This post was written by Paint Love Operations intern, Maya Glass.
To learn more about Paint Love's internship program, visit www.gopaintlove.org/careers.
Upon beginning my internship at Paint Love, I have to admit I was a bit naive. I thought it would be easy. I mean how hard is it to let kids create, right? But then, after my first two weeks interning, I learned the background operations and planning that are entailed in arts programming.
In the summer round, I mostly attended the events of Paint Love partners: Camp Peace, Our House, New American Pathways, and Covenant House. We also worked alongside Executive Director and Founder, Julie McKevitt, in the Paint Love studio. Those days would be my personal favorite as we got to understand the hard work and organizing that running a business so endlessly requires. That was my main objective to gain experience in as I will be starting my own arts studio and program in the near future.
Leading into the fall round, things slowed down on the programming side but more hectic in each of our own schedules. You all may know our beloved Julie, was nearing the end of her third trimester as summer was coming to an end. Thus, much of the Paint Love calendar has been vacant throughout this last quarter. Congratulations again to the McKevitt family for welcoming baby girl, Crosley, into the world in early October! Personally, my schedule has changed drastically as well. *Note to self: Never start a new job mid semester!* Being a full-time student in my last year of college and a double part-time employee, I enjoyed attending a couple of the few events programmed. The 2018 Artist Auction was a night to remember and Cool Girls truly live up to their name. Those little girls will be talented, fierce young women in the future. They ARE our future!
One of my objectives for interning this semester, was to emphasize and implement my dream to expand arts programming and funding in my own community (Southside ATL). Basically, my job was to bring artists on the southside to Paint Love events and programs. Unfortunately yet unsurprisingly, my efforts to connect with the very few pre-exisiting art communities and institutions were to no avail. Only one artist I contacted (and reached) was interested though they were not available to commute to Paint Love’s served areas.
I believe the issue is the cultural gap within the art community in Atlanta and the United States. Only prestigious areas such as Downtown/Midtown, East Atlanta, and just recently the gentrified Westside of ATL receive positive interaction and activity especially funding to keep such programs and events functioning. Once a prestigious and economically flourishing place itself, Clayton County (and much of Metro Atlanta) has become destitute over the past couple of decades. Budget cuts, failing businesses, high bankruptcy and foreclosure rates has destroyed our reputation among other demographic factors. Specially budget cuts in the arts and music programs in our schools have expunged the arts here altogether.
On a social aspect, I also believe that people here are not able, aware, or willing to expand their palette (no pun intended) in the arts by participating/commuting to the more popular art scenes in Atlanta. Meanwhile, frequent show-goers and art connoisseurs residing in the posh ATL are unwilling to support or oblivious to the drought in programming and funding in the Southside. Nothing can improve unless the Metro Atlanta is leveled up. The inner-perimeter and outer-perimeter should have equal means of support across the board.
I was well aware of this conflict prior to interning with Paint Love, hence why I joined the Paint Love team. I will be my own ‘Paint Love’ pillar for my community by opening a creative studio space for the youth to grow into the creatives they already are and providing sponsorship to revitalize the schools’ arts programs and courses specifically serving south Metro Atlanta. After these areas have amply replenished, I plan to expand my studios service to other areas of Atlanta to close this unnecessary gap. The gap that is maintaining a segregation in the arts industry, even nationwide. The gap that is keeping us ignorant to and of each other. The gap between us creatives who are more alike than we know.