Black cultural arts influencers from around the country to reunion, reflect and recreate the moment.
(Black PR Wire) Atlanta, GA – $100-dollar investment in camera equipment in the late 1980s paved the way for “A Great Day in Atlanta,” an iconic image of the cultural arts scene taken by noted photographer, John Crooms, in 2003. Crooms and social arts activist, curator and entrepreneur Kemi Bennings collaborated to host a 10th anniversary photo and exhibit. Now the pair is partnering again on March 26, 2023, inviting participants to return to Atlanta to reunion, reflect and commemorate its 20th anniversary.
“The first time we did this, we had maybe five people show up,” said Crooms, who attended Morehouse. “However, a couple of weeks later in 2003, artists, musicians, cultural purveyors showed up.” The list of movers and shakers included Speech of Arrested Development, along with acclaimed singer-songwriter Dionne Farris, former Georgia State Representative Gloria Tinubu, internationally recognized visual artist Grace Kisa, FunkJazz Kafe Founder and cultural arts curator Jason Orr, Grammy-Award winning DJ Drama, and Nicki “Slick” Ervin of pop, R&B duo Slick & Rose. Nearly 100 influencers are in the shot.
The Black cultural arts scene was thriving when Crooms begin chronicling his generation – the DJs, musical artists, poets, painters, and cultural purveyors who were fueling the renaissance at that time. The Atlanta University Center – home to Clark Atlanta and its WCLK station, and Spelman, Morehouse and Morris Brown were preeminent hubs fueling the movement. Add to that: Hammonds House Museum and National Black Arts Festival launched in 1988. LaFace Records formed in 1989. It is this landscape that gave rise to “A Great Day in Atlanta”.
“Great Day in Atlanta documents the collective movement of peace, harmony and love,” explains Bennings, who ran into Crooms in Little Five Points one day back in 1993, told him about the “Great Day in Harlem” photo and urged him to do a modern-day Atlanta interpretation. “We need to document the movement – not like it’s just one person or two people on the journey, but a movement.”
The Georgia native surmised at the time, “In many ways, the constantly evolving Atlanta arts and music scene mirrors the essence of the ‘Harlem renaissance,’ given its collision of art forms and intermingling of artists of all genres. Also, the south brings forth a certain ‘southern’ hospitality; a special kinship and solidarity that exists no matter where you came from or what brought you here.”
The movement continues March 26, 2023, when many will return to Atlanta to mark this next moment in time. And Crooms and Bennings will do what it takes to capture the moment and its significance.