Local Stories is an initiative that uses creative storytelling to present lesser-known facts about Downtown Atlanta's rich history. For this round of stories, A&E Atlanta worked with curator Jacob O'Kelley to select three Atlanta artists tasked with interpreting a local story through a visual lens.
Local Stories are displayed monthly on the digital sign at Margaret Mitchell Square (140 Peachtree St NW). Artwork is displayed daily in between commercial content.
September: Sweet Auburn: Atlanta's Black Main Street by Natrice Miller October: The Discovery of Coca-Cola by Matthew Evans November: Peachtree Street by Lewis H. Foster
Jacob O'Kelley is an Atlanta-based curator and visual artist. He received his BFA in Drawing and Painting from Georgia State University. In 2018, he co-founded ShowerHaus Gallery. From 2021-2022, Jacob managed MINT Gallery, a local arts non-profit focused on emerging artists in Atlanta. As of 2023, he is the Creative Director at Swan Coach House Gallery.
As a curator, his interests and ambitions lie in uplifting artists, primarily in the Southern United States. He focuses on the development of artists by dedicating time and energy - providing space for experimental work and exploratory research, amplifying diversity and inclusivity, and being adaptable to artists’ needs.
His personal work navigates the conflicting relationships between religion, masculinity, queer identity, desire, and memory through found object installation and sculpture, and painting. Most recently, he has exhibited in venues across the southeast, including the Greenville Museum of Art in North Carolina, Echo Contemporary in Georgia, Zeitgeist Gallery in Tennessee, and at ArtFields in South Carolina. He also started writing as a contributor for Burnaway and Art Papers.