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Keeping the Talk of Art Alive with the Help of Non-Profit Organization ArtsATL

By Elisha Neubauer

Almost a decade ago, Atlanta was facing a serious issue: the arts were all but disappearing. When the Atlanta Journal Constitution eliminated their coverage of cultural events in the area, Cathy Fox and Pierre Ruhe sprung into action, founding ArtsATL- a non-profit organization that promotes a healthy and vibrant arts community in metro Atlanta.

ArtsATL was founded out of a necessity, to save the arts community in Atlanta. "They knew that without a reliable criticism and news resource Atlanta's creative community would be jeopardized," states Susannah Darrow, Executive Director of ArtsATL. Today, the organization provides a mixture of "thoughtful, critical analysis, news resources, commentary, programming and in-depth features of the city's vibrant arts scene across all disciplines- visual art, design, music, dance, theater, books and film."

Ensuring fair and sympathetic writing is the heart of the organization's focus. To do so, the majority of the writers employed are artists themselves. "Many of our writers do have a creative practice of some sort, which gives them great insight into the process of the artists and work they cover," says Darrow. "That background gives them a sensitivity and nuanced understanding to how works are created, and allows them to better critique the work they are discussing."

For an artist, no matter the format, reviews can make or break a career. They're necessary, to get the word out, to validate the artist to the audience. ArtsATL knows this, and strives to be just and open-minded when it comes to reviewing the artists of the Atlanta area. When we asked Darrow what impact she believed an ArtsATL review or coverage piece had on artists' careers, she replied, "Reviews and coverage are incredibly important for artists. They provide an archive of their work to the public. They provide feedback and contextualization for the artist's work."

She goes on, describing in what ways an artist can utilize the printed critique, "A good review is something artists can quote for press releases, award applications, proof of value and quality to collectors. A bad review is a learning opportunity for an artist to see where there may be a disconnect between their intention and how the work is actually received; it provides an opportunity for development."

Today, Atlanta is a bustling cultural hub bursting to the seams with arts events and occurrences. Part of that is thanks to ArtsATL, who kept the arts-related chatter going when others were willing to let it fade. "Atlanta has a strong cultural community in all disciplines," Darrow tells us. "We are brimming with theaters, classical music, and a bustling community of writers. Atlanta is great at supporting emerging artists. Because of this we have a great number of young, innovative artists all over the city doing incredible work."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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