ELEVATE 2020 to Examine Inequity and Promote Community Building and Activism
The City of Atlanta – Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs will bring its annual ELEVATE public art festival to Atlanta’s historic West End neighborhood from Sunday, October 4 to Saturday, October 10, 2020. This year’s festival events will be virtual.
2020 has brought a pandemic, racial unrest, an economic recession, food shortages, and a political struggle for the soul of our country. Voices calling for change have risen to a deafening pitch. Against this backdrop, ELEVATE: Equity, Activism, Engagement is inviting artists, thought leaders, and the public to examine issues of inequity and injustice with the goal of inspiring community building, activism, and hope.
“We want this year’s ELEVATE festival to be a platform for dialogue about important issues, provide resources for activism, and help set a course for positive change,” states Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the City of Atlanta – Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “For the first time, the festival enters the digital space. We invite people to join us for virtual events including visual art experiences, dance, poetry, lively conversations, film screenings, musical performances and more. All of the events are free.”
Leatrice Ellzy Wright, Executive Director of Hammonds House Museum, is this year’s Curator for ELEVATE: Equity, Activism, Engagement.
Here are some of this year’s events and programs:
Mural installations honoring civil rights leader Reverend James Orange and Black women activists from the West End community.
An online and in person voter registration event at the West End MARTA station.
A conversation with New York Times best-selling authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones, who frequently feature Atlanta’s West End community in their work.
The opening of Hammonds House Museum’s exhibition Elements of A Revolution.
A conversation between the executive directors of Atlanta Contemporary and Les Abattoirs/Toulouse to discuss challenges of promoting art during COVID-19, issues of gender equality and racism in their field. Since 1974 Atlanta and Toulouse have been Sister Cities.
A screening of the stirring new documentary, “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” an intimate account of the legendary U.S. Representative’s life, legacy, and more than 60 years of extraordinary activism.
An Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance of Lazarus created by acclaimed hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris. The ballet connects the past and the present in a powerful work that addresses racial inequities America faced when Mr. Ailey founded his dance company in 1958 and still faces today.
Renowned artist Carrie Mae Weems, in collaboration with SCAD, will launch RESIST COVID/TAKE 6, a public art initiative raising critical heath awareness about COVID-19 and the ways racial inequities have manifested in the pandemic.
Musical performances by Kebbi Williams and The Wolf Pack, The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra, Gritz and Jelly Butter, Tony Hightower, and Julie Dexter.
Partners for this year’s festival are Kroger, MARTA, Hammonds House Museum, Selig Enterprises, Goodwill Industries, West End Mall, Consulate General of France in Atlanta, Georgia STAND-UP, The Atlanta Hawks, Fulton County Registration and Elections, SCAD, West End Tours, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, and Canopy Atlanta. Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta Partners include Rialto Center for the Arts at GSU, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, AREA, Reigning Victory Dance Academy, and The Atlanta Ballet.
The City of Atlanta – Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs’ vision is to enhance the quality of life through arts and culture, and to contribute positively to the social and economic health of Atlanta and the region. Their mission is to promote rich, diverse, and educational cultural experiences; nurture artists and arts organizations; preserve and protect the city’s cultural heritage; and expand Atlanta’s international reputation. ELEVATE is a program of the City of Atlanta – Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.