Atlanta Arts and Culture Blog 

Previews, reviews and commentary on Atlanta's cultural scene

Atlantan Deborah Wiles is National Book Awards finalist for Young People’s lit

  • 9:20 am Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Atlanta author Deborah Wiles grew up in Mississippi.

Atlanta author hemmed in by the limits of Jim Crow laws.

After receiving the news from the National Book Awards, the Alabama-born, Mississippi-raised Wiles wrote on Wiles, 57, was so determined to be true to this key time in her life that she revisited her childhood haunts while researching the book: the old neighborhood, her elementary school (now a service center for seniors) and Andrews.

“I didn’t understand what a time warp I was going to fall into, ” recalled the author, who will appear at the AJC Decatur Book Festival on Saturday. “I allowed myself to go back there as [More]

Spotlight on Soutine, too, in High Museum’s ‘Cézanne and the Modern’

  • 8:21 pm Monday, October 20th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Chaim Soutine's "Portrait du gar on en bleu" ("Portrait of a Boy in Blue" ), circa 1928, goes on view at the High Museum of Art on Oct. 25. It's one in a grouping of five portraits by the Expressionist painter being shown in conjunction with the exhibit "C zanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection."

“Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art From the Pearlman Collection,” the exhibition opening at the High Museum of Art on Saturday, features a grouping of artists whose first names you don’t need when you see their last names: Cézanne, Degas, van Gogh, Manet, Pissarro, Gauguin, Modigliani.

And then there’s Chaïm Soutine.

If his name’s not quite familiar to you, you’re in good company. But this French expressionist painter (1893-1943) was a favorite of the late Henry Pearlman, who amassed this prime collection of modern art that, before this current international tour, had remained at the Princeton University [More]

Arts leaders push for renewed investment in culture

  • 1:20 pm Friday, October 17th, 2014 by Bo Emerson

Brother, can you spare a dime?

In Georgia, where the state allocates less than 10 cents per citizen on the arts, a coalition of educators, arts organization directors and community leaders is sounding the alarm.

“To me, we’re losing a whole generation,” said Laura Lieberman, president of Georgia Alliance for Arts Education. Lieberman is spearheading a group that filed a declaration Thursday pleading with the state to reverse a decline in public funding that began six years ago and has reduced state funding of arts programs from $4.5 million to just under $600,000.

That makes Georgia’s contribution the lowest, per capita, of all [More]

“Wind” sequel writer’s been here before

  • 10:58 am Thursday, October 16th, 2014 by jvejnoska
Author Donald McCaig makes a return visit to the Margaret Mitchell House Friday night.

By Jill Vejnoska

(Note: Donald McCaig will appear at the Literary Center at the Margaret Mitchell House at 7 p.m. Friday to discuss “Ruth’s Journey,” his just-released, authorized prequel to “Gone With the Wind.” It’s not the first time McCaig’s shown up at the onetime apartment house where Mitchell churned out her award-winning saga of Scarlett, Rhett et al. In 2007, his first authorized novel, “Rhett Butler’s People,” was celebrated there with much hoopla, including “Rhett Velvet Cupcakes.” Here’s a story that appeared in the AJC at the time.)

Rhett’s back, hoping that we still care

JILL VEJNOSKA

Sunday, 10/28/2007

The first time Rhett Butler [More]

Downtown’s ‘Dumpsters’ public art project overflows with ideas

  • 5:29 pm Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Savannah artist Marcus Kenney transforms a dumpster into a visual arts environment called “Timeline” using objects of previous existence on Forsyth Street downtown. The “Dumpsters” project, involving more than 20 artists that have been given 10 metal trash receptacles to create a work of public art, will be part of this year’s “Elevate.” The Office of Cultural Affairs’ free weeklong public art event runs Oct. 17-23. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Construction dumpsters usually overflow with odd pieces of lumber, Sheetrock and cardboard, something that passers-by automatically try to edit out of their view.

But 10 of the lumbering metal containers are starting to command attention in downtown Atlanta. Instead of flotsam and jetsam of the building trade, however, they hold serious art expressions and pure whimsy, quiet reflection and interactive sound and light, eye-catching aesthetics and recycled funky stuff.

Tapping more than 20 metro artists, the Goat Farm Arts Center organized the diverse “Dumpsters” public art project as part of “Elevate 2014.” The annual weeklong public [More]

Novel about ‘Gone With the Wind’s’ Mammy in stores Tuesday

  • 7:00 am Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 by jvejnoska
author Donald McCaig.

It’s the indefatigable Scarlett O’Hara of books: “Gone With the Wind” continues to sell about 75,000 copies annually, more than three-quarters of a century after it first brought fame and fortune (and a Pulitzer Prize) to Atlanta author Margaret Mitchell.

And now comes another authorized sequel, the second by acclaimed Civil War novelist Donald McCaig (“Rhett Butler’s People” came out in 2007). Actually, “Ruth’s Journey” (Atria Books, $26), which arrives in bookstores Tuesday, is mostly a prequel. And, McCaig suggests, a much-needed fleshing out of one of the original book’s “three major characters” — the O’Hara clan’s indispensable, tough love-dispensing “Mammy.”

Much [More]

Baltimore’s Visionary Art Museum among many elevating Finster’s profile

  • 7:38 am Monday, October 13th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Howard Finster's "Super Powers" (1984) is on view in the exhibit "The Visionary Experience: Saint Francis to Finster" at the  American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

The restoration over the last three years of the Rev. Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden folk art environment in the northwest Georgia town of Summerville also is proving to be a factor in a growing revival of interest in the work of the prolific artist more than a decade after his death.

The latest evidence is Finster’s powerful presence in a sprawling group exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore on view in the documentary “Paradise Garden,” which will be screened at the Goat Farm Art Center on Nov. 18.

Meanwhile, the Paradise Garden Foundation is readying for “A Turn in [More]

Locked-out Atlanta Symphony musicians to perform 3 concerts Friday and Tuesday

  • 7:31 am Friday, October 10th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

The locked-out players of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, billing themselves as ATL Symphony Musicians, will be presenting concerts on Friday and next Tuesday.

Friday’s performances will be at Oglethorpe University‘s Conant Performing Arts Center at 7 and 9 p.m., with an audience reception with the musicians open to both audiences on the Conant’s picnic grounds at 8 p.m.

Richard Prior will conduct approximately 35 musicians in programs of Mozart’s Requiem — with the Atlanta Mozart Choir, a.k.a. some 75 members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus — and Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

Prior is the Emory University Department of Music conducting chair as [More]

Marietta Chalkfest, exhibits around Square, among weekend art offerings

  • 2:01 pm Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
David Lepore of West Palm Beach, Fla., is one of more than 40 national chalk artists who will be creating works this weekend at Marietta ChalkFest. He David prefers to depict iconic heroes and villains, using movie clips as inspiration.

Chalk up the expansion of Marietta ChalkFest to popularity.

The free fest returns for its fourth edition this weekend, with more than 40 professional chalk artists from around the country, double last year’s number, coloring their masterpieces around the Marietta Square from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There also will be a public non-professional juried chalk art competition for all ages from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (entry fee required).

The variety band Prime will play a free concert in Glover Park from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, and a vendor’s marketplace and kid’s activities will be available [More]

Stifled by debt, Georgia Shakespeare calls it curtains after 29 years

  • 3:32 pm Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Travis Smith and Tess Malis Kincaid appear in Georgia Shakespeare's "Metamorphoses" in 2013. CONTRIBUTED BY GREG MOONEY

After a 29-year run as one of Atlanta’s most respected theater troupes, Georgia Shakespeare announced Wednesday that it is closing its doors.

Last month, the company canceled its October production of “Henry V” and said its leaders would instead meet with potential funders. Their fundraising goal of $750,000 was earmarked to retire $343,000 in accumulated debt as well as to replenish operating funds and build a small reserve.

But a rescue was not to be.

“We had no major funders who were willing to make a lead gift,” Managing Director Jennifer Bauer-Lyons said. “We had other people who were kind of waiting in [More]