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News From Throughout Georgia

Hook Arts Media Seeks Executive Director

Position Summary

HAM’s Executive Director will bring a proactive and strategic approach to leadership. The Executive Director will oversee organizational initiatives, foster stakeholder relationships, and drive growth. Responsibilities include managing budgets, developing partnerships, and ensuring program effectiveness. They must demonstrate expertise in conflict resolution, employee development, and effective communication.

The Executive Director will also demonstrate a proven ability to foster and maintain a culture that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a strong commitment to anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices. The Executive Director will be accountable for organizational performance, implementing data-driven decisions, and achieving collective goals. They should possess strong negotiation skills and a collaborative and relationship-oriented personality. The Executive Director will be expected to navigate challenges, build robust networks, and lead the organization with vision and determination.

For the full position announcement, please visit

Senior Facilities Technician

Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota seeks a highly skilled Senior Facilities Technician. The full-time work is primarily repair and scheduled preventative maintenance followed by projects as needed.Requirements:
• Ability to Lift 50lbs• Skills in plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and carpentry• Experience in HVAC troubleshooting beyond component level• EPA Section 608 Certified• Knowledge of commercial and decorative lighting including neon, LED, and fluorescent• Electrical troubleshooting and repair beyond component level• Ability to prioritize repair work daily• Ability to work from ladders including a-frame and extension• Basic understanding of CMMS• Able and willing to work in crawl spaces in hot temperatures
Salary position work hours are 9am – 6pm. Emergency calls, if required.

Development Director

The Stages Development Director is responsible for $3.9 million in annual contributed revenue to the organization (for FY24), as well as overseeing a team responsible for individual, foundation, government, events, and corporate giving. The Development Director provides significant operational oversight, ensuring the effective use of systems to ensure strong donor cultivation, recognition, and stewardship practices. The Development Director also serves as a key organizational ambassador, engaging donors and stakeholders at all stages of the stewardship process. A strategic fundraiser, the Development Director must actively work to diversify current revenue streams and use data and relationship management skills to identify and engage potential donors. The Development Director holds the key responsibility of establishing donor and prospect portfolios that support robust engagement opportunities for the development team, board of directors, and organizational leadership. The Development Director is also a critical frontline fundraiser, managing their own portfolio and supporting the management of portfolios across the organization.

General Manager

The Lakeview Orchestra (Chicago, IL) is seeking a highly organized and efficient part-time general manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization, including marketing, fundraising, bookkeeping, and concert production. The successful candidate will work closely with the Artistic Director and the Board of Directors to manage all administrative and operational aspects of the orchestra.
To learn more and apply, visit

Atlanta Soundtrack: Lunar Vacation, The Marias, vintage trans manifesto

Lunar Vacation
Indie rockers Lunar Vacation are lifting the curtain with the announcement of their sophomore album and its lead single, aptly titled “Set the Stage.”
We last met the cult classic five-piece with the release of their bubbly 2021 debut, Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp. A pummel of pulverizing harmonies and atmospheric reeling, “Set the Stage” promises a matured and exciting trajectory for the band, with acts like Bjork and Yo La Tengo cited as inspiration for the broader texture of the forthcoming era.
“Set the Stage” is accompanied by a new music video, directed by Stranger Things star and Lunar Vacation’s longtime friend, Finn Wolfhard.
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The Marías
Clearly, the theme of The Marías’ present album cycle is frontwoman Maria Zardoya testing the limits of her endurance, both lyrically and literally.
“I got blisters on my hands shooting this,” shared The Marías in an Instagram post for their latest visual marvel, “If Only.” Lovelorn and languishing, Zardoya is pictured clinging to a chandelier over a misted abyss, its pensive reaches undefined. Zardoya’s hair is still seemingly damp with the sequential elements of Submarine’s last cinematic installment, which pushed the biting isolation of “Lejos De Ti” to its brink in a frigid Lake Tahoe.
Pine in the melancholic throes of “If Only,” and maybe get inspired to check your pull-up bar dead hang time.
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Quavo, Lana Del Rey
It doesn’t get much more Atlanta than country iconography over whiskey-potent trap beats.
Lana Del Rey first cemented her penchant for the fantastically American with her 2012 music video “National Anthem,” in which she and rapper A$AP Rocky reimagine Kennedy family reverie over crackling fireworks and fat cigars. Twelve years later, she and Quavo are revamping the grill-out playlist with a narrowed geographical focus: the “blue collar, red dirt attitude” of Quavo’s Southern roots.
Watch the music video for “Tough,” directed by Quavo, Del Rey and Wyatt Winfrey, below.
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Against Me!
Ten years after its release, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” the title track from Against Me!’s 2014 album, remains as relevant and as radical as ever.
A blistering manifesto emerging from Fort Benning-born frontwoman Laura Jane Grace’s own experience with coming out as transgender, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” rips open the topic of gender dysphoria with critically unpolished honesty. This is seconded by the track’s gritty punk roots, which reckon to Grace’s days as an acoustic solo act and drive home the record’s place as a conduit for accessible, liberatory catharsis. Grace’s voice is both defiant and weary, cutting through the relentless thrash of guitars and drums as she sings, “You want them to see you like they see every other girl.” It’s this line that gets at the thesis of “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” not only as a title song or album but in its legacy: trans visibility as both risk and safety and the necessity of this risk for the endmost necessitation of safety.
While numerous states across the country are presently rolling back protections for their trans youth, since coming out in 2012, Grace has been joined by a host of passionate trans artists working to broaden the narratives first introduced to many through the rallying advent of “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.” Its enduring impact marks a seminal moment beyond that of punk music history — or even that of music history — unbound by genre.
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Lindsay Thomaston is a photographer and culture writer with a background in media and politics. Her work has appeared in Paste Magazine, Rolling Stone, i-D, Dazed, Fashionista and Immersive Atlanta, among others.

Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood Receives the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership

(WASHINGTON, DC, July 12, 2024)—Americans for the Arts (AFTA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) will present Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood of Alabama with the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for her outstanding County Arts Leadership during a general session at the NACo Annual Meeting, taking place July 12 to 15, in Hillsborough County, FL. Since 1997, the award has recognized elected officials who have advanced the arts within their community and whose vision and leadership provide heightened visibility of the value of the arts. “Americans for the Arts is pleased to honor Commissioner Merceria Ludgood for her extraordinary work in revitalizing Africatown and understanding the important role that arts and culture play throughout Mobile County and across Alabama in enlivening communities, connecting neighbors, and creating vibrant places to live, work, worship, and play,” said Jamie Bennett and Suzy Delvalle, Interim Co-CEOs of Americans for the Arts. “Commissioner Ludgood has spent decades investing in arts and culture as a key public good. She stands as a model for any public official.”
Commissioner Ludgood has made a conscientious effort to share Mobile County’s diverse history through arts, entertainment, and experiences. Her have efforts focused on improving quality of life and quality of place by investing in green space/access to water, neighborhood revitalization, and building a foundation of cultural assets that reflects the diversity of Mobile County’s rich heritage, sharing local history through art, experiences, and information.
Mobile is where the last slave ship, the Clotilda, landed 50 years after the practice was outlawed in the United States. When the ship was discovered (2018) and verified (2019), the community of Africatown, founded by survivors of that harrowing voyage, needed support to share and build upon the story. Commissioner Ludgood built Africatown Heritage House to tell this story and house artifacts from the ship. She partnered with the History Museum of Mobile to develop Clotilda: The Exhibition at Africatown Heritage House, which features West African art, primary artifacts, pieces of the ship, and more. The Memory Keeper sculpture in the Memorial Garden, which she commissioned and named, is rife with symbolism of the survivors, the voyage, and the life they made in Alabama.
Nearby, the soon-to-open Africatown Hall & Food Bank was designed with Afro-centric art throughout, and will house the Africatown Redevelopment Corporation, a community food pantry, and serve as meeting/working space for the grassroots organizations working to meet community needs as it rises to meet its potential for cultural/heritage tourism.
“I’m incredibly honored to receive the County Arts Leadership Award from Americans for the Arts and NACo,” said Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood. “I firmly believe we learn and grow through the arts because encouraging perspective-taking through creative storytelling can cross generational, geographical, racial, and experiential divides. I’m proud of our work with the arts in Mobile County; this is important work because the arts present an opportunity for us to harness our shared humanity.” 
Commissioner Ludgood has served approximately 140,000 Alabama’s District 1 residents since 2007. She holds a BA and an MS from the University of Alabama, a JD from Antioch School of Law, and a Master of Divinity degree from the Alabama Interdenominational Seminary. She was a W.K. Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, has practiced law in Alabama, and led the Legal Services Corporation of Alabama, which provides free civil legal services for income-eligible clients in 60 of Alabama’s 67 counties.
“The arts often play a pivotal role in strengthening counties across America,” said National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase. “Commissioner Ludgood’s leadership demonstrates that when we invest in arts and culture, we lay the building blocks for a brighter future. We congratulate Commissioner Ludgood for this well-deserved recognition.”
For more than a decade, Merceria Ludgood has served the National Association of Counties and the Association of County Commissions of Alabama in leadership capacities. She has been active in her community, profession, and church. She has donated her time to many organizations, including Mobile United/Leadership Mobile, Leadership Alabama, Alabama Appleseed Center of Law and Justice, United Way of Southwest AL, and the United Way Women’s Initiative. The Commissioner has distinguished herself as a member of the inaugural class of “Herstory of Mobile,” a Museum of Mobile project recognizing the outstanding contributions of women to the social, economic, and cultural heritage of the Gulf Coast region.
Commissioner Ludgood has received numerous honors and awards, including being selected for Leadership Mobile, Leadership Alabama, and the prestigious Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship. As a Kellogg Fellow, she traveled to 17 countries on five continents to interview women leaders.  She has been honored for her public service by many community organizations, including Mobile United’s A.F. Delchamps Award for creating community by forging unity from diversity, Mobile Bar Association’s Trailblazer Award, and was an inductee to the Alabama Lawyers Association Hall of Fame. She is a member of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, serving as a Sunday School teacher, Bible class teacher, youth counselor, and chairperson of the Board of Trustees.  In addition, Commissioner Ludgood received an Honorary Doctorate from Spring Hill College, the third-oldest Jesuit institution of higher learning in the U.S.
For more information, follow @Americans4Art.
Established in 1960, Americans for the Arts (AFTA) is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization advocating for the arts at the federal level in the United States. AFTA is committed to representing and serving local communities while fostering equitable access to and appreciation for all art forms. 
Contact: Jay Dick[email protected]

Street art stories: Inside the fierce competition for Catlanta’s public art

Rory Hawkins displays his cicada-themed kittens in his MINT studio just before the drops.
Racing into the last turn, the black Mazda leads the gray Chevy by less than one car-length. Emerging from the corner onto the final straightaway, the Chevy takes the low groove, but, to no avail, the black Mazda arrives first.
The closing lap of the Daytona 500? No, the down-to-the-wire finish of Catlanta’s latest kitten drop.
Artist Rory Hawkins, better known as Catlanta, has elevated his three-legged, visually pared-down cat icon into the pantheon of Atlanta’s best-loved street art symbols. He turns art into a participatory sport by dropping small, cat-themed artworks called kittens in unexpected public places for members of the public to take. To lead would-be collectors to the spot, he leaves online clues for treasure hunters to follow the last Friday of every month.
In addition to his public facing art, Hawkins maintains a schedule of fine art and corporate commissions and is also one of Atlanta’s favorite muralists, sometimes even sneaking cats into non-cat-themed murals. Some of Hawkins’ recent work includes animal-themed murals at Remedy, a veterinary facility in East Lake, and at Fulton County Animal Services in Bankhead. He has been a featured artist for OuterSpace Project; Stacks Squares; Forward, Warrior!! and Burnin’ Bridges in Chattanooga. In April, he had a solo show at ABV Gallery.
Working for PAWS Atlanta — an animal rescue organization — while studying art at Georgia State University, Hawkins adopted cats and developed his love for them. Encouraged by his school friends who admired his cat doodles, he began painting them in 2011 as less-than-legal street art on freeway underpasses and abandoned properties.
Previous drops (clockwise from top left): Atlanta Water Main Break Kitten; Lois Reitzes Kitten; Duality Kitten; Cowboy Kitten. (Courtesy of the artist via Instagram)
Hawkins describes what came next: “I began to see them being shared online by documenters of the local street art and graffiti scene. Seeing that others were drawn to the character as well led me to keep painting it.” When neighborhood associations became upset about the spray-painted cats appearing in their districts, he transitioned to less destructive means for creating his work.
“As a nearly lifelong resident of the metro area,” Hawkins continues, “there are still places I’m discovering and learning about to this day, and it’s just fun to encourage others to go out and find these spots while hunting for a three-legged cat painting.”
I had the good fortune to accompany Catlanta on two of his kitten drops. The afternoon began in Hawkins’ compact studio at MINT. The first thing that caught my eye was an abstract painting peppered with distorted cat-elements that captured the transition in Hawkins’ life caused by the birth of his now 8-month-old daughter. In the artist’s words: “I don’t think that artist is the most stable career, but I want to provide that stable path for her, so the past couple of months have been back and forth on how I can make this work and still be present and still be the artist that I want to be.”
Hawkins’ kitten-making process starts in the studio with a digitally created image printed on paper. Graphite on the back of the paper transfers the image onto wood when traced with a pen. Next the artist paints the wood, then takes it home to cut the profile on a scroll saw in his basement. Finishing touches are applied back in the studio.
Kitten drop at Artist Cove at The Beacon.
The shapes of the kittens are consistent, but each kitten’s content is unique. Catlanta’s kitten themes are inspired by current events, suggestions from social media followers, popular culture and sometimes the drop locations themselves. In late May, when Atlanta’s Civil War-era water pipes burst, the next dropped kitten was adorned with rusty pipes. Hawkins keeps a map of all his drops so he can spread them out across the city as much as possible.
This month, the two hidden treasures were inspired by the simultaneous emergence of 13- and 17-year cicadas. (The last time this happened was in 1802, when Thomas Jefferson was president.) One kitten is a cicada nymph and the other is a cicada adult. The day before the drops, Hawkins posted an Instagram story with a parody of an entomological cicada emergence map hinting at the locations for the drops.
As we get into Hawkins’ car, he still has not disclosed the first drop site to me. With a sly grin, he poses a challenge: “You’re Mr. Atlanta Street Art Map (a reference to the website I founded in 2017) — do you know of any cicada murals in town?” I was completely stumped. Hawkins explained that he had met Atlanta artist Erin Wicker at a chalk art event and that she was really into cicadas. So when he decided to make cicadas the theme for this drop, he looked up Wicker’s murals. Sure enough, Wicker’s mural at Artist Cove, a collection of artist studios that convert to storefronts at The Beacon on the BeltLine in Grant Park, contained a cicada.
We pull up to the first drop location. Catlanta attaches the kitten to a bike rack in front of Wicker’s mural with a magnet and posts the drop notification to Instagram, Facebook and X, formerly Twitter. To maintain an aura of mystery, Hawkins doesn’t typically stay for the kitten to be found, so I agree to meet him at his car after the find.
After 15 minutes, the gray Chevy narrowly beats out the black Mazda, and Breanna from Grant Park leaps out to grab the prize. This was her first kitten find. “I have notifications on for his stories and posts,” exclaims Breanna, who attended Hawkins’ solo show in April. “I’ve tried to hunt for it three to five times but every time it was already gone. I have two cats and I have cats tattooed on me. I’m a big cat-art fan and cat fan!”
Driving to the second drop, Catlanta reveals that our next destination is Utoy Cemetery. “I figured it’s kinda on-brand to have something emerging from being buried,” says the artist with another sly grin.
Breanna, finder of Hawkins’ Artist Cove kitten.
As we drive, Hawkins shares some of the thinking behind his kitten drops: “With so much development, character has changed or places have closed down. In some ways, some of these cats are memories for people of places that no longer exist. I think that Atlanta has lost a little bit of its character, a little bit of its uniqueness, but I think that passion is still there and I think the creative energy is still there. It’s just harder to find.” We arrive at the graveyard, Hawkins attaches the kitten to the historic landmark plaque and the second drop notification goes out.
Kelly, finder of Hawkins’ Utoy Cemetery kitten.
Within 10 minutes, Kelly, who describes herself as a Catlanta superfan, pulls up outside the fence. Rather than wasting time walking 50 feet to the entry gate, Kelly vaults over the chain-link fence, losing a shoe in the process, and nabs the artwork. Tipped off by Rory’s clue map yesterday, she camped out at her partner’s house in the Pittsburgh neighborhood to wait for the drop notification posts because Pittsburgh is closer to the drop locations than her Decatur home. This is the second kitten Kelly has won in Catlanta’s regular Atlanta drops. She also snagged them in multikitten festival drops at Emory University and at the M2R TrailFest in Marietta.
As Hawkins drives me back to his studio to wrap up the day, I realize that his goal of encouraging people to explore new places had been accomplished — not just for the kitten hunters but for myself as well. Otherwise, I would never have thought to explore the fascinating 19th century tombstones of the Utoy Cemetery. I came away from the afternoon not just with a peek into a uniquely Atlanta street artist but also with a memorable experience and a history lesson about the place I call home.
To see Catlanta’s kitten drop notifications, you can follow him on Instagram.
Arthur Rudick created the Atlanta Street Art Map in 2017 after retiring from a successful career as an engineer with Eastman Kodak and the Coca-Cola Company. His first experience of art was seeing an Alexander Calder mobile as a child in the Pittsburgh airport. Rudick is ArtsATL’s street art expert and a regular contributor.
Editor’s note: Arthur Rudick’s Today in Street Art has a new name: Street Art Stories. We hope you’ll enjoy our new story-based approach to covering the expansive world of Atlanta’s street and public art.

Sneak Peek: Lissa Frenkel Podcast

Lissa Frenkel: The Gaillard Center Commission supports and presents multidisciplinary cultural programming across the genres. We have a gorgeous, acoustically stunning building here in Charleston, South Carolina that was just rebuilt in 2015… we are deeply rooted in the community here in South Carolina, and we’re really committed to artists and partnerships locally, but mostly about our awareness of place. So the Gaillard sits blocks from Gadsden’s Wharf, where 40 percent of enslaved Africans came in to this country for the first time and across the street from the Mother Emanuel Church. And of course, South Carolina is known for having a challenging history with civil rights. So we really feel obligated and really grateful to have a platform to have artists help us, guide us through some of these histories and be a place of substance and essential dialogue for our community to grapple with these histories and find our way forward.