Thursday, September 3, 2015

Visions of The Future, Plus Arts in Atlanta

Sometimes I can see it. 

There's a house with quilts made from the old clothes I no longer wear. Someone I've never met transforms them into something different, at once comforting and startling, a work of art through which an outsider's intuition assigns an image to my memories.

Maybe it's Ben Venom who completes the quilting. Reading about him in Juxtapoz, I pictured the beauty of California and then became excited when I found out he's a Georgia transplant, a former resident of the city where I sit typing my article, jazz rolling through the speakers and rain drifting down onto McLendon Avenue.

For those of you not familiar with McLendon, it's in the Candler Park area of Atlanta, near Little 5 Points. This place became a second home during my twenties, making me its student, overwhelming me with converging cultures, inspiring me to reach beyond my small town roots. C. introduced me to this place, then seemed to abandon me here and later reclaimed it with me and our children, once I'd already come to embrace it on my own terms.

I find some odd comfort in knowing the children think of this place as nothing too special. I also look forward to the days when I will sit within my quilt draped walls, bearing witness to my adult children as they begin to recognize the hidden wonders rooted in this city where we have spent so much of their early childhood, attending SoulShine part time and frequenting the Land Trust

Through the rest of this post, I want to pay homage to some of the creative people and opportunities I've found here so far. Migration like Ben Venom's feels natural, but the present moment still offers a tremendous bounty of art and inspiration in Atlanta. 

Alberto & Shana playing TerraPans

Alberto inspired the creation of my family's company TerraTonz LLC and has become a mentor and friend. He also creates visionary visual art reminiscent of shamanic sojourns. His work “My Hummingbird Dreaming" will be included in this year's exhibition for the international Bioethics Arts competition sponsored by UNESCO. 

A co-collaborator of Alberto's and friend in her own right, Shana's art reaches across mediums while seeming to bridge previously disconnected spaces within my own mind. Shana's attentiveness to art events in the city also makes her a beautiful guide to new discoveries.

Scene from Forward Warrior! 2015

Dubbed “an annual live painting performance” by Creative Loafing Atlanta , the 2015 installment of this event featured over 30 artists converting blank city walls into dynamic murals. Watching this transpire on father's day was an active testament to people's ability to transform the energy of a landscape with art. 

One of the first stops on my first solo trip into the city, Mint offers unique multimedia exhibitions. It's a great place to develop new ideas and find new artists. 


A non-profit arts organization, Wonderoot provides virtually free studio space for its members--recording, visual and performing artists alike. It also serves as a venue for both adult-centered shows and events intended to ignite the whole family's creative spark. 

Outside the future home I sometimes see--bunches of sage, rosemary, lavender, and roses thrive. A CSA drops boxes of food beside the door. Inside, candles burn and firelight jumps across the rooms, music and smoke simmering slowly, sunlight and moonlight drifting across shelves filled with books and magazines within which my work appears. I'm not near the city of Atlanta. Yet evidence of it surrounds me even then, making me smile.

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