Twelve teams of artists have been selected by the Hambidge Center to participate in an upcoming project at the Colony Square development in Midtown, located near the High Museum of Art. An aberration at the time of its construction in the late 1960s, Colony Square now stands as one of Atlanta’s oldest examples of mixed-use development and is set for a major renovation later this year. Before that redevelopment gets underway, however, the dozen artist groups chosen by the Hambidge Center will occupy former retail spaces at Colony Square as part of the Hambidge Creative Hive from April until early June.
According to Hambidge executive director Jamie Badoud, the collaboration grew out of a search for a new location for the organization’s annual art auction, which has been held for the past several years at the Goat Farm Arts Center. Due to scheduled renovation at the Goat Farm that would possibly conflict with the auction, Hambidge approached Colony Square representatives about the possibility of holding the event at the Colony Square Mall instead. Because the space available at Colony Square exceeded what was needed for the auction, Hambidge proposed temporarily opening up the vacant space for artists’ use as studios or venues for performances, workshops, and pop-up installations.
After originally setting out to select seven proposals for inclusion in the project, a jury including local gallery directors, curators, and Hambidge staff was eventually able to fund twelve of the sixty-two submissions after acquiring further corporate sponsorship from PNC and SKYY Vodka. Selected participants receive a $1,000 stipend for their projects.
The twelve groups selected for the Hambidge Creative Hive include MINT Gallery, which will hold office hours and performances in a former doctor’s office filled with artists’ light-based installations, and performance collective Fly on a Wall will continue work on its projects Hz and Prism 2 while also offering public dance and movement classes. Several of the teams consist of two artists collaborating on an installation, such as Laura Bell and Matt Haffner’s The Untamed Parlor, which appears to borrow its imagery and spirit from Bell’s recent solo show at Whitespace, and Bojana and Brian Ginn’s Studio 515, where the duo will use technology to create an immersive audiovisual installation.
For the Downtown Players Club, which opened on South Broad Street in December 2015, the Creative Hive project offers a chance to resume certain programming that has been suspended since late last year because of safety concerns. For its project at the Hambidge Creative Hive, Downtown Players Club co-founders Kris Pilcher and Elizabeth Jarrett are teaming up with former Eyedrum executive director Priscilla Smith and artist Miranda Kyle to create the Midtown Players Club, a satellite location of the South Downtown venue.
When asked about persistent uneasiness about relationships between real estate developers and arts organizations, Badoud emphasizes Hambidge’s commitment to “celebrating the creative process and respecting the artist,” describing the collaboration as a chance to bring more attention to artists making experimental work throughout the city. The Creative Hive will also feature a large-scale balloon sculpture by New York-based artist Jason Hackenwerth in the Colony Square Mall atrium. At the closing event for the Creative Hive, a dance party scheduled for June 3, Hackenwerth’s balloon sculpture will be lowered and popped by partygoers.
The Hambidge Creative Hive will be open to the public from April 1 through June 3. The Hambidge Art Auction and Performance Gala will take place at Colony Square on Saturday, April 29, and the Creative Hive closing party is scheduled for June 3.