Date of Award

Summer 5-3-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)



First Advisor

Dr. Nicola Sharratt


In the latter half of the 2010s gentrification and urban development contributed to the closure of many independent Atlanta art spaces and strained the resources of those that survived. In this environment, with fewer opportunities outside of academia and large institutions, local artists struggled to sustain their work and find community. However, recent increases in federal funding for public programming and arts that were part of the pandemic stimulus plan combined with a renewed interest in fostering the community resulted in a resurgence of public art and opportunities, both in Atlanta and nationwide.

This thesis reports my research on how art institutions are developing new structures to adapt, ensure longevity, and broaden their constituents. For centuries, museums and arts institutions functioned as exclusive spaces which only catered to the upper and upper-middle class. In 2022, inter-community networks, new organizations, programs, and spaces are questioning the status quo and creating new frameworks prioritizing sustainability and accessibility within the arts. Over a year and a half, I participated in public art projects and events, organized community art events, and interviewed creatives to understand the current state of Atlanta’s independent art community and its needs. Drawing on my findings, I show how this resurgence is impacting the local economy for artists, and how it can change the community’s future. Finally, I make a series of proposals, based on my research, for how arts institutions can support art communities in meaningful and supportive ways.


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