Panel Discussion Recap by Shelby Oates of SAO Speaks Volumes. Original Article.
Art is King weekly updates have cumulatively progressed to inform we artists to mentor each other, to network & collaborate, to share and to promote, promote, promote. Every panel has someone sitting in reflection, if not all, that directly shines to my aspirations such as:
- the photographer who did not study to do so, but has established a reputation top notch to those in her field,
- such as the introvert not necessarily coming across as such, lacking confidence, but finding her audience all the same,
- the individual awakening to the program society expects finding art the exodus & expression to overcome, to rise up for change,
- the strong woman facing still so many obstacles on the way to equality & empowerment, &
- the advocate needing the entire community to feel the warmth of messages relayed, creativity collecting, growth for all.
Gregory Burbidge - Atlanta Regional Commission
Alex Acosta - Soul Food Cipher firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle Kessler - Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association
Alex Davis - The City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs
Jessyca Holland www.c4atlanta.org
Gregory Burbidge made a strong case early event about ensuring that artists take art where the people are because the limitations of having almost all events take place in Atlanta where more than the majority of the venues can be found is proving to be more inhibiting than most might realize. There is a gap in the art community stemming all the way back to the tanked economy when art was removed from schools and our curator, Ms. Holland reminds us to follow through, to bring art to the community, to find funding through art foundations and to apply for public funding so that we can reclaim the position within art as “stewards of the public”.
As Executive Director of Soul Food Cypher, Alex Acosta refreshes our knowledge on what constitutes a cypher. This audience initiation provided the seed that cyphers create a cycle, a path for artists to release in a shared space often in response to each other, but in main efforts to be heard. Cyphers do not solely consist of rappers and spoken word artists, there are breakin’ cyphers, activist cyphers and he represents ATL’s own Soul Food Cypher. He strives to eliminate the barriers that are purposefully placed around art and artists, such as limited access & intended segregation even within the genre. He helps to create a “dynamic dialogue” a “spiritual” experience as he supports all cultures through the Hip Hop culture. He knows that Atlanta needs to allow more access to jobs for artists like the creatives in his cypher and he knows that education and connecting art to societal skill is the key to opening so many doors for working artists.
Ms. Alex Davis knows that often there is a balance needed between the financial aspects of artists and projects to create and share, but that battles strongly with the mission and message of their art. She emulates a common thread question amongst varied subgroups of the ATL art community in asking, Is the platform available, are the artists filling the stage in the mindset of ‘country club’ or ‘civic organization’? The community needs attention on civic issues and Ms. Holland supports the notion in recognizing that artists must view as if via bifocal by shifting their focus of artist and patron and finding a way to create art, to contribute creative skill that also solves a market problem.
Kyle Kessler's movement to fill empty spaces for lease with ATLs finest art did just that w/ a sole mission to showcase both artist & venue. His efforts were planted in the idea of simply filling the space w/ something worth looking at, if they were going to be empty through the real estate crisis anyway. However, the positive consequence that followed of all spaces used as canvas being leased by businesses on a progressive model to success while building an audience for the artist and art displayed solved a market problem never imagined.
Art is King crowned Panel 6 with champions for the art community offering support, guidance for funding and goals for the future to increase the access of Atlanta’s art and to support artists publicly. All panelists know there is still much work to be done, but a consensus that artists and activism are on the rise left a positive outlook & an impactful future.
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