ELEVATE, the annual Atlanta arts festival, transforms regular ol’ South Downtown into a cultural art extravaganza, and has been doing so since 2011. From October 13 through 21, South Downtown will be full of innovative art, including LED installations, performances, visual art and more. Working alongside the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, ELEVATE highlights what makes the city we all know and love so unique, as well as the vision ATLiens have for a better Atlanta in the future. The festival has targeted issues like transportation, social interaction and, this year, the curatorial team—comprised of Monica Campana, Pastiche Lumumba, Allie Bashuk and Mark DiNatale— is exploring the theme, “Microcosm.” Read on for each curator's take on what the theme means to them.

Name: Monica Campana
Day Job: Living Walls, Executive Director
Perspective on Microcosms: " [ELEVATE is] four different people with different personalities and backgrounds coming together to make a public art experience. It’s an opportunity to highlight the diverse identities Atlanta has and bring representation to ones not usually heard — an exercise in inclusivity. We’ll challenge ourselves and the residents in South Downtown to think about what South Downtown is: a microcosm of diverse identities.

Name: Pastiche Lumumba
Day Job: Artist
Perspective on Microcosm: "To me, the title of a festival reflects the location of a festival, both temporally and spatially. Spatially and geographically South Downtown is a transitioning neighborhood. Right now we’re at an intersection of what that street used to look like maybe five years ago, and what it’ll look like 5 years from now. In this specific turning point, we should be looking around to see what has happened in the past and deciding what we want from the future. We’re at that moment right now, and I want people to realize that the moment requires both thought and action."

Name: Allie Bashuk
Day Job: The Goat Farm Beacons Project (and formerly, Scoutmob’s Halloween Party)
Perspective on Microcosm: “In a broad statement, [Microcosm is] about what’s happening on the street. There are a lot of conversations about Underground, the development of the stadium and the historical context of the area. It’s a story as old as time that artists come in and increase the value of buildings that then get developed and those artists get priced out. We’re trying to have a conversation about what that means for us this year in Atlanta and if we can stop it, or what we can do as artists, in a responsible way. What is the responsibility of artists to either work with this situation, fight it, or come up with other solutions? Microcosm is, on a small level, about conversations and perspectives and hearing people come out and understanding the context of where we are at this period in time, how we got here, and where we’re going.”

Name: Mark DiNatalie
Day Job:Operations and Programming at The Goat Farm
Perspective on Microcosm: "[Microcosm] is a focus on larger issues through this particular moment. You can't address all of the issues affecting the entire country, but what we can do is show some of these larger issues through the lens of Atlanta and artists. The way I like to think about it is when someone is experiencing microcosms, they're actually inside of a living, breathing example of the issue—the issue is all around them. They might be looking at a work specifically in South Downtown, but everything that's happening around them is also the issue we're trying to address."