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Here’s a look back at our 20 most popular stories this year, from struggles with COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter protests to the artistic giants we lost. It was truly a year unlike any other, and these stories help chronicle the triumphs and tragedies and turmoil.


1. “Covid-19 in Georgia has shuttered 5 films and 29 series, and left 92,000-plus jobless” by Felicia Feaster

COVID-19 brought Georgia’s flourishing film industry to a halt for much of 2020.

2. “Racism claims shutter Serenbe Playhouse; Atlanta theater wonders what comes next” by Kelundra Smith

Serenbe Playhouse came to national prominence under the leadership of founder Brian Clowdus. Allegations that there was a culture of racism beneath the veneer led to the company to suspend operations.

3. “Well-meaning “Just Mercy” doesn’t measure up to the real-life drama it shares” by Steve Murray

The true story of Just Mercy, shot in Georgia and based on a true story, stirred our empathy but not our emotions.

4. “Remembrance: Atlanta poet and professor Molly Brodak, 1980-2020” by Laura Relyea

Poet and teacher Molly Brodak applied a painstaking devotion to her art and her students that was unparalleled in her field.

5. “Atlantan Crystal Fox’s screen time stretches from 1989’s Daisy to today’s Burden by Jim Farmer

Atlanta actor Crystal Fox, the niece of singer-songwriter-activist Nina Simone, is known for bringing grace and dignity to her roles onstage and on-screen.

Amisha Harding BLM protests downtown ATL June 2020

“You could feel the heaviness and the darkness,” activist Amisha Harding says about the early days of Black Lives Matter protests in downtown Atlanta. Her answer: unity, kindness, conversation, music, “Healing Walls” and the macarena. (Photo courtesy of Harding)

6. “Atlanta Ballet called out on social media for not having black female dancers” by Scott Freeman

The ballet’s top Black administrator and two of its three Black board members resigned in 2018 to protest the company’s lack of diversity.

7. “Emory’s 13-week black film series continues on Wednesday with 1954’s Carmen Jones by ArtsATL staff

Emory University celebrated “African Americans in American Film” with a 13-week series of screenings.

8. “How Amisha Harding became an accidental activist amid Black Lives Matter protests” by Gail O’Neill

During Black Lives Matter protests, Amisha Harding defused tensions with the macarena and an improvised street art exhibit.

9. “Atlanta theater artists will march downtown in protest, solidarity on Sunday afternoon,” by ArtsATL staff

Atlanta’s theater community came together June 7 for a march in protest of killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Jennifer Alice Acker (right, atop table) in “Rent” at Actor’s Express in 2015. (Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)

10. “Atlanta theater artist Jennifer Alice Acker’s latest role: An unfortunate face of COVID-19” by Kathy Janich

Jennifer Alice Acker contracted COVID-19 in early March, and talked about her illness and her journey to recovery.

11. “Appreciation: Atlanta colleagues remember puppeteer Bobby Box for his laugh, zest” by Jim Farmer

Puppeteer Bobby Box is remembered for his generosity and his production of a puppet show based on the story of Anne Frank.

12. “Sound designer Rob Brooksher had an idea; it’s called the Atlanta Artist Relief Fund” by Gail O’Neill

The story behind the Atlanta Artist Relief Fund, which geared up at the beginning of the pandemic to help feed artists who had lost work.

13. “March streaming: Skip Amazon Prime’s exploitative and nasty Hunters — please” by Steve Murray

As live venues and theaters closed in March, streaming became the go-to entertainment option.

14. “East Atlanta’s Bookish aims to be a local literary beacon, set up writing groups” by Beth Ward

Kendra Lee’s new used bookstore quickly became a community center in East Atlanta Village.

Kiara Felder

Kiara Felder was Atlanta Ballet’s most prominent Black female dancer. (Photo by Jonah Hooper)

15. “The ArtsATL Covid-19 Resource Page: Information, grants and funding sources” by Susan Parker

As the pandemic and social distancing became entrenched, we provided an evolving resource page for artists and arts organizations.

16. “Review: Ho-hum The Banker, filmed in Atlanta, isn’t really worth your investment” by Steve Murray

The Banker, featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie, turned out to be one of the last films to open in Atlanta before the pandemic closed movie houses.

17. “Former Atlanta Ballet dancer Kiara Felder on systemic racism in the dance world” by Scott Freeman

Kiara Felder was the most prominent Black dancer in Atlanta Ballet’s history before she left in 2017. She talked about the challenges of being Black in the mostly White world of ballet.

18. “The Atlanta Opera announces 2020-21 schedule, the season of all seasons” by Scott Freeman

In January, before COVID-19, The Atlanta Opera announced a landmark season that will now be pushed to the future.

19. “Appreciation: Louis Delsarte, 75, recalled as the Jimi Hendrix of the paintbrush” by Gail O’Neill

Painter Louis Delsarte, an associate professor in arts and humanities at Morehouse College, was described as a cross between Duke Ellington and Jimi Hendrix in the world of visual art.

20. “Creative in Residence, Soul Food Cypher: The bridge from ring shouts to rap,” by Courtney Terry

Freestyle rap has roots that can be traced to “ring shouts” among enslaved Africans and African Americans throughout the American South.

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