The week in local news.

This weekend, the city’s longest-running event is back for its 87th year — The Atlanta Dogwood Festival. The three-day festival will feature over 160 artist booths, live music, cultural performances and local eats. For more about​​ the country’s third-oldest fine arts festival, click here.

On to other news from around the city and metro area:

Carolyn Long Banks
Carolyn Long Banks.

Carolyn Long Banks, first Black woman to serve on Atlanta City Council, civil rights leader dies

Last night, the Atlanta City Council announced the passing of its former councilmember, Carolyn Long Banks. 

Banks, a civil rights activist, made history as the first African American woman to serve on the council in 1980.

“Throughout her life, she had an unwavering commitment toward social and economic justice,” said Council members Michale Julian Bond and Andrea Boone in a joint statement. “Her legacy with the Atlanta Student Movement and the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights will always serve as an inspiration.”

In the 1960′s, she gained experience in the Atlanta Student Movement and participated in the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights. She worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the committee to create a manifesto outlining the Black community’s problems. 

In 1962, she was invited to integrate the Magnolia Room and later became one of the first Black women in a management position at Rich’s department store.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced by print time. 

— Allison Joyner

Scraplanta will bring art teachers and supplies. (Courtesy of L5PBiz.)

Sip-‘n-Scrap in Little Five Points this weekend

On Sunday, April 16, The Little 5 Points Business Association (L5PBiz) and Scraplanta Creative Reuse are hosting a sustainable art event — the first of a monthly community event. Hosted at the L5 Corner Tavern from 4 to 7 p.m., attendees will transform recycled materials into eco-art to decorate the L5 Findley Plaza.

This month’s program is themed towards springtime and Record Store Day (April 22), and participants can craft record flowers made from old 45’s. Folks are free to also bring materials from home. The event is free and open to the public.

The supplies will be provided by Scraplanta, a nonprofit that collects materials that would otherwise go to the landfill, selling and reusing the items for arts and crafts. The Scraplanta team’s efforts are multifaceted — with a retail store, creative workshops, partnerships with local schools and a gallery space. Click here to learn more about the organization.

“We are super excited about the ‘Scraps’ bringing the community together and promoting sustainability in a fun and creative way,” L5PBiz President Kelly Stocks wrote in a press release. “We’re thrilled to partner with Scraplanta on this project and to offer monthly recurring events that showcase the artistic talent of our community.”

— Hannah E. Jones

Falcons, Wells Fargo announced fellowship available to HBCU students

The Atlanta Falcons and Wells Fargo bank announced a sports and entertainment fellowship program for students currently enrolled at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Beginning in Sept. the HBCU Fellows Program will offer a paid, eight-week professional development opportunity to give hands-on experience through mentoring from industry veterans and behind-the-scenes access at the Ticketmaster Studios, the Falcons training facility in Flowery Branch, Ga., and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

To learn more about this position and to apply, log onto their website

— Allison Joyner

In the U.S., one in five seniors face hunger. (Photo courtesy of UnitedHealthcare of Georgia, Meals on Wheels Atlanta.)

UnitedHealthcare, Meals on Wheels Atlanta deliver 1,000 meals to local seniors

In Georgia, one in nine seniors are food insecure, meaning they lack reliable access to nutritious food. 

To support local seniors who need healthy food, UnitedHealthcare of Georgia teamed up with Meals on Wheels Atlanta (MOWA) to prepare, package and deliver over 1,000 meals. The teams delivered 210 dinner boxes across the city, each containing five hot meals. 

“People might recognize UnitedHealthcare as an insurance company, but we are a health care company and that means looking at things beyond the measures in a doctor’s office that make up a person’s whole health,” Anna Helmrath, executive director of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement Plans of Georgia, wrote to SaportaReport. 

“Healthy food is a vital first step to better health overall, and our time at Meals on Wheels Atlanta is one more way our team is working to ensure access to healthy food for some of the most vulnerable community members.”

Founded in 1965, MOWA supports seniors experiencing hunger, food insecurity and social isolation. In Atlanta, 70 percent of MOWA’s recipients depend on these services as their only food source.

— Hannah E. Jones

The new mural at Usher-Collier Elementary School. (Photo courtesy of SCAD.)

SCAD “Paint Our Parks” completes basketball court mural at APS school

Earlier this month, the Savannah College of Art and Design unveiled its latest creation from its “Paint Our Parks” (POP) initiative. 

The school’s SCAD SERVE community program completed a mural on the basketball court at Usher-Collier Elementary School on Atlanta’s Westside. 

POP is focused on serving Atlanta residents through the creativity, expertise and altruism of SCAD’s students, professors and alumni. 

“The SCAD POP public art initiative provides an extraordinary opportunity for our neighbors to enjoy creative spaces designed to be inspiring and joyful backdrops of their lives,” said Alexandria Hall, a SCAD alumn and SCAD SERVE Ambassador who designed the mural. “Experiencing firsthand the positive impact our murals have on the next generation of visual innovators is beyond special.”

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) partnered with SCAD to help them revitalize their recreational spaces throughout the school system. 

“The renovation and beautification of an unused slab of concrete will bring joy and learning opportunities to the students and staff,” said Dr. Sara Womack, Fine and Performing Arts Coordinator for APS. “The vacant space will house basketball games, hopscotch and four-square matches in a colorful and cheerful setting.”

— Allison Joyner

Natali Johnson.

High Museum of Art announces new director of communications

The High Museum of Art welcomes Natali Johnson as its new director of communications. In this role, Johnson will lead efforts related to advertising, public relations, and digital and print communications. 

Most recently, Johnson served as vice president of program and brand marketing for Warner Bros. Discovery, managing program and brand execution across TBS, TNT and truTV networks. She also led marketing initiatives for Warner Bros. Theatricals, DC Comics and HBO Max.

“I’m honored to join the world-class team at the High Museum of Art,” Johnson wrote in a recent release. “The way that the High has nurtured a deep connection between its exceptional offerings and the city of Atlanta has been truly inspiring. I’m excited that I now get to champion its unparalleled brand story, connect with audiences in a way authentic to the community and grow the next chapter of this legendary institution.”

— Hannah E. Jones

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens spoke at the ceremony. (Photo by Kelly Jordan.)

Atlanta Police Department honors anniversary of hiring first eight Black officers

Last week, the Atlanta Police Department (APD) commemorated the 75th anniversary of the first eight African American officers at APD. Members of the force, family and friends of the original eight gathered at the Auburn Research Library to celebrate.

The officers honored were Claude Dixon, Henry Hooks, Johnnie Jones, Ernest Lyons, Robert McKibbens, John Sanders, Willard Strickland and Willie Elkins.

The police officers were hired on March 8, 1948, which was 75 years after APD was established. Atlanta was the second city in Georgia to hire Black police officers, with Savannah as the first. However, the force wasn’t fully integrated until the 1960s.

Click through the gallery below for a look at the event. Photos by Kelly Jordan.

— Hannah E. Jones

Robert Edge.

Georgia Planned Giving Council presents Greater Good Award

The Georgia Planned Giving Council recently named Robert Edge as the 2023 recipient of its Greater Good Award. Edge is a prominent attorney in the Wealth Planning and Exempt Organizations group at Alston & Bird LLP.

The award, established in 2005, recognizes Georgia’s charitable financial advisors who go above and beyond to increase the quantity and quality of planned gifts to charities around the state.

Professionally, Edge has over 50 years of experience helping philanthropic and business leaders develop, design and structure planned gifts. He is a Past President of the Atlanta Estate Planning Council, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and a Past President and Trustee Emeritus of the Georgia Tax Conference.

He has also been heavily involved within the local arts community, working with the Atlanta Opera, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera of New York, the State Arts Council, the Roy and Janet Dorsey Foundation, the Carter Center and others.

“Bob works tirelessly to advise, educate and motivate individuals and families to maximize the charitable impact of gifts they make to organizations in metro Atlanta,” wrote Stuart Jackson, president of the Council’s Board of Directors. “He is recognized by many as the dean of estate planning attorneys in Georgia and has helped countless donors better understand how their gifts can benefit others in our community.”

Edge will receive the award at a ceremony on May 4. Additional information can be found here.

— Hannah E. Jones

Nsoro Educational Foundation welcomes new members to Board of Directors

The nsoro Educational Foundation — a nonprofit working to bridge the gap from foster care to self-sufficient adulthood — recently announced three additions to its Board of Directors. In this position, the board members will support the Foundation’s mission to help young people aging out of the foster care system to have prosperous lives through educational opportunities and community support. 

The nonprofit also provides scholarships for all levels of higher education, and eighty-one percent of recipients graduate, compared to the four percent graduation rate of their peers.

The new board members include:

  • Juanita Baranco, lawyer and entrepreneur. Baranco is also the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Baranco Automotive Group, which she co-founded with her husband. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Southern Company.
  • Vince Burkett, Vista Equity Partners. Burkett is a member of the firm’s permanent capital investment fund, Vista Equity Partners Perennial. In 2019, he established the Burkett Legacy Scholarship for nsoro college students.
  • Chris Gilmore, corporate attorney. Gilmore practices with Townsend & Lockett, serving as Partner and Chair of the firm’s Private Equity and Venture Capital practice. He is also Managing Director and General Counsel for New Legacy Ventures, a real estate investment fund.

Burkett and Gilmore began their terms on April 1, and Baranco will join on September 1. 

“We are honored to welcome these luminaries to our Board,” wrote Executive Director Monica Pantoja. “Their leadership and expertise in the business and nonprofit sectors provide invaluable knowledge as we broaden our reach and deepen impact in key markets, in and outside Georgia.” 

— Hannah E. Jones

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Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is a Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for...

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