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Full radius Dance
Full Radius Dance will use the funds to create a work about Atlanta's civil rights history. (Photo by Neil Dent)

Arts & Entertainment Atlanta funds 10 organizations for downtown projects

Ten Atlanta artists and arts organizations have received up to $10,000 each from Arts & Entertainment Atlanta, a neighborhood activation and economic development project for downtown Atlanta. The funds, distributed in December 2021 for projects in 2022, will support performances in downtown.

For Full Radius Dance, a 24-year-old company known for integrating able-bodied dancers and dancers with disabilities, the funding comes at a crucial time. “Due to the pandemic, we lost numerous performance opportunities and revenue streams,” said artistic/executive director Douglas Scott. “We’ll be back in front of audiences, illuminating dimly remembered — or forgotten — civil rights struggles that took place in downtown Atlanta.”

Bautanzt Here in "Body Guarding"
The Bautanzt Here dancers in “Body Guarding,” performed outdoors last summer on the site of Sol LeWitt’s sculpture “54 Columns.” (Photo by Arvin Temkar)

Bautanzt Here is an emerging dance company known for its site-specific performances. Artistic director Nadya Zeitlin says the ensemble will present work inspired by familiar downtown buildings such as the Fulton County Public Library and the Flatiron Building.

“I am super excited to bring our work to a vibrant area of the city that is gaining more and more attention these days,” she said. “We want to share the art of dance performance with larger audiences, especially those who usually don’t attend dance and art events.”

The Arts & Entertainment Atlanta initiative was launched in 2020 when $50,000 was awarded. In 2021, the award money doubled to $100,000.

“In 2020 we funded a lot of visual artists. This year the trend was more for dance and performing arts groups,” said Fredalyn M. Frasier, project director of planning and urban design at Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, the organizations that oversee Arts & Entertainment Atlanta. “There’s a lot of pent up energy for performance this year.”

All the recipients received $10,000 except for Bautantz Here and Theatrical Outfit who requested and were awarded $7,500 and $5,000 respectively. Any remaining monies will roll over into the next funding pool.

Other recipients of the 2021-2022 grants are:

Assane Kouyate, a choreographer and dancer from Senegal, is artistic director of La Culture Mandingue, known for celebrating ancestral griot traditions. Their event in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood will feature folkloric dance, Western African music and food, and a fashion gala.

The Bakery is known for its focus on social justice and environmental issues. The grant will help cover insurance and facility-related expenses, provide marketing support for artists and a stipend for volunteer gallery sitters.

Cam Kirk Studios, a center for photographers and creatives, will present a creative conference Yesterday’s Tomorrow on January 17, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Attendees will be required to participate in a community service event initiated by the studios.

MASS Collective will use its funds to support training of apprentices and provide low-cost, public education courses. MASS is a community workshop and alternative education platform for all the arts.

Shoccara Marcus will use the funds to create a documentary about Black dance studios in Atlanta.

Onur Topal-Sumer and KARMA Lab will be dancing across the oceans. One dancer in Atlanta and one in Istanbul will work together remotely to create a show to be performed in a public space downtown.

Muralist Ash Nash of Power Haus Creative will create a new mural Ain’t Nothin’ Minor About Us addressing the impact of the term “minority” when used for people of color.

Shoccara Marcus, a dance photographer and documentarian, will present Black Dance in Atlanta, the first in a series of documentary films exploring the evolution of the first Black dance studios in the city.

The well-established Theatrical Outfit will use the funds to explore the topic of community-police relations inspired by its production of The Wolf at the End of the Block. The Ike Holter play will premiere March 30.

Arts & Entertainment Atlanta will present its third outdoor digital exhibition downtown in June or July. Last year’s event, The South Got Something to Say, was curated by Karen Comer Lowe, now executive director at Hammonds House. This year’s curator will be announced shortly.

Revenue is generated from a unique partnership with downtown businesses, property owners and media partners such as Orange Barrel Media and BIG Outdoor. Proposals for digital or static signs erected in downtown are approved and permitted by Arts & Entertainment and a percentage of the revenue is funneled to arts organizations through this annual grant process.

As the program becomes better known, Frasier anticipates more artists and arts organizations will submit proposals. “One of our goals is to have a low barrier to entry and make the submission process easy,” she said. “We want to do whatever we can to support local arts organizations.”