The Gathering – ATL 2017!

The Gathering – ATL 2017!

On May 11th 2017 at 640 West Community Cafe we hosted The Gathering, an annual tri-city mixer, which brings together artists and organizations who inspire social change through art and music. Guests enjoy great food, cocktails, music, live art, a panel discussion, featured community arts organization exhibits, and 100+ amazing professionals in Atlanta creating impact while changing lives.

Opening Remarks by Chairman Courtney English who currently serves as the Chairman of the Atlanta Public Schools and is a thought leader in Education. Chairman English was Elected to his first term on the board in 2009 at only 24 years old, English is not only the youngest chairman in the history of the school system, he is the youngest person to be elected citywide in any capacity in the city of Atlanta’s history and is the first full time public schools teacher ever elected to the board of education. He is currently exploring a bid for Atlanta City Council.

The topic of discussion during the featured panel will engage conversation about Inspiring Social Change and Civic Engagement Through Art and Music in Atlanta and Beyond!

Panelists Included:

  • Bettina Love, an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. She is the founder of Real Talk: Hip Hop Education for Social Justice, an after school initiative aimed at teaching elementary students the history and elements of Hip Hop for social justice through project-based learning.
  • Carlton Mackey, is the Creator of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™, a grassroots empowerment campaign, internationally recognized brand, and apparel company also comprised of the signature platforms Black Men Smile™ and  50 Shades of Black.  He is an adjunct professor of Film and Media Studies at Emory University,
  • Rohit Malhotra, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Civic Innovation in Atlanta. Rohit served as an Ash Innovation Fellow in the White House Office of Management and Budget, focused on the administration’s efforts around social impact bonds. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, where he is the youngest serving member in recent history. Rohit was named as one of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 30 Under 30.
  • Alex Acosta, is the co-founder and Executive Director of Soul Food Cypher. Soul Food Cypher is a community arts organization that builds individuals and communities through the power of freestyle rap by hosting cypher events, educational services, and workshops throughout the country.

A Live Featured Performance by Charvis Flagg! At only 20 years old, Flagg’s distinctive style brings a new sound to music! Playing over eight different instruments by ear, he portrays his imagination like no other. With his God given gift, he never sleeps a day without picking up at least one instrument. Virtuous and curious minded, he finds new and powerful ways to connect with his audience.

We announced The Heart Exchange, a youth mentorship program that matches local artists to youth in underserved communities. The program is set to launch in Philadelphia this Fall.

Featured organizations included: 

  • Notes for Notes – Notes for Notes is 501 (c) 3 non-profit providing youth with FREE access to music instruments, instruction, and recording studio environments so that music may become a profoundly positive influence in their lives. Learn more at
  • Atlanta Music Project – The Atlanta Muscic Project’s mission is to inspire social change by providing Atlanta’s underserved youth the opportunity to learn and perform music in orchestras and choirs. Learn more at
  • Black Men Smile™ endeavors to serve as a model for radical expressions of self-love. We strive to redefine the normative narrative surrounding our identities and to reposition the Black Male as a pillar in society in the areas of family, community, education, and economics. Learn more at
  • Center for Civic Innovation’s  mission is to push Atlanta to be a smart, equitable, and engaged city by investing in community-driven ideas, supporting social enterprises, and engaging people in dialogue and action. Learn more at

See official recap photos HERE

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