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 Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) 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 Andre Dickens, we will continue our work to move Atlanta forward as an international leader in the arts community.
I hope that this website provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the Mayor’s 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 OCA 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 Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs 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 produce programs that contribute substantially to the city’s economy and quality of life.
The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs’ programming is executed in four key areas: Arts in Education,Municipal Support for the Arts, Performing Arts, and Public Art. The OCA also manages the Chastain Arts Center/City Gallery at Chastain, the Mayor’s Gallery at City Hall 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.
The Municipal Support for the Arts annually contributes 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 increase access to the arts within the city of Atlanta.
The Atlanta Jazz Festival (AJF) welcomes thousands of residents and visitors to Piedmont Park for our annual free, multi-day jazz festival each Memorial Day Weekend. The Atlanta Jazz Festival, Incorporated, a 501(c)(3), supports AJF programming through donations and the support of its members, the Atlanta Jazz Society, Inc., 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 Mayor’s 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
To create and promote rich and diverse cultural experiences in the city of Atlanta that enhance quality of life and expand the city’s international reputation while preserving and protecting Atlanta’s cultural heritage.
To make the arts available to everyone through three core initiatives: Preserving and Promoting the Arts – through artistic festivals, public art and cultural programming.
Creating Access to Cultural Opportunities – through gallery exhibitions, performances and art centers.
Supporting the Professional Arts Community – through the provision of grant funding and other resources for artists and not for profit organizations.
Exhibit superb service while presenting diverse and thought provoking programs and experiences.
Gain international recognition of programs.
Unify the city’s cultural community through programs that serve the people of Atlanta.
Support and create opportunities for local Cultural Development.
Create cultural experiences that can serve as international model and enhance overall quality of life.
Provide artistic and cultural 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 local arts community.
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
Please Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not accepting internship applications at this time.
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 Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs
160 Trinity Avenue, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
For a complete listing of contact information, visit our Contact page.
Fiscal Year ‘21 Annual Report
Dear Friends and Supporters:
I am delighted to share a copy of the City of Atlanta – Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) fiscal year (FY) 2021 annual report with you.
This past year we were put to the test as we continued to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatened so much of what we hold dear. With the support of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council, as a part of the City’s pandemic response efforts, we were able to keep culture thriving by supporting our local arts organizations and independent artists through our programming and relief efforts.
The pandemic presented a challenge for the production of the Atlanta Jazz Festival and while we were not able to present a jazz festival in FY 21, we adjusted our plans to return to Piedmont Park in FY 22, on Labor Day weekend. We shifted our program outreach to a hybrid model due to the pandemic. Through a combination of physical and virtual platforms we were able to deliver meaningful programs and engage the Metro Atlanta and global community. Our public art festival, ELEVATE, pivoted to a hybrid model with limited public displays and virtual interviews, performances and visual art exhibitions in collaboration with local museums and art professionals in cities throughout the country.
A portion of American Rescue Funddollarswere committed to the City, in support of arts and culture, and we utilized that funding to provide relief to our creative community through commissioned artworks for projects like Pandemic Atlanta 20/20. Through our Contracts for Arts Services (now known as Municipal Support for the Arts) grant program, we were able to also offer almost $2 million in much needed support to local artists and arts organizations who met application requirements.
As we move forward, the OCA team remains steadfast in our mission to create opportunities for artistic growth and access to the arts. Over the past year, it has been reassuring to witness Atlanta’s communities coming together to support this city. There is a lot we don’t know about the coming months, but I remain confident in our ability to overcome this global challenge and come out of it even stronger. We are counting on your continued support of our creative economy, ensuring that our local arts community continues to thrive.