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Elizabeth Labbe-Webb 

Downtown's Arts for All Gallery executive director

For more than a decade, Arts for All Gallery in downtown Atlanta has been providing an outlet for artists with disabilities, low-income artists, and other artists who share those concerns. This year's Artist Market is new to the gallery's lineup, and executive director Elizabeth Labbe-Webb plans to play the dual role of host and exhibiting artist. The Arts for All Artist Market opens July 8.

Tell me about the Artist Market in your own words.

The Artist Market for us this year is modeled after our holiday art sale, but we're looking at it to be an additional opportunity to do some artist development. So we've invited artists that have worked with us before, but also several new artists who are at that very beginning stage or just past that beginning stage. And the hope with this is not only to give them that retail experience but also to be able to, at least on an informal level, match them with a more experienced artist in a kind of mentoring relationship.

Are individual artists being matched up with each other?

It's more of a collective thing. It's not really formal. But Jaehn [Clare, director of artistic development] and I have a little agenda. We're going to make sure that so-and-so talks to so-and-so kind of thing.

How many participants are there?

I think there's [about] 14 artists on the roster. They come from all over Atlanta and outside the Perimeter. Like I said, some of them have worked with us before and for some of them this is their very first experience. And they range in experience level, in sophistication level. We have one artist who has been working very diligently for the last year or so to lift himself out of homeless status. And we have another artist who has been working with us for years and this is just a regular outlet for her, that she puts things into our sale. So they run the gamut.

Where would you like to see the gallery go in the next 20 years?

I see VSA Arts of Georgia as a community destination, as an arts center, where we have the gallery, we have studios, we have teaching space, we have a place for the performing artists to hone their craft, and things like that. And the gallery becomes the public outlet for the visual art programming that we have. Just as we'll also have some way to have a public outlet for the performing arts, and a public outlet for the literary arts. But I really see it as a safe place for people with disabilities and people of low income to aspire avocationally or vocationally to the arts in some way, to come and explore without the societal judgments that come with being a person with a disability or a person of low income.


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