April 2018 Around Town 2

Highlights from 
Aerotropolis Atlanta

The Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance Public/Private Partnership is focused primarily on economic development in the South Fulton and Clayton County Area. The workforce development efforts have successfully completed five cohorts in Construction and Hospitality. Also, they recently hired a full time person dedicated to the workforce development initiatives. The groundbreaking of the College Park Gateway Center, set to open in 2019, will bring more than 500 jobs to the Aerotropolis.

The Education Collective recently partnered with Step Up Atlanta (Girls) and 100 Black Men of Atlanta (Boys) to mentor in South Fulton and Clayton high schools.
The Alliance recently completed the new formation of a 501(c)(3), which will be chaired by Carol Waddy with Chick-Fil-A.
They were approved recently by Urban Land Institute to complete a holistic development and land use action plan for the Aerotropolis area, which will explore a more uniform, cross-boundary land use and zoning plan.

Bethel United Methodist 
Women: Raising Awareness 
about Human Trafficking

While January is designated as “Intercept Human Trafficking” month, the issue is a year-round concern. Statistics indicate that Metro Atlanta is a hot bed for human trafficking and Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is labeled as the hub of the trafficking center.

Bethel United Methodist Women took action! Members of the congregation printed posters; placed inserts in bulletins; highlighted the crisis during mini-sermons on Sundays; prayed incessantly; produced a dramatic skit with children and young adults, harnessed by a posse of purveyors, buyers, dealers, scumbags and degenerates. They assessed the value of the fresh meat they brought in chain-gang style. Flailing whips and belts highlighted the pain and scarring effects of this crisis. Members wore red, indicating a “Stand in the Red Zone,” the 20-yard line area on a football field, preparing a touchdown in their collaboration to intercept the traffickers. They lobbied legislators and contributed funds and provided supplies and time volunteering at halfway houses during the push for our children’s safety.

Human trafficking is a scourge, rampant in many countries, including the United States of America. 
United Methodist Women, uniting with like-minded individuals, is determined to end this modern-day slavery.

Panel Features Women in Puppetry

Puppet enthusiasts were invited to celebrate Women’s History Month at the Center for Puppetry Arts! The Center hosted The Women of the Muppets, a special lecture and discussion with women who made groundbreaking contributions to the work of The Jim Henson Company.

The panel featured Emmy Award Winner Fran Brill, the first female puppeteer hired for “Sesame Street” and creator of characters Zoe and Prairie Dawn; Bonnie Erickson, the original designer and builder of Miss Piggy and creator of Statler and Waldorf, who worked as design director for The Jim Henson Company; and Sonia Manzano, who played Maria on “Sesame Street” for 43 years and won 15 Emmys for her writing on the show. Manzano hosted a book signing before the event of her memoir, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx. This event was moderated by Karen Falk, head archivist for The Jim Henson Company.

Ashley D. Bell Named 
SBA Regional Director

President Donald Trump tapped Georgia native Ashley D. Bell as the next Small Business Administration (SBA) Southeast Regional Director. Bell was Trump’s first minority appointment to an SBA regional position. Bell, a former Georgia politician, will serve as one of 10 regional directors. He will lead eight states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, ensuring small businesses are thriving.

“The SBA plays a critical role in helping to start and grow businesses,” says Bell. “Now, more than ever, the economy is growing and we must do our part to help America’s small businesses.”

Bell exited Atlanta in 2016 when Presidential Candidate Donald Trump tapped him to serve as senior strategist for the Republican National Convention in Washington, D.C. After the election, Bell led the Trump-Pence transitional intergovernmental team at the State Department.

“I’ve enjoyed my time serving our country in foreign affairs the last year with both the State Dept. and at the Peace Corps,” says Bell. “I’m honored that the administration gave me this opportunity to come back to Georgia in helping to create jobs and opportunities in the southeast.”

Painter Amy Sherald Selected to Receive Driskell Prize

Amy Sherald is the 2018 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize in recognition of her contributions to the field of African-American art. A Georgia native now based in Baltimore, Sherald is acclaimed for her profoundly creative and distinctive portraits of African-American subjects. In 2017, she received the commission to paint former first lady Michelle Obama’s official portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

Accompanied by a $25,000 cash award, the Driskell Prize, named for the renowned African-American artist and art scholar, was founded by the High in 2005 as the first national award to celebrate an early- or mid-career scholar or artist whose work makes an original and important contribution to the field of African-American art or art history. Sherald will be honored at the sold-out 14th annual Driskell Prize Dinner at the High on Friday, April 27, at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the High’s Driskell Prize Dinner support the David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisition Funds. Since their inception, the funds have supported the acquisition of 48 works by African-American artists for the High’s collection.

“Sherald is a remarkable talent who in recent years has gained the recognition she so thoroughly deserves as a unique force in contemporary art,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “We are honored to select her as this year’s recipient and to support her incredible work, which celebrates America’s diversity and rich cultural heritage.”

Born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1973, Sherald trained as a painter in Atlanta and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Clark Atlanta University. Following a Spelman College International Artist-in-Residence program in Portobelo, Panama, she went on to receive her master’s degree in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Upon graduating in 2004, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and after completing a residency in Norway, Sherald moved home to Georgia to care for her family. She returned to Baltimore in 2008 to refocus on her practice, and her work began to gain national attention in 2011 when the National Museum of Women in the Arts acquired one of her paintings. Sherald received a life-saving heart transplant in December 2012 and, after her recuperation, resumed working in her studio in Baltimore. In 2016, Sherald was the first woman to win the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition for her 2014 painting, “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance).” An accompanying exhibition, “The Outwin 2016,” has been on tour since 2016 and opens at the Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, in June 2018. The New York Times selected Sherald among “19 Artists to Watch” in 2017.

The selection process for the 2018 recipient of the Driskell Prize began with a call for nominations from a national pool of artists, curators, teachers, collectors and art historians. Sherald was chosen from among these nominations by review committee members assembled by the High: Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, the 2013 Driskell Prize recipient and director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art; Valerie Cassel Oliver, the 2011 Driskell Prize recipient and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and the High’s Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Michael Rooks.

The sold-out 2018 Driskell Prize Dinner is co-chaired by Helen Smith Price, Jane Jackson and Matthew T. Echols, with Honorary Chair Ambassador Andrew Young.

“Dear Evan Hansen” & 
Disney’s “Aladdin” Anchor 
Blockbuster Season

The Fox Theatre’s sensational seven-show season includes “Dear Evan Hansen,” Disney’s “Aladdin,” “Waitress,” “Come from Away,” “School of Rock-The Musical,” “Cats” and Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta is proud to announce that Broadway musical six-time Tony Award® winning Best Musical and 2018 Grammy® winner “Dear Evan Hansen” and Disney’s “Aladdin” will anchor the 2018/2019 season at the Fox Theatre. The season opener is audience favorite, “Les Miserables.”

“As always, Atlanta audiences are in for a theatrical treat this season!” said Russ Belin, vice president of Broadway in Atlanta. “Many of these shows are Atlanta debuts—making the season lineup even more remarkable. Theatregoers will have unrivaled access to the unforgettable experience of top-notch Broadway shows right here at the Fox Theatre!”

And don’t miss Something Rotten! playing at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, April 17-22.