MARTA’s public art program Artbound, along with local arts collective NEXT Atlanta will launch the NEXT Movement, a multi-platform arts and social action campaign. A movement fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial reckoning spurred by the murder of George Floyd and others, the NEXT Movement brings together five of Atlanta’s most influential artists of color and local leading art activists to share their artistry and personal stories.

The first season of the NEXT Movement features poet and author, Jon Goode, musician CC Sunchild, cellist Okorie ‘OkCello’ Johnson, poet and author Carlos Andres Gomez and visual artist Melissa A. Mitchell. Each artist has been commissioned to develop a piece of art or performance that gives voice to this current moment and explores the question of “Where do we go NEXT?” – as a city and as a community.

Starting Sept. 19 and running through the end of the year, the artwork will be performed or exhibited in a range of spaces across the city and amplified by NEXT partners, including the Integral Group, the High Museum of Art and the National Black Arts (NBAF). The campaign will include:

A photo exhibit and poster series featuring powerful portraits and messages from each artist culled from their commissioned work and exhibited throughout the MARTA system, across the city and on social media. (Photography by Steve West)

A series of filmed performances, similar to National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk concerts, of each artist performing on a decommissioned MARTA train. (Production company partner Las Palmas Studios)

And an interactive artist salon at the High Museum scheduled for November, where all five artists will come together for an evening of music, words, art and community dialogue.

“MARTA is proud and excited to be part of such an incredible art driven movement,” said MARTA Art in Transit Director Katherine Dirga. “Through this partnership with NEXT, MARTA is able to amplify its role as a community connector and an arts leader, engaging Atlantans around the critical issues that affect us most.”

“The great Nina Simone once said it is the duty of the artist to reflect the times we live in,” said NEXT Executive Director P. Faith Carmichael. “This campaign is a powerful opportunity to elevate the voices of our communities most aspiring artists, while channeling the power of their art to heal us, inspire us and move us forward.”

In addition to the five featured artists, the NEXT Movement will feature leading Atlanta creatives, speaking to this moment and to the role of art as inspiration, including nationally-renowned visual artist Charly Palmer, rising star curator and visual artist Tracy Murrell, curator of African Art for the High Museum of Art Lauren Tate Baeza, CEO of The Integral Group and leading art patron Egbert Perry and National Black Arts Executive Director Stephanie Owens.

To learn more visit or @MARTA_Artbound on Instagram.

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