Jane Chu, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), took part in an exploration of Atlanta’s arts community, January 13- 14, 2016. During her visit, Chairman Chu participated in a Town Hall Meeting at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and visited True Colors Theatre, the MLK historic sites, and Stone Mountain, Georgia, where she toured ART Station and their arts incubator. Atlanta is one of ten cities selected by the NEA to conduct informative and inspirational site visits.
The visit kicked off with a roundtable discussion with18 of Atlanta’s diverse arts organizations leaders and working artists. This discussion was held in order to collect information and insight from those in the arts community as part of the NEA’s new Infrastructure Report that is in partnership with the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI). The Infrastructure Report is a national study on support systems available for artists and creative workers.
Georgia Council for the Arts, the Atlanta Regional Commission, and Atlanta Contemporary hosted a Town Hall Meeting where Chairman Chu discussed the NEA’s 50th anniversary and plans to expand support for creative arts therapies for military service members, as well as the many way the arts intersects and benefits non-arts fields. This event was open to the public and more than 200 members of the community attended the event.
The following day, on Thursday, January 14th, Chairman Chu met with True Colors Theatre Company and watched a rehearsal of American Buffalo. During this visit she learned the history of the theater and the impact it has on the Atlanta community. True Colors is a 2016 NEA grant recipient for its production of American Buffalo by David Mamet, directed by John Dillon.
Later that day, Chairman Chu joined Patricia Wheeler, Mayor of the city of Stone Mountain and Susan Coletti, Stone Mountain City Council member on a tour of ART Station in Stone Mountain, Georgia. On this tour she met with artists involved in the city’s Arts Incubator program (Smart, Inc) which provided technical assistance, marketing training, and space for artists to create, exhibit, sell and share their work with residents and visitors to the city. The arts incubator project was supported with a 2012 NEA Our Town grant and is highlighted on the NEA’s Exploring Our Town website.
As part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ 50th anniversary, the NEA is creating a story bank of multimedia content that showcases the impact of the arts. To date, hundreds of people from across the country, including Atlanta, have submitted stories about how the arts and the National Endowment for the Arts have impacted their lives. Visit the NEA’s website to learn more about these stories.