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4 Women who want to Incite and Inspire you at ELEVATE public art festival

ELEVATE: Microcosm, a free public art festival, sponsored by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and curated by Allie Bashuk, Mónica Compana, Mark DiNatale and Pastiche Lumumba, will take place in downtown Atlanta from October 13-21. The event is meant to spark conversations around a number of subjects like gender equality, diversity, and gentrification. Here are four artists who’d like to inspire that dialogue.

DeCoteau - photo credit Paul Nguyen with Polly Visuals.jpgDeCoteau is a music producer, sound mixologist and DJ.  She started doing gigs a couple of years ago and met other women who had talents in production, stage design and construction, and DJing. She saw there wasn’t a lot of support for women in these male-dominated industries, so in August, 2015 she formed a collective called BAE Worldwide. Their mission is to provide opportunities and a platform for women to showcase their skills in music and art.

“We want to change the idea that women are always fighting and competing,” says DeCoteau. “There’s an abundance and if we come together and help each other, we are powerful. We’ve been told as women there are things we can’t do. We want to demonstrate the liberation of doing something well, without regard to gender. If you are confident and working hard at your craft, you are a BAE.”

Come enjoy spins by DeCoteau, Hourglass and Ohso, and experience the global sounds of “Future Bass” a blend of hip-hop, jazz, R&B and electronica, when these three artists from BAE Worldwide host the stage at the ELEVATE Block Party from 6-11 pm on Friday, October 14.

josephine-figueroa-selfieJosephine Figueroa is a lens-based artist who has worked to cultivate the local art scene through memberships with Immersive Atlanta, Atlanta Film Society, and WonderRoot Community Arts Center. She is the founder of a Latinx Art Collective Somos Sur, and is committed to furthering representation of minority voices. She is excited to share culture and empower diverse communities.

Figueroa is creating an immersive video and sound installation for ELEVATE entitled “You Are Here.”  She’s spent of lot of time in South Downtown talking with residents and small business owners to gather histories and untold stories of the area. She will use video from those conversations in her installation, as well as myriad of sounds from the streets…traffic, music, people greeting each other at the local barber and coffee shops.

“There are a lot of long-time residents who know the history and whose lives are invested there, but they don’t feel their voices are important,” explains Figueroa. “I hope when you step into my installation and hear their stories; it will arouse your curiosity about what else is there, and see that it’s important to include local people in planning the future of the area.”

“You Are Here” will be open at H.L. Green on October 14 at 6 pm and will be open during gallery hours through October 21.

danielle-deadwyler-photo-credit-breeanne-clowdusDanielle Deadwyler is an artist whose talents include acting, dancing, creative writing and filmmaking. On stage she has performed at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Aurora Theatre and the Alliance Theatre. Her TV credits include a guest star role on BET’s “Being Mary Jane,” and as a cast member on the OWN Network’s Tyler Perry series, “The Haves and the Have Nots.” As a budding filmmaker her projects include Ir/Reconcilable, a short film starring Jasmine Guy, Dick Gregory and Crystal Fox and SuPerHeRoInUh, which was shown for a year in the International Terminal at Hartsfield Jackson Airport as part of the Atlanta Film Festival 40th Anniversary.

Deadwyler is creating a live action, multi-media performance for ELEVATE which she hopes will illuminate the lives of Black women in our society who are laboring in the shadows but who are out in plain view: domestic workers, mothers going about their daily tasks, women going to work or school on MARTA, dancers at area clubs. The first half of her performance will be on the street and will be accompanied by a sonic mix including Rihanna’s “Work” and Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money.” The second half of the performance will be done to a video installation depicting images of women who are often seen as sexual objects, instead of who they are as people.

“What does it mean to be a Black woman in these various spaces?” asks Deadwyler. “I want to honor women who are often invisible and bring forward their identities. And I want to cause a shift so maybe we can see past their tireless work, and see the value of Black women in their communities.”

Deadwyler’s performance will begin on Metropolitan Parkway and will end on Broad Street at the Downtown Players Club. It will take place between 6:30-9 pm on Friday, October 14.

shelia turner - photo credit Connie G. Cross.jpgshelia turner is a photographer, social documentarian and educator.  Her work is based in photojournalism, but is grounded in social commentary. turner’s photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally including at Goethe-Institut Accra, Ghana, West Africa; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, GA; Bryn Mawr University, Bryn Mawr, PA; University of Delaware, Wilmington, DE; Spelman College, Atlanta, GA; Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA; Clemson University, Clemson, SC and the YWCA Berkeley, CA.  She is the founder of the renowned African American women photography collective, Sistagraphy.

“My exhibit has a couple of themes,” says turner. “I want to comment on the Black Lives Matter movement by showing our long history of protest, with photos spanning a couple of decades. African Americans have a strong tradition of going to the streets to discuss our discontent when we don’t feel our voices are being heard. The intent of my photographs is to join the conversation and help offer solutions of how we can regain trust.”

“The other theme my photos depict is gentrification,” continues turner. “I lived in the Fourth Ward in Atlanta from 1999-2006. My photos are a pivotal look at the neighborhood prior to the major changes that have occurred there. I want people to see the history of the people that have lived there and think about how we balance progress without losing our history. How can both worlds live together?”

turner’s work will be part of Sisters Song: Awaken, an exhibition at Gallery 72 featuring the work of Atlanta women photographers, on view during ELEVATE from October 13 through October 21.

Sponsors for ELEVATE are Son & Sons, MailChimp, Living Walls, Fulton County Arts & Culture, Standard Press, Atlanta Tent Rentals, LowCountry Catering, Crystal Springs, LAZ Parking and Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. Media Partners include: Creative Loafing and Scoutmob.

The 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. ELEVATE is a program of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. For a schedule of events for ELEVATE visit the web site: http://www.elevateatlart.com.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Karen Hatchett, Hatchett PR at karen@hatchettpr.com.

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