I am grateful for her mentorship every day.

How is art a passion for you?

I HAVE to do it. I NEED to do it. I have to find a way to occupy my mind, to create something that I think is authentic and truthful. It’s something I’m deeply drawn to – and in love with. Collaboration is my drug. I love the work. I love the people I work with and the amazing audience that supports artists in Atlanta. Telling the stories of the South has been part of my goals since I started writing as a teenager. I am proud to get the chance to do this work.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I think we have a lot of growing to do. Systemic bias is still a driving force in our society and in our workforce. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and challenges to address the deeper issues. I am deeply inspired by the leaders that are pushing initiatives forward to feature and hire women, but we can do more. I think there needs to be a special emphasis on hiring women of color and people who identify as lgbtqia.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
New work is the cornerstone of this community. It is cherished and upheld. Risks are taken. It’s pretty incredible to see. There’s a lot of exploration in the work done here.

The queer art world is pretty big and bold. Low budget, high budget, performance art, drag, dance, aeria, etc.l – you can find it all. I love Atlanta. I love how we celebrate our Southern culture and find that place for ourselves. It’s empowering.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
New stories, artists that have confidence in their voices, equity and inclusion in all facets of what we do, a perception shift in the moderation of dialogue, and of course, new work!

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

                                                                            Facebook: Working Title Playwrights

Terry Burrell Celebrates Women’s Voices and Artistic Diversity

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 2018: Terry Burrell

 

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am an actor so where I work may change, but for the moment I am working at the Alliance Theatre

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
As a kid I was always invited to sing for family friends, church so my interest began as early as five. I have been a professional actor now for close to forty years.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
Well there was a time when I wanted to be a nun because I was going to Catholic school but there was never a doubt really that I would grow up to sing and act on a stage.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I would have lunch with Harriet Tubman. I don’t think I’d be doing too much talking, instead I’d want to hear her stories about what it was like to have so much determination and where she found the courage to do what she did. I would want to hear her take on how she viewed life as a woman of color today and what her suggestions would be to live a balanced life.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents hands down. James and Sybil Burrell were my most ardent fans and my biggest cheering section. They went without so that I could have voice lessons. They raised me to have an incredible work ethic and respect for my fellow artists. They were warm and welcoming to anyone in my circle be they straight or gay, white, asian or other and it is how I am today.

How is art a passion for you?
When I am performing I am truly alive. When I am performing I am in tune with people in a way that touches each others soul. It is the most pleasurable thing to do and to witness others do. I am at home on any stage anywhere in the world. It becomes the Universe I live in for whatever time the piece I am doing lasts.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
Womens’ voices and the vibrancy of our expression in the arts have become much more visible but it can always improve. We are much more aware of the disparity when it comes to opportunities and the way we’ve chosen to wield economic power and support around issues that affect us has become widespread on a global level.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?  
What excites me is how much of it is available in Atlanta and how good it is on a professional scale. It rivals anything I’ve every experienced in other major cities and Atlanta supports it’s artists in a way that you could never be supported in a city like New York. Just about every theatre here offers an internship in acting, stage management, fund raising or business management with the very real possibility of employment.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do? 
I hope to contribute good work and solid performances. I hope to do the kind of theatre that challenges peoples perceptions and biases and invite discourse between us.
I sometimes teach a performance workshop and there is nothing more satisfying than the moment when I see the light bulb go on in a student. I want to support and encourage and learn something new even now from my fellow artists.

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

Website: www.terryburrell.com

Additional link: www.ethelonbroadway.com