Tumblefield by Lauren Stumberg

This past week, Asheville artist Jon Graham and I wrapped up "Tumblefield," a mural sponsored by the thoughtful and diligent Norcross Public Arts Commission (NPAC). This mural is the first of many NPAC-sponsored art works in Skin Alley – their future "artway" – and they wanted to do it right. They had a creative focus group, public meetings, and community input. In that process, we were tasked with creating a whimsical concept inspired by nature, Norcross history and community.

The foxes at play became the obvious choice. It wouldn't be another small town mural – it would fulfill the mission of NPAC – "to create and support art and cultural projects that transform public space, to cultivate a growing arts community" – and be a destination for locals and visitors alike. It would tell us folks from Atlanta that Norcross has an art scene worth checking out. That Norcross embraces its creative capital. That Norcross loves art and artists. 

This was my first large-scale collaboration. Jon painted the oversized foxes; I created the environment in which they were to play. We harmoniously combined our styles to capture the whimsical spirit of the space. People love the foxes and get drawn into the space upon seeing them. Up close, they can see the details in the background - brick paver patterns that are a nod to Norcross' historical architecture; magpies as omens of change that encourage strength, new perspectives and perseverance; porcupine quills for good luck; linear elements to reference the railroad and one's journey upward and onward; circles to represent the community, where individuals come together as building blocks towards a greater good.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this experience. It was a true collaboration - not just with another artist, but with the community at large. The successful end product was the culmination of a rigorous process steeped in building relationships, trust and community conversations.

Thank you Norcross!


Mutiny Ups the Bounty by Lauren Stumberg

This past weekend, Deer Bear Wolf partnered with Mutiny Artwrx for Phoenix Fest, an annual event centered around art, music, performance and community. It was opportunity for people to connect with artists, support local art, witness the creative process, have conversation and hear/tell stories. It was, as usual for a Deer Bear Wolf event, a great success.

I got to meet people, reconnect with friends, spread the word and raise money for the Moreland Mural Project, display and sell both original artwork and my design prints of Atlanta neighborhoods. It was a great day.

The bigger impact for me though was the way the Mutiny community came together to prepare for the event. Artists often need firm deadlines to get things done, and this event was, in my opinion, the kick in the ass some of us needed to set up our studios and get shit done. We leaned on each other for resources to clean, paint, move furniture, borrow brooms, jigsaws and screws – we began to really build our community because we had something bigger than us to unite around. 

Now in my sixth month at Mutiny, I feel like I'm starting to really settle in. I feel like the vision for the space is starting to manifest, and I look forward to all the things we keep doing. They may not be as production-savvy as Phoenix Fest, but I'm confident we can now be a growing community space for artistic growth, idea development and creative fun.

Art community – How can we gather together to provide an impactful space for creatives? What would YOU like to see at Mutiny? Let's collaborate!


Thinking Greatly by Lauren Stumberg

What ideas do you have to make our neighborhoods better? How can we use our creative capital to amplify our community experiences? How do we turn ideas into action?

To think greatly is to have the gumption and resourcefulness to align actions with aspirations. This is how I operated when I lived and worked abroad in the Marshall Islands and Sicily. Yet when I moved to Atlanta, I let the vastness of the city swallow me up. I didn't know anyone. The confidence and bravery I had quickly deflated.

As I engaged with the Atlanta community through my creative offerings, my sense of self returned. I realized that I was spending a lot of time on things I cared little about, and not enough time on the the things that would lead me towards my greater goals. And so with the encouragement and support of my husband and close friends, I got the courage to create my own destiny - to think greatly.

–Lauren Stumberg