When Auriella Oates launched her first art showcase, the Art of Metanoia, at downtown’s Westside Cultural Arts Center in summer 2016, she knew she wanted it to be a far cry from the typical white walls and perfectly framed paintings often associated with going to a gallery. During her time at Georgia State University, Oates had a number of artist friends but didn’t feel there was a perfect place for them to showcase their works. Between her love for art and event planning, she found the perfect opportunity to create a platform for her friends—and the underground creative community in Atlanta—to show off whatever their talents may be: caricature drawings, animations, musical performances, spoken word, or fashion.
“I didn’t know too many people my age saying, ‘I’m going to an art gallery this weekend,’” Oates, 23, says. “People go to the High, but some of the art at the museum might not be what you’re interested in. You may not be interested in the [high-end art].”
Now in its third year, the upcoming July 14 show will be a collective space for all artisans, entrepreneurs, and musicians to perform, expand their reach, and connect with a larger community. Oates says the July show will feature more artists than any other showcase they’ve put together and will include live performances from Atlanta musicians Destiny Briona and Cam The Artisan, Cantrell from Albany, Georgia, and others. Patrons can purchase candles from Len + McAddy or shop artwork from Delinda Arts illustrator Matthew Bloomer, abstract artist Stephen Lotus, and portrait painter Kobe Opare, just to name a few. The artworks at TAOM have a broad price range, with past pieces sold between $10 and $750.
Aside from the art itself, Oates prides the event for its friendly vibe. She envisioned TAOM as a place where “everyone could have fun and be comfortable,” and attendees are encouraged to interact with the artists and vendors. Since separate rooms house the live musical performances and visual art, no one has to shout over the music in the gallery room, and the event also has complimentary food and a full cash bar. The result is an arts event that feels a bit like a gallery opening, club show, and social mixer all fused into one.
Since the first event, the show has grown from 150 to 800 attendees and is quickly gaining more recognition. Last year, TAOM hosted a mixer with social influencer Nia the Light and held its first event in New York City. Their last event was in October with Atlanta hip-hop festival A3C.
“We live in a world where it’s [finish grade school], go to college, get a 9 to 5,” Oates says. “For people who have these special talents [and non-traditional jobs], they deserve to be celebrated.”
If you go: The Art of Metanoia’s third anniversary show is Sunday, July 14 from 5-10 p.m. at the Westside Cultural Arts Center. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online here.