This is Eyedrum: Placing avant-garde in Atlanta

Located in downtown Atlanta, Eyedrum is a local music venue and art gallery for art and music enthusiasts alike. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal
Located in downtown Atlanta, Eyedrum is a local music venue and art gallery for art and music enthusiasts alike.
Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

The right space and think tank is what takes artwork from a part of a portfolio into a deserved and interactive experience. Performances, art, music, literature and film all have found an odd home sporadically dwelling in a long forgotten 1920s space.

Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, located in Atlanta’s Art District off of Forsyth Street, is home to experimental demonstration no matter the art genre of choice.

Morgan Carlisle, the Chair of the Board at Eyedrum, supervises the organization and makes sure all decisions and events are carried out.

“We try to represent any and all forms of cutting-edge art that we can,” Carlisle said. “Eyedrum is one the oldest arts organizations in Atlanta. We have pioneered and fostered the way for many other cool galleries and groups that you will find Downtown in the arts scene.”

Their mission statement is to foster experimental and avant-garde art to create dialogue and collaboration in the contemporary art community.

Eyedrum is currently still renovating the building they acquired last year into the space they deem fit for artistic delivery. The multiple store fronts are on Forsyth and Martin Luther King.

“We are renting space for a dollar a year plus property tax from Laz Parking. They own the whole building which is also connected to a Laz parking deck,” Carlisle said. “Along with the six stores we are inhabiting, is a rooftop that we use for various events such as film screenings and sculpture shows.”

As of this moment, three of the six stores are equipped to house events. The other three are being worked on as well as improvements being made to the three already usable stores.

“We have probably moved over ten tons of debris from all of the spaces,” Carlisle said.


The Art

The board at Eyedrum have composed five committees to carry out the expanse of the different art. The five committees are respectively devoted to art, performance, music, literature and film.

“These groups are our main programming source and are we are constantly churning out innovative and diverse works because of how many hands are involved in curation,” Carlisle said. “We have other committees for education, technology and operational needs and then the board curates their own programming too.”

The genre and type of art generally exhibited at Eyedrum range from any and all places.

“We exhibit anything that is cool and interesting,” Carlisle said. “My favorite show in the gallery so far has been Orion Crook’s ‘Living Case’. He and his curated artists had live plants and art growing out of our gallery floors and walls.”

There are constant music shows on the roster. From experimental sound artists, to garage, to punk and metal and to ensemble groups and musicians. All of these acts are held within one week.

Established in 1998, Eyedrum has had the time and opportunities to build a long list of musicians and artists who have stopped by.

“I meet artists from all over the country and a surprising number of them tell me we were their first show or that we were the first group to really give them a chance with their art,” Carlisle said. “It’s a lovely thing, knowing that there is a lot of nostalgia associated with us. We have almost two decades of facilitating artists in their different stages of creation and we are forever looking to collaborate and support.”

The atmosphere you get from being inside Eyedrum’s energy is much like the feeling you get with the art inside: baffled and earnestly curious.

“We are a quirky bunch who are always changing, growing and passionate about contributing to society,” Carlisle said. “You probably won’t know what you are getting into when you walk in the door, but it’s always fantastic.”


Students Enter

For Georgia State students who not only want to watch the art, but also take part of it. Eyedrum is willing DSC_0395and open. They have internships for those interested in curation, production or simply the art scene. They accept proposals being sent to showcase their art, but Eyedrum prefers talking about the art in person.

“Come to our shows and talk to us. We are super friendly and always excited to meet new people with great ideas. Eyedrum is probably one of the most approachable nonprofits you will meet and that is something we really pride ourselves on. Eyedrum is constantly looking for volunteers on a project to project bases, so there are endless ways to be a part of our family.”

Anyone interested in sending a proposal can do so at


Witness the Exhibits

Eyedrum’s second Graphic Scores Concert

For the second time, Eyedrum will be having a concert surrounding Graphic Scores, which utilizes abstract works of art and multiple sets of people to interpret each piece.

Dec. 4

8 p.m.


Elizabeth A. Baker Traveling Circuits

Elizabeth Baker is pianist who also incorporates a toy piano into an electronic performance. The Eyedrum gig is a part of her larger Fall 2015 tour. There will also be an artist talk.

Dec. 5

7 p.m. to 11 p.m.


Closing of Michael Jones’ “Moving Targets”

This art exhibit began Oct. 24 and is wrapping the same night of Elizabeth Baker’s show. Michael Jones’ art collection is a mixed-media installation with some video work that questions all of the different contexts our culture uses firearms. Jones is quoted in this exhibition as saying, “Who is the one in power?”

Dec. 5

7 p.m. – 11 p.m.


Terminus Ensemble

Terminus Ensemble is a collection of composers living in Atlanta and the surrounding areas who play various compositions written by the musicians. The orchestra piece includes the flute, saxophone, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion, sax and more.

Dec. 6

8 p.m.


Star Wars Mass and Contraband

The film exhibits the critiques, celebrations and rants on the “religion” of the Star Wars franchise.                Dec. 12

Price: $7


Take the Trip

88 Forsyth Street SW

Atlanta, GA 30303

Phone: 404-578-4430