Tag: Women’s Month

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 : Tiffany Latrice

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 first Leading Lady of March 2017:

Tiffany Latrice

Nominated by Jennifer O’Shea AND Victoria Allen

Tiffany Latrice stands next to one of her paintings entitled “Blossoms”. Oil and flowers on canvas, shown at TILA’s first all female art show.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am an emerging artist and Founder, Executive Director of TILA Studios, a visual arts incubator for emerging female artists in Atlanta. I founded TILA in September 2016 after enrolling in the C4 Ignite Program. I realized that by combining my extensive art practice with my astute business acumen, I could help women in Atlanta become trailblazers in the art world. While practicing in Atlanta, I noticed that there are barriers to entry glass for women who are artists, especially women of color. Experiencing those barriers myself, I created TILA Studios to provide women with a safe space to create ambitious art projects, receive professional development and art management services, as well as exhibition opportunities with our on-site gallery.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I became interested in an art career when I realized that I had not created an original piece of work in 3 years and felt completely drained and unmotivated. It was 2013 and I was living and working in New York City at one the most influential media companies, NBCUniversal. You could say I had everyone’s dream job working at 30 Rock, running into Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, Brian Williams and the SNL cast members, but I was completely exhausted and spent most of my time underground on subway trains. When I decided to quite my job and pursue art full time, I felt like I was finally doing something for myself. As I was driving for 2 days in my uhaul from New York to Powder Springs, GA, I knew I had to make it work. I spent the first 9 months of my time in Georgia painting. I created a body of work titled “When Fire Gives You Sunshine.” I wanted to know if I painted everyday for at least 6 hours a day could art be what I really wanted? I realized yes. I also realized that Atlanta was great for a young minority artist and entrepreneur. Moving to Atlanta has rewarded me in so many ways. I am excited to be living in Metro Atlanta and to be doing the work I am doing for women and the community.

Tiffany Latrice celebrates with Vicoria Allen, Poet & Student, at #GardensATL Opening at TILA Studios.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I fell in love with art when I was 8 years old. I decided to enter an art competition in 1st grade. It was a regional competition and the first place winner would receive a bank bond of 500 dollars. I entered the competition and won. From then on, I knew I always wanted to be an artist. My grandfather is a well-known abstract artist in the south east region and has even had the opportunity to paint Ray Charles and other famous jazz musicians and influencers. Growing up, my mother had his art work all around our house. My grandmother was a seamstress and my great-grandmother was chef. Everyone in my family was great at creating with their hands. It was inevitable for me to be in a line of work where I did the same thing. I chose a paintbrush instead, and haven’t looked back since. Now I am using my talents and skills to give women the opportunity to do so as well.

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 Meta Warrick Fuller a sculptor from Philadelphia that practiced in the 19th Century. I discovered Meta Warrick Fuller’s work while studying Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College. I was enrolled in the masters program and during a meeting with my thesis adviser, I was saying that I wanted to find someone that looked like me and interested in the things that I was interested in in the 1900s. She told me, “Well you got your work cut out for you.” I didn’t know what that meant but I soon found out that there was very little literature written about African- American women practicing art in the 19th century. After digging deeper and visiting the Library of Congress in D.C., I realized there was a whole segment of history and art history that had been overlooked. My thesis discussed Meta Warrick Fuller’s robust art practice and how she was able to attain success by leveraging her female friendships. I would talk to Meta about the importance of female friendships and why sisterhood is necessary for our survival.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My mother. My mother, Dr. Jacqueline Cothran is the most brilliant, resilient women in the world. She is beautiful, wise, and just an ethereal human being. She raised 3 children as a single mother, drove two hours while I was in high school to get her PhD, worked more than 3 jobs at a time to be where is she is today. Not to mention put my siblings and I in the best private institutions and colleges. So when people tell me my business or my art will not make money or be successful, I think of my mother and I hear her saying “For every “No,” there’s a “Yes” waiting for you around the corner.

How is art a passion for you?
Art is more than a passion. It is my way of communicating to the world when I no longer have the words. By leveraging art as a way to facilitate change or discuss something that is uncomfortable is one of the most timeless and greatest forms of activism. I want to use my voice and art to create dialogue and unite people from diverse backgrounds. By using something that I am completely invested in to give back and shape the community is the best way for me to share my passion with the world.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I believe that there are a lot of women of all backgrounds working in the creative workforce but they are not getting written about. This is why I think this blog is so important because it highlights the dynamic women art influencers. As I grow and build my business, I speak with local gallery owners (mostly male) and surprisingly some female owners that ask, “Where are the women painters in Atlanta” and I respond “Well let me tell you!” Do you know of Sara Santamaria, Yanique Norman, Tracy Murrell, Shanequa Gay, Diamond Bradley, Taylor Bailey, Sierra King and the countless number of other amazing female artist practicing in Atlanta. I am very well aware of my female contemporaries practicing locally and nationwide, but I realize that there are few institutions that do so as well. I hope to shed light on not just women in the creative workforce in the administration capacity, but also women artist practicing in the area.

Tiffany LaTrice, owner of TILA Studios.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The opportunity! The countless opportunities! Anything is possible in Atlanta. There is so much diversity, excitement, and artists working in the city that Atlanta is quickly growing to be one of the best places for artists to practice and for art organizations to be established. I don’t think I could have started TILA Studios anywhere but Atlanta. It is so easy to pick up the phone and talk to someone at C4, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, or the MOCA GA. This is a place where people don’t just say that want to create and or build a dynamic art scene, THEY DO IT! I am excited to join in and be a part of the movement.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I want emerging female artists to look to TILA as their safe space and home for their careers. I want them to know that I see them, that I want them to succeed within their artistic practice and that I am willing to go on the journey with them. Too often we steer young women from taking creative jobs because of “risks” established by society’s expectations of us. I want women to know that an art career is possible and feasible. For the world, I want them to know that Women Artists are Here. Women Artists Have Been Here. Women Artists are staying and plan to shift the art world so it can be more inclusive.

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

https://www.facebook.com/TILAStudios/