The Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, or ATHICA, is located in northeast Georgia. The gallery promotes and supports innovative and challenging contemporary artists through exhibits, events and education. While the facility is committed to the local art community, it also invites contemporary artists worldwide to bring world-class art to Athens and educate the public.
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The gallery does not have a permanent collection, but mounts four major exhibits each year under the direction of guest curators. Since the gallery’s founding in 2002, over 1,200 artists have shown their work at ATHICA across more than 60 shows and through countless supporting events. In addition to the curated shows, Member Exhibitions take place annually in December. The annual juried exhibit is now in its fourth year, and takes place each fall.
History: ATHICA was founded by Lizzie Zucker Saltz between 2001 and 2002 and is Athens’ only art space dedicated solely to the contemporary arts. ATHICA’s gallery space was made possible through the cooperation of the Chase Park Condominium Association and a donation from FiveArt Inc. a group of Athens area developers and philanthropists who donated the 2,200 square foot gallery space within the Chase Street Park Warehouses. The Warehouses, originally built in the early 1900’s to store cotton, were once abandoned and now thrive as home to Athens’ growing arts district.
ATHICA is an independent non-profit organization managed by a board of directors that includes Athens area artists, art professionals and art supporters. The organization receives its funding from local businesses and individuals, and has been awarded a number of prestigious grants, including a one-year award from The Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and a three-year grant from the The Andy Warhol Foundation for Contemporary Art. The organization relies entirely on volunteers to mount exhibits, give tours and assist with curating exhibits and hosting events.
Ongoing Programs and Education: ATHICA is host to a number of events. Performances, lectures and workshops take place throughout the year. Children’s events introduce young children to contemporary art and offer educational programming suitable for all ages. Sunday afternoon family programming includes a Collage Club and other art activities.
The gallery space is also host to a number of events in partnership with outside organizations. The upcoming CURE event is a collaboration with the University of Georgia to fundraise for CURE, a non-profit that funds surgeries for children with curable diseases in Niger. ATHICA at Frontier is an off-site exhibition space, hosted by Frontier, a local downtown shop.
Past and Future Exhibits: ATHICA mounts four major exhibitions each year. An ongoing call to artists brings curators and artists from all over the world. An annual “pin-up” show features artwork for sale starting at $20 per piece, most of which can easily be wall hung. Once purchased, the work is immediately removed from the show to head home with the collector. ATHICA Emerges is an annual show dedicated to displaying the work of local emerging artists. The inaugural show in 2007 featured the work of Anthony Wislar and Tyrus Lytton.
ATHICA’s history includes over 15 years of exhibits, many of which can be viewed in their online archives. Highlights of past exhibits include Raw Womyn, the gallery’s first exhibit, which opened in March of 2002. The exhibit showcased the work of 15 female artists. 2017 included I Swear I Saw This: The Line as Witness, curated by Mike Calway-Fagen. 2007’s Self-Made featured the work of three San Francisco based artists who toured the US with their work, mimicking the life of a rock band showcasing their music.
Past events in the space have included performances by student composers at the University of Georgia, poetry readings, film screenings and artist’s talks. Art performances have included the work of Jason Cantorella, Ted Kuhn and Zachary Fabri.
Emerges: Collaborations opens in the spring of 2018. The show is curated by Kira Hegeman and Jon Vogt. The show’s installation will take place in conjunction with Give Back My Beast, a gallery performance by artists Daniel Nelson and Jeremy Ayers.
What’s Nearby: ATHICA’s gallery space is located within the Chase Street Park Warehouses, home to Athens’ urban arts district. The once abandoned site now includes co-tenants such as artist’s studios, recording studios, cafes and start-up businesses less than one mile from the center of Athens, Georgia.
160 Tracy St. Unit 4 Athens, GA 30601, Phone: 706-389-5450