The Bakery Atlanta grows as a creative space

The pandemic affected The Bakery’s plans and transition, but the team and volunteers have hope for the future. Submitted by The Bakery

The Bakery, at its core, is a hub for collaboration, experimentation, learning and play. The Founder and Creative Director, Willow Goldstein, and Program Administrator Amanda Norris shared their thoughts on The Bakery and plans for the creative space.

The Bakery, founded in 2017, came to be out of necessity and desire. Its mission statement is rooted in a DIY approach, activism, growth and community. It provides a physical space to a wide array of community groups, curators, and projects, all of which are necessary for fostering a healthy creative community. 

The space operates while maintaining this mission, especially with the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our DIY spirit shines through in all of our work because everything we do, we “do it ourselves,’” said Norris. “There is no magical being behind the curtain, just a small team of volunteers trying to run a community space in the midst of a pandemic.” 

The Bakery’s lease at 825 Warner Street was originally scheduled to end in June of 2020, but they shut down in early March due to the pandemic. The organizers and administrators had been looking for new locations, but the reality of those possibilities shrank with so many unknowns. 

“Ultimately, we didn’t get the proper goodbye we were hoping for… but it was still a bittersweet end of an era as we hosted an open house yard sale where people could explore the building and take a piece of it home with them,” Norris said.

The creative collective now has two locations with The Bakery South Downtown and The Bakery East Point. The South Downtown location is a medium-sized white wall gallery that hosts pop-up art exhibitions and a few permanent installations. 

The East Point location is their recent transition and will act as The Bakery’s hub for 2021. This space will also offer studio spaces available to rent, with currently two available.

Launched in January 2021, The Studio Residency Program is a prototype based on the Atlanta art community’s response and needs. 

“Due to the instability of many people’s basic needs, it was difficult to ask for people’s time commitment to a three-month program,” Goldstein said. “Thus, we have since transitioned to month-to-month studio rentals at a flat rate of $250/month.”

There are plenty of events to look forward to this upcoming summer, including “Looking Glass Self: How the Mind Shapes the Body,” a solo show by emerging artist Ian Harmon from May 27th through the 31st at The Bakery Downtown. 

The looking glass self, a concept in sociology about how one views themself through the eyes of others, inspires Harmon’s work. The exhibition will feature paintings, prints, and pottery arranged around reflective surfaces, forcing viewers to see fragmented versions of themselves and perhaps question their preconceived perceptions. 

As for the future, The Bakery is kept alive by the interests and dedication of people, time, and resources. Covid-19 changed many of these things locally and globally, and the team and volunteers at The Bakery are taking it day by day. 

The biggest hope has always been that The Bakery, as both a space and a concept, will inspire people to create the world they envision.

“We are in the midst of a new journey for 2021, and while it might not look like our old space or what people associate with The Bakery, it still sustains our core goal of supporting emerging, non-traditional and DIY art,” Goldstein said.