Launched in 2011, the first exhibition of ELEVATE hosted 15 events and 40 performances over 66 days. Artwork filled vacant properties, street corners and plazas to showcase artwork ranging from 13 story murals to contemporary dance, video, installation and poetry. Although public funding allocated through our percent for art program was the direct source for the artist commissions, additional funding to execute an exhibition of this caliber was provided through local Atlanta businesses. Donation of art space, hotel rooms, theatrical lighting, food, advertising and cash support nearly doubled the exhibitions initial budget, demonstrating the immediate community support. This intensive cultural programming brought in 13,313 new visitors to downtown Atlanta.
At the end of the program, downtown property owners and businesses adopted the bulk of the visual work commissioned through ELEVATE. The artwork has now been incorporated into the permanent downtown landscape. In addition to the adopted artwork, other aesthetic improvements to the downtown district were implemented surrounding the close of ELEVATE. Underground Atlanta was publicly earmarked for a potential art space by Atlanta Mayor, Kasim Reed.
Elevate strives to build bridges in the downtown community though partnerships and collaboration. The total amount of partnerships formed in ELEVATE 2011 was 19, including Universities, not for profit organizations, government organizations and private businesses. Within one month following the close of Elevate 2011, 101 local, national and international articles were published regarding downtown Atlanta, the arts and most importantly their relationship to the businesses and surrounding economy.
ELEVATE officially became an annual downtown arts program of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs in 2012. Now in the sixth year, the physical project area has been extended from coverage of three blocks to all of central downtown Atlanta. We expect ELEVATE 2016 programs and commissions to impact the Atlanta economy, increase the quality of life for our citizens, educate the public and gain global attention for our city as a creative and culturally engaging contemporary city.