The ARTSXCHANGE (Southeast Community Cultural Center) is a nonprofit, multicultural, multidisciplinary, multi-ethnic, inter-generational arts organization. We seek to utilize the arts as a means by which all cultures can come to a truer understanding of themselves and others through shared innovative arts experiences and educational opportunities. We seek to link arts and artists with the broader community-at-large.
When the Southeast Community Cultural Center's board of directors incorporated and opened The Arts Exchange in 1983 it reshaped the landscape of the Metro Atlanta arts scene: This inner-city Artist colony/community arts center was an intentional effort to create fully integrated facility—multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary and inter-generational. Over the years we have been the place where individual artists could find performance or rehearsal space; and artists and community could find a wide range of classes. A gathering place for community events and social change efforts, and an in-town artist colony representing all disciplines of the arts traditional to the experimental.
That original Grant Park facility open in 1984 and housed 18 resident studio artists, a recording studio, two galleries, two dance studios and a year-round theater/performing arts/music season, with work ranging from avant-garde to traditional, self-taught artists to Guggenheim Fellows. A diverse mix of multidisciplinary talent that attracted a multicultural audience across race and class.
The ArtsXchange, is a new name reflecting our relocation to the southwest side of town to the former Jere Wells Elementary School in East Point. Since opening on January 10, 2019, we have been celebrated as an exemplary and unique center for community, civic, and arts engagement. We offer event and performance spaces, artist studios, classes, literary events, survival sessions for musicians and visual artists, wellness classes and more. Our programs include The Jack Sinclair Gallery, Jikki Riley Community Library and the Ebon Dooley Art & Justice Awards. Our new audiences span generations and races. As we move into our 37th year, we are proud to have returned to our roots.
STUDIO ARTIST PROGRAM
The ArtsXchange Studio Artist Program supports a diverse range of disciplines. Artists are provided with workspace as well as opportunities for dialogue, events and classes with the community.
Studios are available in varying sizes ranging from 430 – 717 square feet. We rent to individual artists, artist collectives, and nonprofits.
ABOUT EBON DOOLEY
Ebon Dooley (1942-2006) was a caring, creative, brilliant, insightful, progressive, proactive, and delightfully charismatic community activist who established the ArtsXchange in 1983. A long-time advocate for the fair distribution of wealth, Ebon brought the spirit of grassroots collectivity to all of his efforts to achieve freedom, dignity, and equality for all people. He understood that these interconnected cornerstones of humanity provide the opportunity for creative expression, community building, and empowerment. The ArtsXchange is proud to present the first annual Ebon Dooley Arts & Justice Awards in recognition of individuals and organizations that, like Ebon, work to improve the lives and futures of the communities they serve.
Ebon was born Leo Thomas Hale in the small farming community of Milan, Tennessee, and went to Fisk University in Nashville after the 10th grade on a scholarship. His activism began with his work as managing editor of the Fisk literary magazine and newspaper (where poet Nikki Giovanni also worked as a freshman reporter). He entered Columbia Law School on a full scholarship in 1963. In New York he saw two very different sides of the larger world: as a law school management trainee at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company and as a member of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council and volunteer for a community action project in Harlem. He attended the first Black Power Conference in Newark in 1967 and was so impressed by the Chicago delegation that, after graduating from Columbia, he turned down a job on Wall Street to go work in Chicago as a VISTA legal volunteer.
Ebon was active in Chicago’s OBAC (Organization for Black American Culture), and, in 1968, Third World Press published his book Revelation; a poem, which cemented his reputation as a talented poet and dedicated agent for justice. That same year Ebon moved to Atlanta, arriving at a pivotal time in the city’s evolution as a center for social justice movements under the Civil Rights banner. For many years Ebon owned a bookstore, Timbuktu Market of New Africa, which became a hub not only for political activists but also for Atlanta’s burgeoning community of progressive cultural workers.
Ebon’s political and intellectual clarity, and his calm and friendly demeanor quickly made him a sought after member of the city’s social change community. He served on the board of the Southern Education Program, worked for Atlanta Legal Aid, and was an early organizer of WRFG community radio. He joined the staff at Atlanta’s historic Neighborhood Arts Center in 1975 as a writer-in-residence and later served for nearly a year as the center’s acting director. As writer-in-residence, Ebon edited the regional magazine Potlikker and helped to organize the Southern Collective of African American Writers with author Toni Cade Bambara. He was involved in the establishment of the Dunbar Center, the Atlanta Center for Black Arts, and, in 1983, drew up the incorporation papers for the Southeast Community Cultural Center, giving birth to The ArtsXchange.
When the ArtsXchange opened, it reshaped the landscape of metropolitan Atlanta’s arts scene. It was the first fully integrated center of its kind—multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary, and inter-generational. Over the years it has maintained its place as a hub of artistic expression for emerging and established artists who push boundaries, blend genres, and foster future generations of creative talent as well as a gathering place for community planning, activism, and events. The ArtsXchange is proud to pay homage to its founder, Ebon Dooley, and to other progressive visionaries, Revolutionary organizers, and cultural activists who carry forward Ebon’s quest for human dignity for everyone everywhere.