Location: Beep Beep Gallery
Date taken: January 26, 2013
In 2006, Mark Basehore and James McConnell put together their first art show with a few friends. The show, which doubled as an open house party for their friend’s new Oakhurst home, featured art of people they knew hung on the empty walls of the house.
“I remember receiving lots of feedback about that event,” said Mark. “But people didn’t tell us to host another party. They said ‘You guys should host another art show.”
Mark and James followed their advice. After a few more arts shows at the Oakhurst home and one at a restaurant, the two friends, who met while working together at Aurora Coffee, opened Beep Beep gallery in its present location on Charles Allen Drive in August 2006.
From the beginning, Mark’s and James’ vision for Beep Beep has been to focus not on the desire of customers, but on the needs and creativity of artists, specifically emerging artists.
“Beep Beep’s purpose has to do with providing a place for artists who might not be established to show fresh art,” said Mark., a native of Danielson, Conn., who moved to Atlanta in 2001 to attend graduate school. “Our shows give artists an opportunity to learn some of the basics of a show, what things look like on a wall or what sells.”
Their partnership has expanded from Beep Beep’s monthly art shows to Artlantis, an annual arts festival held the first weekend in June, and now, to opening a bar on Edgewood Avenue. Mark and James both recently resigned from their full-time jobs to focus on Beep Beep and opening the yet to be named bar this year.
“Our partnership works because we avoid talking about the stuff we aren’t actually going to do. We focus on the ideas that we want to see to completion,” said James, at native of Atlanta. “And, I think we balance each other well. The things one of us is good at … the other might not be.”
While both Mark and James grew up with an appreciation for art, Mark has spent a good deal of his adult life making art in some form and searching out new forums for creative expression, including hanging shows at Beep Beep. And, James talks passionately about the value of creating and managing their own projects and visions.
“There is something about being your own boss and creating something people like and respect,” said James. “We’ve created opportunities for ourselves because we could create them for ourselves. And now, with the bar, we are trying to add to it.”
Location: Atlanta Humane Society
Date taken: December 26, 2012
The numbers speak for themselves: 87 staff members, 800 volunteers, 7,500 adoptions a year. The Atlanta Humane Society is caring for Atlanta’s cats and dogs every day, and providing leadership to the organization’s dedicated staff and volunteers is William Shaheen, who served on the Society’s board for 12 years before becoming its president in 2011.
“Initially, when I was offered the position, I viewed it as life’s second half transition,” said Shaheen, who worked in industrial real estate before becoming the Society’s president. “But I love this organization, and I wanted to do something meaningful with my life. This is a mission-driven organization. You can see the good being done on a daily basis, whether it’s the rescue of an animal from a bad situation or a family walking out the door with a new pet.”
In the past year, the Atlanta Humane Society has made quite a few changes, including opening a new facility in Alpharetta, extending the low-cost neuter program to five days a week and getting rid of the cages in the puppy room.
“There are a lot of great non-profits in this city that serve people, but for some reason, maybe because they can’t speak for themselves, I feel drawn to take care of animals,” said William. “I want to be an advocate for their welfare.”
Williams’ first childhood pet was a Saint Bernard. As an adult, he fell in love with Rottweilers and has always owned at least one, including the three he has now – Hannah, Cane and Lilly. William’s friends often tell stories about his love of animals, including the fact that at social gatherings they are most likely to find William off somewhere playing with the host’s pets.
“There’s a lot of joy in owning a pet,” said William. “You can have a rough day and your dog is still glad to see you. The stress of the day melts away when you play with a pet. For me, my greatest clarity comes when I go run with my dogs. Without them, the clarity isn’t there. There is something about the connection you have with a pet that goes beyond words.”
Learn about the resources and services offered by the Atlanta Humane Society at www.atlantahumane.org.
Location: United States Post Office in Chamblee
Date taken: November 11, 2012
As a kid growing up in Chamblee, Ga., Sandi Solow got all her mail the traditional way – through the U.S. Post Office. She waited on things like birthday cards and college acceptance letters to show up in the mailbox at the end of her driveway. Now, a couple of decades later, a lot of things have changed. There’s still a mailbox at the end of Sandi’s driveway, but that’s no longer the primary way she receives information. And, Sandi, the founder of I Send Your Email, runs a business that would not have existed decades ago.
“You might remember when 6 p.m. was the dreaded time to answer the phone because of telemarketers,” said Sandi, a graduate of Dunwoody High School. “Now, companies are trying to figure out the best time of day to send e-mails and how they can best reach their audience when people are overloaded with digital information.”
Through I Send Your Email, Sandi helps companies of all sizes – golf instructors, a therapist, a trade journal for farmers, yoga instructors, a company that sells truck bed parts and one that is an online retailer of lobster related products – share relevant information with their customers. While the marketing results of snail mail might be harder to track, now Sandi can know if people opened their email and what they clicked.
Why does Sandi love her job? She loves learning about different businesses and helping small businesses reach out to their client base. She also enjoys being a part of basic information sharing – telling people something they didn’t know.
“I remember waiting every day for my college acceptance letters to arrive in the mailbox,” said Sandi, who now lives in Roswell. “There is something exciting about being the person who delivers news and important information people might be waiting for.”
Sandi’s number one piece of advice for sending e-mails – “be relevant.” Learn more about I Send Your Email at www.isendyouremail.com.
Location: Edgewood Avenue
Date taken: December 15, 2012
Socks. Josh Woiderski recommends always having a pair of extra socks at your office. That’s the one thing that’s usually forgotten when packing for a long trip or in Josh’s case … a trip to work. Josh is a run commuter. He runs approximately five miles every morning (then again every evening) from his home in Kirkwood to his job downtown at the Department of Justice. The commute takes him about 40 minutes.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Josh, a Michigan native who has lived in Atlanta since 2004. “Being able to get to work without having to rely on an automobile or public transportation gives you a sense of accomplishment. At first, that’s the mental hurdle to overcome, knowing that you can do it. For me, it’s a way to exercise daily without sacrificing family time. And, running is the best way to explore Atlanta. You can stop and check things out, have conversations with people and stumble upon interesting things.”
Josh, who has two young sons, started running regularly while he was in the Army. Previously, a bike commuter, Josh saw run commuting as an opportunity to get a great cardio workout doing something he was going to do every day anyway — commute. “For awhile, my co-workers did think I was weird for doing this, but now they are used to it,” said Josh.
So how does the practical part of run commuting work? Josh irons and folds his clothes and packs them in the backpack he runs with. He recommends leaving shoes and belts at the office for less weight to carry. Once arriving at his office, Josh changes clothes and washes off (using a combination of soap, water and baby wipes) and starts his work day.
Josh estimates that there are around a dozen run commuters in Atlanta — people who might use some form of transportation (car, bike, MARTA, etc.) but make running a part of their way to get to work each day. Washington D.C., with it’s flat landscape and great public transportation, is the nation’s top city for run commuting. In Atlanta, Josh is working to help others figure out how to run commute effectively and easily. He started The Run Commuter blog, where 10 contributors from across North America offer tips, advice and stories. For example, listing the best waterproof backpacks and reminding people to pack socks.
Check out Josh’s The Run Commuter blog for tips and ideas on run commuting.
Location: Castleberry Hill
Date taken: December 14, 2012
Cameron Adams looks for things he hasn’t seen before and might not see again. The Atlanta fashion blogger and creator of Atlanta Street Fashion strolls the sidewalks of Atlanta looking for surprising pops of color, a good old fashion sense of taste, outfits carefully coordinated from head to toe and elements of a person’s wardrobe that show a unique sense of style. Most days of the week, Cameron heads to Atlanta’s most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in search of fashion — Little Five Points, Fairlie-Poplar, Virginia-Highlands (weekend afternoons), Midtown (weekday lunch hours) and even Oakland Cemetery.
“I’m really interested in people’s individual style, so I don’t know that I can place a value on Atlantans’ overall style,” said Cameron, who describes his own style as old fashion and full of layers. “But I have noticed that interesting patterns emerge. For example, on rainy days, I see lots of monochromatic. People seem to wear shades of grey because that’s what they saw outside.”
A full-time photojournalist for the past 13 years and an Atlanta resident for 15 years, the Richmond, Va., native says he has always had an appreciation for fashion. His family often notes one memorable childhood photo of Cameron where his hair is combed perfectly, a pair of sunglasses are tuck in his pocket and there’s a camera around his neck. Things have not changed all that much. He still loves fashion and photography.
“Fashion has a human element,” Cameron said. “People are practicing a creative art form when they leave their homes each day. They are well aware of what they are doing and that people might take notice of them. Through photographing fashion, I have the opportunity to get under the skins of people just for a few minutes and figure out their best selves. Then, I present that best self to the world.”
Check out Cameron’s Atlanta fashion blog Atlanta Street Fashion at http://www.atlantastreetfashion.blogspot.com.
Location: My Favorite Mechanic on Dekalb Ave.
Date taken: November 13, 2012
Flipping through a Marie Claire magazine one day, Bee Nguyen read an article about local organizations providing prom dresses to high school girls from disadvantaged families. Bee, whose mother made her long black and blue prom dress many years ago, thought to herself, “Atlanta needs an organization like that,” and then she went on to start one.
Athena’s Warehouse, which Bee started in 2009, not only provides prom dresses to high school girls in Atlanta (dresses are donated by Atlantans, and the girls complete three hours of community service before receiving a dress), the organization also provides programs focused on empowerment and building self-esteem.
“Women are inundated with the idea of being a princess and that someone – a prince – will come save them,” said Bee, who grew up in Augusta with four sisters. “It’s important for women, especially young women, to feel that they have personal power – to believe that they have the power to achieve and change things on their own.”
Athena’s Warehouse workshops are taught at Cross Keys High School, a Dekalb County School, where faculty sponsor Diane Gluck has been an important part of the organization’s work with students. Led by professionals who dontate their time, workshops focus on topics such as exercise and confidence, healthy eating, sex education and careers. Many of the girls are second generation immigrants, who face unique challenges of being a minority and often struggle to envision further education or a career for themselves.
“I don’t feel like I grew up wanting, but I was aware of the struggle my parents went through. They immigrated to the United States in 1979 and sacrificed so that their kids could succeed,” said Bee, a graduate of Georgia State University, who works full-time in public relations for the Georgia Budget Policy Institute. “I relate to many of the girls whose families have immigrated here. I can relate to some of the issues they struggle with and have a soft spot for the challenges they face.”
Athena’s Warehouse is currently collecting gently worn formal and cocktail dresses, including bridesmaids’ dresses, through Dec. 21. Like Athena’s Warehouse on Facebook to learn about upcoming events or contact the organization to find out about opportunities to volunteer or provide financial support.
Location: Tribute Lofts
Date taken: November 11, 2012
When Hugh Malkin moved back to his hometown of Atlanta in 2010, his job with Philips had him working with the Atlanta BeltLine, figuring out how to light its trails and rails. Soon, Hugh started noticing all sorts of events popping up along the BeltLine – events that were spreading simply by word of mouth. Nicknamed “Huge” and the social coordinator among his friends since high school, Hugh saw an opportunity and contacted his long-time friend Adam Wilson.
“Hugh had gotten back in town and was interested in creating some sort of social event site for Atlanta,” said Adam. “He messaged me to see if I knew someone that he could talk to about building a website. I said, ‘You can talk to me.’ We went out for a drink, saw the Social Network and decided to start something. ”
Hugh and Adam have known each other since childhood – their families hung out together and the two Roswell natives became good friends when they were self-described “band nerds” at Roswell High School. With Hugh’s passion for Atlanta events, places and happenings and Adam’s knowledge of software, the two Georgia Tech grads created HUGEcity.us in January 2012 to help connect people with events in Atlanta.
The site, which utilizes Facebook’s public events to create calendar listings, has become one of the most popular places to find out what is happening in Atlanta and in cities around the world. Thousands of people are logging onto the site each day. Atlanta, where HUGE city started, is the only city (for now) with its own e-mail – events hand-picked by Hugh.
“This city has so much to offer, and most people don’t know about it,” said Hugh, who was born in Houston but moved to Atlanta as a child. “Atlanta might not have the best of anything, but we have a little of everything. HUGE city provides people with the opportunity to find out about events, celebrate where they live and share their experiences.”
Next up for HUGE city – creating a mobile app. Adam, a third generation Atlantan, works full-time for HUGE city and is focused on getting the app up and going sometime early next year.
“Imagine sitting at Dark Horse Tavern in the Virginia-Highlands and wanting to find out about events nearby. How do you find out? Facebook has all the events, but no discovery mechanism,” said Hugh. “An app will allow people to pull up all that information up on their phones easily. With all that is happening with technology, it’s exciting – the connections that are being made. Exciting things are happening to connect people.”
Location: East Atlanta Village
Date taken: November 10, 2012
The smell of t-shirts burning in the oven reminds Jesse Vogel and Jordan Shorthouse of their first attempt at silk screening. On a Saturday afternoon three years ago, the two friends and co-workers spent four hours in Jesse’s kitchen printing their design on 12 t-shirts. It was a slow beginning, but it was definitely the start of something.
Jesse and Jordan, founders of Rep Your Hood, worked together at Turner Broadcasting for several years before going into business together. Although they are assigned to different departments, through their work on graphics for Turner Sports they find themselves collaborating on projects almost every day.
In 2010, when Jesse got a silk screening kit and started brainstorming ideas for t-shirts, he ran the idea by Jordan. Jordan took Jesse’s photos of Atlanta street corners and created Rep Your Hood’s large design. Or, as Jesse says, “Jordan took my idea and made it dope.” Rep Your Hood’s first shirt featured a street corner in East Atlanta Village – Jesse’s neighborhood at the time. And, at the 2011 East Atlanta Strut, Rep Your Hood sold 50 of their newly designed shirts.
“It’s because of the East Atlanta neighborhood that we got started,” said Jesse, a native of Boston, who moved to Atlanta in 1997. “There is so much pride in this community. Even though I don’t live here anymore, this is still my favorite part of town. I even wrote a song for my brass band about East Atlanta – ‘Flat Shoals Rider.’”
Rep Your Hood now sells 12 designs, representing 10 Atlanta neighborhoods. Grant Park, where Jordan grew up and currently lives, is featured on two designs – one with Zoo Atlanta’s most famous resident, Willie B. At local festivals where they set up Rep Your Hood tents, Jesse and Jordan enjoy talking to fellow Atlantans who often start reminiscing about the Atlanta neighborhoods they love and have lived in.
“The minute this starts feeling like work, we won’t do it anymore,” said Jordan. “But I love working with Jesse, love doing this every day and it’s great to be able to meet people who are excited about the neighborhoods where they live.”
Rep Your Hood features t-shirts and prints of Atlanta neighborhoods. You can purchase online through the company’s website or look for their tent at local Atlanta festivals.
Location: Stone Summit
Date taken: November 5, 2012
Barry Clement’s family tells him they would like to see a few nice pictures from his trips, but the less they know the better. Barry, a Decatur native and resident, has been rock climbing for more than a decade, and the sport has taken him to some breathtaking and precarious places.
“I remember one trip to climb a route named Remember Appomattox when I became dehydrated and had low blood sugar … and then a storm came in,” said Barry. “With the steepness of the cliff, the only way out was up. We slept on the side of the cliff wall, rationed out our food and waited out the storm and eventually moved out. For a while there, it seemed like the world was bearing down on me.”
Barry got his first taste of rock climbing at age 14 at a summer camp. Later, he received training from the National Outdoor Leadership School to become a adventure ropes course instructor and started leading climbing activities. By the time he got to Georgia Tech for college, Barry was hooked on the sport. During every school break and most weekends, he and a group of friends would head off on climbing trips.
“There’s a sense of accomplishment with climbing and an adrenaline rush,” said Barry, who majored in industrial design. “It’s a certain amount of scariness and excitement at the same time. And, it’s addictive because when you start, you can see yourself progressing in the sport really quickly.”
For the past two years, Barry has served as general manager of Unique Outfitters, a specialty sporting goods store located in the country’s largest indoor climbing gym – Stone Summit. With several new climbing gyms in Atlanta and some of the country’s best natural climbing located just two hours away in the Lower Appalachians, Barry says the climbing community in Atlanta has exploded in the past five years.
Unique Outfitters seeks to outfit Atlanta climbers with the needed gear and apparel. The store’s employees are all expert climbers like Barry, who has traveled all over the world climbing – from Hidalgo, Mexico to Fontainebleau, France.
“The longer I have been climbing, the more I’m drawn toward the aesthetics of the sport,” said Barry. “Now, I’m looking to climb something aesthetically pleasing to me. Imagine looking an Ansel Adams photo and thinking ‘I want to be a part of that.’ That’s what I think when I go climb. I want to be a part of it.”
Unique Outfitters is an online and retail location, located in Stone Summit. The store features more than 60 pairs of climbing shoes, extreme hammocks, hangboards and other items for climbers. Side note: Barry is also a co-inventor and co-founder of Superhooper, lighted hulu hoops.
Date taken: November 9, 2012
When Angel Poventud moved to Atlanta in April of 1998, he went in search of a community similar to what he had experienced living in Miami – friendships built around social activities, such as his favorite hobby of rollerblading. But Angel soon found that Atlanta was different and community was a little harder to find. One day, on a whim, Angel followed a friend to a Trees Atlanta tree sale and signed up to volunteer. His first assignment – removing exotic and evasive plants from a patch of land in Kirkwood.
“There was something about that day of removing plants that clicked for me,” said Angel. “By the end of the day, I was covered in dirt, but the experience felt like a metaphor for my life. I was a part of bringing the field back to its original state.”
As a kid, Angel watched one of his childhood neighborhoods returned to its original state. His parents had built a house in the Everglades of Florida, and his family lived there for a while. A few years after Angel’s family left, the government decided the area was not safe for people to live permanently and removed all houses and traces of people.
“How many people can say that they’ve seen a place they have lived returned to its natural habitat,” Angel said. “That made a positive impact on me. It’s a unique part of my story. I see the beauty in it. Creating beauty and caring for the places we live make our communities better for everyone. ”
Since that first day with Trees Atlanta, improving and building community has been a passion for Angel. He’s known around town for his green dress, rollerblades and commitment to volunteerism. He’s served endless hours with Trees Atlanta, Atlanta BeltLine, Atlanta Preservation Center, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and WonderRoot. He’s been honored with a Cox Conserves Heroes award. His Twitter name is “angelformayor,” and on the day of this interview, he was organizing people to remove vandalism from a Living Walls mural.
Now, Angel’s newly purchased home is his most recent project focused on building community and restoring something to its original state. Located on the Atlanta BeltLine, the historic bungalow in Adair Park was more a skeleton of a house than a livable structure when Angel purchased it in October 2011. For the past year, he has been working to raise funds and get necessary permits to start construction. The renovations start this month, and Angel quickly envisions the home becoming a gathering place for the neighborhood, larger community and those seeking to make a positive impact in Atlanta.
“As Atlantans, we need to be part of improving our city” Angel said. “We do that by participating. I want to show people how easy and how rewarding it is to participate.”
Learn more about Angel Poventud’s work to build community and a home on his website. You can contribute to the project online.
Location: CBS Atlanta News studio
Date taken: October, 27, 2012
Dead air. It’s a broadcast journalist’s worst nightmare. As a 16-year-old volunteer at her local radio station in Anniston, Ala., Jocelyn Connell found herself with dead air. Something had gone wrong with the sound board, so Jocelyn quickly grabbed the nearest news copy she could find and started reading it. A few minutes in, she realized it was the previous week’s news. She never made that mistake again.
Since then, Jocelyn has been filling the radio and TV air waves with news and information that impacts people’s lives. The two-time Emmy winner is currently a reporter and weekend morning anchor for CBS Atlanta News.
“I’ve always been curious about current events,” said Jocelyn. “I’m interested in how events impact people and directly impact the decisions they make tomorrow. I love being the first person to know something, and then being able to break it down for people. You never know what the day will hold, so you have to be adventurous and up for anything. But it can be so much fun.”
Through the course of her career, Jocelyn has covered serious events, such as the capture of Eric Robert Rudolph in 2003. It was her first national news event, and Jocelyn says being in the midst of such a big event was both nerve-wracking and an adrenaline rush. In Atlanta, Jocelyn covers breaking news, but she also gets to introduce Atlantans to fun and interesting happenings. She goes behind the scenes of Atlanta attractions, has stood atop a cheerleader pyramid during a fitness convention and raced a bed on wheels as part of a local non-profit’s fundraiser.
“I feel very content where I am,” Jocelyn said. “It had been a goal of mine for such a long time to be in the Atlanta market, one of the country’s largest markets and near family, and I feel blessed to be here. The launch of our new weekend morning show is a dream come true.”
You can see Jocelyn Connell on CBS Atlanta News every Saturday from 9-10 a.m., Sunday from 8:30-9:00 a.m. and during the week from 5-7 a.m. and again from 9-10 a.m.
Date taken: October 28, 2012
Scott Dupree has discovered that if you work hard and are lucky, there’s a point in your life when it all comes together. As a child, Scott knew he would grow up to be an artist. But as an adult, he struggled to figure out what that looked like. He tried anything and everything related to art – sculpture and metal working, abstract and classic styles.
“It’s like learning how to walk,” said Scott, a graduate of the University of Georgia’s art school. “It’s a difficult part of the journey, but once I discovered what was personal to me, I realized it was what I had been doing my whole life without realizing it.”
Eight years ago, Scott finally hit his stride and found that his artwork was repeating certain elements, that each piece was continuing a larger dialogue. The foundation of Scott’s artwork is his drawings — drawings of himself in costumes. He adds paint, and suddenly they become still life theatre, examining the historical, social and political influences of our time.
Scott credits his unusual childhood for his curious nature and awareness of culture’s impact. His family lived in Marietta, Ga., for the early part of his childhood. But when Scott was 7, his parents quit their corporate jobs, sold their house, moved their sailboat to Florida and the family spent a year and half sailing up and down the coast. After that, they traveled around the country, living out of their car.
“Being so young and not having preconceived notions about the people I met was important ,” Scott said. “Those travels as a child have played such a big, big part in my work the past eight years. It gave me a solid backbone and avenues to work from.”
Scott’s artwork, which he describes as often “revealing and personal,” hangs in galleries, homes, restaurants and places of business. The new owners of his paintings frequently report back to Scott that his artwork generates conversation and questions.
“To hear that, it affirms what I’m doing,” Scott said.
Location: StoryCorps Atlanta booth
Date taken: October 19, 2012
Give Amanda Plumb two minutes, and she’ll discover your story. The questions she asks usually go something like this: “What’s the relationship between the two of you? How did you first meet? What was your first impression of each other? What was the point when your relationship changed?”
As the Atlanta Site Supervisor for StoryCorps, Amanda helps Atlantans record the stories of their lives. At the StoryCorps booth, located at WABE, Amanda facilitates interviews between family members, friends, co-workers and others. Often children and grandchildren interview grandparents or engaged couples record the story of how they met during the week of their weddings. And sometimes the relationships between people are more unique, such as the man who interviewed his psychic advisor.
“It’s fun because you never know what people are going to say and what stories they are going to tell,” said Amanda, a native of Rock Hill, S.C. “And, it’s a privilege to share in people’s lives. More often than not, people come to talk about big topics … death, divorce, falling in love, people who have impacted them. In a way, StoryCorps gives them the space and permission to talk about those important events in their lives. And people tell me that the conversations continue long after they leave the studio.”
Before working at StoryCorps, Amanda served as a union organizer, a job that frequently took her into people’s homes to ask them about their work life — the good aspects and the not so favorable ones. Community involvement and social justice have been an important part of Amanda’s life since she was young, and she sees her role with StoryCorps as a continuation of that passion.
“It’s so important to let people know that their stories matter,” Amanda said. “It’s a validating experience to tell your story or hear a relative tell the story of where your family came from. Through StoryCorps I have helped foster children and undocumented workers and others who normally might not have a strong voice in society tell their stories. And, in this way, we communicate that everyone matters.”
Atlanta StoryCorps is open by appointment on Thursdays and Saturdays for Atlantans to come in and record their stories. Listen to the stories of fellow Atlantans every Tuesday during WABE’s Morning Edition and City Cafe. Learn more about StoryCorps and view animated shorts online.
Location: The Department Store (ASIFA-Atlanta headquarters for the 12n12 competition)
Date taken: October 21, 2012
As soon as she was old enough to draw and sketch, Fatimah Abdulah was enamored with animation. PBS’s show Arthur about a young aardvark contributed to Fatimah’s fascination. She recalls a segment of Arthur called “A Word From Us Kids” where the show’s creators visited a local elementary school, collected drawings from the students and then animated the drawings.
“I remember thinking ‘Wow, kids can do that. I want to do that,” said Fatimah, a native of Marietta, Ga.. “Animators were and still are so impressive to me because not only do they draw something — they also bring it to life. It is completely imagination. There are no limits.”
Fatimah was on track to pursue a career as an animator until one day in college when her dad called to tell her that Disney had laid off a large number of its animators. Instead of animation, Fatimah decided to use her skills and artistic abilities (she’s also a painter) in administration.
Now, the Georgia State graduate manages creative projects for Bark Bark as her day job, but in her free time, she serves as the president of the Atlanta chapter of the International Society for the Animated Film (also known as ASIFA-Atlanta). In this role, Fatimah not only works to provide resources and community for animators, but she is a part of introducing people to animation – from the different styles around the world to letting people see their drawings in animation.
“I love being able to simplify animation for people,” said Fatimah, who occasionally does her own animation projects. “When we lead a workshop and people see what they have drawn come to life on the screen, there’s usually a collective gasp. I love that. I love that people are awed by it. I am too.”
Interested in viewing animated films from around the world? October 28 is the 11th Annual International Animation Day. ASIFA-Atlanta will be hosting a day of animated short films at the Plaza Theatre. Also, check out workshops offered by ASIFA-Atlanta throughout the year – including how to build your own animation stand.
Location: Kindezi School auditorium
Date taken: September 28, 2012
As a kid, Kathleen Jones was a teacher’s pet, a nerd, a top student. Like most kids, she enjoyed learning but she also loved school, the grades, the structure, the school year calendar. So, it’s probably not surprising that Kathleen not only became a teacher but one of the founders of a charter school.
The Kindezi School started as the dream of Dean Leeper, who Kathleen met in 2005. She shared his vision of creating a school with small class sizes, differentiated teaching and a focus on learning through creativity and leadership. Kathleen lent her organizational and logistical skills to the vision, and for five years, Dean and Kathleen worked to make the school a reality. In 2010, the Kindezi School opened in Southwest Atlanta as a charter school of the Atlanta Public School System. Now, Kathleen is one of the school’s fifth grade teachers.
“I really value creativity and imagination in my own life,” said Kathleen, who moved to Atlanta from her hometown of Panama City, Fla., to attend Emory University. “It thrills me to no end to see my fifth graders who still have that ability to imagine, who can make soup out of acorns, who can make a boat sail around a playground.”
With a class of six to eight kids, Kathleen is able to tailor teaching lessons to each child – from individual lists of vocabulary words to finding out what subject sparks a kid’s creativity to providing specific opportunities for leadership. And, with such a small classroom, all the kids can be the teacher’s pet.
Learn more about the Kindezi School online.
Location: Re-Inspiration Store
Date taken: September 25, 2012
Brooke Schultz tells the story of Re-Inspiration at least three times a week. The people who enter her shop on Highland Avenue often ask her about the store’s recycled gift items – where they came from, who made them, how they came up with the idea. It was in telling these stories over and over again that Brooke first realized the store’s true purpose and niche.
Brooke opened Re-Inspiration in 2009 on Atlanta’s westside as a sort of alternative to “paint your own pottery” shops. She jokingly called it “paint your own old stuff.” But as she found herself repeatedly telling the stories of the items that filled her store and told her own story, she realized her customers were drawn to these repurposed objects. Now, the store is full of unique gifts, all which have been recycled in some way. There is the jewelry made from soda can tabs, pitchers crafted from glass bottles, wallets sewn from airline seat covers, frames cut from vinyl records, various items accented with bullet casings (these Brooke does herself) and lots more.
A native of Bay St. Louis, Miss., repurposing items was something Brooke learned at an early age. Her mother, who ran a wild bird store, recycled household items long before it became the cool thing to do. Brooke remembers the compost pot in the kitchen and the line of homemade recycling bins in the garage. Anything that could be recycled was recycled.
As an adult, the habits of childhood continued. Brooke remodeled the spaces she lived in, repainted furniture for friends and figured out how to breathe new life into old, sentimental items. When she was laid off as a drug rep, Brooke just did what she had always done – she repurposed. This time the object was her career and the end result – doing what she loves as a small business owner.
Date taken: September 24, 2012
Growing up in the small Georgia town of Barnesville, Erica Jamison viewed Atlanta from a distance. A self-proclaimed “weird kid” who was home schooled until seventh grade, Erica saw the big city as a place full of exciting opportunities, events and people. “I remember thinking ‘my people are there,’” she said.
After high school, Erica followed her intuition and moved to Atlanta, enrolling at Georgia State to study film. Slowly, she found her people – artists. Although she often felt out of place at formal art events, she loved being surrounded by this community of creative people. Many of her friends were artists who were trying to make a living at their craft and struggling to find venues to display their art. When a class assignment required Erica to work with a non-profit, she had a vision inspired by these artists and decided to start her own.
MINT Gallery, Erica’s non-profit, opened in 2006 with a postcard pin-up show, where any artist could come display his or her postcard-sized art on the gallery’s wall. The event drew 60 artists and 300 people. Erica’s vision was to create a space and community where artists could share resources with each other and share their art with an Atlanta audience. That first pin-up show provided proof that MINT was meeting an important need.
“We aren’t striving to be the next big thing,” said Erica, who works full-time as a video producer and runs MINT in her free time. “We want to be the springboard. I keep doing this because of those wonderful moments I get to witness – when an artist is so proud to have his or her first piece displayed in a gallery or so excited to sell a piece for the first time.”
MINT Gallery, which is located in the Old Fourth Ward, hosts events every month. In addition to shows open to all artists, such as the annual pin-up show, the gallery supports emerging artists through its Leap Year program, which provides a host of resources and mentoring opportunities to three artists each year.
Location: Wall Crawler Rock Club
Date taken: September 17, 2012
If you are interested in discovering new parts of Atlanta, Leslie Caceda highly recommends biking to work. As she tries out quicker routes, navigates around road construction and works to avoid automobile traffic congestion, Leslie often stumbles upon new places in city.
“I’m a different person when I bike,” said Leslie. “When I drive to work, I feel myself becoming impatient and angry. But, on the bike, I take more time. I see things I didn’t see before. I actually enjoy getting to work.”
A native of Peru, Leslie spent her teenage years in Newnan, Ga., and then graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga. Although she fondly recalls the yellow bike of her childhood, Leslie didn’t start seriously cycling until she attended Georgia Tech for graduate school. With the high price of a parking permit and shortage of spaces, Leslie decided it would be more cost efficient and effective to bike to class. She’s been biking around town ever since.
Now, Leslie works as program manager for the Atlanta Bike Coalition. You might find her managing bike valets at Atlanta events, helping teach bicycle safety, demonstrating how to install a bike rack or working with the city’s transportation officials to improve and increase the number of bike lanes. According to a report by the Alliance for Biking and Walking, the number of cyclists in Atlanta increased by 386 percent between 2000 and 2009. Leslie is not only one of those new cyclists, she’s an advocate for all of them.
Interested in biking around Atlanta? Check out the upcoming Atlanta Streets Alive on Oct. 7. There’s also Mobile Social, Heels on Wheels, Java Lords rides, Atlanta BeltLine Bike Tour and lots of events and workshops offered through the Atlanta Bike Coalition.
Location: Kennesaw State University
Date taken: August 9, 2012
Charles Parrott was never very skilled at or interested in farm chores, such as feeding livestock, driving a tractor or tending to crops. He grew up on a farm located outside of Lincoln, Nebraska, but the world he really enjoyed living in was an imaginary one. From the day dreams of his childhood to high school speech contests to an eventual Ph.D. in performance studies, his career path was obvious.
“I didn’t have any other choice. This is the only thing I was ever good at,” Charles says. “I love living in that heady, ethereal world. I can’t do my taxes, but I love talking about the relationship between you and your coffee mug.”
Today, Charles teaches performance studies at Kennesaw State University and directs the school’s storytelling troupe. He’s training future culture makers in not only performance techniques but in social inquiry, understanding human behavior as performance and its impact on culture. And, Charles will tell you that he lives and breathes his work. “I have no hobbies. No golf. No fantasy football,” he says. “The only thing I’m really interested in is going to see weird things happen on stage and occasionally doing it myself.”
Location: Intown Tumbling
Date taken: July 31, 2012
Chalk. Sweat. Gym mats. Those are the scents that send Kim Steen down memory lane. The Stone Mountain native spent most of her childhood and teenage years in competitive gymnasts. She would leave school early several days a week and head to the gym for five hours of practice. On the weekends, she traveled with her Atlanta School of Gymnastics teammates to competitions. For Kim, the gym was her second home. Her teammates and coaches, who she called by their first names, became part of her family.
When I asked Kim why she first fell in love with gymnastics, she replied, “Who doesn’t love to flip?” When I asked Kim why she loves teaching gymnastics, she said, “I love helping kids get stronger, more flexible, improve their coordination and just have fun.”
As soon as her competitive gymnastics career ended at age 18, Kim started teaching gymnastics. And, two years ago, after recognizing that there were no gymnastics classes being offered in town, she started Intown Tumbling. Now, Kim teaches gymnastics (and yoga) in a non-competitive environment and creates a community for her students that is similar to the one of her childhood gym — but in a more intimate setting. She said, “I want this to be a place where kids feel good about themselves and welcome.”
Intown Tumbling, located in the Poncey-Highlands neighborhood, offers classes for kids ages 2-14, summer camps, yoga and birthday parties.
Location: David Stephens’ home puppetry studio
Date taken: July 29, 2012
It was a standard fifth grade assignment on the Gold Rush of 1949, but David Stephens felt nervous about standing up in front of the class. So, for his presentation, he decided to try and recreate a little bit of his favorite show, The Muppet Show. David made hand puppets out of paper, turned a table on its side and improvised a show about the Gold Rush. His classmates cheered and laughed. His teacher, Mrs. Harris, was so impressed she had him perform again for another class.
“That was a magic moment,” David recalls. “I thought ‘This is a powerful thing … to be the person who is presenting the magic, entertaining people, getting people to laugh.’ It was an extension of me but not really me.” David grew up mesmerized by Jim Henson’s Muppets from a young age. He would wake up early every Saturday to watch The Muppet Show in syndication at 5:30 a.m., subscribed to Muppet Magazine and frequently drew the show’s characters.
By high school, David was performing puppet shows at libraries, preschools and birthday parties in his south Alabama hometown. Since then, his career has been all puppets (and a little banjo ‒ check out David Stephens and Banjolicious). From performing original works at Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts to receiving national awards and grants to working on Sesame Street to crafting handmade puppets, David has come a long way since his first performance in Mrs. Harris’ class.
Location: Lindsey Kerr’s home office
Date taken: July 10, 2012
Her two older brothers collected and traded baseball cards. But as a child, Lindsey Kerr collected things that were a little more unique – Band-Aids, pencils and stationery. She loved things with patterns and prints, especially pretty pieces of paper. The stationery store at the mall in her hometown of Lake Jackson, Texas, was a frequent shopping destination for Lindsey and her friends. They would spend their allowances on individual sheets of paper and envelopes − then trade them. Lindsey kept her collection in three-ring binders, where she could flip through the sheets and admire them often (sometimes for hours at a time).
A few decades later, as she was ordering invitations for a friend’s wedding shower, the inefficiency of the process led Lindsey to an epiphany. She thought, “I could do this better.” So, Lindsey started handling invitations for a few friends, and slowly she began to build her own business of pretty pieces of paper − Linvites. She researched stationery lines, bought printers, started an e-commerce site, taught herself Adobe Creative Suite and created her own designs. Although being a small business owner presents some tough challenges, Lindsey says, “I can’t imagine giving this up.”
Linvites is a stationery design studio and boutique based in Atlanta that features invitations, personalized stationary and unique gifts. Recently, Linvites has started offering items for businesses and corporations, including employee recognition gifts. Contact Lindsey at www.linvites.com.
The year was 1997. The name of the film was “A Hamster’s Tale.” The shooting location was Marcus Rosentrater’s cousin’s house in nearby Littleton, Colorado, where 12 hamsters resided. The film starred Marcus and his cousins, who, at the time, all dreamed of growing up to become movie stuntmen. The film’s action-oriented plot allowed the actors to show off their skills – fighting, wrestling, jumping off the roof, jumping off the trampoline and jumping over furniture. Marcus was the film’s editor, using his family’s video camera, VCR and a CD Walkman to create the final product. When the 10-minute film was complete, the young actors and producer showed it to anyone who would watch and then started planning their next action flick.
From his first movies featuring Legos and Micro Machines to ones like “A Hamster’s Tale” to the videos he turned in for school assignments in high school, Marcus’ passion for film has been constant. When he moved to Atlanta in 2004, his first stop off the plane was to fill out a job application at Movies Worth Seeing, where he would eventually work for five years. “Pretty much everything good in my life in Atlanta has stemmed from that place,” he said.
This includes co-producing with co-worker Gideon Kennedy. So far, they’ve collaborated on three short films, including Clandestine, which has been shown at more than 30 film festivals, and are working on their first feature-length film. When Marcus realized there weren’t many venues in Atlanta for a film like Clandestine, which was made from archival footage, he decided to create a micro cinema and provide similiar films with a platform to be seen and shared. And that’s how Contraband Cinema, which hosted nine events in its first two seasons this past year, was born.
Contraband Cinema is a micro cinema safe house that brings the best local and international experimental films to Atlanta audiences.