ARTS FESTIVAL HISTORY
Welcome to the new LocalMotion Festival
by Wayne Whitesides
LocalMotion ARTS FESTIVAL
A Visual and Performing Arts Experience
The LocalMotion Festival came about after a year of uncertainty that led to the cancellation of the Historic College Park Arts Festival, an event with 16 years of strong growth and dedication to the arts in and around the Tri-Cities area. With the cancellation, a group of dedicated artists and community advocates pushed forward to develop a new independent event. The new Festival’s goal is to bring the arts, publicity, and economic growth to all three cities that make up Atlanta’s Tri-Cities Airport Area, which includes College Park, East Point, and Hapeville. This new broader goal is meant to unite the three cities and provide more opportunities, support, and impact for the area and the festival.
So how did the festival originally get started? With a lot of community spirit!
A brief history by Carol Hendon
Don Shomaker and I attended our first block party in 1998. The neighborhood association had organized the event and there was street dancing, lots of activities for the kids, a few people put their crafts or artwork out on display and neighbors came out in droves just to enjoy each other’s company. It was a great way to get everyone out to meet their neighbors. The next year Don and I participated in the block party and set up to show our glass work.
As we were all getting to know each other we discovered that we had several good artists in the neighborhood working in all kinds of different mediums. Several of us were gathered at the block party and the subject came up “Wouldn’t it be great if we could build this into a festival? Just look at this great location and everyone is having a great time. There are enough artists here and we all know other artists that would participate. Let’s do it! So the first committee group kicked around ideas, presented them to the Association and City Council and we had started a festival. I had participated as an artist in other festivals and had an idea of what we would need to pull it together but had no concept of just how much work it was going to be. We had a dedicated group that looked at every obstacle as a challenge and had the determination to make it look easy.
Our first festival in 2000 was considered a huge success! Though we were a small festival as you compare to some around Atlanta the comments from our visitors and artists were glowing with praise and surprise that “we just didn’t know this area was so beautiful and the people so nice!” Later that first evening as an exhausted group of festival workers and coordinators gathered on the Causey’s front porch to celebrate I recall making a toast to say just how much I appreciated the support and friendship that I had come to know over this past year while putting this together. Someone said, “Carol, if you just wanted to make new friends all you have to do is walk around the neighborhood.” While that may be true I still believe these friendships were made stronger by the accomplishments we made together.
Every year since 2000, the Festival has evolved; each year a new group of artists, vendors, musicians and food vendors come and go, but what remain constant are the neighbors and the volunteers. The ones who put their heart and soul into making College Park a great place for a Festival, a great place to call home. Welcome neighbor, old friend and new!