At 3Ci, we are committed to delivering top tech news to Atlanta. We take pride in our relationships and love connecting with Atlanta business owners to hear their stories and shine a light on their mission. Most recently, we sat down with Chris Appleton, Co-founder and Executive Director of WonderRoot, an arts organization that works to improve the cultural and social landscape of Atlanta through creative initiatives and community partnerships. Here are just a few highlights from that conversation:
Could you tell us more about WonderRoot?
WonderRoot is an arts organization that started in 2004 with a mission to unite artists and community to inspire positive social change. We are interested in art’s role in driving social movements. We believe artists, youth in particular, are on the front lives of advancing progressive change.
How did the company get started?
WonderRoot started in 2004. Two friends of mine who I had grown up with in Atlanta were also artists and activist. We were interested in helping people across lines of social difference come together and identify shared values and common solutions problems that our communities faced. What better way to do that than the arts?
We were seeing a lot of our friends, young artists, leave Atlanta to go to LA, London, Berlin, etc. because there was this perception that artists couldn’t build and sustain careers here in Atlanta. We knew that if our mission was to get artists involved in community and civic work here in Atlanta, we needed a local creative talent pool of artists, great thinkers, and community organizers. So much of our work started by attracting and retaining creative talent here in town.
Who does WonderRoot serve?
We run a multidisciplinary arts center that has a recording studio, dark room, pottery studio digital media lab, screen printing studio, music venue gallery. It’s like a YMCA for the arts. You pay a low-cost annual membership and get access to it all. It’s free for youths and seniors. We don’t turn anyone away who can’t afford it.
A big piece of who we serve is emerging artists. We attract artists who are looking for space to produce their work, be in community with one another, and form collaborations. We also serve individuals at civic institutions. We pair them up with artists, incubate partnerships, and set them off into the world to make Atlanta a better place.
Is WonderRoot one of the reasons we’re seeing art emerge around Atlanta?
I’d like to think so! We’ve been hard at work trying to make the arts more a part of civic life. A lot of that has to do with placing artwork that’s intentional in where it’s placed in the public realm. People have the most diverse educational experiences in the public realm. The more that we can do to make public spaces interesting and bring diverse people together, that’s what we’re all about.
How can readers support Wonderoot?
WonderRoot relies on the generosity of volunteers, artists, community members, donors, advisors. There are many ways to get involved. The best thing people can do is go to WonderRoot.org and sign up for our newsletter.
Want more Atlanta tech innovation and inspiration? Check out 3Ci Connect!