Atlanta, Georgia, the de facto capital of the American South, could stand up to any other US metropolis when it comes to cultural depth. The city gave birth to and nurtured a whole genre of music and is home to sports teams that can compete with the best. Georgia also ranks third among US states for film production and first in overall growth. Yet for some reason, the city's art scene, though vibrant, feels scattered and nascent, like a half-completed jigsaw puzzle.
That may soon change. The first edition of Atlanta Art Week, founded by the art advisor Kendra Walker, aims to unify Atlanta's art scene and propel it into the mainstream. The four-day event, which runs from 29 September through 2 October, will bring together more than 20 galleries, museums, institutions, artist-run and non-profit spaces with the aim of building a stronger community and nurturing the existing arts ecosystem.
“I’m really hoping that the event creates some cohesion within the community. There’s not enough communication,” says Walker. “We have so many celebrities here but there isn’t a culture of collecting the way there is in Los Angeles, Chicago or New York. This event could help build exposure for the galleries and institution in Atlanta and make sure that we are included in the dialogue.”
Walker is not the only person who sees Atlanta’s potential to become an art world hub in the South. In March UTA Artist Space, the contemporary art gallery of Hollywood powerhouse United Talent Agency (UTA), opened its second location in the city to complement its Beverly Hills space. The gallery, which opens in early 2023, hopes to make the most of the burgeoning interest in collecting from sports stars like Kevin Durant and entrepreneurs like James Whitner.
“There is so much potential for art, artists and art collectors in Atlanta,” Walker says. “Atlanta Art Week is a dedicated moment to shine light on contemporary art in Atlanta, showcase what the city has to offer as a growing arts hub and bring people together.”
The Art Week will feature events hosted by all participants, from private collections and open studio visits to public exhibitions, curator-led tours and panel discussions. The commercial galleries participating will include Arnika Dawkins Gallery, Marcia Wood Gallery, September Gray Gallery, Whitespace and Jackson Fine Art, with more to be named in the in coming months.