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Column: Atlanta Contemporary Art Center offering free exhibit
by Sally F. White
Neighbor Newspapers Columnist
July 02, 2014 12:01 AM | 2446 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally F. White
Sally F. White
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“Be Here Now,” a free summer exhibition and series of artist conversations at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center on Means Street in west Midtown July 11 through 17, will bring together three artists whose studio-based activities and site-specific installations investigate issues of presence, form and function.

The featured artists are a diverse group. Mike Black, an Atlanta-based sculptor, painter and installation artist who earned his bachelor’s degree in fine art from Georgia State University, works with the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs’ Public Art Department. Atlanta-based Andrew Boatright, who earned his master’s degree in fine art from Georgia State University, makes provisional sculptures from scraps of wood, metal, paper and plastic that sit on the floor, lean against walls and rest on shelves. Sandra Erbacher is from a lineage of makers and thinkers who use their art to examine expectations and contradictions that operate at museums and galleries.

The artists will be on hand for conversations with visitors at the events’ opening night July 11. There will be food from Tin Drum Asia Café and a cash bar.

The featured artists will also have a public discussion with Communications Manager Rachel Reese on the range of materials and their works July 12 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Five days later Nikita Gale, one of the center’s studio artists, will lead an evening discussion in the lecture hall on her practice and recent work.

The center is a nonprofit, non-collecting institution dedicated to the creation, presentation, and advancement of contemporary art by emerging and established artists. It creates diverse cultural landscapes for artists, art professionals, and the art-interested public through exhibitions, educational programming, and studio artist programs.

Information: (404) 688-1970 or www.thecontemporary.org/programming/current

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Historic Oakland Cemetery is scheduling a series of summertime events in the Victorian spirit to celebrate the garden-style public cemetery in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood. The family friendly outdoor affairs combine history and activities to help raise funds to preserve the grounds and structures.

First is the evening of July 11 and 12 titled Malts & Vaults of Oakland: Where Beer Meets History. Combining a jousting match, exotic singing birds and the sun God Ra, volunteers will tell the story of how the sudsy beverage connects with the fascinating topics and delve into Atlanta’s long and vivid history.

The guided tour adds to Oakland’s existing repertoire of 14 specialty tours of sights, symbols and stories. No beer will be served during this tour, but the ticket receipt is redeemable for $5 off at the Six Feet Under restaurant across the street.

Parking will be available in Oakland’s lot on Grant Street or at the Grady Health System lot. Oakland’s green initiative encourages attendees to ride MARTA to the King Memorial Station.

All proceeds benefit the nonprofit Historic Oakland Foundation, which maintains the beautiful garden grounds and structures.

The 48-acre cemetery was founded in 1850 and is one of the largest park spaces and significant cultural sites in metro Atlanta. When Oakland was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, the foundation partnered with the city of Atlanta to preserve, restore and enhance the cemetery and share the historic area with the public as a cultural resource and an island of tranquility in the heart of the burgeoning city.

Tickets and information: (404) 688-2107 or www.oaklandcemetery.com

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Christmas may seem a long way off on the calendar. But the big-hearted ladies who carry on the annual tradition of Christmas in July to stock Santa’s gift bag for seniors at Meals on Wheels will be ready July 17 for a cocktail party hosted by J.S. Fearnley, the international private jeweler on West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead.

This will mark the 11th year founding mother-daughter volunteers Jill Berry and Jade Slover and longtime volunteer pal Dottie Smith have spearheaded the effort to supply Christmas gifts to accompany December meals delivered by Meals on Wheels to seniors across Atlanta.

Exemplifying the spirit of Santa, the July event is all-volunteer. One hundred percent of donations and gifts go directly to the receiving seniors.

The “real” Santa David Hirt donates his summertime appearance, photographer Jim Fitts records the happy gathering, and Gailen Rosenberg is the wrapping and delivering volunteer. Three Sisters Catering is donating the cocktail refreshments.

RSVP is recommended. Attendees are asked to bring either a $25 donation or a new, inexpensive, unwrapped senior-friendly gift such as a cozy throw, slip-resistant slippers, a magnifying glass or a flashlight.

“Older citizens are probably among the loneliest and least considered group for holiday remembrances. A happy volunteer visit with food and a small gift are a welcomed blessing.” Berry said.

Since 1965 the nonprofit Meals on Wheels Atlanta has been providing services designed to support senior independence through meals, shelter, education and community service. Programs include Meals on Wheels for shut-ins, home repair and adult day care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, plus the Fulton County neighborhood senior centers.

RSVP and information: Jessica Perno, (404) 605-8450 or www.mealsonwheelsatlanta.org (information only)

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The High Museum of Art on Peachtree Street in Midtown will unveil a new outdoor installation on the Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza the weekend of July 18 through 20.

The large-scale “Mi Casa, Your Casa” interactive design is an installation by contemporary Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena inspired by “a basic form recognizable and relatable to all — the home.” The site-specific work will launch a two-year High initiative to activate the highly visible outdoor space.

The open installation will invite the city to participate in the life of the entire campus of the Woodruff Arts Center through recreation, social interaction, performances, art-making activities and special events co-organized with local partner institutions.

The ongoing project will feature 36 three-dimensional, open frames in the shape of a house installed in a large grid on the piazza with four singular forms placed around the center campus. In the fall the structures will be reinstalled in a second pattern for the opening of the Alliance Theatre’s and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-15 seasons.

For the unveiling, the High invites visitors to an opening weekend celebration presented in partnership with the Instituto de Mexico and gloATL.

The July 18 kickoff will include evening performances of traditional Mexican folk music and dancing and a gloATL performance migrating throughout the Woodruff campus and piazza.

Guests also can enjoy Mexican food and drinks available for purchase during the evening.

The festivities will continue July 19 and 20 with July 19 morning yoga for adults and children plus family art-making activities. Midday will feature the orchestra’s instrument petting zoo and performances by the Alliance’s Theatre for the Very Young and Arts for Learning teaching artists, Havana Son. In the late afternoon and evening, gloATL will have performances on the piazza.

The program of activities will continue July 20 from noon to 4 p.m.

Sarah Schleuning, the High’s curator of decorative arts and design, and Virginia Shearer, director of education, are heading the innovative project.

Check for special admission and parking discounts for the weekend. There is free admission for children 17 and under.

The Woodruff is one of the largest art centers in the world and one of the only arts centers in the U.S. to host both visual and performing arts on a single campus.

Tickets and information: (404) 733-4400 or www.high.org/micasa

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The National Black Arts Festival will kick off its annual arts events calendar July 19 with its annual gala, themed “Higher and Higher,” at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead.

The formal evening will officially celebrate the triumphant 2014 season with a spellbinding lineup of artists including New York-based spoken word impresario Toni Blackman and a variety of other surprise appearances to entertain and inspire. Metropolitan Opera superstar Harolyn Blackwell will offer a special tribute to the legendary Marian Anderson in honor of the 75th anniversary of her performance at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

For 26 years the festival has gathered world-class artists from every part of the globe for a series of events in metro Atlanta’s public spaces to introduce the nonprofit’s strategic vision and initiatives. Events spotlight and support the stories and talents of people of African descent through visual arts, music, dance, theater, film, culture and education.

This year’s honorary co-chairs are Andrew and Carolyn Young. The event co-chairs are Derek and Keisha Lance Bottoms and Dr. Alphonzo and Marci Overstreet. The after-party chair is Michelle Falconer.

Proceeds from the gala will support the festival’s educational activities and maintain the low cost of its many high-level performances.

The festival is the longest-running, multi-disciplinary arts festival of the African diaspora in the world. Each year the Atlanta series of events presents works and exhibitions from renowned legends as well as emerging young artists to engage and inspire the public. The nonprofit festival was created in 1987 by the Fulton County Arts Council. It is supported by an annual operating grant from the council, along with grants from other public agencies, private foundations and through corporate sponsorships, merchandising, memberships and ticket sales.

Gala tickets and festival information: (404) 730-7315 or www.nbaf.org

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