Color the Cove, a mural by The Lotus Eaters collective.

When the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) launched ELEVATE in 2011, OCA staff envisioned a curated, temporary public art program that would focus attention on and showcase specific Atlanta communities – using as creative fuel local artists and resources (community-based organizations, private businesses, community centers, etc.). 

The goal was to employ free public art activities and events in the service of good – art appreciation, civic responsibility, social justice, and economic and cultural vitality. And while this year’s ELEVATE activities began in September and were expanded to include eight Atlanta neighborhoods, October is ELEVATE’s signature program month.

Dance Canvas’ Zachary Todd

For the last decade, ELEVATE has provided a platform for artists and galvanized resources that are both well-known and more obscure. Moreover, the ELEVATE 2021 theme, Reopen, Reconnect, Reignite, gives OCA staff and their partners an opportunity to bring to COVID-weary Atlantans programming that will stimulate their minds and reinvigorate their souls. Three programs of note taking place during October are outlined here.

From Oct. 8-10, Atlantans will want to make their way Downtown to bear witness to the rebirth of Mitchell and Broad streets. Cat Eye Creative will bring South Downtown to life with vibrant murals created by artists such as George F. Baker III, Chris Veal, VAYNE, AESEK, and Lucy Luckovich. Additionally, a large-scale outdoor photography exhibit will be on display with work by Kristin Ferro, Nicole Hernandez, Chilly-O, Matt Swinsky, Elliot Liss, and QUANATL.

The Downtown area will also be the site of three other art-related activities: an exterior neon exhibition by Tayler Drattlo; an impressive gallery exhibit (featuring 30 of Atlanta’s finest artists including Adam Crawford, Diana Toma, and Julio Ceballos); and a Binders Art Supply “pop up” shop.

On Oct.17, at 3 p.m., ELEVATE will partner with France-Atlanta and Atlanta Contemporary to present A Dance, Reunited. The event will include a screening of Letters from the Continent, a dance performance by Indya Childs, and a panel discussion with artists and community leaders about the resurgence of the global arts community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Film creator Faustin Linyekula and Dance Canvas Executive Artistic Director, Angela Harris, will lead the panel discussion. Letters from the Continent was co-produced by HAU Hebbel am Ufer. It was conceived and shot in May and June 2020 and features 21 artists from various African cities, including Cape Town, Dakar, Lagos, Maputo, Moroni, and Tunis (france-atlanta.org and atlantacontemporaty.org).

Charmaine Minniefield’s “Praise House.”

Also in October, Grant Park-based experimental art gallery, Arts Beacon Gallery, will partner with muralist creatives from The Lotus Eaters club on Oct. 23 for an all-day, live mural painting event. Ten local artists will paint over 1,000 square feet of murals on the walls of the Artist Cove at The Beacon – an industrial complex turned shopping, dining, and arts destination. In addition to live mural painting, the Color the Cove event will feature DJs spinning, live bands, performance art, and an artist market with one-of-a-kind wares. Local breweries and food trucks will provide yummy treats while patrons enjoy this giant outdoor art celebration .artsbeacongallery.com).

October is ELEVATE month. Make time in your schedule to join us this October for these and many other events. Come celebrate ELEVATE’s 10th anniversary as we imagine and look ahead to the next ten.

Visit elevateatlart.com to see the full lineup of events. 

Camille Russell Love

Camille Russell Love has been executive director of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs for more than two decades.