Atlanta – A Global Arts Incubator

“Is Atlanta a global arts incubator? How can we make Atlanta an incubator of global arts?” – Questions such as these echo through Bill Lowe Gallery often. For some the answers are obvious, and for others it is a matter of much heated debate. To be able to answer these questions one must first scrutinize Atlanta’s tormented history and then delve into its current situation.

Atlanta is the largest city in North America to be completely destroyed by war; thus it is a relatively new city as compared to other cultural metropolises around the world – some of which have hundreds or even thousands of years of history and culture to build upon.  Still, Atlanta’s arts scene is bursting at the seams; with gallerists such as Bill Lowe, Fay Gold, and Timothy Tew, just to name a few, as well as the presence of SCAD and the High Museum of Art incessantly pushing the envelope where the realm of fine arts is concerned.

Bill Addressing the Artists of the Fine Arts Atelier

Bill Lowe Addressing the Artists of the Fine Arts Atelier

“The success of art is driven by money and real estate. When the real estate market collapsed the art market followed along with it. If people have no walls to hang the art there is no need to purchase it,” asserted Michael David, founder of the Fine Arts Atelier. The pulse of a city’s real estate market is a great predictor of, and contributor to, the city’s art scene – and Atlanta’s real estate market is thriving. However, the arts community severely lacks the funding that it needs to truly flourish. Typically, when large entities such as corporations make sizable investments in Southern cities like Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and Miami they go to the sports teams and other activities that are unrelated to the arts.

Government also plays an integral role in the cultivating of the arts community, as locale specific spending could encourage galleries and artists to flourish in the commercial arena. Atlanta’s art scene, although vast, is somewhat complicated as there are several art niches all over the city, contrary to New York or Miami where the bulk of the art community is present in a singular place. It would do well for city if the gallerists were to coexist in a centralized location; a collective effort would more readily enable Atlanta to become a force to be reckoned with by the global arts community.

Fine Arts Atelier Artists' Talk

Fine Arts Atelier Artists’ Talk

Furthermore, it is noteworthy to highlight the power of art within the initiative of the unification of the city: Art brings people together, and when people come together they stand stronger and taller. This phenomenon is beautifully illustrated by the Fine Arts Atelier, Michael David brought together a range of artists, these artists then grew together and were able to participate in a group show at Bill Lowe Gallery. The opening was jam packed, and from the opening sprung the idea of having an artist talk – which attracted even more people. It is undeniable that the Atlanta arts community is gaining momentum toward the unification of its disjointed art scene; once the art niches coalesce Atlanta’s place in the global art scene will be one of awe.

The popular consensus at the Artists talk was one of community and pride. We must make it known that we are an arts incubator, and we will become an arts and culture epicenter.  As the widely recognized “capital of the South”, this is Atlanta’s destiny. This future will only be possible with Atlanta morphing into a tight-knit-art-based community, fueled by the support of government, corporate entities, and most of all the universal and unfathomable spirit of the arts.

Cord of Three – Loss, Anguish, and Redemption

I have lived all my life in Georgia and during my years here I have seen the South embrace a multitude of transformations, one of which has taken place within me.  At the tender age of 19 I joined the workforce and steadily climbed the corporate ladder, I worked hard and attended the school of hard knocks and I excelled. From this experience I took many positive lifelong lessons that have been integral to not only my success in business, but my personal life as well.

As a young girl I had an engulfing desire to be creative; whether drawing images in the clouds, daydreaming in a classroom or getting my hands into something I could attack, destroy and then make beautiful.  Over the years I took art classes here and there when I could, but being a single mom and needing a steady income I could not seriously pursue my artistic career until 5 years ago.  In 2011 I started working under the tutelage of Michael David; this experience has been life changing for me.  Michael not only opened my mind to a higher level of understanding and creativity, but he believed in me and challenged me to do the same.

It is my belief that if your work ethics are solid and you truly love what you are doing; the integrity of your work will show through.  My paintings do not become “real” until I feel a personal connection to them.  I choose materials such as the wedding gown I wore when I was a bride at 17; dirt from specific places as far away as Minnesota; hot wax, oils, charcoal and even tar at times. I work with materials that demonstrate my vital spark.  I respect the act of painting as well as the fight to find resolution in each story.

Cord of Three

Cord of Three – Oil and Wax on Canvas 72″x48″

My work represents a direct metaphor of my life, and how faith has helped me triumph over great adversity.  Whether painting Figures or Landscapes, the themes of loss, anguish and redemption are a common thread in the soul of my work.  We have all gone through personal challenges, but it is how you cope and heal that is a true testament to your character.  One of the greatest gifts I’ve received is the lesson on how to forgive.  To forgive does not necessarily mean that you have to forget, to forgive means to move gracefully past the hurt, pain, and destruction. To truly forgive one must fill the voids with positive energy which is cultivated from experiences; it is the illustration of this strength in my work that can impart on others the wisdom to not be forever stagnant in their pain.

The women in my work are not victims but survivors; warriors that have fought hard for a brighter way and a better quality of life.  My landscapes are also based on the same principles; after illness, loss, or violence there should be a time for healing, cleansing, and grace, as well as acceptance of the things that one cannot change – with that acceptance comes the power of growth.

On October 11, 2013, after three years of excruciatingly hard work I was humbled to have my first SOLO show at Bill Lowe Gallery.  To be presented in such a sophisticated environment, alongside great artists through the gallery was truly a rewarding experience.  My involvement with Bill Lowe and his staff has been remarkable, and I am appreciative to be a part of a gallery with this caliber. Moreover I am touched that the gallery believes in my work and continually supports my success as an artist.

Ellen DeLoach