Imagine That! and Future Tech founder Kelly Williams has always loved science and art—up until her children were toddlers, she had spent her life building a career as an environmental engineer working for the EPA. But when she began volunteering as a leader of art and science programs at her local church and school, she unexpectedly discovered that she loved teaching children even more. Since 1995, Imagine That! and Future Tech learning centers have fostered a passion for science and technology in students aged 3 through 14. Alongside hands-on, age-appropriate instruction in the basics of physics, chemistry, and simple machines, the kids learn to work futuristic wonders such as building and programming robots to navigate obstacle courses and follow instructions. Science camps and workshops at locations all over the Atlanta metropolitan area give children a firm foundation in the sciences and prepare them for tomorrow’s world of ever-more-advanced computers and automatic doors.
Tiberius, Rome's second emperor, stares at each visitor who enters the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University. His eyes are steady, his expression one of quiet contemplation, and his head?thanks to the Museum's in-house conservation team?a vision of white Parian marble. The Museum, located on Emory University's campus, exhibits more than 17,000 artifacts like this one. Through diverse displays, they transport visitors back to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Greece, Rome, the Near East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
Tiberius is certainly one of the Museum's more prominent pieces, but it is by no means the oldest. The Greek and Roman collection encompasses Neolithic works that stretch back to 4,000 BC. Egyptian exhibits travel back even further into civilization's earliest prehistory. Many of the coffins and mummies come from one of Emory's own, Professor William Shelton. He traveled to Egypt in 1920, and among other things, brought back the oldest Egyptian mummy in the Americas, the Old Kingdom Mummy.
Other galleries contain 2,300 objects from the ancient Americas. More still travel deep into South Asia, allowing visitors to view one of the Museum's more significant pieces: a rare sculpture of the 18-armed cosmic Vishnu above his numerous attendants?a reflection of the stunning artistry of India's medieval period.
Such a sprawling and eclectic collection would perhaps be overwhelming if not for the Museum's educational programs. History and art experts lead tours and teach classes for both adults and children, including a regularly occurring session on Saturdays known as "Artful Stories at the Museum." During these free events, kids hear stories of ancient civilizations, before creating their own works of art based on the day's teachings.
Artist and fashion designer Stuart McClean was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, where his lifelong devotion to creation began during childhood under the artistically trained eye of his mother. Today, after years of crisscrossing the United States, Stuart has left a multi-colored mark on Inman Park with the gallery that carries his name. Outfitted with a large collection of bright, feel-good pieces, including canvases, photography, and sculptures, the gallery reflects Stuart's Caribbean roots, alluring visitors to browse its vibrant gems amid an atmosphere that is warmer than a bear hug from a grizzly bear in a teddy-bear costume. Works from world-renowned artists snake along the walls and even lead to a second story, which is actually a dark, wooden balcony that wraps around the gallery and pours elevated views of the first floor into meandering eyes. In addition to general browsing, the gallery can also be rented out for weddings, parties, and fundraisers throughout the year.
Founded by the city in 1850, Historic Oakland Cemetery is a reflective park with lush greenery and architectural monuments for its 70,000 burial sites. Knowledgeable tour guides share tidbits of Atlanta’s history during tours, paying visits to the gravesite of Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind, and Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African American mayor. Architecture in a variety of styles rises across the grounds, including mausoleums with Tiffany Studios stained-glass windows and gigantic bronze urns. The stone-hewn Lion of Atlanta marks the burial ground of 3,000 unknown Confederate soldiers. The hanging bows of oak, magnolia, and dogwood trees shade visitors, surrounded by the colorful, fragrant camellias.
Tell us about your museum.
The APEX offers a unique look at history from an African-American perspective. We do not begin our story with slavery, but rather with Africa and its rich splendor and glory. It is important to know that from this rich continent came medicine, math, architecture, science, and much more.
What are some of your unique exhibits that stand out from other museums?
The APEX has recreated scenes from Atlanta's Sweet Auburn, which Fortune Magazine in 1957 called "the richest Negro street in the world." Here you can see a replica of the Yates & Milton drug store, [which was] famous as a gathering place. You can also board the replica of a vintage trolley and watch a video called The Journey, narrated by Ossie Davis, and Sweet Auburn Street of Pride, narrated by Cicely Tyson.
Why is Black History Month important to you?
While Black History Month is important because it brings attention to a very important segment of our community, our theme here at the APEX is, "where every month is Black History Month."
What does being a black business owner mean to you?
Black business ownership is important because it symbolizes the strength and tenacity of a people who have endured hardships and emerged undaunted.
Where do you hope to see your museum and community in the next five years?
The APEX plans to build on its adjoining lot, a 90,000 square-foot facility with a complete "walk-through" [of] history in EPCOT Center fashion.
Why did you decide to work with Groupon again?
I have been so amazed and impressed with the results we have received from our association with Groupon. I did not know what to expect, but have been very pleased with having more than 2400 responses in only six months.
Anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
The APEX...was founded in 1978 by a veteran filmmaker from Philadelphia, Dan Moore, Sr. It was inspired by the life of Morehouse President, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, and remains a source of information and inspiration.
One of the leading art museums in the southeastern U.S., the High Museum of Art boasts a vast permanent collection of over 14,000 rotating pieces from cultures around the globe, housed within architecturally stunning buildings designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Meier. The Museum?s permanent collection includes nineteenth- and twentieth-century American art as well as European paintings and decorative pieces; a growing collection of African American art, and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk art, and African art. The High Museum is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by southern artists.