Your Source For The Arts In Atlanta

Announcing the 2019 ArtsATL Luminary Award nominees

On January 27, 2019, ArtsATL will recognize the best of the best in Atlanta arts during the third-annual Luminary Awards ceremony, which will be held 6–8 p.m. at City Winery. Before the winners are revealed this winter, we want to recognize all the people and organizations who were lifted up during the nomination process.

The Luminary Awards are Atlanta’s premier arts honors, celebrating the social impact, diversity, innovation, leadership and generosity of the city’s creative community.

The awards are given out in five categories: Arts Education, Community Engagement, Philanthropic Legacy, Outstanding Leadership and Arts Innovation. A selection committee is reviewing the nominees to select the winner from each category.

For now, we celebrate all those who were nominated for the 2019 Luminary Awards.


An arts educator or education program that creates real impact on students and communities.

Yehimi Cambrón

Cambrón was brought to the United States by her mother. As a Dreamer, she is an advocate for immigrants’ rights and teaches art at a school with a student body made up largely of immigrants. Cambrón is also a successful muralist.

PushPush Film & Theater

PushPush incubates innovative productions and creators while pioneering performance programs and projects. It offers educational resources, materials and space to hundreds of artists.

Nikki Toombs

Toombs is the director of education at True Colors Theatre. Among other educational projects, she helped expand the August Wilson Monologue Competition throughout Georgia, which has engaged hundreds of students in theater.

Susie Purcell

Purcell directs Synchronicity Theatre’s Playmaking for Girls program, which aims to empower teen girls in the Atlanta-area by helping them find the voice to tell their stories through theater.

Malika Whitley

Whitley is the founder and CEO of ChopArt, which empowers homeless youths by engaging them in creating art.

Dad’s Garage Education Outreach Program

Improv and comedy theater Dad’s Garage runs educational efforts and comedy events across Georgia, engaging rural communities in the arts.

Arshaad Norwood

Norwood is a beloved art teacher in Atlanta Public Schools and is an artist outside of his education work.

Drew Charter School Center for the Arts

The Drew Charter School’s Center for the Arts is a dynamic program offering students an education in the fine arts.

Sarah Nathaniel

Nathaniel is the STEAM teaching artist at the High Museum of Art and is an accomplished artist.

Paula Wallace

Wallace is the president and founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design, which has a campus in Atlanta. Wallace has served at SCAD for nearly 40 years, overseeing a vast expansion of degree programs and enrollment.

Dantes Rameau

Rameau is the cofounder and executive director of the Atlanta Music Project, which provides intensive, tuition-free music education to underserved youth in their neighborhoods.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program

For 25 years, the Talent Development Program has attracted more young musicians of color into music careers. Led by Azira Hill, the program has graduated nearly 100 fellows into top music programs.


An organization or individual that has created social change through the arts.

Living Melody Collective

A collective of artists creating community-focused projects.

Atlanta Theatre-To-Go

An arts nonprofit that brings theatrical productions to senior citizens where they live.

Synchronicity Theatre

A theatrical organization for bold, challenging stories that connects with more than 8,000 patrons per year.

Katherine Dirga

Dirga is the program manager of the MARTA Art in Transit program, which incorporates art by Atlanta creators into MARTA stations.

John Eaton

Eaton is an artist, attorney and volunteer, connecting artists with legal advice.


A civic-focused arts organization that supports innovative art with the intention of transforming communities.

C4 Atlanta

An arts service organization that connects creators with the skills and services they need to grow their careers.

Matt Terrell

Terrell is the communications director at Dad’s Garage and a longtime advocate for LGBTQ issues. He is also an ArtsATL contributor.

Atlanta Opera Veterans Program

The program offers free tickets to Atlanta Opera performances to U.S. military veterans.

Capitol City Opera Company

A 35-year-old company that offers roles to up-and-coming performers, helping them to build their careers.

Erica Jamison

Jamison is the founder of MINT, a gallery and supporter of emerging Atlanta artists.

Joe Dreher

Dreher is a muralist, architect, photographer and volunteer.

National Black Arts Festival

The premier national festival for black arts, recognized for its work in 2008 by the U.S. Congress.


Celebrating a lifetime of giving to support the arts in Atlanta.

John Wieland

Wieland and his wife, Sue, have collected art for decades, offering significant support to artists. They have provided access to their art to students and other groups through their wareHOUSE gallery on Atlanta’s west side. They’ve also taken their collection on tour and have supported other institutions, including endowing the Wieland Pavilion at the High Museum. Wieland is one of Atlanta’s foremost developers.

Louis Corrigan

An investment firm research analyst, Corrigan has been a financial supporter of the arts and an active leader of arts programs, including spearheading the Flux Projects event series, which brought bursts of creativity to Atlanta. Through his Possible Futures initiative, Corrigan has offered grants to an array of arts organizations, including ArtsATL. Corrigan is a past ArtsATL board member.

Vicki and Howard Palefsky

Since moving to Atlanta, Howard and Vicki Palefsky have become integral and indispensable members of the arts community. They have involved themselves in many of our institutions, both as leaders and philanthropists. To name a few, Howard is chair of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and serves on the board of the Atlanta History Center; Vicki is past chair of the Alliance Theatre and was an early supporter and board member of ArtsATL.

Lisa Cremin

Cremin is the director of community advancement at the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta. She has been a dedicated advocate and champion of the arts within the philanthropic community for many years. She is respected among the business and arts community and has helped many nonprofit arts organizations shore up their business practices in order to better leverage the financial gifts she has stewarded to them.


An organization or individual whose lasting guidance has cultivated and maintained the Atlanta arts community.

Amir Farokhi

As City Council representative, District 2, Farokhi championed the effort to double the city’s budget to support the arts for 2019.

Tom Key

Key is the artistic director of Theatrical Outfit, renowned as a performer and manager.

Miranda Kyle

Kyle is the arts and culture project manager of Art on the BeltLine, which brings exhibits, sculptures and performances to the completed stretches of the BeltLine pedestrian trail.

Jessica Caldas

Caldas is an artist, advocate and activist.

Jessyca Holland

Holland is the executive director of C4 Atlanta.

Lauri Stallings

Stallings is a choreographer and artist who has provided leadership to numerous Atlanta arts organizations.

Arturo Jacobus

Jacobus is in his eighth season as the president and CEO of Atlanta Ballet.

Lara Smith

Smith is the managing director of Dad’s Garage.

Eric Nelson

Nelson is the artistic director of Atlanta Master Chorale.

Vincent Anthony

Anthony is the executive director and founder of the Center for Puppetry Arts.

Kevin Sipp

Sipp is the curator of the City of Atlanta’s Gallery 72.

Angela Harris

Harris is the executive artistic director of Dance Canvas.

Charlie Yates

Yates, a longtime arts patron, is vice-chair of the Atlanta Opera board of directors.

Marianne Lambert

Lambert has been a curator, arts patron and arts advocate for Georgia artists since the early 1970’s.

Douglas Scott

Scott is the artistic director and founder of Full Radius Dance.

John Welker

Welker is the cofounder of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre.

Joe Bankoff

Bankoff is the chair of the Fulton County Arts Council and previously served as president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center and as the chair of the Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech.


Recognizing those who reimagine the creation or distribution of art.


re:imagine connects Atlanta youth with resources and mentorship to encourage them to create new works in film, music, podcasting and more.

Voice Ball

Voice Ball is a video game controlled by your voice, created by an Atlanta team at the Global Game Jam held at Georgia Tech.


SiNKR is an award-winning minimalist puzzle game created by Atlanta-based Wahler Digital.

Art Force Housing

Art Force Housing is a project from the Creatives Project to provide subsidized housing to artists, expanding throughout the city in partnership with developers.

Pam Longobardi

An artist and distinguished professor at Georgia State University, Longobardi used recovered ocean trash in her Drifters Project.

TILA Studios

TILA Studios is an arts incubator that supports black female artists through community events, co-work space and classes.


VRgluv is a responsive feedback glove created by an Atlanta developer, allowing users of virtual reality programs to feel the virtual worlds.