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.
For more information, visit the official ELEVATE website at www.elevateatlart.com.
South Downtown ATL
October 13th – 21st, 2016
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.
HISTORY of ELEVATE
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.
Past ELEVATE Programs
For more information about past ELEVATE programs, visit the pages below: