June Cause Area: Arts and Culture in Atlanta

Atlanta is one of the most well-known cultural hubs in the country. Talented artists of many styles and formats call this city home. For the month of June, Pebble Tossers is focusing on the importance and uniqueness of the Arts and Culture in Atlanta. Arts and Culture is a wide-ranging subject with much room for interpretation. This month, we will highlight talented local artists of all disciplines, cultural and artistic initiatives that benefit the community, and why a focus and respect for the arts is so beneficial.

Pebble Tossers has a long history of supporting the arts and culture of Atlanta. We partner with multiple nonprofit organizations that prioritize art education and art-related community engagement. In the past, Pebble Tossers’ has provided volunteer docents for the  Woodruff Arts Center and provided holiday and summer camp counselors for the Spruill Center. In 2021, we partnered with the Spruill Center to install a 2021 origami dove exhibit that contained over 2021 handmade doves! We also have a longtime partnership with the Foundation for Hospital Art and have assisted in volunteer opportunities for a variety of their projects. Check our monthly service calendar here to see what volunteer opportunities Pebble Tossers has to offer. 


The Arts in Atlanta

Since the early 1900s, metro Atlanta has been one of the most influential cities to continuously encourage artistic expression in the United States. Most notably, Atlanta has seen its fair share of musical movements. From being a prominent country music hub in the 1920s to southern rock in the 1970s, and even punk rock in the 1980s! Starting in the 1990s, Hip Hop and Rap coming from Atlanta-based groups like Outkast began to dominate the charts. Nowadays, Atlanta is known for its uniquely powerful and expressive rap scene, being the home to many artists at the top of their game like Gucci Mane, Cardi B, 2 Chainz, and many more.

Atlanta is also known for its moniker as the “Hollywood of the South”. This is partly due to the lower cost of living, diverse landscape, and experienced local crew members. In 2018, the government of Georgia estimated an economic boost of 9.5 billion dollars thanks to tourism and job opportunities created by the local film industry. Current movies and television filming in Atlanta include Cobra Kai, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Ozark, Stranger Things, and more!

If it’s art museums you’re looking for, Atlanta has plenty to offer. There are galleries that feature local artists and exhibitions, like the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and the ZuCot Gallery. In addition, there are institutions like The High Museum of Art that contain pieces from international masters such as Monet, Pissaro, and Matisse. If those examples are a bit too intimidating for the younger ones, try the Center for Puppetry Arts, home to the world’s most extensive collection of Jim Henson artifacts. 


Positive Affects on Arts and Culture on the mind and the  Community

The cultural importance of art-based education and other enriching programs hosted by organizations like ArtsGeorgia and Spruill Center for the Arts cannot be understated. The positive effects of art activities on the mind are especially impactful for children. According to an article posted by Michigan State University, young people practice fine motor, math, and language skills when participating in art-related activities. They also have significant cognitive development after engaging in activities like painting and coloring. A focus on creativity and artistic expression as a child creates a more open-minded adult. This leads them to be better equipped to find inventive and original ways to solve problems in their everyday life.

Historically, the arts have also been a critical method for members of underrepresented communities to express themselves and share their stories. Many use the arts to work through their own thoughts and feelings about the world around them. While others create as an avenue to vent their frustration, tell a story of their community, or paint a hopeful picture of the future. Noted performance artist Luis Alfaro said this about his goal as an artist: “The goal is the create the world that you want to see…That’s always, always, always a challenge”.

A focus on the arts is not only beneficial for the mind, but also for your community. Street art, murals, statues, and even the layout of a public park would not be possible without talented local artists. While it may seem simple, giving a seemingly mundane street corner or a nondescript building some color and character will contribute to the overall identity and uniqueness of your city in a very noticeable way. The Arts also provide significant economic benefits to the surrounding community. Whether it brings out-of-town visitors keen to see the work of local artists or new employment opportunities for locals, the impact of a booming art scene is consistently positive. Joan Compton articulated the economic importance of the arts to Atlanta during a 2017 forum on Arts and Economic Prosperity, saying “ The arts are an employer, a driver of the economy, and a catalyst of growth”. 


Nonprofit Partners:

The Woodruff Arts Center
This incredible community resource is home to the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the High Museum of Art Atlanta. Whether you want to see a show or enjoy some local or international artwork, this is the place for you! Find more information here

Foundation for Hospital Art
A truly unique organization with an awesome goal, the Foundation for Hospital Art aims to encourage patients and volunteers to create art to hang in hospitals. Doing this not only helps the patients to spend their time expressing themselves artistically, hanging the art in their room also creates a more comfortable space. In addition to hosting painting events at hospitals, the Foundation also provides kits for at-home painting. Find more information here

Spruill Center for the Arts
According to their site, “The Spruill Center will be a beacon for the community by providing access and opportunities for all to create and enjoy the arts.” The Spruill Center hosts a variety of Adult and Children’s art classes and workshops, as well as special events like educational panels and discussions on exhibits housed within the Center. They also have yearly Summer Camp programs! Find more information here