For a man who has given away $750,000 to the arts, Louis Corrigan, forty-six, cuts a very unassuming figure. “I lead a pretty lo-fi existence,” admits this mild-mannered investment research analyst. In his go-to uniform of button-down shirt and jeans, Corrigan rocks a utilitarian Honda and lives in the modest Peachtree Hills bungalow that once sheltered his three spinster great-aunts. Through his two largely self-funded nonprofits, Flux Projects and Possible Futures, Corrigan has bankrolled an entire arts ecosystem in Atlanta, including public art performances, installation art, and arts criticism. Corrigan’s cash—the savvy investment expert was formerly a senior writer with the Motley Fool—has most visibly helped leverage performances by Atlanta dance troupe gloATL at Lenox Square and the one-night-only Castleberry Hill art happening Flux 2011 (fluxprojects.org), coming up on September 30. Honored at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center with a 2011 Nexus Award for his contributions, Corrigan has become a model of the difference one (very generous) person can make.
What is unique about Flux Projects? We help artists do innovative temporary public art all around the city. We’re trying to do art that enlivens people’s everyday lives and surprises them with cool stuff in places where they may not be expecting it.
When did you first realize that there was a thing called art and that it was important? My mom was an amateur artist. I remember her doing paintings that were all over our house. Some of them were gingerbread men and Snoopys, but others were pop art. She was responding to the things she saw from a trip to MoMA in New York.
How has your popularity index risen post-Flux versus pre-Flux? I was known to a lot of people as “the guy who was interested in art”—a three, maybe. After the Nexus thing, probably a nine.
How would you describe your role in the Atlanta arts community? What I’m doing is being an activist. Or even an instigator. I’ve been trying to give people permission to take some risks.
Photograph by Artem Nazarov