About

ART, ON PURPOSE.

WonderRoot is an arts organization that works to improve the cultural and social landscape of Atlanta through creative initiatives and community partnerships. Programs include artist fellowships, public art initiatives, community dialogues, and more.

 

We believe that social change is both a values system and a path of action: the belief that society isn't perfect and the understanding that we have the power to do something about it. We affect change through the arts - a powerful vehicle for attracting attention, creating dialogue and changing perceptions.

MISSION

WonderRoot is an Atlanta-based nonprofit arts and service organization with a mission to unite artists and community to inspire positive social change.

 

VISION

We imagine an Atlanta with an aware and mobilized public. An Atlanta where place matters and change happens through an equitable cultural ecosystem and by the responsible sharing of resources. This will happen through an integration of the arts into active forms of city and community building where people of social difference have the agency to move and think freely for themselves and for others.

 

FUTURE

The anchor of our organization is our Arts Center - a full-service facility that supports artists, offers public programming and brings diverse voices together to envision and activate a stronger Atlanta.

Marking the next phase of WonderRoot’s development, the WonderRoot Center for Arts & Social Change will be a 54,000 square foot, 8-acre campus for artists and community located in Reynoldstown at the heart of the east Atlanta neighborhoods.

The Center will house:

  • 25,000 square feet of private studio space for artists; nonprofit organizations and small creative businesses,
  • a visual arts gallery,
  • performance venue for theater, dance and film,
  • a cafe open to the public,
  • educational spaces,
  • and a series of production facilities for artists, including a recording studio, printmaking studio, darkroom, ceramics studio, digital media lab, and dance rehearsal studio.

Interested in being added to our studio list? click here.

VALUES

The following are the principle values of WonderRoot. These values define our culture, and we strive to incorporate them in all of our activities.

 

Accountability and Transparency

We function in a transparent manner and hold ourselves accountable to the communities, organizations, and people we work with along with the public at large.

 

Affordability and Accessibility

We are dedicated to providing creative programming that is affordable and accessible to all.

 

Collaboration and Responsiveness

We work collaboratively and responsively with a broad spectrum of local organizations, people, and institutions to foster a culture of support and coalition building and to realize our projects and programs in an egalitarian manner.

 

Contribution to the Economy & Quality of Life through Leadership in the Arts

We believe that a vibrant arts community contributes to economic vitality and to quality of life. We are dedicated to serving as a leading arts institution in Atlanta. As such, we are committed to advocating for the importance/value of the arts to the economy and quality of life in Metro Atlanta and Georgia.

 

Diversity/Openness

We are committed to having a diverse staff, board, arts center, and stakeholder network. Positive change happens when a multitude of voices are in dialogue at an open table.

 

For the Individual

We believe art-making is integral to self-actualization and support individuals in nourishing their creative passions and yearnings as they seek to learn more about themselves and their place in society.

 

For the Community

We are committed to engaging with and validating our local community’s history and people while helping build a more just society through the arts.

 

Social Change and the Arts

We support creative initiatives that deal with critical socio-cultural issues to foreground these issues, ignite conversation and aid in the making of a more just and equitable society.

 

Stewardship of Resources & The Environment

We are committed to being good stewards of our financial resources. We will abide by the highest standards of fiscal integrity in our solicitation of funds, use of funds, our accounting practices, board oversight of finances, and our avoidance of conflicts of interest. Additionally, we are dedicated to environmental stewardship, including in how we design and operate our facilities.

Olivia Greene-Knight
Acting Executive Director

Olivia joined WonderRoot in October 2018 as the Director of Operations & Finance.

After graduating from Agnes Scott College in 2010 with a B.A. in History, Olivia began working at Literacy Action, Inc., a 50 year old adult literacy nonprofit. During her eight years with Literacy Action, Olivia served as Executive Administrative Assistant, Development Associate, Operations Manager, and Director of Operations. Expanding on her passion for nonprofits, operations and management, in 2017, Olivia received her Masters in Public Administration with a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from Villanova University.

Olivia can be reached by email here.

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Brandon Jones

Head of Creative Placemaking

As the Head of the Creative Placemaking Department at WonderRoot, Brandon Jones works to creatively align the built environment with the collective identities of the community it serves.  Under Brandon’s leadership, the Creative Placemaking department leverages cross-sector partnerships, civic engagement, and artistic strategies as tools for community development in the metro Atlanta region.

Deeply committed to fighting inequity in Atlanta, Brandon serves as the Co-Chair of the Creative Placemaking Committee for the TransFormation Alliance, a collaborative addressing equitable transit-oriented development and communities; on Advisory Board of Twin Radius, an organization connecting artists and faith-based communities; and is a member of the ARC Community Engagement Network. He also served as the Community Engagement Specialist for the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Public Art Grant program 2016-2017.

Prior to joining WonderRoot, Brandon served as the founding Director of Cultural Engagement for the New York City-based organization, Theatre for the Free People; and is the Co-founder of Free People Int., a social advocacy firm based in Amsterdam, NL with clients throughout the Europe and the United States.

He is an alumnus of the prestigious University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Drama; received a BA in Theatre Performance from MaryMount Manhattan College in NYC; and is currently an MA candidate for Cultural Sustainability and MA candidate for Business Management at Goucher College.

Brandon can be reached by email here.

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Nina Dolgin

Programs Coordinator

Nina Dolgin is a community organizer working to shift the Atlanta arts landscape toward more accessible and diverse programming. From 2014-2017, Dolgin founded and co-directed Ladyfest Atlanta, an annual political arts festival that initiates collaboration and critical dialogue between local artists, activists, and community leaders around gender-centered oppression issues. While working on Ladyfest Atlanta, Dolgin was introduced to Murmur, a non-profit community resource for DIY, independent media. As Murmur opened its first brick and mortar space, Dolgin joined the organization to help manage programs and events. In her time at Murmur, Dolgin established the 1/4 (Quarter) Program, a curatorial residency that gives residents access to the organization's venue, staff, and other resources. This program activated the South Downtown location in myriad ways: as a learning facility, an art gallery, a comedy club, and others. In 2016, Dolgin transitioned to a role as Company Manager for T. Lang Dance, overseeing the contemporary dance company's multiple productions, including their annual dance education intensive.

Since 2017, Nina has been designing and implementing arts-based community programs at WonderRoot. She is currently a member of the 2019 class for the Atlanta Regional Commission's Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) program, which addresses the challenges and opportunities facing the region’s arts and culture community. In 2019, Dolgin was awarded the Hambidge Center Leaders in the Arts Distinguished Fellowship as an outstanding administrator of an arts or cultural organization.

She can be reached by email here.

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Iman Person

Arts Innovation Specialist

Iman Person serves as WonderRoot’s Arts Innovation Specialist. She is a native Georgian with a background in arts administration, gallery development and arts education. In 2010 she received her B.F.A from Georgia State University in Studio Art and has become a noted figure in the local arts community.  Previously she has held positions at The  City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs as their Social Media Administrator, and the Interim gallery Coordinator for Gallery 72. She also currently holds a place on the performance committee at Eyedrum Gallery.

Iman’s passion for arts activism comes from her love of working as an advocate and mediator between artists and communities through public experience. Iman believes that, “Art shuts no doors,” and that creativity harnesses the ability to break through diversity and create a new language for change. She also endorses art’s ability to tackle bigger and more controversial topics, while still remaining ever expansive and approachable to all people.

She loves to spend her free time visiting nature sites around Atlanta, going to local art events, traveling, dabbling in poetry and lounging around with her cat at home. Iman can be reached by email here.

 

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Jake Pardee

Communications and Development Coordinator

Jake Pardee is a 2017 graduate of Vassar College with a BA in Sociology, focusing on urban studies and criminal justice. A Houston native with a performing arts background, Jake has jumped head first into Atlanta’s arts and activist communities. He is a gifted story-teller who cares deeply about WonderRoot’s role in building up local communities of conscience and activism through art. Jake is on the fundraising team at Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, an advocacy organization in Poughkeepsie, NY. He is passionate about creating infrastructure and public space that is affordable, accessible and beautiful. Jake enjoys exploring Atlanta on his bike and playing pick-up basketball in Grant Park and Piedmont Park. Jake can be reached by email here

Andrea Barnwell Brownlee

Andrea Barnwell Brownlee

Director, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

Nina Cheney

Nina Cheney

Executive Director, Andee’s Army

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Bill Clark

Managing Partner, Stevens & Wilkinson

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Amy Kelly

General Counsel, Sixty West

Charles Hooker

Charles Hooker

Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

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Mary Frances Callis

Senior Vice-President, Diversified Trust

Ross Oscar Knight

Ross Oscar Knight

Photographer & Owner, Ross Oscar Knight Photography

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Samara Minkin

Manager of Public Art, City of Atlanta

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Janine Musholt

Senior Vice President of Advancement & External Affairs, Woodruff Arts Center

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Amol Naik

Chief Resilience Officer, City of Atlanta

Joshua Noblitt

Josh Noblitt

Minister of Social Justice, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church

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Margaret Oliva

Assistant Registrar, High Museum of Art

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Becky Patrick

Vice President & General Counsel, Infinite Energy

Mitch Lesser

Mitchell Reiner, President

Chief Operating Officer, Capital Investment Advisors

Kashi Sehgal

Kashi Sehgal

Co-founder & CEO, Gigabark

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Jesse Owens

General Counsel, Sixty West

Claire Abreu Webber

Claire Webber, Secretary

Customer Service Manager, SES Networks

Alex West

Alex West

CEO, artcloud

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Odetta MacLeish White

Managing Director, TransFormation Alliance

Barnett Williams

Barnett Williams

Customer Success Manager, Algolia

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Yvonne Yancy

Chief Human Resources Officer, The Fresh Market

 

Re-imagining Atlanta: Founded in 2004, by friends and artists/activists Chris Appleton, Alex West, and Witt Wisebram, WonderRoot’s vision was to re-imagine Atlanta through the arts. Established as a community-based arts organization, WonderRoot connected artists with unrepresented communities and was committed to building a foundation that was committed to sustainability and community impact.

 

Community Arts: In 2008, the WonderRoot Community Arts Center opened and served as a community gather space and launching pad for artist to engage a broader community. Named the “Best Advocate for the Arts” by Creative Loafing (2008-2012) and “Best Place to Create Art and a Better World” by Atlanta Magazine, the Arts Center hosted a variety of arts education programs for youth and adults.

 

Moving Forward: WonderRoot has emerged as one of Atlanta’s leading cultural organizations who has partnered with storied organizations such as the High Museum of Art, MARTA, and the Atlanta BeltLine. It also remains committed to its founding purpose of supporting artists to have successful professional careers in Atlanta, while working to address social justice issues in Atlanta.

Awards

2014

AtlantaPlanIt: National Emerging Leader Award, Chris Appleton
Americans for the Arts: American Express Emerging Leader, Chris Appleton
2012

Atlanta Magazine: Best of Atlanta Hall of Fame, WonderRoot
Creative Loafing: Best Advocate for the Arts, WonderRoot
Creative LoafingBest Film Series, WonderRoot’s Generally Local, Mostly Independent Film Series

2011

Emory Center for Creativity & the Arts: Community Impact Award, Chris Appleton
Creative Loafing
: Best Advocate for the Arts, WonderRoot
Creative Loafing: Best Film Series, WonderRoot’s Generally Local, Mostly Independent Film Series
Creative Loafing: Best Sign that ATL Dance Scene Rules, Collaboration (Magnetic Drift)
Creative Loafing: Best Pop-up Art Space, Art on the BeltLine

2010

Creative Loafing: Best Advocate for the Arts, WonderRoot
Creative Loafing: Best Public Artwork, Art on the BeltLine
Creative Loafing: Best Public Art Event, Art on the BeltLine
Creative Loafing: Best New Trend in the Arts, Art on the BeltLine

2009

Atlanta Magazine: Best Place to Create Art, WonderRoot Community Arts Center
Creative Loafing: Best Advocate for the Arts, WonderRoot
Creative Loafing: Best New Trend in the Arts, Art Collectives (WonderRoot)
Creative Loafing: Best Public Art, Art Signed the BeltLine

2008

Creative Loafing: Best Advocate for the Arts, WonderRoot

Strategic Partners

Transformation Alliance
Atlanta Regional Commission
MOCA GA

Program Partners

MARTA
Ford Foundation
Atlanta Film Festival
Partnership for Southern Equity
Just Us ATL
Just Us ATL
Atlanta Public Schools
Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League
Charis Books and More
Georgia Equality
Plaza Atlanta Theatre
The Piedmont School of Atlanta
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta
Grant Park Farmers Market
Center for Civic Innovation
Live Thrive Atlanta
TILTT
Hammonds House Museum
Wells Fargo
Storage World

Marketing Partners

Spelman Museum of Fine Art

Venue Partners

Soul Food Cypher
Freedom University

Sponsors

Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs
Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs
The Zeist Foundation
The Zeist Foundation
Fulton County Arts Council
Fulton County Arts Council
The Lubo Fund
The Lubo Fund
MailChimp
MailChimp
Sara Giles Moore Foundation
Sara Giles Moore Foundation
Georgia Council for the Arts
Georgia Council for the Arts
The Community Foundation
The Community Foundation
Turner
The AEC Trust
The AEC Trust
National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
Possible Futures
Possible Futures
Abreu Charitable Trust
Abreu Charitable Trust
Binders Art Supplies and Frames
Binders Art Supplies and Frames
Jamestown Properties
Jamestown Properties
Raymond James
Raymond James
Wilmington Trust
Wilmington Trust
Neighborhood Fund
Neighborhood Fund
Wish Foundation
Wish Foundation
Kilpatrick Townsend
Kilpatrick Townsend
Matchstic
Matchstic
The Sartain Lanier Family Foundation
The Sartain Lanier Family Foundation
Avenue Realty
Avenue Realty
Capital Investment Advisors
Capital Investment Advisors