Atlanta Habitat for Humanity was established in 1983, and is now one of the biggest Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the United States. The organization serves as the largest affordable single-family housing developer in Atlanta. As part of its efforts to eliminate substandard housing and improve access to adequate, affordable housing, Atlanta Habitat partners with working families, communities, and sponsors to build affordable, quality homes that meet green-building standards. Atlanta Habitat builds energy-efficient houses using Green Advantage construction procedures to help lower costs for homeowners while also benefiting the environment.
Along with maintaining relationships with its homeowners—starting from the application process and ending when the no-interest mortgage is paid off—Atlanta Habitat helps families to complete 250 hours of sweat equity—the volunteer time required of those who buy Habitat homes—as well as classes and other homeownership requirements.
WonderRoot fosters the next generation of artists in its Community Arts Center, including access to arts-education classes and all of the center's media production facilities. Young people ages 18 and under can enrich expressive skills in arts classes such as bookbinding and video editing and take advantage of resource spaces that include a darkroom, digital-media lab, and printing, recording, and ceramics studios. Professional development programs are also available to nurture budding artists. While membership to the center costs $60, WonderRoot strives to make their resources accessible to the community and has supported 88 young artists in the past year with free memberships.
Matt Janke dreamed of landing the perfect glass-blowing job. After moving to Atlanta in 1986, he realized there wasn't a single glass studio in town, granting his art a ready-made niche. After settling in, he returned to grad school, earning an MFA in glass with the intent to launch his own university program and ultimately procure his own space. By the time he graduated in 1992, Matt further honed his skills, stockpiled equipment, and, in 1996, opened his own studio and hired himself.
Beyond the perks of being his own boss, having his own studio affords Matt a great deal of creative freedom. He infuses all his handblown light fixtures, tumblers, and vases with the prismatic swirls of his signature style, in which precise lines and natural variations vie for attention across undulating surfaces. A downtown gallery space facilitates sales of these works.
But the studio has also fulfilled more than Matt's original goal of finding glass-blowing employment, going on to catalyze a glass-blowing community. From single apprentices in the early days, the studio is now a full-fledged classroom, with space for five instructors, a dozen students, and the kilns that must melt their glass until they each finish their training by capturing and taming a fire-breathing dragon.