Georgians for the Arts Presents CULTURAL CAPITOL 2020: A Celebration Of Georgia’s Arts And Culture

Tuesday, January 21, 2020, from 12 – 4 p.m. The Rotunda of the Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW, Atlanta, GA 30334

Savannah, Georgia.   On January 21, 2020, from 12 – 4 p.m., Georgians for the Arts will present “Cultural Capitol,” the work of 33 Georgia-based artists in the Capitol Rotunda.  “Cultural Capitol” will feature 12 performances that will be surrounded by the work of 21 visual artists.

Patrick Kelsey, president of the newly-formed advocacy organization, Georgians for the Arts notes, “These artists, who come from across Georgia, are sharing their talents to remind Georgians of the deep value and impact of art and artists on the quality of life in Georgia.” 

From noon to 1 p.m., music will echo through the building where the General Assembly will be in session. Singers, instrumentalists, and dancers will perform live followed by spoken word, a literary reading, and puppetry.

Paintings and sculptures in a wide range of styles from bricolage to landscape to abstraction will give Legislators and the general public a taste of the richness and breadth Georgia artists offer the state.

“This show serves to enrich the experience of being in the Capitol while standing up for recognition of the importance of art and artists,” said Georgians for the Arts board member Priscilla Smith. “We’re building a cadre of arts advocates. Participating artists will visit their senators and representatives as constituents, inviting the lawmakers to come to enjoy the exhibition. They hope to raise awareness of the value, issues funding and issues that affect artists, and increasing funding for artists, organizations, and arts education.”


During the 2020 Legislative Session, Georgians for the Arts is seeking:  

  • An increase in funding for the Georgia Council for the Arts from $.14 to $1.26 per capita to establish Georgia as the “Arts and Culture Capital of the South.” (Georgia is currently tied for the last place in the U.S. for state arts funding, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.)  
  • To establish economic incentives to attract arts and cultural businesses to Georgia with the same access to resources and capital as all other small businesses
  • To set aside a portion of tax revenues derived from a proposed gambling bill to support arts and culture

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, all arts and cultural production accounts contributed over $22 billion in Georgia, or 4.1% of the total gross state product, which is more than construction, utilities, education, agriculture, and mining.  This economic contribution supports more than 140,000 jobs, and Americans for the Arts reports that there are almost 22,000 arts-related businesses in Georgia.  More specifically, Georgia Council for the Arts reports that the nonprofit arts and culture sector represents over 3,000 organizations, over 31,000 jobs, and revenue of more than $1.3 billion with an overall economic impact of $2.2 billion.

Cultural Capitol will feature the performing and visual talents of Ashley Anderson, visual artist  (Atlanta), Yun Bai, visual artist (Tucker), Len Brown, visual artist (Brookhaven), Nneka Brown, visual artist (Columbus), Gerald E. Burch, visual artist (Buford), Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta), Erica Clahar, photographer (Suwanee), Dr. Aimee Cribbs, author (Ellijay), Sabre Esler, visual artist (Atlanta), The Georgia Ballet Company (Marietta), Georgia Ensemble Theatre & Conservatory (Roswell), Amber Green, visual artist (Lithonia), Charvis Z. Harrell, visual artist  (Macon), Susan Bertram, photography (Atlanta), Trinity Jackson  (Fairburn), Crystal Denise Jones, spoken word artist (Augusta), Shrisma Kimbrough, visual artist  (Macon), The Morgan Triplets, vocal artists  (Lawrenceville),  cross-stitch Norwood, visual artist  (Austell), Lady Barbara Pinson, visual artist (Atlanta), Mary Rene Quarles, performance artist (Atlanta). Andrene Rozier (Auburn), Sankofa Selassie presented by The Black Heritage Museum & Cultural Center (Atlanta), Lake Sirmon, visual artist (Atlanta), Beth Smith, visual artist (Macon), Ashley D. Thomas, visual artist (Atlanta), Alexis Smith Thomason, visual artist (Covington), Mr. Treezy, performance artist (Dacula), VLEEV, composer (Atlanta), and Kristan Woolford with students from Jackson High School, multi-media artists (Atlanta).

Capitol Culture is sponsored by ArtsGeorgia, Georgia Arts Network, the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Chatham County, C4 Atlanta, United Arts Front, and the Macon Arts Alliance.

About Georgians for the Arts

Georgians for the Arts, a 501c4 established in 2019, has a mission to provide vision, leadership, and resources that ensure the growth, prosperity, and sustainability of arts and culture in Georgia.  It will assume the advocacy activities started and supported by ArtsGeorgia since 2013.  Georgians for the Arts will advance its mission through year-round arts and culture advocacy activities, year-round programs for artists, and the networking of artists, arts educators, local arts organizations, and business leaders all working towards a better Georgia.  www.georgiansforthearts.org

About ArtsGeorgia

ArtsGeorgia, an event sponsor, is a nonprofit arts service and advocacy organization founded in 2010, dedicated to advocating and providing resources for the arts with vision, innovation, consistency, and leadership.  ArtsGeorgia implements its mission by providing essential advocacy resources; publishing newsletters and the ArtsGeorgia Official Arts Advocacy Handbook; creating the Georgians for the Arts initiative; and producing the annual Arts Advocacy Roundtable. ArtsGeorgia participates in local, regional, and national arts advocacy organizations, including 7 years as a National Partner of Americans for the Arts’ Arts Advocacy Summit. Other programs include expanding SpaceFinder Georgia, the development of ArtsGeorgia PLACES as a statewide arts directory and collaboration with Etchster to provide the Find Georgia Public Art app.  www.artsgeorgia.net

Artist Biographies

Ashley Anderson, visual artist (Atlanta).  Ashley Anderson is a 2005 Bells Honors graduate of Georgia Southern, 2013/2014 MINT Leap Year Fellow, and a 3-time Hambidge Fellow. He is trained as a painter but has amassed a familiarity with a wide variety of processes including cyanotype, cross-stitch, and various digital media. He has shown work throughout Georgia, including the High Museum, as well as The Front in New Orleans and the Teletext Broadcast System in Helsinki, Finland. Ashley has participated in numerous group exhibitions and 6 solo shows. He also teaches workshops, paints murals, runs an Etsy shop, does freelance illustration and design, and frequently participates in local markets in Atlanta. See more of his work at pressstarttobegin.net or  https://www.instagram.com/pressstarttobegin/

Yun Bai, visual artist (Tucker).  Yun Bai is a proud “Southern Asian” born in Beijing, China, and raised in Tallahassee, Florida. Her alma mater is Agnes Scott College, a private women’s liberal arts college in Decatur, Georgia. She has shown both nationally and internationally, and has been recognized by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ART PAPERS Magazine, Pittsburgh Pulp, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh City Paper, Creative Loafing Atlanta, Art Asia Pacific, LA Weekly (Top 10 Emerging Artists), the Wall Street Journal, The London Magazine, Feminist Art Base (Brooklyn Museum), and was included in the 2008 Chinese Biennial. Her work is also included in the King & Spalding Collection, Atlanta Gas Light Collection, Tyler Perry Studios Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum / Orange County Art, Mexican Fine Art Center Museum, Huntington Museum (University of Texas at Austin), UC Santa Barbara Library-Caridad Archive of Chicano Printmaking in California, Self Help Graphics & Art Collection, Galeria Sin Fronteras, and the Gerald Buck Collections. Yun is passionate about helping others discover themselves through their own discovery of art and enjoys exploring innovative ideas in her art practice. She lives and works in Tucker, Georgia with her beloved one-eyed Westie, “Bebe”.

Susan Bertram, photography (Atlanta).  “Susan J” was born in a small college town in Southern California, where she embraced photography at a young age. She bought her first small film camera at the age of 9 with babysitting money and, thereafter was hopelessly hooked.  After graduating with a BA in Visual Arts and Communications with a photography specialization from UC San Diego, Susan settled in a small sleepy suburb of Georgia with her family. She spent many years raising her three children. Since moving into Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward five years ago, she’s rekindled her passion for photography. Currently working as a freelance photographer and writer, Susan immerses herself in all things photography.

Len Nelson Brown, visual artist (Brookhaven). Len is a native Georgian from Atlanta and currently resides in the Brookhaven area.  He grew up in the West End area of Atlanta attending Brown High School. After graduating, he joined Naval Air Reserves and was trained as a photographer.  Len began singing at Adair Park Baptist Church around 6-7 years of age and continued being active in music throughout his life. Leading music bands beginning in the 1960’s through the 2000’s was his primary artistic endeavor.About 20 years ago, he began a new direction of creativity. It began with the recognition that discarded or unwanted objects could have a new purpose. He was seeing in those objects parts of faces and bodies that were familiar and they fascinated him. Len began collecting oddball bits and pieces throughout those 20 years and began putting together ones that seemed to complement each other. Whimsical, mystical and animal-like creatures emerged. You can see his collections at lennelsonart.com or on Instagram @lennelsonbrown.

Gerald E. Burch, visual artist (Buford).  Gerald is an artist and he believes that it is his duty to speak to the issues of sociopolitical, religious, ethical and spiritual concerns that we all face in this tumultuous world.  He received his BA Degree from Albany State College in 1980, the same year he married his devoted wife Jackie. Over the years, his artworks have appeared in numerous galleries and exhibitions, including The Albany Museum of Art, Naio Gallery, Atlanta Black Arts Festival, National Arts Exhibition Series, Art Station, Gio Vairs and The LONA Gallery. As an instructor, Gerald has taught many eager minds of all ages, either as private students or in structured academic arenas such as Brenau University and the Gwinnett County Continuing Education Program.  Now whether dynamic abstract images or colorful, multi-dimensional representations, his art is always evolving. His main objective is to compel people to think! So after careful observation of his works, he is sure that it will become clear that the contemporary urges for stylistic obedience, social correctness, and peer-driven conformity have not guided this artist; but rather, the overwhelming desire to say as many things as possible in as many ways as the different mediums will allow.

Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta).  Beau Brown is a puppeteer and the Center for Puppetry Arts Community & Event Marketing Manager. He creates partnerships and cross-promotions between the Center and other Atlanta institutions. He is a leader in the Atlanta puppetry community, having served as Vice President of the Atlanta Puppetry Guild, and is the curator and host of Atlanta’s puppet slam and the National Puppet Slam. He is the Puppetry Track Director for Dragon Con, presenting guests from The Muppets, Jim Henson Company, Sesame Street, Star Wars and much more. He served as a Puppetry Programmer for the Atlanta Film Festival and has produced and puppeteered in films, television programs, and commercials.  Michelle Schweber is the lead fundraiser for the Center for Puppetry Arts.  She helps create partnerships with corporations, foundations, and individuals to help further the Center’s mission which is to inspire imagination, education and community through the global art of puppetry.  With a degree in Art History from Tulane University, Schweber has had a rewarding career from starting a Hands-on Science Center in Sarasota, FL to working as a Fundraising Consultant for a gypsy village and orphanage in the US Peace Corps in Romania.  Over her career, Schweber has helped raise more than 50 million dollars to help support non-profit organizations.  She is actively working with individuals and corporate donors to take the Center to the next level.

Dr. Aimee Cribbs, author (Ellijay).  Dr. Aimee Cribbs worked as an elementary teacher in Georgia’s Title I schools for two decades as an art instructor, general educator, and reading and math interventionist. She considers herself a reading and creativity specialist and now teaches teachers at the college level.  She supervises teacher candidates for Dalton State College, teaches in the graduate cohorts for Piedmont College and supervises teacher research for Morningside College in Iowa.  Little Dog, Big Move is Aimee’s first children’s book. The project is the perfect intersection of Aimee’s interests and expertise and is only the beginning of the Jack S. Little story. Aimee is thrilled to have the opportunity to encourage reluctant readers and writers and to share the power of positive thinking.  She is active in north Georgia festivals and art exhibits and is a member of Gilmer Arts.  You can find her work on Facebook at Good Earth Designs.  Visit her professional portfolio at https://www.portfoliogen.com/aimee-bb1d7ee2/.  She also writes for the Educators Room website. She lives in Ellijay on the banks of the Turniptown Creek with her family and animals.   

Sabre Esler, visual artist (Atlanta).  Sabre Esler is an Atlanta based multi-disciplined artist. She creates works and environments that are fueled by her interest in human behavior. Her latest body of work is inspired by the book “Thinking: Fast and Slow” which compares AI to the capacity of the mind in the lens of behavioral economics. Esler, an Ohio native, graduated from Miami University, Oxford, OH with a BFA in graphic design/illustration and a minor in biology. She continued her art career, first in advertising and design and began a fine art career after leaving the corporate world. She received her MFA in painting from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2015. She taught Foundation Studies at SCAD, (Atlanta Campus) 2018. She will teach at Georgia Perimeter/GSU (Dunwoody Campus) in 2019. She has had solo shows in Boston, Charleston, Knoxville, and Atlanta. Her work has been exhibited at Art Basel the last three years. She is a Hambidge Fellow. To date she has completed four installations in the Atlanta area, taking her sculptures to room-size works. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of Ritz Carlton, SunTrust Bank, Oglethorpe Bank, Preferred Office, Georgian Bank, Atlantic Capital Bank, Waycross Bank & Trust, Boardwalk Inn at Wild Dunes, Hilton Hotels, Schell, Bray, Aycock, Abel & Livingston, Crowell & Moring, AdvantEdge Executive Offices, Reaction 35, The Lofts at Capitol Quarters, Hilton Hotels, and Public Collections at The Federal Reserve Bank, Miami University, Tufts University, Fulton County Arts Council, as well as over 500 private collections.

Amber Green, visual artist (Lithonia).  Born in Oakland California, 1993, raised just east of Atlanta, Amber started creating at the age of 4.  Her mother was also an artist. Watching her draw portraits growing up had a big influence on Amber as a child. She has been featured in over a dozen art shows within the USA. Amber also had a piece featured in the White House in 2011. Her art tells a story of her emotions when creating pieces. Amber’s goal is to inform the world through art. Her pieces and prints are for sale on www.gumproducts.net . 

The Georgia Ballet Company (Marietta).  The Georgia Ballet was founded in 1960 by the late Iris Hensley. Celebrating their 60th Anniversary Season, The Georgia Ballet is home to a professional company, dance school, and various community and educational outreach programs. GAB’s professional company is led by Artistic Director Daet Rodriguez and Ballet Mistress Margit Peguero.

Georgia Ensemble Theatre & Conservatory (Roswell).  Georgia Ensemble Theatre (GET) provides award-winning theatre productions and first-class educational opportunities on a year-round basis and is the resident professional theatre at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center. The Theatre has earned a reputation for the quality and diversity of its plays. The mission of Georgia Ensemble Theatre is to create a connection between artists and audiences of all ages. Since its first production of Kaufman and Hart’s You Can’t Take It With You in 1993, GET has produced 27 regular seasons of plays and musicals on the main stage at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center and has toured curriculum-relevant productions to well over half a million students throughout Georgia. In 1998, GET began taking the powerful, multi-media Holocaust drama And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank on tour annually to elementary and middle schools in the region. The story follows the lives of childhood friends of Anne Frank – Eva Geringer and Ed Silverberg – both Holocaust survivors. Students see Eva (now Schloss) and Ed share their stories in their later years on-screen while actors portray them as children during the Holocaust. This play has played to more than 500,000 students in its 25 years of production. The GET Conservatory serves the diverse community in north metro Atlanta. Ongoing educational opportunities are offered throughout the year in a conservatory setting. Classes include curriculum for youth as well as adults in all levels of theatre craft. Sessions are offered throughout the year, and many of our most popular courses are unique and not offered elsewhere in the area. 

Charvis Z. Harrell – artist, activist, author (Macon).  A third-generation mason, Charvis Harrell practiced his art form as a hobby until June of 2004, when at the age of twenty-eight, he was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, a disease that  produces polyps in various organs of his body. The diagnosis put him on very light duty as a mason but gave him the opportunity to focus on his artwork. His paintings feature historic figures in African-American history, especially those who are less-recognized. The Mill Hill Community Center in Macon featured his work in the show “Monuments for Heroes Which Have None.”

Nneka Brown, visual artist (Columbus).  Innovation is ingrained into Nneka’s company Innovative Supplies at the very start of the company name. Innovative Supplies Worldwide, Inc. is providing a unique and different approach in the way you view school supplies and selling over 8,000 stationery notebooks just in the first 24 hours of its e-Commerce launch three years ago. The Governor of Georgia has recognized and awarded Innovative Supplies for exporting its products internationally just in the first 6 months of business. Innovative Supplies is closely involved in benefiting our community by hiring at-risk teenagers in the community and teaching them how to build soft and hard-working skills. Innovative Supplies products are unique in that it showcases diversity. Showcasing artist art from around the world and giving them a platform to have their work viewed and taken inside of school systems all over the country to be used by school-age students. Innovative Supplies is using different technologies to create sustainable stationery with post-consumer plastic and paper included in the supply chain. What sets our business apart in the 21st Century is that it is operated by a service-disabled veteran. Changing the narrative that once disabled you are unable to work or be a leader.

Trinity Jackson, visual artist (Fairburn).  Trinity is a junior at Tri-Cities High school and attends the art magnet program. She has been doing art seriously for the past four years. In her artwork, she focuses on the history of African Americans, the rights of women, political, and social issues. Trinity discusses these topics in her work because she believes that it is important for people her age and older to see the message she is trying to send, through her eyes as an African American teenager. In college, Trinity plans to major in fine arts and practice graphic design to further enhance her skills as an artist. Some artists that inspired her are Charlie Palmer, Etienne Jackson, Swoon, Vincent Van Gogh, and Gustave Klimt. These artists inspired her because of their hard work, dedication to the arts and their will to go outside of who they are to produce work.

Crystal Denise Jones, spoken word artist (Augusta).  Crystal Denise Jones is a spoken word artist from Augusta, GA. She has a B.Sc. in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Welfare and a Master of Social Work. She has served the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) in the social and human services for over 20 years. through various non-profit and state agencies. On stage and to the population she serves, she is known as Ms. Crystal. Ms. Crystal started performing at a very early age in church. Ms. Crystal released her first single, “Forever Cocky,” on October 11, 2019. Her poems, “My Dilemma” and “Time,” were published in Namaste Ink July-September 2019 issue.

Shrisma Kimbrough, visual artist (Macon).  Shrisma Kimbrough is an Artist and Entrepreneur, Owner of Shrisma Enterprise, LLC. Shrisma has received dual degrees in Business Management/Human Resources and Marketing Management/Entrepreneurship from Central Georgia Technical College.  Creator of the world’s first Civil Rights flag entitled, “From Rosa to Obama,” which is nationally recognized by the North American Vexillological Association- the largest organization in vexillology and camaraderie. Shrisma’s civil rights advocacy garnered her the title of “Unsung Hero” by the NAACP Association, and she is also a member of SCLC-Atlanta. In past roles, she has served as Affirmative Action Assistant for the Duval Democrats as well as the voice of the political rap initiative entitled “Rap the Vote Campaign”. Shrisma is the Founder of “Macon-Bibb Fashion Week” and Co-Founder of “Fashion in The Streets Festival” both event Proclamations issued by Mayor Reichart of Macon-Bibb County.  Her most recent endeavor is the marketing of her new consumer product, “Zone3 Mobile Trash Carrier,” launched in 2019. Present ambitions further include; launching her fashion line, providing wardrobe for films, and helping to create equal rights and creative opportunities in the arts community.

The Morgan Triplets, Performance Artists (Lawrenceville). The Morgan Triplets are mixed multiples. Makayla and Miele are identical, and McKinley is Fraternal. The girls are vibrant, talented 8 years olds and were born in Atlanta, GA.  Singing since they were less than 2 years old and performing publically for the last three years, recently, they sang at a Benefit Gala for the Aberdeen Magnolias in Mississippi and will be performing at an Empowerment Conference later this month. All of the girls receive vocal training with Dana Rice Music and McKinley piano lessons with Dana on a piano scholarship provided by HAPCO Music Foundation. They hope to one day have their own musical group.  Not only do the girls sing, but they are also excited about their budding careers in the acting, theater, and modeling industries. They did a commercial for Flora’s Collections and can be seen in the Taraji P. Henson film, “What Men Want.” They have modeled in the Mall of Georgia and have performed in a variety of productions with The Actors Scene and Momentum Arts.  When they aren’t performing, they enjoy reading, roller skating, making slime, traveling, and quality time with friends and family.  You can follow the girls on Instagram @themorgantriplets and on YouTube: The Morgan Triplets.

Arshaad Norwood, visual artist. Arshaad Norwood “The Brother Behind the Bristles” is a multitalented visual artist and art educator from Atlanta, Georgia with over 15 years specializing in fine art & graphic design. After earning his Bachelor of Art & Design from Lagrange College in 2005, Arshaad excelled as a studio apprentice for Signe Grushovenko in the Artist & Residence program before working professionally as a graphic artist for Benjamin Studios in Atlanta, Ga.  During President Obama’s inaugural year, Arshaad created his 1st mural at Atlanta’s Original Uptown Comedy Corner and was awarded first place honors at Arts Clayton Gallery for his iconic painting, “The Triumph.” Soon after, he completed his Masters in Secondary Education and started his art educator career with CCPS. In 2016, Arshaad relocated to APS teaching Graphic Design and collaborated with National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) on launching the NEXTGEN Art Showcase at Benjamin E. Mays High School, where he currently serves as Lead Art teacher. Last summer Arshaad helped Fabian Williams aka Occasional Superstar paint 7 Kaepernick Murals during ATL Super Bowl and was featured as an ArtsAtl Luminary Award nominee for Art education. To see examples of his online portfolio please visit http://ArtbyArshaad.com .

Lady Barbara Pinson, visual artist (Atlanta).  Lady Barbara Pinson creates beautiful pieces designed to uplift, encourage, and inspire. Be The JOY! Be the Beauty! Be the Light.

Lady Barbara Pinson’s background as an international makeup artist laid the foundation for her innovative use of colour, light, and style. Her Wearable Art is bold, fresh and innovative. Pinson’s portraits capture each person’s essence. Her home accessories are fresh and exciting, offers fashion, home decor as well as wall art. LBPArtist apparel is non-waste, while giving back:to our communities; a portion of each sale goes to both literacy and brain tumor research through Atlanta charity Polo in the Pines. “Wrap yourself in love,” is the company motto. Collect her original designs LBPArtist Wearable Art scarves, wraps, dresses, blouses, bags, home decor, and legacy portraits.  Look for her Spring 2020 show at ADAC. Lady Barbara Pinson Artist Found in fine galleries, boutiques and online.  Www.LBPArtist.com, www.BuckheadArtCompany.com, www.TheCarlosReidGallery.com.  Member U.S. Department of Arts and Culture.

Mary Rene Quarles, performance artist (Atlanta).  Mary Rene Quarles is a sixteen-year-old singer and actress from Atlanta, Georgia. She started performing and training with Dana Rice Music’s FAME Studio at age nine, and it has had nothing but a positive impact on her life. Mary Rene has been in eleven musical theatre productions and this fall she starred as Dolly Levi in her school production of Hello Dolly! In the past three years, she has released three singles. Two of these include “Monday is Coming”and “Jeans,” which she co-wrote with Dana Rice and the other song entitled “Petticoat” was a cover in collaboration with “Aztec Two Step.” Her music could be compared to that of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato or Dove Cameron. Mary Rene is currently a vocalist in the Hebron Christian Academy chapel band and a member of the chorus. She is also a working actress in Atlanta and has participated in several projects such as a  Boosterthon series and various commercials. She hopes that she will be able to continue her musical and theatrical career throughout her life and impact many people along the way.  Her music is available on all digital outlets including Spotify and iTunes. Follow @MaryReneSings on Instagram and Subscribe to her YouTube Channel @Mary Rene Sings. 

Andrene Rozier,  performance artist (Auburn).  Andrene Rozier has been singing on and off the stage for over 20 years. The Jamaican born singer performed with the New Jersey Performing Arts Jubilation Gospel Choir and has graced the stage with gospel great such as Vicky Winans, Shirley Ceasar, and Donnie McClurkin, to name a few. Andrene has also performed with Vincent Walker and Testimonies of Joy.In addition to opening up for gospel performing artist J Moss, she has expanded her talents within the performance space through acting. She’splayed the role of Wilhemenia in Author Mari Bell’s stage production “The Quarters”along with the role of Jackie in Glory Productions “Is Jesus here Yet?”Andrene is also a portrait photographer,a1st grade teacher, and currently trains with vocal coach and musician Dana Rice of Dana Rice Music.

Lake Sirmon, visual artist (Atlanta).  Lake Sirmon is an Atlanta artist whose work has included comedy performance art, sculpture, and painting.  Her work has been exhibited in Portland, Oregon, Chicago, and Atlanta.  Her work is bright and whimsical and no matter how different the creatures they are always getting along.  Lake’s work can be seen at the Scotts Crossing Library in NW Atlanta.

Beth Smith, visual artist (Macon).  Beth Smith is a Fine Artist and Private Art Instructor.  Beth’s main art studio is in Kathleen, Ga and she also has a studio in Macon, Ga at The Offices @College Hill.Beth has over 30 years of working within the art industry holding various jobs within the creative field. She also has 5 years of experience in sales and marketing, crucial in today’s art market. This accomplished Artist has won various awards in numerous exhibits and competitions. She was also awarded the Medal of Commendation for her composite drawing of Aileen Wuornos while she worked as a Forensic Composite Artist for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. You can read more about Beth and view her entire painting portfolio on her website.  www.bsmithbrushworks.com

Alexis Smith Thomason, visual artist (Thomson). Formerly Mieke Alexis Smith, Alexis Smith Thomason is a multidisciplinary visual artist, who works in multiple media. She was born in Augusta, Georgia, and raised in Thomson, Georgia. She became interested in art at the age of four. She continued her interest in art throughout her primary and secondary years, winning many art awards (including Governor’s Honors Local and Semifinalist nominations in Visual Arts), graduating at the top ten percent of her class from Thomson High School in Thomson, Georgia. She attended Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where she had several exhibitions, there receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree and several awards (including the Dean’s List with Distinction) in Visual Arts. She received a Master’s degree in Art Education from Georgia State University.  Ms. Thomason began teaching art in the Newton County School System, and she currently resides in Covington, Georgia. She was an Instructor for Saturday Workshops at the High Museum of Art, and had exhibitions at the Camille Love Gallery, Dekalb Technical College, the Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia.  Some of Ms. Thomason’s work can be found on her website: https://alexissmiththomason.artcall.org/.

Ashley D. Thomas, visual artist (Atlanta).  Ashley D. Thomas is a conceptual fine artist and muralist who lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia.  Raised in Atlanta, Georgia she credits her early childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana, for her colorful palette and rich textures. She attributes her practices to the process of cooking gumbo which gathers disparate materials and methods of artistic child-play and refined techniques of contemporary fine art. A little spontaneity, a little intuition and a lot of texture and color to capture the spirit of the work.  Her works are a conglomerate of primitive impasto and a contemporary take on the painting styles of the Harlem Renaissance.  She was heavily influenced by the work of William H. Johnson and the storytelling of printmaker Steve Prince.  She created a unique blend of styles that all include heavy textured elements.  She built up the canvas in order for her blind grandmother to feel the story even if she could not see it.  She considers her paintings to be tapestries which provoke casual and philosophical commentary about childhood dreams and visions as they relate to modern society.  In addition, she addresses sociopolitical preconceptions and racial epithets through her use of symbolism and imagery.  Ultimately, Ashley is provoking conversation about universal implications surrounding African American life.   Ashley D’s multidisciplinary practice is informed by a background in Art which she studied at Hampton University, along with a twelve-year career in teaching art in inner-city public schools.  Ashley D. creates her own mythological legacy in her murals drawings and sculptures.  She believes in using scale symbolism texture and color to change the way we perceive the world.  She has exhibited at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem New York and the Charles H. Taylor gallery in Hampton Virginia.  She has completed 10 murals in Atlanta Georgia. 

Mr. Tréezy, performance artist (Dacula). Mr. Tré Rice, aka Mr. Tréezy, is an up and coming R&B/rap artist and jazz pianist from the metro-Atlanta area. Mr. Tréezy has taken his studies with Juilliard’s Summer Jazz Camp and Georgia State’s Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra with him to Oglethorpe University, where he is currently a member of the “Jazzy Petrels” and is pursuing a music and business degree. In his journey to creating his niche and sound, this new artist creatively infuses his extensive piano background with his smooth rap style to convey his personal experiences and his observations of people. In his mind, music is the most powerful influencer of people, and he wants to utilize his gift to reach others. In the past year, he released 2 songs, “Destinations” and “Mogul Interlude”, on all platforms. This year, Mr. Tréezy is planning to release even more music, and you can stay up to date with his journey by subscribing to his YouTube Channel, Mr. Tréezy Music, and by following him on Instagram @mrtreezy_.

Sankofa Selassie presented by The Black Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, Inc., visual artist (Atlanta).  Sankofa Selassie is a visual artist and a musician from North Carolina and educated in Atlanta’s public school system and at The Atlanta College of Art. Sankofa Selassie uses art to convey historical documentation of her travels and lessons. Sankofa comes from a long line of craftspersons and is the first in her family to dedicate her whole life to art. Sankofa’s family supports the mission of seeing artists survive as a creative. The Black Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, Inc. is a nonprofit organization with federal tax-exempt status founded in 2006. Our mission is to document and preserve Black heritage, culture, and scholarship and use it to encourage, empower, and uplift current and future generations through scholarly engagement, art, and artistic expression, while cultivating critical thought. Our vision is finding our way back to the positive aspects of Black heritage & Culture.

Erica Clahar (Umi Says), photographer (Suwanee).  Umi Says is an Atlanta based artist who was born and raised in Queens, New York. Umi Says started her love for photography at an early age. Witnessing her father’s fervor and excitement towards photography ignited a comparable enthusiasm. Umi’s eye and perspective were drawn from her fondness of architecture, color, style and essence of the various family and friends she would encounter. Umi’s style is clean. She has an aptitude for capturing your attention with amazing, fascinating and stunning images.

VLEEV, composer (Atlanta).  Vincent Levy Bryant is a SESAC Original Music Composer for film, Songwriter, Sound Designer, and Filmmaker. Vincent was born in Harlem to a Dad who was a television repairman and musician and a Mom who was a Registered Nurse and vocalist. After moving to Queens, NY, he practiced piano, bass and drums with his father and brothers in a rehearsal/recording studio in the basement. His family moved to rural Sheldon, SC, where he honed his piano playing skills. While using his creative imagination, he taught himself how to score movies by muting the volume on the television. He and his brothers started a band at the age of 14 and played locally. Vincent Bryant ‘pka’ VLEEV has scored short films, such as “Last Words,” by Byron Conrad Irwin, two critically acclaimed shorts “OVG” and “Been a While” by Bollywood Writer and Director Saumesh Bangera and the theme song for the Amazon Prime series, “Music and Murder” by Writer/Director Greg Galloway. He was Original Music Composer for Pastor Troys’ “Down to Come Up.” His website is www.VLEEV.net.

Kristan Woolford with students from Jackson High School, multi-media artists (Atlanta). 

Dr. Bill Hagans and Kristan Woolford are Audio Video Technology and Film instructors at Maynard Jackson High School. An award-winning musician and composer, Dr. Hagans most recent album In Her Words was released in 2019. Woolford’s most recent accomplishments include being a 2018 – 2020 Resident Artist In Studio with The Creatives Project. During his time in this residency program, he developed a video collage style and he first collaboratively produced one during 2019 with youth in Future Foundation’s summer arts program. His students are currently co-developing a series of video collages to memorialize the Atlanta Child Murders with his students at Maynard Jackson High School in an effort to raise awareness about the recent string of child abductions taking place in the Metro Atlanta area.

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