The City of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) was established in 1974 to encourage and support Atlanta’s cultural resources. The initial mission was to solidify the role that arts and other cultural resources play in defining and enhancing the social fabric and quality of life of Atlanta citizens and visitors.
Today the OCA understands that the arts play an essential role in defining the cultural vitality of the city and is working to enhance Atlanta’s reputation as a cultural destination. The OCA aims to provide programs that contribute substantially to the city’s economy and quality of life.
The Office of Cultural Affairs’ programming is executed in four key areas: Arts and Education Services, Contracts for Arts Services, Performing Arts, and Public Art. The OCA also manages operations associated with the Chastain Arts Center and Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum. Our individual programs are:
The Cultural Experience Project (CEP), which aligns the City of Atlanta with the philanthropic arm of business organizations throughout the area, provides opportunities for over 30,000 Atlanta Public School (APS) students, Pre-K through 12th Grade, to experience the broad range of Atlanta’s premiere cultural venues and artistic programs at no cost to the student.
Contracts for Arts Services (CAS) and power2give/Atlanta annually contribute funding to arts organizations and individual artists for art projects and experiences in Atlanta. This allows us to support artistic efforts throughout the city and provide an opportunity for arts organizations to raise additional funds within the community through our online fundraising tool, power2give/Atlanta.
The Atlanta Jazz Festival (AJF) welcomes thousands of residents and visitors to Piedmont Park for 3 days of free jazz during Memorial Day Weekend, each year. The AJF also includes the Youth Jazz Band Competition which allows Atlanta area middle and high school jazz bands to compete for an opportunity to perform during the festival and raise funds (donated by sponsors) for their school’s jazz program. The Atlanta Jazz Festival, Incorporated , a 501(c)(3), supports AJF programming through donations and the support of its members, the 35 for 35 Society, a philanthropic group comprised of individuals dedicated to the preservation of jazz.
The Public Art Program (PAP) focuses on the conservation and maintenance of Atlanta’s Public Art Collection and also produces Elevate, an annual free Public Art festival featuring local, national and international artists throughout the city. In the past fiscal year, Elevate was named one of the Top 50 Public Art Projects in the Country by Americans for the Arts and has also been nominated for the Livable Cities Award. The PAP also manages City of Atlanta Public Art Audio Tours which focus on educating the residents and guests about Atlanta’s Public Art Collection located in the central downtown Atlanta area.
Chastain Arts Center (CAC) serves over 500 students, employs about 30 instructors and continues to maintain a steady stream of revenue from class enrollment, Art a la Carte summer camp, and the Shop at Chastain. The City Gallery at Chastain hosts exhibitions throughout the fiscal year, adding to Atlanta’s unique cultural landscape.
The Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum is the home of the painting, “The Battle of Atlanta,” one of the City’s most historical assets and the “Texas”, a famed locomotive of the Civil War. The Cyclorama serves over 50,000 visitors each year; generating over $500,000 in revenue. Throughout the year, special programs, book signings and a speaker series are presented, focusing on various perspectives associated with our local and national history.
The Office of Cultural Affairs also interfaces with the international community by providing opportunities for cultural exchange. These exchanges are evident in our programming for the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Elevate, and workshops in our facilities by artists, primarily from Atlanta’s Sister Cities. In addition, the OCA routinely works with the Airport Art Program and the Atlanta Beltline on their initiatives, including representation on artist selection panels, and oversight of their installations.