Over the past decade, Atlanta’s contemporary arts scene has experienced something of a renaissance. In the same way that Atlanta has made a name for itself with entrepreneurship and start-ups, so too has the arts community planted seeds that have harvested new spaces to showcase work, new ways to connect with artists and new lenses through which to view the character of Atlanta. With so many earnest interpretations of this city’s evolution, the narrative shifts from being commentary about Atlanta to truly letting the city speak: by the people, about the people.
- WonderRoot is a community space where art gets made. It’s a space for artists to develop their photography film (in an actual darkroom), record their music, throw clay pots, screen print T-shirts -- whatever creative projects they want. For an incredibly reasonable membership (just $10 a month or $60 for the year), artists can use the space as they wish, even taking classes in design programs, using computers that can edit film footage or displaying their artwork in the gallery.
- The Goat Farm Arts Center is located in a 19th-century complex of industrial buildings in West Midtown and contains the studio space for more than 450 artists, performers, designers, researchers, small tech start-ups and creative entities in the fields of art, performance, science, design and technology.
- C4 Atlanta supports the business of being creative, offering professional development courses for artists looking to further their creative businesses and artistic careers. In connection with C4, the Fuse Arts Center offers affordable space for Atlanta artists for teaching and creating art. It’s a great place to meet the lifeblood that creates art in Atlanta.
- Living Walls Atlanta is an annual conference on street art and urbanism that not only adds thought-provoking public art to the urban landscape, it also endeavors to highlight a number of problems facing the city.
- SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design) graduates scores of emerging artists into the Atlanta community each year in fields of fashion, illustration, animation, interior design and more. Thankfully the school continues to find ways to introduce student work to the community, with galleries, museums, exhibitions, showcases and more.
- GloATL uses choreography to identify and describe the movement and fluidity of the city, collaborating with filmmakers, rappers, fashion and visual artists, and more to create public performances in various spaces.
- #weloveatl is a movement of photographic art that is user-generated, meaning it truly is Atlantans telling their own story. Originally housed on social media like Instagram and Facebook, #weloveatl has kinetic energy with its mobile gallery and the kiosk at CNN Center.
- Atlanta’s writers find opportunities to share their work in contests like Creative Loafing’s Fiction Contest, at festivals like the Decatur Book Festival, at conferences like LadyFest Atlanta, various open mics around the city like Java Monkey and more.
Whether the art is in a fantastic museum like the High, on the side of a building, in an e-zine or anything in between, emerging and established artists alike have embraced myriad ways to connect their work with the public and, in fact, are redefining many people’s relationship with art.
Beth Clark is a writer and foodie who loves to roam around Atlanta, uncovering the city's quirky, glam, upscale and down-home character. Curiosity is her compass, and you'll find her writing on www.thecitydweller.me