Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs Announces ELEVATE Public Art Festival

September 14,2017

Festival will take place in Downtown Atlanta from October 14-21

The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs announced today that the ELEVATE public art festival will be held in various locations in Downtown Atlanta from Saturday, October 14 through Saturday, October 21.  ELEVATE: Enlighten seeks to provide a platform for artists and art professionals to share and exchange knowledge and experiences that have shaped their work. Participating artists will touch on issues surrounding the plight of veterans, issues of gentrification, and the power of healing through art, while art professionals will lead panels and workshops about public art trends, the business of being an artist, and community empowered projects.  All events are free and open to the public.

“Art can elevate your senses and expand your ideas about the world around you,” said Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “We invite anyone who enjoys contemporary art and exploring Downtown’s evolving cultural landscape to attend this year’s festival. Our events will be lively, interesting, and provocative. We’ll have interactive art installations, music and dance performances, murals, the hottest spoken word poets, panel discussions, an eclectic block party, and much more. Make plans to join us.”

Here are some highlights of ELEVATE: Enlighten.

LEFT OUT art installation opening on October 14 from 4:30-8 p.m. at Gallery 72, 72 Marietta Street.

LEFT OUT uses found art, video filmed by soldiers from the battlefield, testimonials, interviews, poetry, and photos to help audiences internalize the experience of combat veterans in America. Carlos Thompson and Morgan Carlisle have created art based on their experiences of attaining “normalcy” after returning home from war.

“We want to provide insights to the subculture of battle-hardened veterans. LEFT OUT aims to educate and promote discussion about those who have suffered mental and physical trauma during and after war,” states Carlisle. “Our hope is that these conversations can lead to understanding and healing.”

Inner City Urban: Vine City. This exhibition of 30 photographs by Rose Smith will be seen on kiosks throughout Downtown Atlanta beginning on October 14, including two kiosks in Broad Street Plaza.

This body of work is a photographic declaration significant to the lives of Black Americans and gentrification. It focuses on the common misperception of Black Americans narrated by the media and sheds light on a historic Atlanta neighborhood established in the 19th century.

Write a Haiku and Win Tickets to BOY Enter our contest to win a pair of tickets to see the new play, BOY, on October 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Theatrical Outfit. The first 75 people to submit a haiku about Atlanta will win! One entry per person, and you must be 18 years or older. Enter here: ELEVATE Atlanta Haiku

BOY is Inspired by a fascinating true story and best-selling biography. It asks: does nature or nurture determine who and how we love? A doctor convinces parents of a male infant to raise their son as a girl after an accident, and years later, repercussions of that choice alter lives. With humor and tenderness, BOY explores the tricky terrain of loving oneself and others amidst the confusion of gender identity.

Artist & Community Workshops and Panels will be held in the Watershed Auditorium, 72 Marietta Street.

  • Public Art Overview - Saturday, October 14 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Learn about public art trends and get tips for finding opportunities and submitting applications for public art projects.
  • Know Your Materials - Sunday, October 15 from 2-4 pm.  Learn from public art experts about materials and planning used to help your project last.
  • Funding Your Art - Monday, October 16 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Asia Hadley from the Foundation Center will give an overview of their funding resources. Panelists will answer questions about materials finding differe3nt funding for your public art project.
  • Artists Working with Public Agencies - Tuesday, October 17 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Hear from public art administrators about processes and procedures when working with public agencies.
  • Laws, Insurance and Nitty Gritty for Artists - Wednesday, October 18 from 6:30-8:30 pm. Georgia Lawyers for the Arts will be giving an overview on basic copyrights for artists. Haven Insurance will discuss general liability insurance for artists working outside.
  • Community Empowered Art, Artist Empowered Communities – Thursday, October 19 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.  Artists and community members can discover the benefits of working together, how to create a common language, and ways to attract key stakeholders to their projects.
  • The Arts and Social Justice – Saturday, October 21 from 2:30-4:30 p.m.  Join local arts activists as they inspire you to use your art as a statement for a cause.


Seven New Murals in South Downtown will be created for ELEVATE by artists Ernesto Torres, Lydia Futral, Muhammad Yungai, Jo Di Bona, Gyun Hur, Corey Barksdale and BlackCatTips. Come find them!

TGIF Performance Showcase will take place on Friday, October 20 from 7-10 p.m. at Woodruff Park. Come enjoy an evening of music, dance and spoken word.

  • Yumi Kurosawa and Rockwell Dancers Brittany Smith and DeWayne Jamar Brown will perform from 7-8 pm. The collaboration will blend the mesmerizing sound of Kurosawa’s music on traditional 16th century stringed koto with contemporary Hip Hop dance in a unique performance transcending genre and cultural stereotypes.
  • Ailey II Dance Company will perform from 8-9 pm. Universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Dance Magazine calls Ailey II "second to none," and The New York Times declares, "There's nothing like an evening with Ailey II, the younger version of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater."
  • Spoken Word Poets hosted by Queen Sheba will perform from 9-10 pm. Two-time National Poetry Slam Champ Queen Sheba was a performer on season two of “Verses and Flow” on TV One, and featured poet on “Lyric Café” on BET. She has six albums, two of which were nominated for Grammys. The evening will also showcase NFared, 10-Year-Resident Host at Urban Grind Thursdays in Atlanta and National Poetry Slam Champ; Samuel Eddie, member of Java Monkey National Poetry Slam Team; Telesa Hines, nationally touring poet featured on FOX TV’s “Star;” Nate Mask, member of Java Monkey National Poetry Slam Team; and Tamika “Georgia Me” Harper, 18-year veteran in the spoken word community who was featured on all seven seasons of “DefPoetry.”


ELEVATE Block Party will close out this year’s festival on Saturday, October 21 from 6-11 p.m. in Woodruff Park. Hear fresh spins ranging from Afro-Latin to R&B and Techno by members of WERC CREW, Morph and Choloteca.

ELEVATE is a program of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit:

ELEVATE Enlighten Press Release