By Howard Pousner
Having elevated the Underground Atlanta area with temporary public art last year, the city of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs returns with its second Elevate series later this month across a broader swath of downtown.
The contemporary art series rolls Oct. 19-27. All events are free and open to the public.
Elevate 2012 highlights include:
Kennesaw State’s changing culture
Kennesaw State University’s recent fifth annual Flourish Awards luncheon at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center was intended to honor a small group of metro arts leaders while raising more than $100,000 toward scholarships and student-learning initiatives in KSU’s College of the Arts. But it also turned into something of a “This Is Your Life” tribute to arts college dean Joseph Meeks, who announced as the school year began that he will retire next February.
Meeks, who has served 14 years as the arts college’s founding dean and 34 years overall on the faculty, is a large figure on the KSU campus. A battery of arts facilities have been built on his watch, including the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center and the Audrey B. and Jack E. Morgan Sr. Concert Hall. Just last month, KSU broke ground on the Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art.
In his remarks, KSU president Daniel Papp called Meeks a “visionary leader” and a “true workhorse.” After a video tribute from school leaders and arts college faculty, staff and students, Meeks choked up and had to pause momentarily several times to regroup during his own talk.
The university has announced that Department of Dance chairman Ivan Pulinkala will serve as interim arts dean until a permanent replacement for Meeks is selected through a national search. The new leader is expected by next summer.
Pulinkala himself is a man in constant motion. In addition to running the newly named dance department, where 14 full and part-time faculty educate 100 majors, he’s an associate professor who teaches an array of dance classes. Meanwhile, he is pursuing his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Alabama.
He also is a choreographer with a growing résumé. The Kennesaw State University Dance Company performed Pulinkala’s “Rhizome” during the American College Dance Festival Association’s National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington this summer, the third successive festival where it has featured one of his works. “Rhizome” had been performed in Atlanta in January during the “Off the Edge” dance presentation at the Rialto Center for the Arts, where the KSU dancers shared the stage with top international and national professionals.
The Flourish Awards luncheon honored former Atlanta Opera general director Dennis Hanthorn (arts leader category), Lassiter High School director of bands Alfred L. Watkins (arts educator), retired Cobb County art educator Pam Carsillo (community service) and the Center for Puppetry Arts (arts organization).
More on the KSU College of the Arts: www.kennesaw.edu/arts.
Hip-hop photo show, one night only
The Jennifer Schwartz Gallery exited its large Westside facility this summer, but the photography gallery remains very much in business, with plans to present exhibits at its smaller new space at 675 Drewry St., Suite 6, and additional sites in Atlanta and other cities. For instance, the gallery presented a show at a Greenwich Village barbershop in September.
Another is planned 7-10 p.m. Wednesday, when it opens Michael Schmelling’s “Atlanta: Hip-Hop and the South,” photos taken from 2007 to 2009, for one night only at Space2 at the Sound Table, 483 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta. There will be cocktails, small bites and music by DJ Apple Jac. Free. 404-885-1080, www.jenniferschwartzgallery.com.