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Hosted seasonally in downtown Atlanta by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, ELEVATE is a temporary public art program that seeks to activate the downtown Atlanta area through visual art, performances, and cultural events. The focus of ELEVATE is to enhance the cultural offerings in downtown Atlanta, and highlight what makes Atlanta unique. The program looks to provide free, quality cultural experiences with the desired outcome of increasing cultural and economic vitality. ELEVATE is a unique temporary art experience for artists and the general public. This summer marked the star of year-round ELEVATE programming. Each year in October the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs will present the ELEVATE public art festival where a “theme” will be selected by a curator(s). The festival like the three other events during the year, will feature local, national and/or international art and artists strategically presented to capture the interest and imagination of viewers, while providing an entirely new and accessible experience for downtown Atlanta.

Since its inaugural year in 2011, nearly 250 articles have been published regarding the new cultural vitality of the downtown area. The project has successfully ignited conversations regarding the area as a cultural district in City Planning and Urban Design Departments as well as the City Council and Community. Adding to this ephemeral downtown vitality, many of the temporary projects created through the festival still exist today in their site-specific areas (most notably the downtown South Broad and Underground Atlanta murals- See ELEVATE 2012’s page). ELEVATE was placed in the top 50 public art projects in the Nation through Americans for the Arts Public Art Network, as well as the top 10 projects for City Livability. We look forward to continuing our focus on creative place-making, impacting downtown through ELEVATE’s public art programming with ELEVATE 2016!

Watch this video below for more information on ELEVATE’s mission, vision, and programming. For more information, visit the official ELEVATE website at




ELEVATE Microcosm

South Downtown ATL

October 13th – 21st

Atlanta is home to many rich histories. The city is constantly becoming. As a cultural community, we grapple with issues of socioeconomic disparity and identity politics from a uniquely Southern, and specifically Atlanta perspective. Aesthetics and conversations of Race, Gender, Class, Ability, Nationality, Sexuality and other identities are not things to neutralize but to acknowledge and celebrate. The citizens of Atlanta exist at various intersections of these identities, so rather than an individual vision, the curatorial team brings together a few different perspectives in order to execute an accessible yet nuanced presentation. The curators represent a sample of the diverse Atlanta art community and its relationship to the economics of the built environment. The curatorial team is made up of Allie Bashuk, Monica Campana, Mark DiNatale, and Pastiche Lumumba, who aim to bring often whispered conversations out into the streets through public art, dialog, and performance. South Downtown, like the rest of our city, and country, is situated at a crucial moment in its history. This time and space is a Microcosm from which we can unpack a multidimensional dialogue about the past, present, and future of cultural value in South Downtown.

“Allie, Mark, Pastiche and I bring very different perspectives and curatorial approaches to Microcosm. I hope that Microcosm helps highlight Atlanta’s diverse identities and rich histories but mostly pushes us as artists and curators to be more responsible with our curatorial and art practice.”-Monica Campana

“We quickly realized it takes a hive-minded mentality to really gather balanced perspectives to accomplish a theme that truly represents the complexity of the microcosm that is Atlanta.” Allie Bashuk

Funding for this program is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

We’d love your feedback! To help us improve future Elevate festivals, please take our survey here

Walkabout has provided us with a digital map for your use during ELEVATE Microcosm! You can access our map here


Thursday, October 13th

This is an invite only event.

The 404 South Broad Dinner is a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Living Walls, and artists, businesses, and residents of the South Atlanta Arts District. The dinner will serve as a platform for Atlantans to create a vision for the area. Through the act of dining, attendees will conduct a research project that will discover what the residents of South Downtown wish to see in their community in the coming years. The dinner will uncover the histories of the residents in the area. How long have you lived here? What does this place mean to you? What is your connection with this place?

Atlanta is amidst rapid changes, particularly within the South Downtown area. As a way to strive for more organic change and growth, the dinner will ask the residents of South Downtown what is it they envision for the future of the neighborhood, and what can we all do better to keep the history of the neighborhood alive.

This project is…
An exercise in listening:

Prior to the dinner, the curators worked with the residents, business owners and organizations in the area to find out how to organize the dinner and who to invite to the table.

A process of inclusivity:

The curators worked with the street’s residents to create the dinner’s format. All members were involved in figuring out the questions to be asked, conversation topics to be presented, and even the music to be played during the meal.

An act of research and documentation:
During the dinner, attendees will interact in various creative ways with questions and maps at the dinner table. Surveys will be presented for the participants to interact with, draw, and write on. Extensive documentation will also take place at the dinner–the materials collected will be displayed later in gallery and or online settings.

Friday, October 14th

Artworks on view Friday, October 14th-Friday October 21st

Gallery Hours

6:00-9:00 PM Daily

11:00 AM-4:00 PM on Friday, October 21st

Murals by Yoyo Ferro and Squared Away Signs

Light Installation by Meptik

Cartooning for Peace “The Art of Democracy”

CHROMA/Atlanta Women Photographers

Tiona McClodden “Sweet Atlanta Black Simulacrum”


South Downtown’s Past W/ Atlanta History Center

Josephine Figueroa “You Are Here”

For more information visit the ELEVATE Website

Workshop: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? 6:00-7:00 PM

M. Rich Building

C4 Atlanta will facilitate a conversation about the arts, gentrification, and moving toward a vision of diversity, inclusion, and equity in the city of Atlanta. This is a facilitated workshop. Come ready to move.

CHROMA- Opening Night Performance  6:00-7:00 PM

Gallery 72

CHROMA is a multimedia installation of photography and movement based in the healing practices of chakra activation and color psychology, inviting audience immersion into single colors.

CHROMA: Red for ELEVATE will feature red and highlight themes of grounding, safety, and the ability to build a foundation that can be called home. The work is based on exploring the effects of gentrification, as there are individuals and entire families who have grounded themselves in a home space for decades while gentrification continues to uproot and remove them from the places they call home.

Atlanta City Studio & GA Tech Installation 6:00-9:00 PM

Atlanta Eye Care Building – 79 Broad St. SW

Atlanta City Studio will install a collection of maps and long-term plans for the City of Atlanta in the Atlanta Eye Care building on Broad St. SW. The images will supplement the weeklong conversation of Atlanta’s Microcosm and the future of the downtown area.

Downtown Atlanta 2041 is a speculative look 25 years into the future at the opportunities available to build on parking lots and create a walkable network of Class A streets and distinctive neighborhoods around Downtown’s many assets. The design proposals are based on conversations with stakeholders, analysis of current conditions as well as bold assumptions about the future impact of autonomous vehicles. The work was produced by graduate students at Georgia Tech in the Master of Science in Urban Design, (MSUD) spring 2016 studio, under the direction of Professor Ellen Dunham-Jones in the School of Architecture in the College of Design.”
– Ellen Dunham-Jones

Digital Good Times Experience 6:00-11:00 PM

Eyedrum Gallery

To highlight Atlanta’s diverse industrial communities and cultures, Digital Good Times (DGT) will demonstrate how this Microcosm will ideally look in the future. Atlanta has the potential to be an example city, setting precedents in entertainment and arts, sustainability, equality, and innovation. DGT has had the pleasure to interview and become acquainted with individuals and companies that currently work in these pockets, and will provide interactive experiences that will engage participants and display what an arts district in South Downtown could be like in the future.

Block Party 6:00-11:00 PM

Main Stage located on South Broad Street between Mitchell Street and MLK Jr. Drive

Lineup includes:


Woman-lead DJ set
Bae, aka Bae Worldwide, is a two-women led music group that has teamed up to create a safe space and a dynamic support system for women in all fields. Anybody who has an understanding of what it is to be a woman in a male-dominated industry and exudes confidence in herself is a Bae.

Soul Food Cypher

Word Play and 1×1’s / Rap Cyphers
Soul Food Cypher utilizes the craft of freestyle lyricism to transform the lives of individuals and their communities. During Word Play, their emcees invite members of the audience to freestyle based on images and words they see appear on a screen.

Black Power Party #2– #BlackGirlMagic

Arielle Symone
Father Fannie

Black Power Party No. 001 kicked off at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center. Now the power continues to be felt with another round of exhilarating and unique black performers–this time highlighting diverse female performers.


Atlanta-based female singer will perform a musical set of ambient electro R&B.

“The Yard Sign Activation Project” Flux Projects Installation 6:00-11:00 PM

Grass Area on Broad Street SW near Mitchell Street

The Yard Sign Activation Project is presented in the form of a pop-up tented “campaign headquarters” to include printed banners with artwork by Carrie Mae Weems and Hank Willis Thomas. At various Atlanta locations prior to the exhibition (including the ELEVATE block party), the Atlanta community was invited to complete bandit signs (outdoor yard signs used in political campaigns) that read “Freedom of _________” and “Freedom from ___________.” The outdoor sculpture on Broad St. SW collectively emphasizes the importance of the individual voice, the power of many, and the significance of voting in a democratic society.

Danielle Deadwyler aka Didi Xio (MNLU ii) Performance 8:00-10:00 PM

Starts near Atlanta Metropolitan State College

In a follow up effort to bring the private to the public, performance artist Danielle Deadwyler performs MNLU ii, the second installation of her MuhfuckaNevaLuvdUhs: Real Live Girl series. MNLU ii seeks to further illuminate the public performance of black women’s labor, sexual and domestic, and witness its impact on the black woman’s body.

Abdu Ali 10:30 PM-12:00 AM

Mammal Gallery

Erected from the ghettos of Baltimore, Abdu Ali raps, sings, and chats over unorthodox and future sounds, creating music that’s visceral, spiritual, and very real. From his energetic visceral performances, spiritualizing audiences as a cosmic, punk, and soulful tempest on stage, his work transcends musical boundaries with afro-futurism and “post-apocalyptic” sounds.

Saturday, October 15th

Panel: Intentional Space 11:00 Am- 12:00 PM

ELEVATE presents a panel discussion led by community activists and organizers Nina Dolgin (Ladyfest), Taylor Alexander (Southern Fried Queer Pride), Marcella Campbell, and Toni Williams (TASTE), who will discuss meaningful, constructive discourse on the need for intentional and exclusive spaces for marginalized communities.

Panelists include Nina Dolgin (Ladyfest), Taylor Alexander (Southern Fried Queer Pride), Marcella Campbell & Toni Williams (TASTE)

Bike Ride: Red Bike & Green 11:00 Am- 12:00 PM

Starts at Troy Davis Park (Woodruff Park)

Red, Bike and Green is a collective of Black urban cyclists improving the health, economy & local environment of African Americans by creating a relevant & sustainable Black bike culture.


11:00: Meet at Troy Davis Park (Woodruff Park)

11:30pm: ELEVATE-TheRide

ELEVATE-TheRide will get you lit.  With ad ATLien soundtrack in the background,

ELEVATE-TheRide will explore south downtown and beyond.  During this experience ELEVATORS can expect to: enjoy scenic routes, meet new people, build community, engage with Black and bike friendly business, explore and learn about historic neighborhoods, have fun, sweat a little or a lot, and so much more.
WHO CAN RIDE: Beginners, veterans, causal riders, families and everyone in between are welcome and encouraged to come. *This ride is open to everyone

WHAT TO BRING (not required):
-ID, cell phone (for safety purposes)
-bike lock

If you have any of the following items (and don’t mind sharing with the community) please bring:

– Patch Kit
– Frame Pump
– Spare Tubes

Jane Jacobs Walk 12:00 1:00 PM

Meets outside of Mammal Gallery

A public walk with discussions led by Kyle Kessler, Community Program Manager of the Center for Civic Innovation, who will share knowledge about and love for downtown Atlanta.

Noé Soulier Dance Performance 5:00-5:45 PM

South Downtown

At 29, Noé Soulier is considered one of the most innovative contemporary artists in his field. In Removing, he seeks to explore actions motivated by a practical purpose such as hitting, avoiding, or reaching. Unlike movements determined geometrically or mechanically, dancers share a vocabulary of gestures with the audience. The result is a fascinating composition interlaced with organized solos and duos. Soulier’s gesture approach is always puzzling, questioning one’s perception and certainties.

In partnership with France-Atlanta

Bent Frequency 6:00-7:15 PM

Laz Parking Garage – Forsyth Street

Bent Frequency  will present the US premiere of a A Wave and Waves with a 100 percussionist performance by California-based composer Michael Pisaro. The work is loosely based on John Ashbery’s poem “A Wave.” Pisaro describes the work as “an idea about confounding the small and the large: small sounds, many different kinds of them, very soft, on a large time scale.” It’s a unique piece of sonic art that examines the idea of individual soft sonic events overlapping and combining to make large-scale sonic structures in a manner that’s akin to individual water molecules in the ocean combining to create wave patterns–“the collective action of granular sounds making shapes of great mathematical complexity.”

Jortsfest 7:30-9:30 PM

Eyedrum Gallery Rooftop

Jortsfest will hold a free, all ages, accessible music performance event on the rooftop of Eyedrum, exploring the multitude of genres and identities held by Atlanta’s music scene and how those identities relate to the geography of the city. In each of the four geographic corners of the rooftop there will be one performer playing in turn, representing the sound of their neighborhood (NW, NE, SE, SW) as the audience goes on an auditory tour of the city of Atlanta.

NW – Yani Mo

NE – Pop Weirdos

SW – Blue Tower 

SE – Fantasy Guys

Elysia Crampton Performance 9:30-10:30 PM

Eyedrum Gallery Rooftop

A Time Slide into the Future is a play that unfolds as a DJ production and performance that works alongside Demon City (Crampton’s sophomore album). The narrative follows Aymara Revolutionary, Bartolina Sisa’s limbs after they were severed, continuing from the perspective of the entrails as they turn into stone, petrified on a time slide into a distant future where the sun has gone out and trans-humanoid arachnids have inherited a world free of the prison industrial complex. The work is Elysia’s attempt to bridge the Aymara oral history tradition/theater legacy with her own trans-femme abolitionist grasp of futurity, always amidst the cataclysmic, irreducible horizon of coloniality.

Southern Fried Queer Pride Presents SWEET TEA Variety Show 11:00 PM- 12:00 AM

Eyedrum Gallery

SWEET TEA is a queer variety show that serves as an open stage for queer and trans talent, art, music, performance art and overall creativity! SWEET TEA is an all-ages, refreshing beverage of entertainment and community!

Sunday, October 16th

Talk: Diverse Groups: “Which Is More Valuable: Minority Art or Minority Lives?” 2:00- 3:30 PM

Eyedrum Gallery

Diverse Groups will host a group discussion on the topic, “Which Is More Valuable: Minority Art or Minority Lives?”

Bike Tour: Civil Bikes 3:00-4:00 PM

Meets at M. Rich Building

Civil Bikes  provides guides and historic bike tours in Atlanta. The tours are accessible, educational, and fun. Experience Atlanta in a way that will give you fresh eyes for the city.

Start/ End at CCI/ M. Rich Building (Relay bike stand)

This tour will view: Forsyth, Marietta, Woodruff Park/ Rise from the Ashes, Decatur Street, Courtland Circle Capital Square, MLK, Central, Underground, Peachtree Street, Trinity, Ted Turner, Mitchell, CCI- M. Rich Building

Panel: What A Time To Be Alive- History & Aesthetics of Trap 4:00-5:00 PM

M. Rich Building

The purpose of this panel is to unpack Atlanta’s central role in the innovation of Trap music. The panel will talk about aesthetic roots and the influence Trap has had on mainstream culture in the last few years, unpacking Atlanta’s central role in its innovation.

This panel discussion features Rodney Carmichael, Digital Good Times, A3C

Thursday, October 20th

Truth Booth

The Truth Booth will be installed at the southern end of Woodruff Park. The Truth Booth will be up Thursday, October 20th & Friday October 21st from 11 Am-6 PM

This interactive project is comprised of a touring, portable Truth Booth. Iconically shaped like a cartoon speech bubble, it houses a photo booth-like interior that compiles the public’s two-minute video responses as they finish the statement, “The truth is…”. The aim is to reach a broad and diverse range of people and locations in an attempt to represent and celebrate the world’s diversity. Throughout this long-term project the video footage will be compiled and edited into a video installation found on their website.

This is a public art project created by Cause Collective artists Ryan Alexiev, Jim Ricks, Will Sylvester, and Hank Willis Thomas.

Panel: Who Will Survive in Atlanta 6:00-7:00 PM

Gallery 72

Let’s talk about how we got here and where we are going — with an emphasis on value in our city center!

This panel discussion features Zahra Alabanza, Tim Keane, Zaida Sanchez with moderator Rohit Malhotra.

Panel: Public Art & Spaces 7:30-8:30 PM

Gallery 72

Featuring Pedro Alonzo (in partnership with Living Walls), Anne Dennington, Ryan Gravel, and Camille Russell Love, moderator Victoria Camblin. The panel will discuss our city as a gallery – how can we use public space to push the boundaries of where stories and information are experienced.  How might people engage with content and each other in new and different ways? How can Atlanta use art to interact with it’s citizens?

Comedy Night 9:00 PM-12:00 AM

Mammal Gallery

Comedic acts include David Perdue, Samm Severin, and Kia Comedy. There will be an open mic to follow.

Friday, October 21st

Food Truck Fridays 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM

Broad Street Plaza

Jane Jacobs Walk 11:00 1:00 PM

Meets outside of Mammal Gallery

Jane Jacobs Walks are free self-organized walks and discussions led by committed citizens sharing their knowledge about and love for places.

Artist Talk 6:00- 7:00 PM

M. Rich Building

Various artists from ELEVATE 2016 will talk about their work and conduct a longer conversation about how their work is relevant to Microcosm.

Talk Back with Elevate 2016 Curators 7:00-8:00 PM

M. Rich Building

Talk Back with Elevate 2016 Curators Allie Bashuk, Mark DiNatalie, Monica Campana, and Pastiche Lumamba. Opening up the floor to feedback, criticism, and ideas for the future.

CHROMA- Closing Night Performance  8:00-9:00 PM

Gallery 72

CHROMA is a multimedia installation of photography and movement based in the healing practices of chakra activation and color psychology, inviting audience immersion into single colors.
CHROMA: Red for ELEVATE will feature red and highlight themes of grounding, safety, and the ability to build a foundation that can be called home. The work is based on exploring the effects of gentrification, as there are individuals and entire families who have grounded themselves in a home space for decades while gentrification continues to uproot and remove them from the places they call home.

Participating organizations include: 


Atlanta City Studio

Atlanta History Center

Broad Street Visitors Center

C4 Atlanta

Cartooning for Peace

Center for Civic Innovation

Civil Bikes

Consulate of France in Atlanta

Digital Good Times

Diverse Groups

Downtown Player’s Club

Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery

Flux Projects

France Atlanta

The Goat Farm Arts Center


Living Walls

Mammal Gallery


Red, Bike and Green

Southern Fried Queer Pride


Sponsors for ELEVATE Microcosm include:

Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

Central Atlanta Progress

Crystal Springs

Fulton County Arts & Culture

Laz Parking

Living Walls

LowCountry Catering


Peachtree Tents & Events

Son & Sons

Standard Press

Topo Chico


Media partners include:

Creative Loafing



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Launched in 2011, the first exhibition of ELEVATE hosted 15 events and 40 performances over 66 days. Artwork filled vacant properties, street corners and plazas to showcase artwork ranging from 13 story murals to contemporary dance, video, installation and poetry. Although public funding allocated through our percent for art program was the direct source for the artist commissions, additional funding to execute an exhibition of this caliber was provided through local Atlanta businesses. Donation of art space, hotel rooms, theatrical lighting, food, advertising and cash support nearly doubled the exhibitions initial budget, demonstrating the immediate community support. This intensive cultural programming brought in 13,313 new visitors to downtown Atlanta.

At the end of the program, downtown property owners and businesses adopted the bulk of the visual work commissioned through ELEVATE. The artwork has now been incorporated into the permanent downtown landscape. In addition to the adopted artwork, other aesthetic improvements to the downtown district were implemented surrounding the close of ELEVATE. Underground Atlanta was publicly earmarked for a potential art space by Atlanta Mayor, Kasim Reed.

Elevate strives to build bridges in the downtown community though partnerships and collaboration. The total amount of partnerships formed in ELEVATE 2011 was 19, including Universities, not for profit organizations, government organizations and private businesses. Within one month following the close of Elevate 2011, 101 local, national and international articles were published regarding downtown Atlanta, the arts and most importantly their relationship to the businesses and surrounding economy.

ELEVATE officially became an annual downtown arts program of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs in 2012. Now in the sixth year, the physical project area has been extended from coverage of three blocks to all of central downtown Atlanta.  We expect ELEVATE 2016 programs and commissions to impact the Atlanta economy, increase the quality of life for our citizens, educate the public and gain global attention for our city as a creative and culturally engaging contemporary city.


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