Even ELEVATE Atlanta, as tactile an event as you might imagine, will be mostly virtual this year.
The city of Atlanta’s weeklong public art festival will center around the historic West End neighborhood and run October 4-10. ELEVATE: Equity, Activism, Engagement invites artists, thought leaders and members of the public to examine issues of inequity and injustice, with the goal of inspiring community-building, activism and hope, according to a statement from the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.
The festival is informed by a year that has seen a pandemic, social unrest, an economic recession, food shortages and political struggle, the statement said. The 2019 event centered around cultural capital and Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood.
Leatrice Ellzy Wright, executive director of Atlanta’s Hammonds House Museum, is curating this year’s event. Its schedule, in chronological order:
VOTER REGISTRATION. A nine-hour online and in-person event at West End MARTA station with the Fulton County Board of Elections; Atlanta Hawks representatives; DJ Salah Ananse, who’ll create a soundtrack in response to the moment; poets; a screening of the documentary Agents of Change (2016) and a chat with its filmmaker, Frank Dawson, on the power of a movement after screening his film Agents of Change.
ART: Elements of a Revolution — A Digital Exhibition opens at Hammonds House Museum.
MURAL INSTALLATIONS. In honor of the Rev. James Orange, a civil rights leader, Black women activists from West End and immigrants. With storyteller Mama Koku, filmmaker Melissa Alexander, visual artist Shanequa Gay, historian Skip Mason and West End Tours telling the story of the neighborhood from various viewpoints.
DANCE. A virtual Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance of Lazarus, created by choreographer Rennie Harris. The ballet connects the past and present in a piece that addresses racial inequities in 1958 America, when Ailey founded the company, and still faces today.
JAZZ + SPOKEN WORD. Performances by the Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra featuring Dionne Farris.
ART. An animated projection of Shanequa Gay’s Love Letter to the West End on the surface of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, 928 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.
FILMS OF CONSCIOUSNESS. Screenings of the documentaries Race: The Power of An Illusion (2003); writer-director David Shulman’s Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi (2016); James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket (1985); Homecoming, a film about Black farmers; and John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020), an intimate account of the life and legacy of the longtime Georgia congressman who died July 17 at age 80.
REVOLUTIONARY ARTS + IDEAS. A conversation with Veronica Kessenich of the Atlanta Contemporary and Annabelle Teneze of the Musée des Abattoirs in Toulouse, France, about the challenges of promoting art during a pandemic and issues of gender equality and racism in the art field. Also, the French duo Les Nubains and their song “Nu Revolution”; Clark Atlanta University’s Daniel Black with Howard University’s Greg Carr; former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young with Morehouse College’s Leah Creque, her students and noted visual artist Carrie Mae Weems.
PERFORMANCES. By poet jessica Care moore and actor Lamman Rucker.
ART COLLABORATION. Carrie Mae Weems, in partnership with SCAD, will launch a public-art initiative called Resist Covid/Take 6, designed to raise critical health awareness about the coronavirus and racial inequities.
MUSIC. Henry Conerway, Tony Hightower, Kenny Banks Jr., Julie Dexter and Michael Murani perform songs of freedom to encourage voter turnout.
DISCUSSIONS, TOUR. Focusing on Black businesses in West End, plus children’s programming and a self-guided public art tour through the neighborhood.
MUSIC. By Gritz and Jelly Butter and Kebbi Williams’ Wolf Pack.
In times like these, when we are separated by necessity, ArtsATL is needed more than ever. Please consider a donation so we can continue to highlight Atlanta’s creative community.