My Athens: a cycle of community efforts
By: Danielle Lewan
Athens is known for producing music, art, and fashion but the hard work it takes to actually make it is rarely talked about. The reality is, it is extremely difficult and expensive to make it in the art world. My Athens, an organization that aims to keep Athens culture unique, says their bold mission is to “creatively celebrate this city.” Even though the organization is called My Athens, some might call it “Our Athens” as they highlight original artists working together to create a variety of cultures. Whether it’s a Chili Cookoff or fashion show, My Athens wants to foster every artist’s talent. My Athens’ Director, Rachel Bailey, says she couldn’t have picked a better town to invest her mission.
Bailey says, “There’s this ambient feeling. It’s the feeling I felt the day I drove in on my college visit with my mom before I even saw the campus. I was like, this just feels like the place.”
My Athens hosted a fashion show called “Projections” Sunday evening and Trevor Blake, a fashion merchandise student by day, strutted the runway that night. Blake says, “it was really cool to be acknowledged.” Fashion shows are expensive to produce and like many young artists, Blake doesn’t have the money to put on his own. For struggling artists like Blake, that’s where My Athens comes in. “Projections” was successful through donations of time, money, and products like beer from the local brewery, Creature Comforts. My Athens only operates through the local community coming together to raise young artists up.
Bailey agrees with Blake and adds, “I think it’s created an economy in which people understand that to succeed and do really well without a lot of money, we can trade with each other all the things we’re really, really good at.”
This “created economy” didn’t stop flourishing at this fashion show. The movement is now being brought to the boutiques as the items showcased in the fashion show are being sold in the stores. Blake may have stepped off the runway Sunday night, but he continues his fashion role working in retail for the local vintage boutique, Dynamite. Working hard to pay for his passion, Blake says he is grateful for everyone who helped to give him his small taste of fame.
Blake also says, “I’m just a student. Having that presentation, having make-up artists and the beautiful people that watch it in the square come out to help out with hair, and having that opportunity – I thank My Athens for that.”
Blake wants the community to know that you too can help young artists by shopping in the boutiques downtown. And who knows, you might just be rocking Athens latest runway wear.