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Shanequa Gay
Artist Shanequa Gay was commissioned by Umi Atlanta to create an installation around theme of social distancing. (Photos by Kaya Faery)

Six artists who will inspire and awe as the fall arts season begins again

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This series was produced in a partnership between ArtsATL and Atlanta magazine.

Performers and patrons will never take the phrase “live audience” for granted again. As the fall arts season begins, Atlanta’s dancers, actors, musicians and artists have had more than a year to contemplate their inspiration. Many of them have talked about how the pandemic, and then the Black Lives Matter movement, forced them to do a reset and to reexamine both their artistic and personal priorities. If nothing else, the past 18 months caused many artists to slow down and reassess what’s really important and meaningful in their art and their lives. Just as most of the rest of us did.

With the fall season, artists will again be able to perform and show work in front of audiences. They will help us both understand the world we are in, and give us a few moments of escape from it.

We worked in conjunction with our friends at Atlanta magazine to spotlight some of Atlanta’s artists who are stirring up the city’s arts scene. To see the magazine’s exclusive photo essay by Johnathon Kelso and and profiles by Betsy Riley and Kamille D. Whittaker, go HERE.

Artists To Watch:

Tara Lee

Choreographer, dancer and co-founder of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre

Quote: “Each choreographer (at their October performance at Prom Field in Serenbe) will express their interpretation of the word roam, which can mean so many things: wandering, being lost, searching, freedom and play. We’ll travel through all of those themes and reinvent new worlds.”

(Photo by Joseph Guay)


Julie Coucheron

Concert pianist, artistic director of the Georgian Chamber Players, guest artist for Atlanta Chamber Players and the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta, artist in residence at Kennesaw State University

Quote: “I’ve been performing since I was five. If I’m not performing, it’s like a little part of me is dying.”

(Photo by Andrew Bogard)


David Landis

Sculptor and public artist

Quote: “The polish of the stainless [steel] is highly interactive in that the colors reflected are constantly changing, and viewers investigating the work become part of the piece as their reflections change and vary.”


Alex “Cost One” Acosta

Owner at Rapport

Quote: “Nothing surprises me as a Black man in America. There are times when we feel unheard, overlooked. It was a year of processing and pain, but it showed us our ability to be resilient.”


Michelle Pokopac

Producer, film and theater actor, activist, cofounder East by Southeast

Quote: “I am no longer being silent. I do have hope that we have the support and the momentum to make some real changes. It’s slowly but surely happening.”

(Photo by Jason Vail)


Shanequa Gay

Shanequa Gay


Quote: “People look to the arts for answers and for some understanding.”