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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.


Thursday, October 13th

This is an invite only event.

The 404 Dinner is a collaboration between Elevate, Living Walls and the residents of Broad St. that aims to create a conversation within residents of South Downtown and other Atlanta residents. Via the act of dining we will conduct a research project that hopes to find out what it is that the residents of South Downtown wish to see in their community in the coming years.

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

This workshop will be hosted by C4 Atlanta and will discuss gentrification and other issues as they relate to Atlanta. The discussion will bring in a range of different perspectives from artists, elected officials, local members of the South Downtown neighborhood as well as the Atlanta community at large.

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

Gallery 72

CHROMA: Red for Elevate will be a one color immersion exhibition. The exhibition will highlight the root chakra with collaborative works exploring the color red. The space will be transformed with walls painted red or covered with red textile/paper, and set design and costume accenting red.

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

Atlanta Eye Care Building – 79 Broad St. SW

Atlanta City Studio: Atlanta City Studio is a pop up urban design studio that is part of the City of Atlanta’s Department of Planning and Community Development. It’s a space where we work on urban design projects for the City and collaborate with other City departments and nonprofit partners. The public is invited to visit us at Atlanta City Studio to see exhibits about the design of our City, give feedback and participate in programs and activities.

GA Tech: “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.”

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

Eyedrum Gallery

To highlight Atlanta’s diverse industrial communities and cultures, Digital Good Times will seek to demonstrate how this Microcosm will ideally look in the future. Atlanta has the potential to be an example city, setting precedents in multiple disciplines. Four of the areas that we will focus on are Entertainment and Arts, Sustainability, Equality, and Innovation.

Block Party 6:00-11:00 PM

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

Lineup includes:


Soul Food Cypher

Black Power Party #2- #BlackGirlMagic


“For Freedoms” Flux Projects Installation 6:00-11:00 PM

Grass Area on Broad Street SW near Mitchell Street

Flux Projects invites the Atlanta community to participate in a community oriented art installation project. Community members will be encouraged to fill out yard signs –  Each sign reads:  “Freedom of _______” and/or “Freedom for _________.” People from every demographic will be welcome to express their personal responses in the “fill in the blank” imagery on these signs. The completion of these signs 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 will perform MNLU ii, the second installation of her MuhfuckaNevaLuvdUhs: Real Live Girl series. First supported by IDEA Capital and as a LadyFest Atlanta fundraiser event in July 2015, 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

Performance by Abdu Ali at the Mammal Gallery!

Saturday, October 15th

Panel: Intentional Space (Concurrent with Red Bike & Green Tour) 11:00 Am- 12:00 PM

In order to foster meaningful, constructive discourse on the need for intentional and exclusive spaces for marginalized communities, the panel led by community activists and organizers will be held concurrently with the Red, Bike, and Green community tour.

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.

Bike Route:

Troy Davis Park (Woodruff) > Old Techwood Homes Local > Mitchell b/w Spring & Forsyth > Magic City > Atlanta City Detention Center

Jane Jacobs Walk 12:00 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.

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

South Downtown

In Removing, Noé Soulier  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 wave and waves for 100 percussionist by California-based composer Michael Pisaro. The work is loosely based on John Ashbery’s poem “A Wave.”

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. Since the theme of this October’s Elevate is “microcosm,” we would like to explore 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 building we will have one performer play 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

SE – Yamin Semali 

SW – Shepherds

Elysia Crampton Performance 9:30-10:30 PM

Eyedrum Gallery Rooftop

“Dissolution of the Sovereign: A Time Slide into the Future”

A play that unfolds as a DJ production and performance that works alongside Demon City (Elysia 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

Southern Fried Queer Pride presents SWEET TEA, 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

Workshop: “Diverse Groups” 2:00- 3:30 PM

Eyedrum Gallery

Diverse Groups will host a group discussions about issues of diversity with neighbors from diverse backgrounds.

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

Meets at M. Rich Building

Civil Bikes provides guided, historical bike tours in the city of Atlanta. 

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

Featuring Rodney Carmichael, Digital Good Times, and A3C, the purpose will be to unpack Atlanta’s central role in the innovation of Trap music. We want to talk about aesthetic roots and the influence Trap has had on mainstream culture in the last few years.

Thursday, October 20th

Truth Booth

To be installed on the corner of Broad Street SW and Mitchell Street. The Truth Booth will be up Thursday, October 20th & Friday October 21st from 6-11 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 and dedicated website (coming soon).

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

M. Rich Building

This panel discussion features Zahra Alabanza, Tim Keane, Zaida Sanchez with moderator Rohit Melhotra. Let’s talk about how we got here and where we are going — with an emphasis on value in our city center!

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

Center for Civic Innovation

Featuring Pedro Alonzo (in partnership with Living Walls), Anne Dennington, Ryan Gravel, and Camille 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

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 be talking about their installations while having 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: Red for Elevate will be a one color immersion exhibition. The exhibition will highlight the root chakra with collaborative works exploring the color red. The space will be transformed with walls painted red or covered with red textile/paper, and set design and costume accenting red.


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

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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