It’s not everyday that we’re confronted with the idea of legacy. Sure, we’re taught that actions have consequences and that what we do matters, but when was the last time you thought long and hard about legacy? When was the last time you reflected on your role in the larger world? Have you taken the time to consider how the heritage of your ancestors determined so much of who you are today? These are the questions painter and artistic director Jarvares “J.Q.” Franklin encourages us to ask ourselves.

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With eyes trained over the edge of water, you may witness a swimmer in a moment of suspended balance. The second where their body is a weightless, floating object; their guarded breath escape in bubbles that distort their head’s swirling image. Any swimmer knows this moment, the quiet break from gravity’s bonds where you are for an instant captured by the pull of water.

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“How you treat others is a reflection of who you are. Be Yourself. Be Persistent. Be Patient!” Inspiring words from photographer Kris Lou of the photography duo Kris + Erik, in a brief interview with children’s fashion outlet, petitePARADE. Kris Lou and Erik Rodgers, better known as Kris + Erik, are a married couple who’ve been working together on some very powerful projects.

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As I sat on the bench alone, strangers waved and smiled as if we’d crossed paths a thousand times before. A little girl asked to pet my dog and told me all about the King of Pops popsicle her Mom finally let her have on a school night. I sat feeling as if I’d stepped off the city streets into a small town escape. Swirled around the busy city of Atlanta, Georgia the (soon-to-be) 22 mile pathway invites people to stroll along restaurants, parks, and an amazing display of community art. 

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Many great movements are said to be born out of oppression or frustration. Pick a time and you can guarantee that there is always some art form that provides the pulse for a particular movement. Look at the rise of German expressionism, protest songs of the 60s, or the use of documentary film making to promote reform and you’ll see that they all serve as artistic time capsules.

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At first I found myself staring deeply into an image of an impressionist painting. The strokes of the water and flowers reminded me of the late French Painter Claude Monet. As I looked more closely into the texture of the strokes, I discovered  a curious glossy top layer similar to photo paper. Unsure if it was just the reflection of my computer screen or something more, I could not help but feel that there was something unusual about this piece. Was I looking at a painting or not?

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With his collection of charcoal pencils, acrylic supplies and oil paint, 26-year old Oliver Okolo is making his mark on the world. “I try to pass a message of self awareness and also bring our attention to all that is happening in our society today,” the self-taught artist tells The Spark, an art magazine.

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