Atlantan Angel Poventud
Location: Angel Poventud’s backyard on the edge of the Atlanta BeltLine in Adair Park
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.
Atlantan Jocelyn Connell
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.
Atlantan Scott Dupree
Location: Elevate art project by Randy Walker (assisted by Scott Dupree) at Woodruff Park
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.
Learn more about Scott Dupree and his art at www.sjdstudio.com. In January, you can view Scott’s work at the Cube Gallery in Cabbagetown.
Atlantan Amanda Plumb
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.
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