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Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs Announces Emerging Artist Awards Celebration on April 17

Atlanta, GA — The City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs will present this year’s Emerging Artist Awards at a special celebration at Chastain Arts Center on Friday, April 17 from 7-9 pm. The public is invited to come meet this year’s recipients: MaryGrace Phillips, Alex-Gallo Brown, Amina S. McIntyre and Meredith Kooi. The evening will include a visual art exhibition, a dance experience, and readings on the front porch.

“We are delighted to support the work of four of Atlanta’s most adventurous artists with this year’s Emerging Artist Awards,” says Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “We encourage people to explore the artwork of these talented individuals, and to learn more about the wealth of art and culture that Atlanta has to offer.”

All four of the artists will receive $1500 and a proclamation from the City of Atlanta. The exhibition will be up at Chastain Arts Center from April 17-30.

MaryGrace Phillips - photo credit Jason TravisMaryGrace Phillips is a dancer, choreographer and movement artist. Her work gravitates toward intimate experiences in non-traditional settings, exploring personal mythology and transformation. In addition to solo projects she has performed with Staibdance, Helen Hale Dance and Catellier Dance Project. Last year she performed at MINT gallery in a series curated by Maggie Ginestra and Mike Stasny in an installation by Marcia Vaitsman. In the fall she worked with visual artist Kevin Byrd to create a public street installation and performance as part of The Goat Farm’s curated series for ELEVATE Atlanta. Recently she worked with frequent partner Erik Thurmond to create a new dance work in the Decatur cemetery.

“There is an element of surprise in what I do since I’m often working in unconventional spaces,” says Phillips. “Audiences are used to performers being far away, but much of what I do is close up. It’s invigorating for me and for them. Sometimes it brings up a lot of emotions and even has a degree of fear. I invite the audience to meet me in that brave space.”

Alex Gallo-BrownAlex Gallo-Brown is a writer and poet whose work has appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon.com, The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, The Collagist, The Brooklyn Rail, Fanzine, The Good Men Project, and elsewhere. In 2013, he was one of twelve artists selected for a Walthall fellowship by the Atlanta arts and social justice non-profit WonderRoot. He is currently working on a series of poems exploring the idea that Atlanta is a city “too busy to hate.”

“To be a poet, you have to either be foolish or completely devoted,” says Gallo-Brown. “Dealing in words is different today because of the social media revolution. I don’t own a TV so I get a lot of my information online. Although much of what people have to say isn’t refined and can even be polarizing, it is often thought-provoking.”

Amina McIntyre - pinkAmina S. McIntyre is a creative worship artist and playwright. Her production and reading credits include Working Title Playwrights at OnStage Atlanta, TipMyCup Productions at the Roy Arias Theater in New York, Wabash College, Colby College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Indiana Theater Association ITWorks 2008, West Side Community CME Church, Sabrina McKenzie Ministries’ EPIC Women’s Conference and Atlanta One Minute Play Festival. She is a member of Working Title Playwrights, Playwright Apprentice at Horizon Theatre, and Managing Director of Karibu Performing Arts, LLC. Most recently, McIntyre started the Masters of Divinity degree program at Emory University and is working on an inspirational book, 30 Days of Peace and Praise, due out this spring. For her next play she’s researching what is known in the homeless community as “The Tramp Trail.”

“I’ve always written but I was searching for the best way to chronicle culture,” states McIntyre. “Then I discovered the magic of playwriting, which is hyper sensory, and I found my voice. Theater is a safe place where you can explore topics like race, sexuality and bullying from different viewpoints. I’m an Atlanta native and I also want to tell stories about everyday people who live extraordinary lives.”

Meredith Kooi - khora study #3 - 2015Meredith Kooi is a visual and performance artist. Her recent performance and installation work has been presented by venues across Atlanta including Eyedrum, MINT Gallery, High Museum of Art, The Goat Farm Arts Center, Mammal Gallery and art|DBF. Since 2011 she has been the editor at Radius, an experimental radio broadcast platform. She is also the founder and director of ALTERED MEANS, an experimental curatorial platform. Her art and cultural criticism has been featured in ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art, Bad at Sports, Burnaway, Temporary Art Review, and Dilettante Army. She’s currently working on a new piece that will be shown later this year at Kibbee Gallery.

“My pursuit of artistic expression included dance, gymnastics, ceramics, sculpture and painting,” says Kooi. “But when I took my first performance class it was ‘ah ha.’ I finally found a format where I could sync time and space and movement altogether. Now I want to change the perspective of what art is, how we engage with it philosophically and physically, and its deeper meaning in our lives.”

Chastain Arts Center is located in Chastain Park at 135 West Wieuca Road, NW, Atlanta, GA 30342.

The Emerging Artist Awards are presented by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs as part of their Contracts for Arts Services program. The awards recognize talented professional artists living and creating art in the City of Atlanta, with the aim of increasing awareness for their work and furthering their professional development and careers.

Mayor's Office of Cultural AffairsThe City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs vision is to enhance the quality of life through arts and culture, and to contribute positively to the social and economic health of Atlanta and the region. Their mission is to promote rich, diverse and educational cultural experiences; nurture artists and arts organizations; unify Atlanta’s cultural community; preserve and protect the city’s cultural heritage; and expand Atlanta’s international reputation as a cultural destination. For news and information follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/atlantaculturalaffairs and visit their web site at http://www.ocaatlanta.com/.

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*photo of MaryGrace Phillips by Jason Travis

Media Contact:  Karen Hatchett – karen@hatchettpr.com

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