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Atlanta picked to be home for a new GRAMMY Museum

Maria Saporta
A "site agnostic" conceptual drawing of a possible GRAMMY Museum in Atlanta (Special: Georgia Music Accord)

By Maria Saporta

The GRAMMY Museum Foundation has approved an agreement with Georgia Music Accord to build and operate a GRAMMY Museum experience in Atlanta and implement educational programs across the state.

Brad Olecki, CEO of Georgia Music Accord, confirmed the agreement before Monday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Atlanta when Chris “Ludacris” Bridges discussed Georgia’s music industry with Shan Cooper, executive director of the Atlanta Committee for Progress.

Ludacris also is serving as co-chair of Georgia Music Accord along with Greenberg Traurig entertainment attorney Joel Katz. Cooper is on the board of the Georgia Music Accord.

The agreement follows more than a year of exploring the opportunity to build a GRAMMY Museum in Fulton County and how best to leverage educational programs for the benefit of the entire state.

A “site agnostic” conceptual drawing of a possible GRAMMY Museum in Atlanta (Special: Georgia Music Accord)

Michael Sticka, president of the Los Angeles-based GRAMMY Museum and the GRAMMY Museum Foundation, wrote in an email why his organization is expanding in Georgia..

“Atlanta and Georgia have a deep and rich musical heritage, so it only makes sense that we explore a deeper relationship with our partners at Georgia Music Accord,” Sticka said. “A partnership that is based on music and one that will help us to expand our educational mission and ability to celebrate music with students and the broader community in Atlanta, Fulton County and the state of Georgia.”

That will lead to having “partners and the ground” to deliver educational content.

“From a long-term perspective, we’re excited and open to the possibility of partnering with the Georgia Music Accord as they move along in the evaluating the feasibility of licensing the GRAMMY Museum name to expand our footprint to Atlanta, which is such an important music center,” Sticka added.

Olecki said there are four key pillars to striking an agreement with the GRAMMY Museum.

Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (Special: Wikipedia)

First is education. Second is the economic impact the project could have on tourism and hospitality jobs. Third is workforce development – helping train the next generation of music professionals – both artists, producers and skilled technicians – as a way to keep the talent in Georgia. And lastly, it will be a way to celebrate Georgia’s musical heritage “and its place on the global music scene.

The agreement follows an exploratory study (the state of Georgia and Fulton County each invested $250,000 in the effort) to look at the feasibility of building a GRAMMY Museum in Atlanta.

Georgia Music Accord is working with Coxe, Curry & Associates on the funding feasibility for the Museum. At the same time, Olecki said no decisions have been made on a site for the Museum.

“We are actually working through the options on the site right now.,” Olecki said. “We are having a lot of discussions right now with property owners, and we are open to ideas. We hope to select a site in the next six months.”

Tammy Hurt

Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County Commission, said the announcement is “music to my ears.” Back when he was a member of the Atlanta City Council in the 1990s, Pitts spearheaded an effort to bring the GRAMMY Music Hall of Fame to Atlanta. But that effort failed to garner enough local support.

“We have always believed that we were, and we are, a music capital in the world,” Pitts said. “Now fast forward to where we are now. It is fantastic news for us that will cement our place in the music industry worldwide.”

During Rotary, Ludacris showed a video of message from GRAMMY’s Sticka announcing the partnership with Georgia Music Accord. After the video, Ludacris was able to share his excitement.

“We’ve been keeping that a secret,” Ludacris said. “The cat is now out of the bag… I can’t wait.”

One of Georgia’s strengths is the variety of music genres that exist throughout the state, said Tammy Hurt, president of the Georgia Music Accord. Hurt also is vice chair of the Recording Academy board of trustees.

“The goal is to grow the ecosystem in Georgia, retain the talent and celebrate what’s here,” Hurt said. “We have homegrown talent here, and we have the industry here. We have such a vast diversity of talent here. It’s a story that has to be told.”

Brad Olecki

Hurt said Atlanta is among the top music centers in the country in a similar league as Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, Austin among others.

Georgia is well known as a center for hip hop. It also is home to James Brown, Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers, REM, the B ’52s, Collective Soul, country music artists and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, a perennial winner of GRAMMY awards.

Olecki and Hurt also said the hope is that a GRAMMY Museum in Atlanta would shore up the state’s capacity to provide post-production facilities for the movie, television and gaming industry.

As envisioned, the Museum would have a scoring stage that would work on music scores for movies, TV shows and video gaming.

“We have 16 professional orchestras in the state,” Olecki said. “We would be able to score movies that are being produced here.”

Georgia Music Accord currently is working on the feasibility study for the Museum to determine the size and scope. It is expected that a scoring stage could help defray the operating costs of the attraction.

“We don’t want to over build, and we don’t want to under build,” Olecki said. “We can drive educational programs across the state. This is going to be a very digital and interactive experience. It will be a museum without walls with a mobile component. Our main goal is to make sure it is accessible to everyone.”

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Maria Saporta
Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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24 Comments

  1. Avatar
    James Harris August 31, 2020 1:21 pm

    Great news. Thanks for covering it.Report

    Reply
    1. Avatar
      Adolph Hester September 1, 2020 12:27 am

      Excellent decision for All concerned and seems well thought out and self sustainable. Definitely a plus for the state, region and world!!Report

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    Greg Hodges August 31, 2020 2:53 pm

    Great news for Atlanta ….just hoping this facility will not suffer the same fate as the College Football Hall of Fame.Report

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Newton Collier August 31, 2020 3:13 pm

    Great to have it in Georgia.Report

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Mike Bone August 31, 2020 3:25 pm

    “country music artists “…..with only a cursory search you could have found names like Jason Aldean, Trisha Yearwood, Jennifer Nettles, Luke Bryan, Lady A, Travis Tritt and Alan Jackson………but no “country music artists” covers it.Report

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    William Bell August 31, 2020 3:26 pm

    Long overdue!
    William BellReport

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    Paul Hodge August 31, 2020 3:52 pm

    Would be great if they can somehow fit it in the Centennial Park area amongst the other attractions.Report

    Reply
    1. Avatar
      ANT September 1, 2020 12:07 am

      That’s what I was thinking, near the coca cola, college football HOF, and black history museum.Report

      Reply
    2. Avatar
      Ant September 1, 2020 12:08 am

      That’s what i was thinking. Near college football HOF, coca cola, and black history museumReport

      Reply
  7. Avatar
    Marcia August 31, 2020 6:45 pm

    Welcome to AtlReport

    Reply
  8. Avatar
    SMOM August 31, 2020 10:58 pm

    Interesting.. I suppose none of you knew about http://www.southernmuseumofmusic.com I know a couple of us had a discussion on this already in progress project.Report

    Reply
    1. Avatar
      David September 1, 2020 8:49 am

      Dude you need to fix that website! It’s pretty badly broken. Interesting project though (as far as I can tell – so many pages don’t work!)Report

      Reply
  9. Avatar

    Wow I am so excited about this , I remember when we were trying to get the Grammys to come to Atlanta and I remember we also try to get the Grammy Hall of Fame here , I applaud everyone who is involved and getting this project to the Atl, I am beyond Excited,Frank Taylor ,Taylor Made RecordsReport

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    Lisa Logan September 1, 2020 3:51 am

    I think you are so right, to let the world what talent is in Atlanta and what Atlanta has done back in the old days there are great stories of people starting and a lot of Big stars out of Atl and not so big of Stars that started it in Atlanta. If you need a story I have a mother that’s in the Atlanta Country hall of fame and is 89 yrs old that had to sing her and her sister to help at home with money to survive. They are a Star in our eyes There names are the Logan Sisters the first lady’s to have there on tv show on channel 5 of Country music . We have a lot of stuggling artist here and great songwriters and we need the recognition. Thanks 🙏Report

    Reply
  11. Avatar
    Faset "Bill" Seay Seay September 1, 2020 7:47 am

    Who is the architect of this incredible building?Report

    Reply
  12. Avatar
    Charlie Brusco GMHOF 2010 Inductee September 1, 2020 10:43 am

    Georgia has produced some of the greatest artists of our times. It will be great to have a museum to celebrate that history and to educate and help our artists of the future.
    BravoReport

    Reply
  13. Avatar
    James R September 1, 2020 11:26 am

    This would be a great catalyst to revitalize the the southside on Camp Creek Pkwy near the Wolf Creek amphitheater.Report

    Reply
  14. Avatar
    Alex Barrella September 1, 2020 2:24 pm

    a museum of inequitable recognition of musical talent..

    the grammy’s, like our mainstream media as a whole-is guilty of elevating the presence of their accepted artists while ignoring the wealth of independent voices..shameful!Report

    Reply
  15. Avatar
    Jerry Grillo September 1, 2020 3:16 pm

    Well, we couldn’t even keep a Georgia Music Hall of Fame afloat so this oughta work real well. Still, should be nice while it lasts.Report

    Reply
  16. Avatar
    BGK September 1, 2020 9:16 pm

    A few people looted the freaking gift shop, it was really unfortunate, but hardly a major event. Nothing in the collection was touched. So nice that people are more upset about keychains getting stolen than people being murdered.Report

    Reply
  17. Avatar
    Tony Nelson September 1, 2020 9:40 pm

    Inspiring- reminds me the day the 1996 Olympic Selection of Atlanta was made at Underground-Atlanta.
    This is wonderful news!Report

    Reply
  18. Avatar
    Jim Moore September 1, 2020 10:02 pm

    All genres I hope, and not just recent Grammy winners. Although icons like Bill Lowry, Jerry Reed, Ray Stevens, Joe South probably have them. The ASO Chorus and other vocal groups. There’s early 1900’s Atlanta University quartets that included James Weldon Johnson that were instrumental in the origins of Barbershop Quartet music. And there are Atlanta quartets who have won international competitions that should be recognized (FRED and Prime Cut). And early song writers. Lots of music history in Georgia – all of it should be included.Report

    Reply
  19. Avatar
    Edw3rd September 1, 2020 10:53 pm

    If I’m reading correctly, that headline is more than a bit of an overstatement. The Grammy Foundation awards licenses to lots of cities and sponsor companies to make themselves money and – based on your reporting – the citizens of Georgia and Fulton County ponied up $500,000 to “research” and present our city as a bidder. Hardly the same as winning a contract to become the National home of the Grammy Museum.Report

    Reply
  20. Avatar
    George Dodds September 5, 2020 4:36 pm

    If architecture ever was really “frozen music,” the presumptive Grammy Museum is a good example of what happens when music is left too long in the sun.Report

    Reply

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