Best Of Atlanta Poets Large1

Poets, Artists & Madmen

It doesn’t take a peek into Ponce City Market or walk along the Atlanta Beltine to know that the city of Atlanta’s landscape is in the midst of a rapid transformation. Whether or not all of this stadium and streetcar building will benefit the city’s greater cultural good remains to be seen. But like any major development in Atlanta’s historic past one thing that has always remained constant is the artistic community’s willingness to adapt, adjust, and stay inspired.

Case and point: This year’s Forward Warrior Project in Cabbagetown, spearheaded by local artist Peter Ferrari. In a year where Living Walls took some time off, and neighborhoods are losing character one mixed-use development at a time, Ferrari and co. brought more than 30 local visual artists out to cover the walls along Wylie Street in June. Going down in a historic neighborhood, relatively untouched by outside corporate hands, the resulting event showed how strong and inspirational our native creatives are.

This year we wanted to highlight the people, places, and organizations that have and still do fuel the city’s artistic spirit in the face of unprecedented change. Whereas old faithfuls such as the Fox Theatre and Adult Swim — which continues to put out quality, bat-shit-crazy programming 15 years after its launch — have stuck to their guns, there’s also a new crop of names filling voids left by creatives past.

Murmur Media, aka the Atlanta Zine Fest, opened its permanent space in South Downtown this summer, and now local zinesters have a venue to mix, mingle, and, most importantly, create. In a year where social justice and injustice was a hot-button issue, Wussy Mag emerged as thoughtful, well-curated voice for the city’s LGBTQ community.

The last year also saw more than $6 billion come through the state thanks to television and film production crews. On any given day there’s at least 30 productions being filmed in Georgia, so we decided to show love to some of the best in local TV and film. The local lit scene is still going strong, so we put the spotlight on everyone from the ol’ school players (Write Club) to the new-school fools (Lit. Atlanta). And how would we be able to keep track of all of this without our local documentarians? We turned the lens on four photographers (Ryan Vizzions, Julian Plowden, @welovebuhi, and Proph Bundy) who, in their own distinct styles, help us visualize Atlanta’s past, present, and future.

Regardless of what Atlanta looks like in years to come, you can bet that the visual and performing artists will have their say. We — residents, politicians, and civic leaders — owe it to ourselves to stop, look, and listen to their messages.

— Gavin Godfrey, Culture Editor

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