By Loli Lucaciu, Marketing Manager at The Woodruff Arts Center
“You matter – your thoughts and feelings matter!” Iyanla Vanzant, an American inspirational speaker, lawyer and teacher, was shouting at me on my way to work this morning. While I’m no Iyanla Vanzant speaking on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, I second her fired-up statement, especially as it pertains to young, up-and-coming artists in Atlanta.
What’s important about young – oftentimes underground – artists, is that they focus on merging multiple facets of life and art, while putting a premium on their youth and embracing it as a fertile land of energy, discovery, ideas and lack of inhibition. In the era of Instagram overshare, they take their ripest ideas, put them online, and hope others bite the bait. As an ambitious artist just starting, using social media as a platform might be your fastest and best bet, especially if you lack the formal arts training that may land you the recognition you deserve.
I contend that “online-backed artistic debuts,” especially those that build positive public feedback, should be given more credit by and support from established artists, art institutions and art publications. Why? Because the 21st century requires adopting new platforms for art proliferation. Because there’s talent and truth behind the screen. Because young artists are in the trenches of the art world, reflecting what actually happens in the cities they inhabit and the communities they belong to. Most are not yet protected by the silver dome of success and they may just have less to lose and more to express on topics of growth, struggle, love, poverty and connection – through lyrics, visual art, photography and sound.
To the established – local or not – artists and institutions whose influence rings far: turn your senses and pockets toward Atlanta’s young population and transform its online potential into all-scale glory. Listen to @meggyamillz or @kiyalacey and give them large stages to play on; take in @artguillory and @markeidric ’s visual art and display it for the masses; remember your youth / remember you’re young with @dontemaurice and @christian__cody ’s photography and feature them in major publications. It only takes a couple of clicks.
To Atlanta’s young, brilliant artists: keep posting, collaborating, seeking experienced mentors and radiating the city’s energy and truth. Keep creating opportunities for yourselves, exhibiting in @WishATL-like galleries and organizing creative underground movements like @vain.us. All that because young culture in Atlanta matters and because you, your thoughts, feelings – and the ways you express them – matter.