30th Arts Advocacy Day—Appealing to our Elected Leaders to Support the Arts

Fmr. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks on Arts Advocacy Day. NEA Chairwoman Jane Chu seated next to Ben Vereen

Arts Advocacy Day was this week, and it was great to see so many from the non-profit community across the country standing-up for the arts.

Organizations converged on the offices of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to make the case for government support of the arts; the gathering was planned long before the President’s proposed budget (and its gutting of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities, and more) was announced.

If you wonder how the proposed budget affects the arts here in Atlanta, consider that Art on the Beltline has received support from the NEA, and we’ve worked with Art on the Beltline for the last three years to bring THE FENCE to the Eastside Trail.

ACP Public Art—THE FENCE on the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail

Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) is reliant on funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, and from there, distributes grants to arts non-profits (like ACP) across Georgia. For a recent example, GCA supported the publication of the photography/poetry anthology of Georgia photographers & poets last year: Inspired Georgia.

Waduda Muhammad from ACP was on the ground in DC this week. Here’s her report:

"“This year’s Americans for the Arts “30th Arts Advocacy Day” couldn’t have come at a more necessary time. It took place shortly after President Trump proposed his budget which included a proposal to eliminate the entire budget for the National Endowment for the Arts. As a Board Member with Georgia Arts Network (which is Georgia’s State Arts Action Network) I understood that now more than ever our advocacy efforts were needed. This would be my first time attending AAD and it couldn’t be a more exciting time to go.

About 50 of us who sit on State Arts Action Networks throughout the US convened in Washington D.C. on Sunday. The day was filled with intense advocacy training including legislative updates, state of the state reporting, crafting our messaging, scheduling congressional visits with our local congressmen and much more. The climate among fellow advocates ranged from enthusiastic, to emotionally challenging, and at times uneasy uncertainty about our challenge. Monday, we were joined by 600+ individuals from across the US to engage in more conversations, presentations, workshops and breakout sessions. The evening ended with an outstanding lecture by Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

Tuesday arrived and it was time. A town hall rally in the Senate House became a turning point for me. I had no idea that we would be in the company of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Alaskan Senator Lisa Merkowski, and Congressman John Lewis, District 5 Representative from Atlanta.

Eleven of us came from Georgia; we represented 8 GA districts and together we met with 14 GA district representatives. My most anticipated meeting of the day was with Seema Ibrahim, assistant to my Congressman, David Scott, of District 13. My message was simple; “the NEA is in jeopardy of being eliminated, I am here from GA and I am a resident in your district. I need your support in advocating for continued funding for the NEA”.

In the end, Congressman David Scott is one of many members of Congress who’ve declared their support for continued funding of the NEA. A sigh of relief?—?but there is more work to be done.”
From left to right: Dandi Gu (SCAD Student); Waduda Muhammad (Georgia Arts Network & State Captain); Congressman Buddy Carter GA District 1, House Republican; Cristina Liquet (SCAD Student); Maggie Little (UGA Student); Patrick Kelsey (SCAD Professor)
Here's ACP's Executive Director, Amy Miller:
"Being in Atlanta, we are lucky to be the beneficiaries of robust arts agencies like the FCAC and The Mayor’s OCA. Those agencies, overlaid with GCA, makes for a truly robust arts community. In places around the state that may not have thriving municipal arts councils, the GCA’s grants are even more important to the cultural ecosystem.

I look at it this way: Georgia’s businesses are why we need to live here?—?they enrich our networks and our wallets. Georgia’s beauty is why we like living here?—?it enriches our state of being. Georgia’s arts and culture offerings are why we thrive here?—?they enrich our hearts and minds.

Eliminating the NEA (particularly without a plan?—?or even a conversation!?—?to mitigate the impact) would make a statement about our country’s priorities. The proposed dismantling of the NEA leaves a rancid taste in my mouth.”

Michael Yamashita’s “Silk Road Journey” at the Carter Center, opens today!


Stephanie Calabrese on NYT’s Lens Blog

© Stephanie Calabrese

Great to see ACP festival participant Stephanie Calabrese's work from Monroe featured today on the New York Times Lens blog. Congrats, Stephanie!

"She says her intention in sharing the project with a wider audience is 'to reveal an honest look at my small, Southern hometown as a step toward understanding the complex challenges of our country."

Inspiring photographers, from wannabes to professionals, to explore the possibilities of mobile camera technology is rewarding. But her real hope, she added, is that 'this project inspires other photographers to study and document their own hometowns in an effort to create understanding and empathy within our communities. Maybe it's a step toward finding a common ground.'"

[VIDEO] Mickalene Thomas at Spelman Museum – Art Papers Live

If you missed the talk on Feb. 9th at Spelman College, there's a video of Mickalene Thomas' visit to Atlanta. Her exhibition is open through May 20th.


“Southern Landscapes” at Brickworks Gallery, March 11th!

Our "Beltline neighbors" Brickworks Gallery, have an opening on Saturday, March 11th, for "Southern Landscapes," a juried photography show sponsored by South x Southeast Exhibitions, and curated by (ACP 2014 Portfolio Reviewer) Elizabeth Avedon.

Brickworks Gallery
686 Greenwood Ave NE, Atlanta GA 30306
Opening Reception, 5-8PM
March 11, 2017


“Strong is the New Pretty” – Kate T. Parker’s new book + events

Great to see Atlanta-based photographer Kate T. Parker's recent success has developed into "Strong is the New Pretty," her new photobook celebrating "the tenacious spirit inherent within every girl." She's going on book tour, and has three area events:

- Monday, March 6th at Little Shop of Stories (133 E Court Square #A Decatur, GA) @ 7 PM
- Saturday, March 11 at Athleta Alpharetta (Avalon, 6120 1st S, Alpharetta, GA) @ 2 PM – 4 PM
- Friday, March 31 at Avid Books with Strong Girls (493 Prince Ave, Athens, GA) @ 6:30 PM

Check out this video about the project and catch up with Kate at one of her ATL-area events in March!
"Kate T. Parker is a mother, wife, former collegiate soccer player, Ironman, and professional photographer who shoots both fine art projects and commercial work for clients across North America. Her Strong Is the New Pretty photo series has led to collaborations with brands like Athleta, Kellogg’s, and Oxygen. The project has also inspired Kate to launch a philanthropic arm of Strong Is the New Pretty, partnering with organizations that invest in girls’ health and education, like Girls on the Run, Glam4Good, and Girls Inc. She lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia. Her website is"

March 8th Update:
Megan Volpert interviewed Kate T. Parker over on ArtsATL.

Atlanta-based photographer John E. Ramspott attended Kate's event at Little Shop of Stories over the weekend, and took a few photos.

© John E. Ramspott

Avedon & Baldwin’s “Nothing Personal”

I saw a series of tweets this weekend between Jörg M. Colberg (ACP Portfolio Reviewer, 2008) and John Edwin Mason about the photobook "Nothing Personal," a collaboration between Richard Avedon and James Baldwin, who were high school classmates while growing-up in the Bronx.

James Baldwin is back in the news these days (feels great to be able to say that) as the subject of the Oscar-nominated "I Am Not Your Negro," which is currently playing all over town, including Midtown Art Cinema. Andy Ditzler, Atlanta-based curator of Film Love, had a screening with a Baldwin film on Friday night, and it was great to see a packed-house for Baldwin's words and wisdom at Gallery 992 in the West End.

Colberg & Mason's conversation piqued my interest, in that I'd never seen the book before, so after a few cursory searches yielded a price-point outside my ballpark, I found that Jörg had video'd paging-through the book back in 2011. Remarkable.


Cherie Truesdell attended ONE HUNDRED events & exhibitions in ACP 2016

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Cherie Truesdell, who attended ONE HUNDRED events & exhibitions during ACP 2016. It's not just remarkable, it's nearly unbelievable!

(We didn't ask how many miles she put on her car...)

Cherie visited ACP venues across the Atlanta-metro area (plus Athens, Columbus, Zebulon, and beyond!) and along the way she kept track of everything in her dog-eared Festival Guide. If you're a completist, and you want to see as many photo-related events as possible, we'll be sharing Cheri's tips with you later in the year, but here's a quick few:

"Bring the Festival Guide with you, call ahead as much as possible, and bring snacks!"
A few more quotes about some of Cheri's favorite events:

"One of the really fun events was #weloveatl - everyone there was very fabulous and young and cool. Such a neat venue, with their truck and Lonnie Holley's sculpture next door.

And Marianne Mitchell's exhibition was so cool! It was a creepy, poetic exhibition and was fun and fantastic. I was really inspired.

The Portfolio Walk is so great, because the people are there and they'll tell you all about their work, and they're passionate about it, and people come in from New York and California, and some are local students."
We'll be back in touch with a few of Cheri's tips for enjoying #acpfest later this year.

Thank you, Cheri!


Raymond McCrea Jones at Columbus Museum, Feb. 28th

"CSU Department of Art in collaboration with the Columbus Museum invites you to join us next Tuesday, February 28 at 5:30 pm for a lecture and exhibition by Raymond McCrea Jones at the Columbus Museum at 1251 Wynnton Rd, Columbus, GA 31906.

Raymond McCrea Jones is an award-winning photographer and writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. His editorial and commercial photography has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter, Entrepreneur Magazine, Stern, Outdoor Life and more. Prior to relocating to Atlanta in 2011, Jones was on staff at The New York Times where he produced and photographed pieces for almost every section of the benchmark publication.

“Birth of a Warrior” documents the transformation of 162 civilians as they become soldiers. Photographer Raymond McCrea Jones spent ten weeks in 2013 following a company of recruits during basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Jones was with them every step of the way from 4 a.m. until late at night through arrival, processing, outfitting, marching, inspections, drills, physical training, combat and weapons training, live fire exercises, and on through to graduation. His photographs capture a profound study of the lives and culture of those who choose to go to war."

Link Round-up & Calls for Entry

Here's a long post that gathers links and notices from our twitter and facebook in recent days. Enjoy!

SCAD graduate, former Atlantan, and current Ph.D candidate at UC San Diego, Tara-Lynne Pixley has a piece for Newsweek's photolab about inequities in photojournalism, and the "corrective collectives" that are inspiring change.

"Lauded photojournalism organization World Press Photo (WPP) released its second “State of News Photography” report in November 2016, a document that addressed many key issues affecting contemporary photojournalists. Most striking was the fact that of the nearly 2,000 news photographers surveyed internationally, a mere 15 percent were female. Also concerning was the revelation that 65 percent were from Western nations, specifically Europe, the United States and Australia. These two statistics reveal that the vast majority of news images are produced by Western-born men. This is the dominant point of view through which the entire world continues to see and understand itself."
Atlanta-based photographer Sarah Hobbs has work currently on view at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, and here's a write-up about the exhibition: "Obsession permeates artist Sarah Hobbs' distressing habitats.

Jerry Siegel has work on view at the Mobile Museum of Art in a show curated by 2013 ACP portfolio reviewer Richard McCabe.

Sheila Pree Bright gave a talk last week for ATL Photo Night, a Facebook-led effort from Kevin D. Liles and Raymond McCrea Jones, hosting "free monthly talks by local photographers and artists." Definitely follow them on Facebook for details of their next event on March 23rd.

photo by John E. Ramspott

Atlanta Magazine has a piece about "How to buy and collect photography in Atlanta" that features some great advice from area experts.

Atlanta School of Photography starts classes on March 6th!

There are three days until the deadline for the Hambidge Creative Hive Project.

"For three months this spring, The Hambidge Center will re-imagine Atlanta’s bustling city center into a creative enclave of working studios, installations and experimental projects. With a major renovation planned later in the year, Colony Square has partnered with the Hambidge Center to provide inspired artists and thinkers a unique opportunity to explore and share their work."
Also due on the 23rd is this call for entries for Atlanta Jazz Festival & Chastain Arts Center.

The call for entries for THE FENCE 2017 is currently open, and the first deadline is March 14th.

"The William H. Johnson Foundation for the Arts was established in 2001 in honor of William H. Johnson, an American artist known primarily for his Scandinavian landscapes and his witty and poignant depictions of African-American daily life.

Recognizing that minority artists often need economic assistance, the foundation seeks to encourage artists early in their careers by offering financial grants. To that end, the foundation is accepting applications for the 2017 William H. Johnson Prize.

The prize is awarded annually to an early-career African-American artist working in the area of painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, installation, and/or a new genre. For award purposes, "early career" is a flexible term that should be interpreted liberally to include artists who have finished their academic work within twelve years from the year the prize is awarded. Age is not determinative, and artists who have not earned BFAs or MFAs are still eligible, so long as they have not been working as an artist for more than twelve years.

The 2017 prize recipient will receive $25,000. The winner will be announced in December 2017. RFP is here with a Nov. 16th deadline."
Our friends at Atlanta Photography Group have a call for entries: Where Are We? that's looking at "the constant changes in both the social and physical landscape of today’s world, including environmental and climate change issues, and political and social movements such as gentrification and immigration." Juror for the show is Alan Rothschild of the Do Good Fund.


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