On August 8-11, Atlanta’s grassroots arts community celebrated its existence with creation at the Art.Music.Film.Movement. (A.M.F.M.) Summer Festival, presented by Art on the Beltline, an organization that “celebrates the voices, experiences, and values of all Atlantans through the work of hundreds of visual artists, performers, and musicians along the Atlanta Beltline corridor.”
For the A.M.F.M. festival, Art on the Beltline collaborated with the National Black Arts Festival, a nonprofit organization committed to providing artistic and creative programming and education to creatives in the Atlanta area, and ARTlanta Gallery, an arts space and collective that provides a space, platform and community for underexposed creatives.
In addition, Art on the Beltline also partnered with The Bakery, a non-profit organization and artist complex that provides an event space, art gallery, and all-around community to grassroots Atlanta creatives.
The Bakery’s community space at 825 Warner Street in downtown Atlanta was made up of a large yard, with a sprawling industrial block of a building, sitting squat and long in the middle of it. The warehouse looked as though the artists of Atlanta reclaimed it, and then immediately took to creating beauty on the once-gray walls. The Bakery’s peculiar space stretched into the greenery behind it, and surrounded itself with every colorful quirk the DIY arts community has to offer, spilling from corners and counters, nooks and stairways. People of every age, color, and type drifted in and out of the various attractions, The Bakery’s showcases, or else huddled inside the building’s interior.
The warehouse halls were painted with murals that flowed across the walls, and underneath them, community activists, artists and organizers tacked onto them their names, organizations, and purposes. There were adults and children that drifted through, reaching out to touch the flyers, or take a picture, before returning to the excitement of the courtyard.
The festivities of the courtyard, as well as parts of the main building, included various art exhibitions, interactive installations, demonstrations, pop-ups, performances, screenings, speakers, and food trucks. The A.M.F.M. festival was free to the public and welcoming to any age.
The festival activities kicked off each day with movement classes or demonstrations and public art discussion. Evenings featured screenings, and climaxed with the Beltline After Dark concert series.
The festival also included performances featuring BENT Frequency and the Atlanta Opera, along with a Hundo Show, which was an art sale highlighting the work of local creatives. Finally, the festival concluded with programming such as the National Black Arts Festival and ARTlanta Gallery presented fashion show, and the Atlanta Indie Market.
Color, sound, feeling – they were all magnified by the spirit of the afternoon, which became so tangible that it was like a warm breath of sunlight on the skin. The A.M.F.M. festival, celebrated the diverse art, stories, and individuals that exist in the Southwest Atlanta community of young, emerging creatives. And though Art on the Beltline arts programming has concluded for August, the organization’s annual exhibition has more beauty and wonder in store for the Atlanta creative community.
Erin Davis is a 17-year old photographer, writer and creative. She is a journalist and Atlanta Teen Voices and Vox Investigates Co-Editor with VOX ATL, and also happens to be both an avid follower and documentarian of the under-represented facets of the Atlanta arts scene.