By PushPush Arts staff
At PushPush Arts, our mission is to incubate artists and their original work through collaboration, inclusion, experimentation, and innovation. Our vision is to serve as a robust creative hub with distinctive development opportunities and resources. For 25 years, we have supported thousands of working Atlanta artists, offering residencies, studio rentals, performance space, open workshops, international exchanges, and hundreds of public art events. Our award-winning programs have been thoughtfully designed to foster an equitable and accessible arts ecosystem, now along a public transit line, to make it easier for artists to creatively and financially sustain themselves.
PushPush has spent the better part of a decade searching for a venue to call our own. Rising venue and housing costs made it difficult for our network of artists to live and create within the city limits. Each time we lost a seasoned professional to another city, Atlanta lost another return on its cultural investment: that artist’s intellectual property, their job-creating initiatives and their ability to bring coherence to the city’s cultural progression, in addition to their ability to pass their skills on to the next generation.
To address this issue and find a home that would let us reimagine our non-profit arts model in a neighborhood that would benefit from cultural revitalization, we began operating out of College Park First United Methodist Church (CPFUMC) in historic downtown College Park. At this time, CPFUMC sought to utilize their buildings and campus as a welcoming space for the entire community, which had been rapidly changing since Hartsfield Airport took over much of the city’s residential land.
In 2019, we began working with three impact developers; GoodPlaces LLC, KNGDM Group and Tapestry Development to convert the church’s 125-year-old campus into ION Arts College Park. The development includes a mix of affordable housing and arts programming, and will feature 12+ live/work artist condos for purchase, 6+ artist studios for rent, 3 performance spaces, and a gallery-cafe along an “Art Walk”—all connected to the College Park MARTA station. Our partners at Tapestry Development will soon open an affordable 66-unit housing complex with a multi-purpose gallery and gathering rooms across the street from ION Arts that will also be programmed by PushPush. With combined resources, expertise and the collective efforts of our stakeholders, as well as financial support from a number of organizations, including the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, we continue to work towards our common goals: uplifting the surrounding community in College Park and building a unique platform for greater artistic achievement.
Infrastructure rarely tells the complete story of who we are as a city and what we dream of becoming. Yet, the arts and culture of a city provide the quality of life that we all desire. We believe that Atlanta’s creative workforce shapes our identity much more than new housing and business construction. Whether it’s to attend a ball game or a new play, we all work for a good life. The choices we make in doing so affect the quality and balance of our schools, neighborhoods and our own prosperity. A balanced community sustains growth and evolves with time. It helps us attract and retain talent, and looks after the next generation. And when we are part of these choices, we have ownership in our city; if not, we often see neighborhoods decline.
We want people to take pride in their neighborhood’s prosperity; to say, “That’s our local cafe” or “That’s our art gallery and comedy club.” We aim to develop a diverse community by offering diverse choices, because we recognize that not everyone seeks out chamber quartets, and not everyone keeps up with slam poetry. PushPush Arts will lead, as it always has, with an open approach to developing new programs and events at ION Arts, which ensure our culture is more than commercial offerings – it will be the activity and expression reflecting our own people. We look forward to sharing this expression with our community.
To learn more, visit our website.