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Apply for Macon Art eXplosion

Apply for Macon Art eXplosion 2500 2500 Julia Rubens

an art and performance festival

FEBRUARY 17-19

Picture yourself at The Grand this spring: Envision a colorful cultural celebration with interactive activities, an opportunity to see a brand new type of performance, find classes for arts education, buy homemade decor, and experience a true explosion of creative energy from all different corners and perspectives in our community. This is Macon Art eXplosion (MAX).

So what is Macon Art eXplosion?

Macon Art eXplosion (MAX) is an all-weekend, radically inclusive artist-centered cultural celebration with interactive family activities and demos, a craft market, exhibitions on the main stage, and exciting site-specific micro-performances and installations on February 18-19. MAX was created by artists, for artists, and submissions to the festival will be juried by a council of practicing artists from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.

Anyone can submit to MAX and an artist can submit multiple entries for different ideas. There are no table fees or application fees – we want this to be open and available to everyone from the most reputable professional painter to the nine-year-old prodigy singer that currently headlines her living room voice recitals. We also want to encourage risky and experimental ideas that artists may not have felt supported to show before.

Our aim is to explode the venue with arts and cultural activities from Macon’s eclectic creative community that are open to everyone and where audiences will learn something new.

How will it work?

We were inspired by open submission art festivals and Fringe festivals in other cities. With that in mind, we will open up the space at The Grand as wide as possible over the weekend for art. We’ll also be giving tours of our historic venue.

There will be three different ways to engage and explore Macon Art eXplosion:

  1. Maker Merchant Spaces: These are table/booth spaces to both showcase your wares and to perform interactive art activities (we love the idea of ones that are family friendly!). As an example, while Dushawn may be selling his screen-printed t-shirts and gifts at his booth, Katie might be leading a chalk-art demo for kids at hers. YOU set your prices 100% for Maker-Merchant tables and there are ZERO application fees – being a participating maker or artisan is totally free upfront. The Grand will take a 15% commission on items sold to cover the cost of your participation. We accept local (to Middle Georgia) and handmade goods, items, and activities. We’d love to encourage activities that make art and creative activities appealing for youth and booths that have a variety of price points for accessibility, but most importantly we want you to sell and present the work that you do. These spaces will be available in the lobby, CenterState and Encore rooms, and in front of the Grand on the sidewalk. APPLY TO MAKER MERCHANT SPACES NOW
  2. Guerilla Grand Spaces: What can YOU do to activate a unique space with your mini-concert, gallery show, play, or interactive performance? We present six spaces on the fringes that are ripe to be turned into a creative paradise. And it’s not just the locations that are meant to be edgy – we want your weird, wacky, and wonderful ideas. These site-specific gallery or performance spaces are the fire escape, green room, dressing rooms, balcony stair landing, top of balcony, and The Grand boxes. What can YOU make in those spaces? A cubby concert in a dressing room to an audience of 4? A stairway gallery? A comedy show using The Grand boxes? APPLY FOR A GUERILLA GRAND SPACE NOW

Applications are open now through February 8th. For questions, please email thegrand@mercer.edu.

We have resources for applicants and an FAQ on our website on this page. We will have multiple tours of the venue available and at least one informational Zoom session for applicants to learn more.

Funded by Georgia Council for the Arts

Create. Explore. Connect. To the MAX.



SITE TOURS AND Q&As

Interested in applying to Macon Art eXplosion but need to learn more? Come to one of our site tours or Zoom info sessions:

FEBRUARY 3 AT 4 PM: SITE TOUR AND Q&A

We host a tour at The Grand for people interested in applying. Walk around the whole space, brainstorm ideas for submitting to the festival, and connect and network with other creatives! DRINKS AND REFRESHMENTS PROVIDED

FEBRUARY 5 AT 2 PM: SITE TOUR AND Q&A

Hang Out at The Grand! Kick off your weekend by coming to see a site tour and learn about applying to Macon Art eXplosion. FREE DRINKS AND REFRESHMENTS PROVIDED!

MONDAY FEBRUARY 6 AT 6 PM: ZOOM MEETING Q&A

Last minute applicant session! Still looking for information and inspiration before application is due? Meet up with other artists and learn about applying to Macon Art eXplosion! JOIN ON ZOOM

Frequently Asked Questions and Site Photos

Who can apply?

We encourage anyone – and we mean anyone – with a bold idea to apply for Macon Art eXplosion. This includes artists and creatives of all ages and backgrounds. Our only requirements is that your gifts/art are handcrafted – not part of a larger corporation’s products. Even if you are unsure of an idea, please feel free to apply! Our artist council can provide specific feedback even in the event that your work is not accepted.

We encourage both visual and performing artists to apply with all kinds of ideas. We want your one-woman operas and group paint and sips. We are looking for any idea we can house in the building. The only limitation on the type of work is that most submissions will have a relatively small amount of installation time and that nothing can be hung from our walls – as a historic theatre, we are a little old and delicate!

What does the “blind jury” process mean?

A group of Macon visual and performing artists from all disciplines will be judging the applications. The “blind jury” aspect refers to the fact that all applications will strip your name from consideration during the council reading and discussing the applications. This is meant to focus our attention on the work that you are submitting, not your perceived reputation or previous experience.

What does it cost?

The event costs artists nothing to apply or exhibit. That’s right, the number is 0. There are no fees involved. You can set your own prices for your work or performance during the event. There is a 15% commission being taken on items sold or tickets sold to help cover the costs of the event.

I want to participate, but I’m not sure where my application fits in.

Please go to one of our site visits or contact Julia Rubens at rubens_ja@mercer.edu. We want to figure out a way to envision your work at this event!!

Admission for kids are free. Does that mean all exhibits are family-friendly?

We are emphasizing family-friendly activities, but not all artistic expressions at the festival may be appropriate for children. We will have a color-coded marker at the doorway to each exhibition or performance to indicate age appropriateness. That way, the littles can have a great time, the artists can present their work authentically, and parents won’t be confused about what will work for them!

Photos

Maker Merchant Spaces

Description: Tables for Maker/Merchant Spaces and activities can happen in front of The Grand, in either of our reception rooms the SouthState Room or the Encore Room, or the lobby. You can receive one 8′ table and one chair from The Grand to sell your wares or do an activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage Shout-Out Spots

Description: Stage Shout-Out Spots will happen on The Grand Stage in 15-20 minute increments. We will provide you with a microphone and the ability to project imagery.

 

Guerilla Grand Spaces

Description: Multiple spaces around The Grand are available for pop-up galleries and performances. These are customized to fit your vision. Our main restriction is that we can’t hang pieces directly from the walls of our historic space.

1) The Grand Fire Escape: Multiple levels and architectural metal staircase.

 

 


2) Staircase up to the balcony: This stairwell has multiple levels with several nooks and crannies for an interesting site-specific performance or exhibition.

3) Top of Grand Balcony: This is a long, hallway-type space at the top of the staircase.

4) The Grand Box Seats: The iconic boxes are a staple fixture of the architecture at The Grand. Each holds six seats and there are three levels of boxes on each side of the stage connected by staircases.

 

5) The Grand Stage: The main stage!

6) The Green Room: Our backstage room where performers hang out! Could be a great intimate or edgy show venue.

7) The Dressing Rooms: There are three small “star dressing rooms” upstairs backstage. Downstairs, there are two larger ensemble dressing rooms which each have shower rooms attached. All have the lightbulb vanities pictured.

Mercer Music at Capricorn to Host Inaugural Music Business Summit

Mercer Music at Capricorn to Host Inaugural Music Business Summit 1440 810 Julia Rubens

Nov. 28, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Julia Rubens, (478) 301-2933 or rubens_ja@mercer.edu

Mercer Music at Capricorn to Host Inaugural Music Business Summit

MACON, Georgia – Mercer Music at Capricorn will host its inaugural Music Business Summit on Feb. 25, 2023. The one-day conference will feature leading music entrepreneurs, managers, musicians and technical experts presenting on a variety of topics designed to help musicians, sound technicians and producers sharpen their skills, network and achieve greater success in the music business.

“As a young musician and songwriter, I attended a music conference similar to this and it literally changed my career path,” said Steve Ivey, award-winning Nashville music entrepreneur and Mercer University alumnus. “Fast forward many years later, and I still work with some of the speakers and musicians who presented at that event. Not only did I gain valuable knowledge at the conference, but also connections into an inner circle where building relationships matters. The Capricorn Music Business Summit is the perfect point of connection and direction for anyone pursuing a career in music and audio.”

In addition to Ivey, other presenters scheduled for the Capricorn Music Business Summit include:

  • GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter Bobby Boyd from Banderra Publishing
  • Music entrepreneur Tanvi Patel from Crucial Music
  • GRAMMY Award-winning engineer and producer Rob Dennis from RackNRoll and Caba Productions
  • Music attorney Rush Hicks from Shrum and Hicks
  • Music marketer Martha Kenny
  • Artist manager C.J. Strock
  • Artist manager and music marketer Bryan Ward
  • Percussionist Leroy Wilson
  • Capricorn Sound Studios Chief Engineer and music entrepreneur Rob Evans

Sessions will be offered on a variety of subjects relating to music business, including:

  • Live sound techniques
  • Songwriting, production and marketing
  • Writing and recording for TV and film
  • Booking and management
  • Recording techniques
  • Developing a show performance

The summit begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 7 p.m. with a live performance and networking opportunity in Mercer Music at Capricorn’s Phil Walden Memorial Studio.

Registration fee for the conference is $79, which includes access to all sessions and lunch. The full lineup of seminars, as well as online registration, is available at https://capricorn.mercer.edu/music-business-summit/.

 

About Mercer Music at Capricorn

After undergoing a $4.7 million restoration in 2019, the historic Capricorn Sound Studios in Downtown Macon reopened in 2020 as a 20,000-square-feet multi-purpose music center designed to leverage Macon’s music heritage to create Macon’s music future. Incorporating the original studio where Southern Rock flourished and bands such as the Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Wet Willie and Charlie Daniels recorded in the 1970s, Mercer Music at Capricorn added a second recording studio/concert venue, as well as a museum devoted to all things Capricorn, and a music incubator featuring 12 rehearsal rooms. The center also includes offices for related professionals and businesses, as well as non-profit arts organizations. Mercer Music at Capricorn is an affiliate of The GRAMMY Museum. Learn more at https://capricorn.mercer.edu/.

 

The Grand Opera House receives grant from Georgia Council for the Arts for Macon Art eXplosion

The Grand Opera House receives grant from Georgia Council for the Arts for Macon Art eXplosion 1200 600 Julia Rubens
Media Contact:
Julia Rubens
478-301-2933
ATLANTA – The Grand Opera House was awarded a grant by Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA), a strategic arm of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, as part of its initial disbursement of grants for fiscal year 2023. A total of 213 organizations were awarded 253 grants that provide more than $3.1 million in funding to arts organizations throughout the state. The Bridge Grant will provide operating support funding to 134 organizations, the Project Grant will help fund 59 arts projects, and the Arts Education Program Grant will be distributed to 60 organizations.
“The arts sector has proven its resilience over the last two years, and it has played a major role in restarting the economy through attracting tourism, bringing communities back together, and aiding classroom learning as we inspire the workforce of the future,” said Georgia Council for the Arts Executive Director Tina Lilly. “The 253 grants we have awarded will help cities and organizations bring people more back to work while enhancing the qualities that make Georgia so special.”
“Macon Art eXplosion aims to open The Grand in a more democratic way by exploding the venue with art in all corners of this historic facility and promoting artists without barriers,” said Director of Arts Marketing and Community Engagement Julia Rubens. “The first year of the festival, funded with just $1000 from an On the Table Macon micro-grant by Community Foundation of Central Georgia and Knight Foundation, was a joyous weekend of art and conversation. The festival allowed for dozens of new patrons to come into the theatre for the first time, three artists sold their first piece of art and at least one artist made over $1000 from the weekend. This Georgia Council for the Arts grant will allow for the opportunity to expand the festival further and open our doors wider.”
Funds awarded by Georgia Council for the Arts include appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) uses Peer Review Panels to judge and review applications following standard practices set by the National Endowment for the Arts. Panelists are GCA Council members and fellow professionals who are experienced in the arts discipline or type of grant being reviewed, or are citizens with a record of arts activities, experience, and knowledge. Grant recipients include theaters, dance companies, museums, cities, colleges, and multi-discipline arts entities. A complete list of fiscal year 2023 grantees in these program areas can be found here.
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About Georgia Council for the Arts
Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) is a strategic arm of the Georgia Department of Economic Development whose mission is to cultivate the growth of vibrant, thriving Georgia communities through the arts. GCA provides grant funding, programs, and services statewide that support the vital arts industry, preserve the state’s cultural heritage, increase tourism, and nurture strong communities. Funding for Georgia Council for the Arts is provided by appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit www.gaarts.org for more information.
About GDEcD
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music, and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. Visit www.georgia.org for more information.

After Three Years, Broadway is Back at The Grand for New Subscription Season

After Three Years, Broadway is Back at The Grand for New Subscription Season 5000 3333 Julia Rubens

After a disruption in touring productions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first Broadway season will be held at The Grand Opera House with tickets on sale now for a subscription to all three shows. All Broadway shows have two nights of performances, so you can pick a subscription for Night #1 or Night #2.

Become a subscriber and save! Enjoy over 10% savings for your Broadway tickets at The Grand and make the experience your own in your guaranteed seats.

Season Ticket Prices

  • Gold Circle : $230 (plus tax)
  • Area 1: $210 (plus tax)
  • Area 2: $180 (plus tax)
  • Area 3 and Box Seats: $140 (plus tax)

Buy online, in person at our box office (10 a.m.-2 p.m. for the month of August) or over the phone at 478-301-5470. Additionally, subscribers to the 2019-2020 season have had their seats held for them. To renew, they can contact the box office or complete and return the renewal form that will be mailed to them in the coming days.

Why subscribe?

  • Subscribers get the best seats at the best prices: By being a subscriber to all three shows, you save over 10% off the ticket price for individual performances. Additionally, right now Broadway tickets are subscription-only – meaning you’ll get the best seats before the general public.
  • Save your seat – forever! When you choose to subscribe, your preferred seat is retained for you for the following year when you renew. Love that aisle seat? Want to make sure you’re always front row center? Subscription is the best way to ensure that.
  • Special perks for season members: Season subscribers will get a special perk during each performance this year, like subscriber gifts, thank you notes, a special post-show reception or a drink ticket for our signature cocktail. Everyone at the show will know you’re part of the club!
  • Keep Broadway in Macon: By subscribing, you’re ensuring a broad base of support that can help us keep Broadway touring productions coming to The Grand for future years.

Subscribe to Night #1 Now

Subscribe to Night #2 Now

Frank Wood Named Executive Director of The Grand Opera House

Frank Wood Named Executive Director of The Grand Opera House 960 720 Julia Rubens

July 29, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Julia Rubens, rubens_ja@mercer.edu or 478-301-2933

MACON — Veteran arts administrator and Mercer University alumnus Dr. Frank E. Wood has been named executive director of Macon’s historic Grand Opera House, effective Oct. 17. He succeeds Joe Patti, who resigned in May to pursue other professional opportunities.

Dr. Wood, who was director of arts marketing and communications at Mercer from 1995 to 2001, currently serves as vice president for advancement at The College of the Florida Keys, and for the past 17 years has also served as executive director of the Tennessee Williams Theatre in Key West, Florida. He previously served as executive director of the Key West Symphony Orchestra.

“Frank was appointed as Mercer’s first arts marketing director in 1995 when the University entered into a long-term lease with Bibb County to manage The Grand Opera House, and he has remained engaged with The Grand and Mercer as a loyal alumnus through the years,” said Larry D. Brumley, senior vice president for marketing communications and chief of staff. “He brings extensive arts management experience to this key leadership position, including a successful track record in programming, fundraising and community relations. I am very pleased that he is returning home to lead The Grand and its talented staff.”

Dr. Wood earned his B.B.A. and M.B.A. in marketing from Mercer’s Stetson-Hatcher School of Business, and has a Doctor of Business Administration from the Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University.

His experience at The College of the Florida Keys also includes serving as dean of arts and sciences, business administration program director and faculty member and executive director of the Florida Keys Educational Foundation. He is a graduate of the Florida Chancellor’s Leadership Academy and its Master Teacher Seminar.

As executive director of the Tennessee Williams Theatre he has presented more than 270 concerts and national touring Broadway shows.

“I am excited about the possibilities and grateful for the opportunity to return to Mercer and The Grand. Both institutions hold a special place for me. I look forward to reuniting with the community and to presenting a variety of entertaining, high-quality performances for the arts patrons of Central Georgia,” noted Dr. Wood.

The Grand Opera House is a vibrant community-assembly resource for all residents of Macon-Bibb County, as well as a draw for cultural tourism that significantly impacts the success of Macon’s downtown and corresponding economic vitality. It is our mission to nurture an appreciation of the arts in all citizens of Central Georgia, especially its youngest citizens, through attracting the presentation of quality productions as well as an immersion into a treasured architectural artifact that reflects 133 years of Macon’s history. And finally, as a performing arts center of Mercer University, the Grand Opera House seeks to champion excellence as the premiere theatrical venue in Central Georgia. Buy tickets online at thegrandmacon.com or over the phone at (478) 301-5470.

A Grand Retrospective: Joe’s Take and “The Secret”

A Grand Retrospective: Joe’s Take and “The Secret” 6000 4000 Joe Patti
Pictured is Joe (left) with Macon Film Festival volunteers shortly after re-opening The Grand after COVID-19 closures in 2020.

Joe Patti has served as the executive director of The Grand Opera House since 2018. He will be leaving The Grand on June 30th for new endeavors. This blog is his reflection on some of his time spent in this role.


Back around 2008 I heard someone read the poem “The Secret” by Denise Levertov. Since then it has been something of a personal value statement for me.

The Secret
By Denise Levertov

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of
poetry.

I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other
lines

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,
for

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

This idea that someone can find a secret in a creative work that the creator didn’t even know existed, and can potentially rediscover it over and over again, is something I hope everyone experiences. It is something I have tried to provide while I have been at The Grand.

As severe an impact as Covid made on the normal operations of The Grand, the need to explore creative alternatives resulted in projects our staff created at The Grand, of which I am extremely proud.

A month or so before Covid hit, we met with Storytellers Macon about partnering to present a curated storytelling series that would be recorded for a podcast. The original idea was to host small sessions in our front reception room, where people passing by the large windows facing the street could see something interesting and exciting happening inside.

Instead, due to the pandemic, we ended up having the event on stage so we could socially distance the audience seating. People may have had to sit at a distance from each other, but seeing the stories of Middle Georgians depicted on stage brought them closer together and changed perceptions about The Grand and who the space is for.

From there, it felt like the momentum continued to build with other programs, before touring productions resumed, with the fire escape cabaret series, Macon Art eXplosion arts fair/fringe festival, and Healing A Haunted House, which revealed the past and of Macon’s Pleasant Hill neighborhood and reflected on its future.

Over the last couple years, more people have discovered secrets while visiting The Grand than ever before. I expect that number will increase in the coming years, as The Grand continues to work on being a place where people feel they belong. Because, as Levertov’s poem says, once a creative work is out there, its secrets belong to everyone to explore.

So my wish for all of you as I depart from The Grand is that you find secrets no one else has and experience delight with every discovery.

A Grand Retrospective: Macon Art eXplosion

A Grand Retrospective: Macon Art eXplosion 3333 2500 Julia Rubens

In anticipation of announcing our new season, we’re doing a look back at some of our favorite events over the past season. Come back to The Grand’s website and social channels on July 15th to hear why “The Grand is a place for me” for 2022-2023!

The first annual Macon Art eXplosion (MAX) was, appropriately, a mishmash of ideas in itself. The staff had mused over several years about a grand festival to welcome people back to the space after the COVID-19 pandemic closed doors. We had often thought about types of programming that would make people feel more welcome at The Grand. We had discussed site-specific art and the need to show off all the amazing spaces hidden in the building. Finally, we talked about the balance between being a premiere presenting facility in Middle Georgia and our role in the community to push the arts and cultural scene forward in new directions. The culmination of all of the ideas ended up in the 1st Annual Macon Art eXplosion, a radically inclusive art & performance festival.

What if The Grand belonged to anyone who wanted to walk in, and what if you could find yourself in the middle of a concert, on a first date, or creating a painting instantly?

Supported by an On the Table mini-grant by the Community Foundation of Central Georgia and the Knight Foundation, we made MAX happen with just $1000 in seed money. I was inspired by my past experience producing ensemble theatre at Fringe festivals, an aesthetic that embraces a quirky, DIY culture where anyone can participate. We wanted to open up The Grand as widely as possible for a weekend of art, and to encourage work that was risky or experimental. With that in mind, the festival was led and juried by a group of volunteers who were all practicing artists themselves, called the Artist Council. We allowed people to apply to the festival with any level of experience and with zero application fees – this was vital for it to be as inclusive as possible. Additionally, the process was vetted by a blind jury, so artists would be judged by their work samples rather than by their names. This led to a variety of submissions from high schoolers to professionals from other cities and even other countries.

We pretty much had one rule – nothing can be hung directly from the walls of our Artists could submit as many times as they would like for different projects across a couple different categories. One was Maker/Merchant Spaces, which were table and booth spaces to sell art and goods, like homemade ceramics, or do interactive cultural activities, like a chalk art demonstration. Another was Guerrilla Grand Spaces, a way to activate spaces around the facility with a mini-concert, gallery show, play, or interactive performance. We ended up with musical revues in dressing rooms and installations in stairwells.

And how did it go? Well, this video gives a clue about the dynamic nature of this event:

The weekend was joyous, between impromptu backstage tours and creators meeting one another for the first time. There were so many small interactions between people over art and culture, especially across peoples of difference. My favorite moment might have been when one woman walked in with shopping bags and iced coffee in tow, saying, “I LOVE Downtown Macon! I just decided to come down on a Sunday and walked into this! What am I going to see next?!”

By the numbers:

  • Over 40 participating artists
  • 12 members of the Artist Council
  • Over 375 attendees with a festival button (more if you include volunteers, artists, and those who managed to sneak in without a button!)
  • Eight attendees told volunteers or staff it was their first time at The Grand. Even more attendees told us it was the first time they had been back as adults since an elementary school field trip.
  • At least one artist made over $1000 in sales from the weekend
  • At least five artists made over $500 in sales from the weekend
  • At least three artists said it was the first time they had sold their work for pay
  • At least two artists said it was their first time leading a class or demonstration

We will have Macon Art eXplosion back this upcoming year! Create. Connect. Explore. To the MAX. Save your calendar for November 11-13th, 2022 – more information about artist submissions coming this summer.

Faces at The Grand: Leah Duval

Faces at The Grand: Leah Duval 599 599 Julia Rubens

The Grand is an active part of the community in Macon and as a part of Mercer University. We often take on college students as interns and student workers, showing them the ropes at our historic home. Over the summer, we have Leah Duval coming on as a marketing guru intern. Here’s more about Leah:

Hello! My name is Leah Duval. I am currently a senior at Florida State University studying to obtain BA in Music and a BS in African American Studies.

Growing up in Macon, I was immediately engulfed into the arts culture here. As a little girl I took ballet lessons in the heart of downtown, took art classes at many art centers, and eventually, ended up taking voice lessons at Mercer University, where I discovered my love for singing. Performing at the Grand Opera House has always been a big dream of mine. Ever since I was a little girl, I have admired the Grand. It was always a special treat when I got the chance to see the annual Nutcracker of Middle Georgia with my whole family and watch the magic happen on the stage. In 2018, I finally got the chance to perform on the Grand stage. It was such an honor and privilege to be able to perform right where so many icons had performed before me.

When I started studying in college, I realized there was a big disconnect between professional music spaces and opportunities for people of color. The arts can be used for educational enlightenment, mental health coping mechanisms and a form of self-expression – and I want everyone to have access to that. I wanted to find a way to bridge this gap between the arts and people of color and I’ve found that through arts administration. With arts administration, I can help more people of color get into arts programs that will help elevate them all the way through professional music. With this career, I will also be able to decrease the stigma that only certain types of people can be a part of art spaces. With more diversity in the arts world, there will be endless possibilities!

I feel like the Grand is truly at the forefront of this change in the community. They have really transformed the narrative that only certain people are allowed in their space. Working behind the scenes, I have discovered that they have a diverse line-up, special events for all types of people, and making sure the Grand is truly a place for everyone. I am so excited to keep working with the Grand to learn more and also do more for my community!

Meet Leah at The Grand this weekend at the Otis Music Camp final performance – she interns for the Otis Redding Foundation, too!

Original Interactive Play about Pleasant Hill History and Future to Premiere at The Grand This Saturday

Original Interactive Play about Pleasant Hill History and Future to Premiere at The Grand This Saturday 1781 1416 Julia Rubens

A year-long process of participatory research and interviews will culminate in the first presentation of an original play about Macon’s historic Pleasant Hill neighborhood and the impacts of blight on Saturday, April 23 at The Grand Opera House, with 2:30 and 7:30 PM showtimes. Healing a Haunted House will take audiences on an interactive journey of the neighborhood’s past, present, and future, asking all Macon-Bibb citizens to ponder about the neighborhood’s restoration.

Supported in part by Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly and with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, co-artists DSTO Moore, Nancy Cleveland, and Julia Rubens co-wrote Healing a Haunted House, primarily based upon interviews and found text from Pleasant Hill residents. Historic Macon Foundation contributed to historical research and advised the co-artists.

The workshop iteration of the play Saturday is just the beginning of Healing a Haunted House’s activity – the work serves to support and shine a spotlight on efforts towards neighborhood restoration by organizations like the Pleasant Hill Neighborhood Organization and the Community Enhancement Authority.

The play features multiple generations of Pleasant Hill history, including characters like famed volunteer Ozzie Bell McKay. The show highlights history behind currently blighted structures, such as Dr. E. E. Green’s home. The co-artists plan future arts-based interventions, like a youth-led temporary mural in an empty, blighted lot. These efforts seek to harness the civic imagination around blight and Pleasant Hill’s bright history to challenge citizens to contribute to solutions.

Both the 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM performances have limited capacity, due to the interactive nature of the performance. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and Mercer faculty/staff and can be found at thegrandmacon.com.

Featuring Tanya Arrington, Lakesia Cunningham, Casey Dupree, Marie Jones, Laura Lamoree, Sobe Thomas, and Nathalie Walker.
Key art by DSTO Moore

The Grand Opera House is a vibrant community-assembly resource for all residents of Macon-Bibb County, as well as a draw for cultural tourism that significantly impacts the success of Macon’s downtown and corresponding economic vitality. It is our mission to nurture an appreciation of the arts in all citizens of Central Georgia, especially its youngest citizens, through attracting the presentation of quality productions as well as an immersion into a treasured architectural artifact that reflects 133 years of Macon’s history. And finally, as a performing arts center of Mercer University, the Grand Opera House seeks to champion excellence as the premiere theatrical venue in Central Georgia.

What’s an Experience Like Here? GRAND Memories, History, and Entertainment

What’s an Experience Like Here? GRAND Memories, History, and Entertainment 1000 567 Julia Rubens

This semester, our Arts Marketing intern, Lidya Dereje, captured what it was like to attend one of our shows. From the beautiful details everywhere in the architecture to the seamless hospitality in our front of house to the smiles and clapping with spectacular entertainment, check out what it’s like to see a show at The Grand yourself. From Lidya:

Watching a show at The Grand was extremely memorable. It was great to connect with and see different types of people, whether it be audience members or performers, mixing in the space. It really shows the way in which the arts bring us all together. I believe that The Grand Opera House serves the interests of the local Macon community by showing off professional artists and performers, and in doing so, provides a better place to live for everyone in Central Georgia. I highly recommend everyone check them out!