With names like Nikki and Marcy Starz, it may seem like these two local artists were destined for greatness. And even though their stars were already rising within the Atlanta art scene, the animalistic drawings and paintings of Marcy and larger scultural pieces of Nikki definitely shined a little brighter when these sisters were selected to be part of The Creatives Project's artist-in-residency program almost two years ago. After their 2011 TCP debut in the Goat Farm's smaller gallery, this year the Starz will be featured artists at TCP's Annual Exhibition and Fundraiser; Momentum: Exit to the Future as their residencies come to a close on Friday Oct. 18. But before then, Nikki and Marcy are busy with various other projects of their own. As they prepare to carry their TCP Momentum, they tell The Creative Process how being involved with TCP has benefitted them.

You're coming to the end of your TCP residency. How has this program benefitted you over the past two years?

Nikki: It has been a great opportunity. I think it was different for everybody. The good thing about the program is there's not any requirement for how much work you need to produce or what exactly you need to do in your studio. This gave me a chance to really experiment with the work I was doing and kind of just be all over the place without being restricted by a panel of reviewers or anything like that, which is really nice. It gave me a chance to prepare myself for the work that I want to submit to grad schools. 

Marcy: I feel the same way Nikki does about not having strict requirements. I was able to get a better feel for the art community as a whole because I was introduced to different aspect of community involvement. It's good to know there are people out here trying to keep arts education alive. During an economic recession, those are the first programs that get cut.

Nikki: Yeah, we wouldn't have been aware of those programs otherwise. I wouldn't have known about One Love Generation, and I probably would never have had a studio at the Goat Farm. Having a studio is one thing that saved me. I had a sculpture studio in my bedroom of the apartment that my sister and I shared, so I had a tarp I would keep over my bed if I was using a grinder or sander and creating dust. I couldn't make anything that was large in scale. Having a space and sharing it with another sculptor (Justin Rabideau) allows me to network with all these different artists I wouldn't have networked with. It has changed my work and allowed me to create work that's huge and that I wouldn't have been able to produce otherwise.

Some of the other resident artists I've interviewed had never met before and ended up collaborating on various projects. Were there particular artists you met during your residency that you might continue working with in any capacity?

Marcy: I got along really well with Brandon Sadler, but collaboration never came up in conversation. I admire his work. Right now I'm sharing the space with a photographer, Charlie Watts, who's usually shoots on location, which is kind of nice.

Nikki: Having Justin Rabideau as a studiomate has changed my work. Just being at the Goat Farm has changed my work, aesthetically. The colors of this place and all the textures have really influenced my work in ways I wouldn't have expected.

You're both involved with Trajectory, an alumni show at Kennesaw State University through Oct.

12th. What did you contribute to that show?

Marcy: I just finished a piece that is comprised of eight diamond-shaped panels covered in fabric. Basically, I took the shape from a traditional quilting pattern called the lonestar. So they all fit together at their acute angles. 

Nikki: The funny thing about that show in relation to the whole networking and community aspect of TCP is that Justin is now the museum coordinator at Kennesaw. He also teaches at the university, which is really funny. He had a contract job at a shop before, like Marcy and I have now. Then he got this museum position and has been able to help us out by curating this alumni show, which I'm pretty sure was solely his idea. The whole premise of the show is to track where the undergraduate artists from Kennesaw end u. five years out? It shows what we've actually been able to do with our degrees. All of us are successful in different ways and we've still been able to do something with the degrees we received.

Marcy, you're involved in various other art shows and projects. Tell me about what else you're working on.

Marcy: I participated in Living Walls again this year. I did a mural in Summerhill on Georgia Ave. Last year I painted a big mural of a fox in Castleberry Hill, across the street from No Mas Cantina. Then I've got another group show at Mint Gallery called Atlantaland opening Sept. 14. All the work is on 8-inch square pieces. That's going to be an interesting show because it will all be the same size work. 

Come wish Marcy, Nikki and the other 2011-13 TCP residents a farewell as they

"Exit to the Future with great MOMENTUM"...

Friday, October, 18th
8pm to 11pm
The Goat Farm Arts Center: 1200 Foster St ATL 30318


interview by Jonathan Williams / WrestlingWithPopCulture
photography by: Neda Abghari




Last month The Creative Process met Scott Pohl the patron behind the expansion of The Creative Project's Artist-in-Residency and TCP encouraged artists to submit their applications for consideration into this program.

This month we're proud to not only announce our finalists, but also that with the addition of a second home, two  four artists will be in residency by the beginning of 2013!

The 2012 TCP Artist-in-Residency recipients are mixed-media sculptor Masud "MAO" Olufani, photographer Charlie Watts, animator/filmmmaker Andre Keichian and mixed-media installation artist Gyun Hur. It's a diverse group, stylistically and otherwise. But the thing each of these artists has in common is a desire to not only further their talents, but also to help others in doing so.

The new residents meet for the first time at the site of Gyun's Beltline Installation. Left to Right: Charlie Watts, MAO, Andre Keichian, and Gyun Hur.

Some of these artists have done residencies elsewhere, but most of them haven't been as immersive as their upcoming TCP experiences.

"I did Hambidge up in North Georgia, but I was only there for about six weeks," says Olufani. "It was amazing because there were a lot of other visual artists, writers, musicians and so on, so it was a marvelous experience. But I look forward to TCP because it has an outreach component that I think is wonderful. I'm looking forward to the possibility of the mentorship opportunities that may develop as a result of that. I also think it will be great to create a dialogue with the other people, which opens things up for collaboration at some point."

As we've seen with previous resident artists, this opportunity not only allows these artists the time and space needed to perfect their respective crafts, but it also introduces them to each other's talents and often leads to unexpected collaborations that might not otherwise have occurred. And it sounds like some of them already have some ideas about which other residents they'd like to work with.

"I'm mainly a photographer and Andre does a lot of production work, so it will be really good to collaborate between those two things," says Watts. "In November I have a show in the Carlos Museum at Emory and I'd love to do some production stuff, so it will be good to learn from Andre."

"Gyun and I both attended the same university, so I am most familiar with her work," says Olufani, who plans to work on a sculptural project during his residency. "I respect her Zen-like approach to her praxis. Her work is infused with a cerebral sparseness, a visually-striking materiality and a spiritual seductiveness. In some ways our work is very different, but I also notice a profound similarity. We are both rooted in a cultural sensibility in our respective approaches. This provides rich opportunity for potential collaboration."

"It is very exciting that such program is now in existence here. It will be a great launching ground for many young, mid-career artists, and such time, space, and support will encourage interesting collaborations and conversations" says Hur. "It also has a potential having other artists (i.e. recent MFA graduates looking for cheap housing, interesting places to live) from other cities coming to the city as well. This is really wonderful"

This residency benefits each of these artists in varying ways, but they all plan on utilizing the time, money and working areas in pretty much the same fashion: fully exploring their creativity.

"I'm really looking forward to having a designated studio space and realizing how that space may influence my practice," says Keichian. "For the past several years, I have mainly worked digitally and have been location-based. But I have had a long-withstanding urge to make a tangible mess of expression. I am craving physical construction, something to serve as a relic of distinction between mind and matter."

The Creative Process looks forward to revealing their artistic efforts in the near future, maybe even over dinner!  As Gyun mentions she "would love to create a series of meals at the residency with invitations to different groups of friends and creative participants in Atlanta" and TCP would love to host you!

Congratulations to these four new resident artists. They will set the tone and help build the foundation for Atlanta's only artist housing residency!


article by Jonathan Williams photography by: Neda Abghari

read more from the original press release here

The Process of Support with Scott Pohl

We love our Patrons!


The Creatives Project recently had a chance to catch up with Scott Pohl, the patron behind our current call for submissions. Thanks to our recent partnership with Pohl Real Estate, this fall two local artists will be selected to share a three-bedroom EarthCraft-renovated home located in the historic west Atlanta neighborhood of Adair Park. Through a subsidized lease, the residency will allow each artist an extremely affordable live/work environment while engaging their creative skills for the greater good. 

Thank You Scott! We truly appreciate your support and are so excited about the expansion of our residency program through your generosity. TCP & ATL love you!


TCP Patron Scott Pohl of Pohl Real Estate at one of his properties
where EarthCraft renovations are about to begin!

How long have you been living and working in the Atlanta Area? 

I have been living in Georgia for 36 years. Our family real estate business started in 1988 with approximately five college student rental units in the West End (near Morehouse college). Within ten years we grew our business to 48 student rental units. For the first 20 years, I worked on a part-time basis alongside my father. In 2004, I was also working for Touchstone Homes building EarthCraft homes in Tributary/Douglasville, Georgia.

When the construction industry crashed, I focused on growing Pohl Real Estate and have since been a full-time real estate investor. Pohl Real Estate realized a grant from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in 2009. Since receiving the NSP grant, we have doubled property holdings and are now offering EarthCraft certified homes for lease to lower income families. 

How did you hear about TCP's residency program?

Neda Abghari (TCP executive director) and I met at the TCP launch party at King Plow art's center in February 2011. Our mutual friend Luz del Cielo introduced us. I went to the party after reading a Creative Loafing article about what Neda was doing with her project and decided to find out what TCP was all about.

What attracted you to the organization and how did you decide to involved in this capacity?

Well, I have always supported the arts. My first business, Nomenclature Museum, featured artists on a regular basis. I have always been surrounded by artistic friends and I have witnessed the financial trials and tribulaitons they face as artists. After speaking with Neda about The Creatives Project, I realized that it was a great opportunity for me to give back to the artist community.
As a real estate investor and developer, why is supporting this type of project important to you and your company?

The art community makes a great contribution to our society and I want to help them make this happen. What The Creatives Project is doing for artists is really inspiring. I am just happy to be a part of the project.
The home that you are making available for the residency is an EarthCraft home. Could you explain what it means for a home to be EarthCraft certified.

An EarthCraft certified home is basically a home that is 15% - 20% more energy efficient than your standard non-EarthCraft home. To achieve the EarthCraft status, a home must pass testing standards set by EarthCraft (Southface Energy Institute). My EarthCraft homes typically feature spray foam insulation on sealed crawlspace walls, R-38 cellulose, Energy Star appliances, low-flow water fixtures, 14 SEER HVAC units, Zero VOC paints/stains, and are all electric.

How important do you think it is for emerging artists to have comfortable living/working spaces in which they can be creative?

Everyone needs a comfortable home and work space. I think a comfortable live/work space is an essential need especially for an artist.
Will you be involved in choosing the artists for the housing project? If so, what criteria will you consider when making your selections?

Yes, I will. I must review all applicants to make sure they meet our rental guidelines.  All applicants must have a verified source of income, a bank account, and file taxes.


 Pohl Real Estate has been investing in West Atlanta for the past 30 years. In 2009, Pohl Real Estate was one of 12 Atlanta developers awarded funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). Having partnered with the City of Atlanta/NSP, Pohl Real Estate has expanded into the Historic West End and the Adair Park neighborhoods.  Pohl's recent NSP homes are all renovated to EarthCraft guidelines (using "Green Grant" funding assistance from Enterprise Community Partners/Home Depot).  All NSP properties are rented within the Federal rental income guidelines provided by HUD and NSP - as a result, tenants realize amazing rental rates on energy efficient EarthCraft certified homes.

The Creatives Project (TCP) is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit arts organization with a mission to enrich and strengthen the local community through quality arts-based education and outreach, while celebrating and elevating the city’s visual and performing artists. In 2011, TCP introduced its Artist-in-Residency program which continues to expand its reach with the support of local businesses, volunteers, and patrons. Through uniting the arts, education, community, and commerce TCP builds strong foundations and partnerships further enabling arts eco-systems to flourish.

 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE August 15th 2012 12:00 AM EST 


   •     Wed. Aug 15th 2012 12:00 AM EST Deadline for 2012 submission 
    •     Mon. Sept 17th  private announcement of recipients
    •     Thurs. Sept 20th  finalists’ phase two materials due
    •    Mon. Sept 24th public announcement of residents
    •    Fri. Oct 19th Annual TCP Resident Exhibition
    •    Late Oct/early Nov residents move in 
    •    Resident outreach begins in October



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