July 21, 2020

By July 21, 2020
Mourners gather at the mural depicting the late Representative John Lewis in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood.
(Image: Steve Shaefer / AJC.)

Civil rights icon and longtime Georgia representative John Lewis dies, aged 80

Re:Focus a photo exhibition on view at Swan Coach House in Atlanta through October 27

ATLANTA—The son of Alabama sharecroppers who would go on to become one of the original Freedom Riders and the youngest person to speak at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, Representative John Lewis died on Friday, July 17, aged 80. Remembered as a “towering figure of the Civil Rights Movement” and “the conscience of Congress,” Lewis had represented Georgia’s fifth congressional district in the House of Representatives since 1986, then only the second Black member of Congress from Georgia since Reconstruction. Georgia Democrats announced on Monday that Nikkema Williams, a Georgia state senator and chair of the Georgia Democractic Party, will replace Lewis on the ballot in November, as he was previously successful in this year’s Democratic primary. Lewis had announced in December 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Burnaway’s editor Jasmine Amussen spoke with The New York Times about Lewis’s legacy in Atlanta and his impact on younger generations of activists in the city. “He was never condescending or shaming toward younger people and their choice of actions, the way they decided to protest, what they were protesting,” she said. “This is a really tough time for this city.”

National Endowment for the Arts announces $44.5M in CARES Act Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Endowment for the Arts has announced $44.5M in funding supporting nonprofit arts organizations through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. Grants of $50,000 were offered to 846 organizations, with another nine local arts agencies receiving $250,000 each to redistribute to arts organizations in their area. Burnaway is among nineteen organizations in Georgia to receive $50,000 in direct funds through this program.

South Arts awards over $725K in Sustainability Grants and CARES Act Funding

Re:Focus a photo exhibition on view at Swan Coach House in Atlanta through October 27

ATLANTA—South Arts has awarded twenty Sustainability Grants totaling $194,200 to organizations across the region of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. These funds—made possible through the National Endowment for the Arts and appropriations from the CARES Act—are intended to keep employees in their jobs and allow organizations to remain solvent during the pandemic.

In addition to these awards, South Arts is providing $60,000 to each of the nine State Arts Agencies in South Arts’ region each to distribute to rural and culturally specific arts organizations in their respective states. Each State Arts Agency will determine their own method of distributing this collective $540,000 to ensure it has the most impact within their state. Additionally, the five dance companies in South Arts’ Momentum program were each awarded $10,000.

Fulton County Arts & Culture awards over $900K in COVID relief funding to arts organizations and artists, announces second round of funding

ATLANTA—Fulton County Arts & Culture has announced sixty-two organizations and twenty-four artists who have been chosen to receive COVID-19 relief funding as part of the agency’s new Virtual Arts Initiative. Burnaway received $18,000 in funding through this program that will be used to commission new digital artworks by Atlanta-based artists as part of the magazine’s artist column “Mood Ring.” In tandem with the announcement of this first round of funding, Fulton County Arts & Culture has also opened a second round of relief funding solely focused on individual artists and creative entrepreneurs. Eligible applicants must live or work in Fulton County, and applications are due by July 31.

Kelly Taylor Mitchell, Performative Object #2.
(Image: Kelly Taylor Mitchell.)

Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia announces 2020/2021 Working Artist Project Fellows

ATLANTA—The Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia (MOCA GA) has announced the three 2020/2021 Working Artist Project (WAP) Fellows: Davion Alston, Erin Jane Nelson, and Kelly Taylor Mitchell. Now in its thirteenth year, the WAP Fellowship provides award recipients each with a stipend of $15,000, a paid studio apprentice, and a solo exhibition at the museum. This year’s fellows were chosen by Marcella Guerrero, assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Disclaimer: Erin Jane Nelson is executive director of Burnaway.

Doug Shipman departs Woodruff Arts Center, Hala Moddelmog joins as new CEO

ATLANTA—After serving for three years as its CEO, Doug Shipman has announced his departure from the Woodruff Arts Center, the Atlanta institution comprising the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Alliance Theater.

“It has been an honor to lead one of Atlanta’s most important institutions,” Shipman said in a statement. “I informed the board in February of my departure, and we have worked together to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 and undertake a smooth leadership transition.” Prior to joining the Woodruff in 2017, Shipman served as the founding CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, which opened in Atlanta in 2014 after over a decade of fundraising and planning.

Hala Moddelmog, former president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, will succeed Shipman as CEO, assuming her new role on September 1. She has previously served as a Woodruff trustee and governing board member.

Native Arts and Cultures Foundation gains control of Yale Union property, plans to establish Center for Native Arts and Cultures

PORTLAND—The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NCAF)—a Native-led national organization committed to mobilizing Native artists, culture bearers, communities, and leaders to influence positive social, cultural, and environmental change—will assume ownership of the property and historic building previously operated by the nonprofit contemporary arts center Yale Union.

“Together, the NACF board and staff believe that this free land and building transfer will set an example for recognizing the value of Native ownership of property in urban areas across the nation,” said NACF President/CEO Lulani Arquette in a statement. “It’s liberating and encouraging to witness this kind of support for First Peoples of this country. The potential for local community and national partnerships around shared interests through Indigenous arts and cultures is wide open. We are deeply grateful for this transformative opportunity afforded NACF by YU board and staff, and stand united with all to reclaim Native truth, engage anti-racism, and address important issues we face today.”

“Having been able to fulfill our mission through the unearned privilege of property ownership, it’s now time that we hand over the keys!” said Flint Jamison, president of the board of directors of Yale Union. “I am inspired by NACF’s leadership, unwavering commitment to their mission, and capacity to operate on a large scale. I am eager to listen and learn from them as they use the land and historic building to fulfill their vision.”

Karen Seapker, Tent Mama, 2019.
(Image: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.)

Crystal Bridges announces acquisitions from State of the Art 2020

BENTONVILLE—Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has acquired thirty-one artworks by twenty-eight artists featured in State of the Art 2020  that will be added to the museum’s permanent collection. “We are thrilled to welcome these [artworks] to our collection to add to the unfolding story of American art,” said Lauren Haynes, director of artist initiatives and curator of contemporary art at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary. “The diversity of thought, materials, experiences, and topics represented in these artworks help us make sense of the complex times we live in. We’re excited to see the impact these artists and their artworks have on our visitors for years to come.”

Theses acquisitions include artworks by Atlanta artists Paul Stephen Benjamin, Jiha Moon, and Larry Walker, New Orleans photographer L. Kasimu Harris, and Nashville painter Karen Seapker.

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