In 1990, Mayor Maynard Jackson had a vision for the arts in Atlanta. He initiated an arts summit that brought together over 500 leaders in Atlanta’s art community. This summit created the “Atlanta Blueprint for the Arts” that became the guiding force for the arts in this city and has been largely implemented in conjunction with established and emerging arts organizations. This Blueprint was a catalyst for change as Atlanta strived to be recognized as a premier city for the arts. More than a decade later, Atlanta has emerged as a regional cultural center. Through the strategic use of resources and creative ingenuity the Office of Cultural Affairs continues to provide programs that enrich the citizens of Atlanta and the region.
Our vision is to create an enhanced quality of life in Atlanta through cultural experiences. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life through cultural experiences that can serve as an international model. In the next few years, under the leadership of Mayor Kasim Reed, we will seek to position Atlanta as an international leader in the arts community.
I hope that this website provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the Office of Cultural Affairs and its role in the delivery of arts and culture to the city of Atlanta. Our intent is to provide an information source as well as an interactive tool for communication with the community at large. An investment in the arts nurtures commerce, education and technology. The Office of Cultural Affairs is uniquely positioned to sustain and to expand Atlanta’s presence in the world arts community.
Yours in art and culture,
Camille Russell Love
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 the Chastain Arts Center/City Gallery at Chastain and Gallery 72. 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. ELEVATE has been 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 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.
Vision & Mission Statement
Vision To enhance the quality of life through cultural experiences that will expand Atlanta’s international reputation.
Mission To promote rich and diverse cultural experiences in the city of Atlanta while preserving and protecting the city’s cultural heritage
Maintain highest quality services.
Gain international recognition of programs.
Unify Atlanta’s cultural community through programs.
Educate Atlanta on Cultural Development.
Create Cultural experience that can serve as international model.
Use cultural experience to enhance quality of life.
Provide Culture and Art needs to all citizens & visitors.
Promote a rich and diverse cultural experience in the City of Atlanta.
Nurture artists and Arts organizations.
Educate and inform citizens and visitors of the City’s cultural offerings.
Support the arts community of Atlanta.
Strengthen our impact through partnerships with other organizations.
Build bridges into new communities and develop new audiences.
Preserve and protect the existing cultural heritage of the City of Atlanta.
The OCA Internship Program
OCA Internship Programs provide a substantive learning experience that serves as a basis for interns to explore career options and attain professional skills in a variety of arts leadership fields such as arts education, community outreach, development, arts management, urban planning, art preservation and many other disciplines. OCA is always looking for students with a strong academic record, who have an interest in learning how the arts support and contribute to the development of the greater community. The goal of OCA Internship Programs is to develop a passionate and skilled force of leaders, committed to advancing arts and culture as a critical component of vibrant communities.
Internships are unpaid, unless otherwise noted and course credit is available.
Internships vary in length from 8-13 weeks. Availability and length of opportunity is based on department needs.
Students must be enrolled in an accredited college or university.
Students must have reliable transportation (public transit is considered a reliable source), be prompt, responsible and dependable.
City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs
233 Peachtree Street, NE
Harris Tower; Suite 1700
Atlanta, GA 30303
PARKING PARKING IN THE 161 PEACHTREE CENTER AVENUE GARAGE
From International Boulevard, get into far left lane. Turn Left into the 161 Peachtree Center Avenue Garage just before Peachtree Center Avenue.
PARKING IN THE INTERNATIONAL PARKING GARAGE
From International Boulevard, get into the far Left lane. Cross Over Peachtree Center Avenue. Turn Left into the International Parking Garage after Hsu’s Gourmet Chinese.
For a complete listing of contact information, visit our Contact page.
Atlanta is a culturally rich city and the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs proudly supports its continued growth and development. This year we witnessed the blossoming of the city’s art scene in a way that could not have been predicted just ten years ago. We are committed to the long term sustainability of that growth.
Our funding levels for the arts, in what has been a trying financial period across nearly every sector, have remained level. It is during tight financial times that artists are hardest hit. The OCA has increased its funding of individual artists and adjusted grant requirements to account for shrinking capabilities among our arts organizations. We believe these adjustments have allowed our arts organizations to stay the course.
The opening of Gallery 72 at 2 City Plaza provides a new municipal venue for visual arts in Atlanta. Through collaborative programming we aim to support local artists as well as compliment the commercial visual arts industry.
The Cultural Experience Project continues to be a bright spot as we approach the program’s 10th year, marking a full decade of increasing access to the arts for APS students. The 37th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival added a stage, providing an equal platform for Atlanta musicians as well as the many artists who travel here from around the globe.
Thanks to the support of our Mayor, the hard work of our staff and the generous contributions of our many supporters, we are honored to be a champion for arts and culture in all of Atlanta’s communities.