Walthall Artist Fellowship

In 2012, WonderRoot saw the need for professional development programming for the Atlanta arts community. While historically artists' educational backgrounds succeed in equipping them with technical skills, there are often deficiencies in how artists are instructed to navigate the pragmatisms of their careers.

WonderRoot conducted numerous surveys and interviews with local artists and impactful arts organizations, including Creative Capitol and the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), to identify critical concerns that would enable the professional advancement of artists and build a sustainable arts ecosystem in Atlanta. Of the responses collected, five key needs stood out: cultivation of a peer network; access to knowledge, skills, and tools for a professional practice; access to key decision makers; exhibition opportunities; and time for retreat and reflection. With the five areas of interest, the framework for the Walthall Artist Fellowship was developed.

The Walthall Artist Fellowship seeks to forever impact the participating artists by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, community-base and access to significantly advance and define their careers. Through a competitive application process, 12 artists who demonstrate both success and potential to have a working career as an artist in Atlanta will be selected for this year-long program.

*Applications are now open for 2018-2019 Walthall Fellows. The deadline to apply is April 29.*


Vanessa Brook Williams is an Atlanta-based artist whose delicate work ranges from small sculptures to room sized installations. She grew up in Decatur, GA in front of her father’s lens and in the dust of her mother’s ceramic studio. This happy childhood laid the groundwork for her creative pursuits as an adult. Over the years she has focused on the technical and conceptual development of her work through research in her studio with the support of community and education. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2007 and completed a Post Baccalaureate at Burren College of Art in 2010. In 2013-2014 she was a recipient of Mint Gallery’s emerging artist fellowship, Leap Year, has been a fellow of the Hambidge Center since 2014, and was a finalist for the Forward Arts Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award in 2015-16 and 2017-18.


Claire Chambless is a multi-disciplinary, conceptual artist working in sculptural painting, installation, sculpture and collage. She received her B.A. in Studio Art from Davidson College in 2012, where she was the James G. Pepper Scholar and recepient of the Douglas Houchens Art Award. Over the last 10 years, she has had both solo and group exhibitions of her work in numerous venues throughout the Southeastern US and Europe. In the summer of 2016, she was granted a residency at the Villarcangel Cultural Center in Valencia, Spain. In 2017 past and slated exhibitons include numerous group shows, including the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, a solo exhibition at Bill Lowe Gallery in Atlanta, and a collaborative two-person exhibition in Los Angeles. She has received numerous research grants and published art criticism on notable contemporary artists. She currently lives and works in Atlanta.


Jeremi Johnson is a musician and visual artist currently living in Atlanta,GA. In his work, he draws   inspiration from surrealism and Afro‐futurism and explores themes of spirituality, mysticism, technology,   and nature. His primary medium is electronic music and production. As 10th Letter, he has produced 16   records in the last 4 years, most of them gaining merit from local publications, and in some cases national   and international publications. He also creates psychedelic video and digital collages, which are often   presented alongside his music.


Nicole Benner is a textile artist and Visiting Lecturer in Textiles at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. She received an MFA in Textile Arts from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a BFA in Sculpture from the University of Central Missouri. Nicole’s work examines the numerous layers of the body affected by chronic pain, as it relates to spinal health, through objects that exist on the body or with a close relationship to the human anatomy.Most recently her work has begun to explore performance as a way to narrate her textile sculptures. As part of Fiber Art Now magazine’s annual Excellence in Fibers exhibition, Nicole was awarded the Paul J. Smith Award for Excellence in Fibers, and her work was featured in the 2016 winter issue. Additionally, her work was published in the Surface Design Association’s 2016 winter journal and will be a part of the Crossing Generations: Past, Present & Future exhibition at the 2017 SDA Conference in Portland, Oregon.


Meredith Kooi (b. 1985, Chicago, IL) is a visual and performance artist, critic, curator, and educator based in ATL. Using research-based and process-based practices, Meredith engages radio broadcast, performance, drawing, mapping, writing, book-making, zines, video, photography, and installation to illuminate the embodied and multi-layered nature of place. In recent years, Meredith has been working collaboratively, connecting with others in conversations, oftentimes broadcasting those dialogues on air using her platform ENTER THE BUCKY DOME ZONE. She is currently working on a large-scale community-based audio project in her neighborhood (Pittsburgh) with fellow residents.

Danielle Deadwyler is a congregation of artistic personas and firebrand talent. Her
sophisticated spunk and ingenuity is reflected on stages, screens, and pages. The Atlanta
native’s artistry is rooted in theatre, dance, and creative writing. Nurtured at hometown staples such as Gate City Heritage House, Total Dance Theatre, Gary Harrison Studios, Atlanta Street Theatre, Henry Grady High, and Spelman College, Deadwyler’s skills have been honed almost wholly amongst a distinctly Southern landscape. After venturing north to study under Dr. Robin D. G. Kelley, she deepened her analysis of issues facing women and African Americans while attaining a Master’s of Arts in American Studies from Columbia University. As a professional actor, Deadwyler has performed in productions with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Aurora Theatre and the Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre.


Steffen Sornpao is an artist and curator living and working in Atlanta, GA. Steffen graduated with a BFA with a concentration in photography from Georgia State University in 2015 where he was the inaugural winner of the Mark Phillips Art & Design Scholarship. He has show extensively throughout the Atlanta area. He’s shown in group shows at Swan Coach House Gallery, The Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, Sandler Hudson Gallery, The Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scoot and Jennifer Schwartz Gallery. He recently had a solo show up at the Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art in 2017. Steffen was published in the November/December 2016 issue of Art Papers. He currently co-directs an artist run space called Good Enough.

Ebony Blanding (b. Atlanta, GA. 1985) is a writer and filmmaker living and working in Atlanta, Georgia. Blanding’s work elucidates women and people of color existing in fullness cinematically. As an indie filmmaker, she has engaged in Atlanta Film Society Filmmaker-In-Residence Program and on the board of LadyFest and Eyedrum film committee. Additionally, she is allied with New Mavericks and Film Fatales Atlanta to aid in the bloom of Atlanta’s indie film community. Blanding uses moving pictures and narratives as ascensions to glorify black renaissance and believes the creation of complex and beautifully simplistic characters of color in film are an artistic act of activism.

Davion Alston (b.1992) received his BFA in studio art
with a focus in Photography as well as a Minor in Anthropology from Georgia State University in 2016. His work debates the idea of conflation between object and subject with deft investigations of race, gender, sexuality, class, and performance. Alston has been featured online by websites such as VICE’s The Creators Project, ArtsATL, BURNAWAY, and The Southern Photographer. He is one of Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2015‘ Ones to Watch’ Recipient, a 2015 Idea Capital Grant Recipient,
and a 2016 Anderson Ranch Scholar. He has exhibited locally in galleries and Museums such as Atlanta Photography Group, Hathaway Contemporary, and The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia to national levels such as the inaugural Queer exhibition at Yale University’s Green Gallery, Winston-Salem State University’s Diggs Gallery, and Art Basel Miami Projects Gallery.
Anicka Austin is an Atlanta-based choreographer and movement artist. She graduated with honors from Kennesaw State University with a B.A in Dance. Austin is an artist who uses experimental and mindful use of the body to uplift beauty and search deeply for joy. She aims to create color and design savvy performances that are layered, playful, and intimate love affairs. Work that shifts perspective on how we relate to the world and how we excavate our inherent capacity to generate massive change. She acknowledges the healing power of movement and it’s necessity in our collective wellness, our ability to thrive and our connection to our ancestral roots and to each other. Exploring the healing power of color, she self-produced the ongoing collaborative exhibition CHROMA with photographer Crystal Monds. CHROMA won Best New Dance Troupe in Creative Loafings Best of Atlanta 2016 and was commissioned by Elevate Atlanta. She has been a Lucky Penny Work Room resident artist in their beautiful East Point home for nearly two year.


Patrick Di Rito earned a Bachelors of Science in Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He helped form gray_matter(s), an artist collective and critical publication. He collaborated on site-specific installations for Flux 2011, whitespec, Stubbins Studio Gallery, and the Beaux Arts Ball. In 2011, he worked with Art Along the Atlanta Beltline and collaborated to create a digitally fabricated site-specific installation: Vaulted Vornoi. He is a 2013 Atlanta Printmaking Studio Emerging Artist Resident. His work displayed at Portal Gallery and Blue Mark Studios explored themes of identity, self-destruction, and cognitive dissonance.

He is a 2016 Hambidge Fellow. This residency was critical in shaping his Queer Color Series. It was here he first explored using pattern in the created worlds. He also explored shooting outside as a part of the color series, both of these helped shape the atmosphere of the body of work. He has shown excerpts of this series at the Hambidge Art Auction, Mammal Gallery, and Murmur Gallery. Excerpts have been published in Number: Ninety and Wussy Vol 2.

CC Calloway has a BFA in printmaking and Book Arts from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia where she was selected to be an Area Scholar for her department and studies at Penland School of Craft, where she received the Windgate Scholarship Working in a wide range of media from silkscreen printing, papermaking, and sculpture. Calloway uses the process of collection and repurposing of ephemera to locate glimpses of emotional honesty in the fast-paced culture of the digital world. A prolific tweeter since age 15, she gains most of her insight through writing. Her work is the embodiment of waste both virtual and physical, creating intimate images and objects for people to connect with. She has written and self -published four books including one photography book entitled My Favorite Word is Nothing. She is currently writing her fifth book, Long Lasting Chew.

Addison Adams is a visual artist and experimental musician based in Atlanta, GA. He received his BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Georgia in 2012 and has continued developing his work in painting as well as his experimentation with sculpture, installation, performance art, and film. Adams has performed at the High Museum of Art, the Goat Farm Art Center, and MINT gallery. In addition, he has exhibited his paintings and video art in galleries throughout the Southeast including MOCA GA, ATHICA, andNon-‐‐Fiction Gallery.



Morgan Carlisle is and does a lot of things. An Entrepreneur and Freelancer, she is alsoBoard Chair and Cochair of the Performance Committee at Eyedrum and a CommitteeMember for the MAD (Modern Atlanta Dance) Festival. Her newest endeavor includehelping produce free community dance classes for professionals with Otis Sallid and theInstitute for Creative Learning. As a choreographer, dancer, dance educator andcurator, Morgan seeks to broaden and diversify Atlanta’s cultural arts scene. Morgan was a homeschooler who at the age of fourteen, enrolled at Murray StateUniversity to study dance and German. During that time, she danced for the MurrayState University Dance Company for four years, attending American College DanceFestivals, summer intensives to Alvin Ailey and the Joffrey Ballet in New York and touring with the Jackson Purchase Dance Company. Years later, she holds a BA in Dance from Kennesaw State University. Morgan has performed for many influential choreographers such as Caitlin Trainor, Ivan Pulinkala,George Staib, Sandra Parks, Hez Stalcup, Anicka Austin, Shawn Evangelista, GabriellaDorado, Dana Woodruff, Corian Ellisor and T.Lang.Her choreography has been shown at:
  • The American College Dance Festival
  • The Earl Smith Strand Theater
  • Kennesaw State University 
  • Atlanta Ballet’s ribbon cutting ceremony of the Michael C. Carlos Centre,
  •  Dance Chance 
  • Emory’s Zombie Ethics Convention 
  • Dance Canvas
  • Eyedrum’s Existing Conditions 
  • The Atlanta Science Festival 
  • Mint Gallery’s Leap Year Applicant Show 
  • The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation SEED Retreat 
  • Fulton County’s Dance Week

Last year, she selfproduced her own show TERABYTER. A production meshing dance,technology and theater. Morgan also shares an Idea Capital Grant with her husband Carlos for their new project“Left Out” coming soon!



Joe Camoosa is an artist and musician who lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia and makes paintings and drawings in a variety of media that explore cartography and the relationship between color, space and movement. 
He received an MFA in painting and drawing from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at theUniversity of Georgia and graduated from Florida State University where he studiedMass Communication and Anthropology.  Camoosa’s work is held in numerous corporate and private collections and has been exhibited in galleries in Atlanta,Nashville, Richmond and New York, and museums such as MOCA GA, AtlantaContemporary, The Hudgens Center for the Arts, The Georgia Museum of Art, TheMadison Museum of Fine Art and most recently The Macon Museum of Arts andSciences as part of their fourth annual Emerging Artists Exhibition.  He is currently a member of the Studio Artists Program at Atlanta Contemporary.  




Ali O’Leary grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She received her BA in American Studies and graduated with honors from Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City in 2010. O’Leary earned a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate at Maryland Institute College of Art in Studio Art in Baltimore, MD in 2011. She went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. O’Leary has exhibited in many group shows and museum shows in North Carolina since 2011. She lived in New York City for several years after graduate school and gained experience teaching art and photography to a wide range of students as well as working in the Fashion and Publishing Industries as an illustrator and studio assistant. In 2014 she was awarded an Artist Residency at Strathmore in Maryland. She also participated and installed a space at the Governor’s Island Art Fair in New York City in 2014. O’Leary recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia with her new husband. She taught Photography and Graphic Design at Westwood College for the past year. She currently works as an Adjunct Professor of Art Appreciation at Georgia Military College and also works as freelance photographer taking portraits. O’Leary has a unique set of skills ranging from digital editing and illustration to quilting to large-scale sculptural installations. She is an interdisciplinary mixed media artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. Her artwork explores how identity is linked to the items we amass. It deconstructs the relationship between the physical body and commercial objects. I utilize old clothing and recycled fabrics to create sculptures as representatives of the current state of a capitalist culture. The items are simultaneously playful, tactile, and puppet-like and frozen and stoic. By utilizing hand sewn textiles alongside the tar the work speaks to issues of class, labor, gender and race. Tar is redolent of the socially ostracized; those tarred and feathered. The sewing references craft, “women’s work,” and invites touch. O’Leary’s tar entombed sleek black textile sculptures and layered photographs conjure the elite while nodding to the ostracized, nostalgic and historic textures.


Nicole Johnson, Atlanta native and a founding artist of Fly on a Wall, is thrilled to find herself a part of an organism grown from the fertile and creative grounds of the vibrant city of Atlanta. As a young artist, shetrained at The Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education, and spent her summers gathering information from a number of different organizations, including ABT, Houston Ballet, Julliard, and Alonzo King’sLines Ballet. In 2006, she was invited to join the Atlanta Ballet, where she had the pleasure of performing works by a number of choreographers; George Balanchine, Diane Coburn Bruning, Alan Hineline, Stephen Mills,Micheal Pink, Stanton Welch, and Lila York.  Some of her highlight roles included Caribosse in JohnMcFall’s Sleeping Beauty, Jordan in Lauri Stalling’s and John McFall’s The Great Gatsby, Stomper inTwyla Tharps In the Upper Room, and Savannah in Lauri Staling’s BIG.  In the summer of 2008 she also had the opportunity to work in San Francisco with The Foundry in Alex Ketly’s Monument.  Upon returning to Atlanta, she graduated Suma Cum Laude from Georgia State University with a degree inHistory and Sociology.  In 2009 she began to spend more intimate time in the studio, with dance maker Lauri Stalling’s and this led to the formation of  gloATL, a platform for contemporary movement language and physical gesture. In her five years helping to build gloATL, she learned a great deal about herself, Atlanta, and the relationship between art and the individuals experiencing it.  This involvement provided new perspectives into her art form and a heightened level of respect for the many facets of a sustainable arts organization in the contemporary world. As a dancer with glo she was a part of numerous experiences created for Atlanta and beyond, from Rapt in 2009 to The Social Animal in 2013. Through these works she enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with a number of collaborators including Big Boi, Sonic Generator, The Atlanta Opera, Micah Stansel, andRobert Spano.  Nicoles numerous opportunities to work with artists across mediums has given her the understanding that all work is truly collaborative at heart, and she thrives on creative processes that ask
more of individuals so that they might achieve something greater than themselves. This belief led to the creation of Fly on Wall with Sean Hilton and Nathan Griswold.  Fly on Wall’sArtistic Directors began working together in the spring of 2014 with a desire to work across mediums and give a voice to Dance Theatre in Atlanta. The creative process that Fly on a Wall uses is unique in that there isn’t a lead choreographer or director, instead the process is truly collaborative and ideas are able to flow freely and change with ease as everyone has equal input. This collaborative nature extends beyond dance; Fly collaborates with, actors, filmmakers, animation artists, and musicians.
Since 2014 Fly on a Wall has created eight original works for Atlanta including multimedia performances, installations, and 4 original dance films. They were presented by Dashboard, held community classes for dancers and non-‐‐dancers alike, and were Distinguished Fellows with a Fulton County Arts Council Scholarship at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences.  CurrentlyFly on a Wall is working with Dashboard and the Alliance Theater for the Very Young on Babies inSpace, an immersive installation and performance experience for 0-‐‐2 year olds.
Fly on a Wall is interested in shifting perspectives and allowing audiences to discover their own unique viewpoint as they experience the work. This interest has manifested itself not only as inventive movement generation but also in the building of performance structures that enhance their work and provide another dimension to the collective’s repertoire. Performance structures that Fly on a Wall has created include: 4×8 ft. Plexiglas prisms for Art on the Atlanta Beltline, a tandem bicycle that generated power for a light bulb in Dashboards Shifting Scapes, and a creation, during their Dashboard residency, of an abstract home made of 20 ft. floor to ceiling paper panels. Once completed, each of these structures housed physical theatre works performed by Fly on a Wall.

Nicole feels fortunate to find herself inside this nourishing environment that supports her growth as an artist. She thanks her wonderful family for their love, support and belief of a life in the arts.



Wihro Kim was born in New York and raised in Georgia. From an early age, he showed an interest in art and a natural propensity towards drawing and other creative endeavors. He attended Georgia State University from 2010 to 2015 and received his BFA in painting. It was during Wihros studies at GSU that he started his current body of work, dealing with memories and perceptions, and since then his work has evolved while maintaining the same interests. Also during his time at GSU,he was awarded the Vera Jernigan Green Memorial Art Award, a merit based award given to “the most promising art student with a major concentration in painting”.Shortly after graduating, Wihro began showing in group shows in spaces for emerging artists in Atlanta, such as MINT Gallery, 368 Ponce, Mammal Gallery, and HiLo Press. Most notable among these shows is “Where We Have Been, Where WeAre Going”, MINT Gallery’s third annual juried exhibition, cojuried by Micah andWhitney Stansell, where he was awarded “Local Best in Show”. He continues to show work regularly in Atlanta.


Macey Ley is a mixedmedia artist living and working in Atlanta, Georgia. The form of her workfollows the concept and ranges from painting and sculpture to installations and artist books. Shecompleted her BFA in photography at the University of New Mexico, studied book arts at StudioArts Center International in Florence, Italy, and earned her MFA at the Savannah College of Artand Design. She is an independent corporate event producer and creative director and has curatedshows and exhibited her artwork throughout the United States and Italy. Ley’s work can be found in a myriad of public and private art collections. Recent exhibitionsinclude Ley Lines at Hammond Hall Gallery at Jacksonville State University, The Book As Art: No
Jacket Required with the Decatur Arts Alliance, Intertwined a traveling exhibition with theSoutheast Fiber Arts Alliance, PEACE: What Does It Mean to You? at the Breman Museum,
Directors Invitational at Abecedarian Gallery, Mending: New Uses for Old Traditions at CAB ArtGallery at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and at LaGrange Art Museum in the
LaGrange National XXIX Biennial. 


Steve Morrison received his BFA (Illustration) in 2006, and his MFA (Painting) in 2015. His studio practice involves animated gifs, figurative painting, social media, early cinema, computer glitches, theatrical design, culinary exploration, alchemy, and folk magic. Using paint, animation, digital processes, and sculpture, his art enacts the tragicomic theater of impermanence.

In 2015, he was a finalist for the Working Artist Project (MOCA-GA), curated by Siri Engberg of the Walker Art Center. He has received several grants from the Center For Puppetry Arts, in addition to numerous other awards and honors.

Morrison currently resides in Atlanta.



Tori Tinsley (b. 1980) received her BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Michigan,MAAT in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is currently pursuing her MFA in Painting and Drawing from Georgia State University. In the summer of 2014, she was a resident fellow at Hambidge and will be attending the Vermont Studio Center in June2016. Tori is a WonderRoot Season 07 CSA Artist, a 2015 Idea Capital Grant recipient, and her work was chosen for the upcoming South issue of 
New American Paintings. Currently, she is planning a solo exhibition at Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery in Atlanta, GA. Tori is represented by 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace in Gold Coast, Australia and Tasini Gallery in New York.
More information can be found at www.toritinsley.com

San Francisco‐based queer artist Charlie Watts seeks to create images not of this world, to use photography as a stepping‐stone to the unknown realm just past the peripheral edge of consciousness. She creates images to bring imagination into fruition and provide a visual escape from the mundane to the fantastical.This spring, Watts finished an MFA program in photography with the San Francisco Art Institute after graduating with highest honors and a B.A. in art history and visual arts at Emory University. She has been a member of the Dashboard CO‐OP and a resident with The Creatives Project, through which she teaches photography in underserved neighborhoods. Her photographs are heavily performance‐based and have been exhibited at Fort Mason, SomARTS, Root Division, WhiteSpec, the Diego Rivera Gallery, Mason Murer, Barbra Archer Gallery, and “Boom City” with the Dashboard CO‐OP. Her photographic exploration to raise awareness of sex trafficking in Atlanta, The ThrowAways, currently is on display at the Rollins School of Public Health. In 2011, Watts received the Emory Center for Creativity and the Arts Community ImpactAward, and she is the recipient of grants from the City of Atlanta’s Office of Culture.



Cosmo Whyte was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica in 1982. The Jamaican born artist attended Bennington College in Vermont for his Bachelor in Fine ArtsMaryland Institute College of Art for his PostBaccalaureate Certificate and the University of Michigan for his MFA. He has been in a number of exhibitions including the 2013 Forward Arts Foundation Artist of the yearRetrospective in Atlanta, 2012 “Outward Reach: 9 Jamaican Photography and New Media Artists” at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington,DC2011 “African Continuum” at the United Nations Gallery in New York,2011 Mover and Shaker show at Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia and the 2010 and 2014 Jamaica Biannual. In 2010 he was the winner of theForward Art emerging artist of the year award. In 2015 he was the recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s “Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award”. Cosmo Whyte is currently a professor at Morehouse College. 


Congratulations to the 2017-2018 Walthall Artist Fellows – 

Vanessa Brook Williams, Patrick Di Rito, Anicka Austin, Davion Alston, Ebony Blanding, Steffen Sornpao, Danielle Deadwyler, Meredith Kooi, Claire Chambless, CC Calloway, Nicole Benner, and Jeremy Johnson. 


The Walthall Artist Fellowship is WonderRoot’s signature professional development program for artists at pivotal stages in their careers. In it’s sixth year, the Fellowship seeks to forever impact the participating artists by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, community-base, and access points to significantly advance and define their careers. Through a competitive application process, 12 artists who demonstrate both success and potential to have a working career as an artist in Atlanta are selected for this year-long program. The program is open to artists who work in a variety of disciplines but symposia presenters are more frequently visual arts professionals and the closing exhibition will be held at a visual arts institution. Program elements include: 

– Monthly symposia with Atlanta’s leading arts professionals. Topics range from understand contracts and intellectual property, to working with institutions, marketing, and building a portfolio.

– Monthly roundtables in which Fellows lead discussion about critical issues to their practice

– Individualized one-to-one informal mentorships for each Fellow

– A 5-day residency on Ossabaw Island

– A group exhibition featuring all twelve fellows at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia

Sarah Higgins is Curator at the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University. She has curated over 30 exhibitions featuring a diverse range of emerging, established, and international artists for institutions such as theHessel Museum of Art, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. She holds a M.A. in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard), where she also served as Graduate Program Coordinator from 2013-2015.

She was Curatorial Coordinator for the 2013 MFA Thesis Exhibition, Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College and has been a Curatorial Fellow under Lauren Cornell at the New Museum in NYC. She was a member of the curatorial team for the exhibition 199A-199B, a retrospective of works from the 1990s by Liam Gillick at the Hessel Museum at Bard. Prior to attending CCS Bard, Sarah was Community Arts Director at Atlantic Center for the Arts from 2007 – 2011. There, she served as curator of Atlantic Center’s Harris House Gallery, developed multidisciplinary youth arts and residency programs, and managed community outreach and educational programming. Before 2007, she was Assistant Director of Parchman Stremmel Gallery and an Educator at ArtPace, both in San Antonio, Texas. She holds a B.F.A. from Atlanta College of Art in sculpture and printmaking. 

Sarah Higgins 1

Danielle Brutto is an artist working out of Atlanta. She attended Parsons the New School for Design where she received a Bachelors in Fine Art. While she indulges a variety of artistic ventures, her main medium of choice is paint. Whether it’s performance art, or experimenting with sound, her sensitivity to material and concept mirrors, often even directly references, her relationship to paint.


Manty Dey was born in Kumarghat, India and raised in Atlanta. She received a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Georgia State University in 2010 and an MFA from the University of Georgia in 2014. Dey has exhibited her work at the Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences, Georgia Museum of Art, MOCA GA, Mint Gallery, and Lyndon House Art Center. In April 2015, she was awarded a full fellowship to Vermont Student Center for an artist residency.


Rachel K. Garceau is a studio artist currently living and working in Atlanta, and has been recognized as a 2015 Emerging Artist by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. She utilizes large slip-cast porcelain forms to construct site-specific installations. Her work is often born from a curiosity about an object or a place and a desire to come to a deeper understanding of it.


Margaret Hiden was born in Birmingham, Alabama where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography from Birmingham-Southern College. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta where she currently resides as an artist and educator. She serves as Part-Time Assistant Professor of Photography at Kennesaw State University and Adjunct Instructor at Atlanta Technical College


Rameses Jones is an independent artist. He received a BFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA in 2009. He wants his work to be relevant to be both the scholar and the dilettante, the devoted fan and the committed collector. It is his belief that art is a cure-all and should be devised as such.


Tyrus Lytton won his first drawing award at age six, receiving an honorable mention for his crayon on newsprint piece entitled “Helicopter.” He received a BFA in Painting from the University of Georgia in 2006 and an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2013. He has exhibited with UnionDocs in New York, Fleisher/Ollman in Philadelphia, and Fay Gold in Atlanta. Tyrus’ work is in private and corporate collections such as the Ritz-Carlton, Chase Bank, Novartis, and Inoh Japan.


Nick Madden was born in 1978 and raised in Mableton, Georgia. He studied drawing and painting and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia in 2002. Since then he has been creating works of art, teaching art to elementary school students, and living in Decatur, Georgia with his wife and many animals.


Laura Noel is an Atlanta-based photographer and installation artist. Her work often addresses American cultural issues with an emphasis on how individuals navigate an increasingly homogeneous world. Recent projects include an extended portrait series called Smoke Break, about Americans who continue to smoke in the face of public bans and a shift in public tolerance for the act, and Withdrawn, a study of discarded library books and how technology has altered basic activities such as reading.


Yanique Norman (b. 1981 in Spanish Town, JA) is an artist based in Atlanta, Georgia whose multi-media work explores themes of alienation, identity and the Black psychological body. Since her first exhibition in 2005 she has exhibited her work at The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts, Agnes Scott College and Sandler Hudson Gallery. Her work is included in private and public collections throughout region which includes The High Museum, Hammonds House Museum and Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries.


Sara Santamaria is originally from Madrid, Spain. Earlier in her life she studied theater, linguistics and textile arts. More recently she has been exploring sculpture, mold making and ceramics techniques through studio assistant experiences in Canada and France. Sara is now pursuing a degree in 3D art studio in Atlanta where she is currently established. She likes to work with different materials such as metal, ceramics and wood.


Michael “MIKE” Stasny is an artist and musician who works in the sculptural realm. His most recent work utilizes raw building materials / broken furniture that take on the form of “creatures”. He received his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2003 and was instrumental in creating “What What in the Butt” with Samwell soon after graduation. He has received commissions from Turner Broadcasting to install sculptures in the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta and has work in the City of Atlanta’s permanent collection.


Born in 1943 in Roanoke, VA, Judith (Judy) Barber commands a leading role in the arts management and consulting arena. She is an artist, as well as an arts administrator.  The Heath Gallery in Atlanta exhibited her work for 25 years, allowing the local community to become acquainted with her work, especially during her solo exhibitions at the gallery. The High Museum of Art has also exhibited Barber’s work in the early 1980’s, also in a solo endeavor. Barber’s works are in numerous museums, private and corporate collections, including the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN; the High Museum of Art, Works on Paper, Atlanta, GA; AT&T, Bell South, Emory University Cannon Chapel and Marriot. After serving on the board of directors of the Hambidge Center in 1990, she served as executive director for 10 years. During that time, Judy Barber focused exclusively on creating the Hambidge Center residency program. The center grew from being relatively unknown to hosting artists from five continents in one year, and being funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Barber served on the board of the Alliance of Artists Communities for six years. She has been executive director of the LaGrange Art Museum, the Madison Morgan Cultural Center, the Serenbe Institute and the Sautee Nacoochee Center.

Judy Barber