NEXT is unabashedly inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, a period of stunning cultural and social upheaval from 1920 to 1930 that took root in New York and then spread around the world. The artists who flourished during that era remain among the most venerated cultural icons in American history: Louis Armstrong, Eubie Blake, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. Dubois, Paul Robeson, Jacob Lawrence, Countee Cullen and Josephine Baker.
Nearly 80 years later, the “next” generation of transformative artists who have begun to emerge in Atlanta and is assuming the mantle of those that came before them. Although the times we are living in and the issues we face are profoundly different, these contemporary artists are infused with a keen sense of community that transcends our individual talents or aspirations.
NEXT was founded in 2008 by Faith Carmichael and a group of her fellow artists and activists as a vehicle to galvanize this burgeoning community of artists into a potent force for change –a new renaissance.
NEXT showcases the hottest and brightest stars in the visual, literary, musical and film arts while at the same time creating a community of the city’s top artists and champions of the art in ways that can elevate us all to our NEXT level.