Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

John McMillian

Second Advisor

Alexander Sayf Cummings

Third Advisor

Charles Steffen


This dissertation documents a time between 1960 and 1983 in Midtown when a complex set of social, political, and cultural forces merged to challenge the dominance of elite groups of businessmen and arts patrons who had dominated growth and development there since the early 1920s. I argue that interaction among these disparate groups affected the character of Midtown, making the community a more vibrant, inclusive, and interesting place to live and do business. After experiencing softer and less militant approaches to resistance, members of the Atlanta Arts Alliance adopted fresh approaches to the meaning of “Art,” and ways that creativity became more representative of the multicultural Atlanta community. Many members shifted away from positions of cultural exclusivity into a realm that appealed to a more diverse population.