We asked some of the city’s leading artists and creatives to tell us about how they decided to pursue an artistic or creative career. We’ve shared some highlights below.

Kerri J. Baldwin | Actress

When asked this question my response is always the same. I didn’t choose this passion but the passion was instilled in me. God given talents cannot be dismissed or forgotten. There’s No timimg, circumstance or misfortune that can keep you from your purpose. BEing a creative allows me to share my gift through various platforms. I’m a giver by nature and being an actor has allowed me to inspire, encourage and uplift others. I’ve been doing this for a lifetime and walked away several times because my career hadn’t progressed in my time. Trusting in God and understanding his purpose for my life has given me clear direction. Never allow Man to determine for you what is already predestined by God. Only God knows, and now the world does too, that I would’ve never chose this path for myself because it’ requires Teflon skin. If it were easy, everyone who be doing it. Read more>>

Jono Davis | Managing Director & Producer

I grew up in a household where art and music were encouraged. My parents are musicians and had me participating in extracurricular activities at a very young age. I was hit in the head with too many soccer balls, so I gave up on sports and pursued the arts. Fortunately, I was surrounded by several influential people who believed careers can be carved from theatre, art, and music, so it didn’t take much convincing when I decided creativity is what I wanted to do with my life. When I graduated from college and worked as a freelance actor, I found a passion in arts management and administration. To me, it’s just as gratifying to advocate for your craft as it is to practice it. I chose this path because it makes me happy. I’d rather have the struggles that come with a creative career than being unhappy in a profession that might be more financially stable. Read more>>

Kendra DeÀnna | Singer-Songwriter, Producer & Model

I know deep down in my heart of hearts that I was placed here to save lives and win souls for my Heavenly Father.. He has given me many talents & gifts, but my favorite one of them all is the Gift of Music. Music is a universal language enjoyed by everyone! It heals, it saves, it nurtures and I am so Blessed to be a singer/songwriter who is able to do those things via music. It warms my heart and confirms my purpose when people tell me they felt better after hearing my song or hearing my voice or when they tell me they can relate to my words. I absolutely Love what I do with a passion! Read more>>

Alex Lewis | Director & Cinematographer

Since school was never really my thing, I needed to carve my own path in order to become successful. I did not have a knack for Math or Science neither was I ever particularly outstanding at anything useful other than being a skateboarding, class clown from a lower than average income family. The successful career driven life wasn’t really in the cards for me. As my 20’s started to roll by job after job becoming more stagnant and boring, less fulfilling, and disappointing I started to take notice of successful people around me and on the internet. I knew I needed to do something different, something that was intriguing and challenging. Working hard was never my problem it was always focusing my attention on one singular goal is what I struggled with. Chasing a successful career in an artistically driven industry was calling my name, a way to express myself beyond words a way to connect with people without feeling inauthentic. Read more>>

Linda LaBeaud | Creative

I pursued a creative career because it felt most in alignment with the person that I already am. I wanted to create a live for myself that I didn’t need a vacation from so I had to figure out what that would like like for me. I grew up around the arts. Both of my parents were singers/songwriters and my grandparents also had a great appreciation for the arts. My grandfather was a poet and a songwriter. My grandmothers on both sides can sing and really enjoy it. Growing up around art in this way really made an impression on me and I felt most happy creating whether I was writing songs, singing or creating jewelry. The arts always bring me back to my center and I feel it is what connects me most deeply with my ancestors. Read more>>

Sophia Keys | Owner & Artist

I didn’t start out wanting to be an artist, I actually wanted to be an archaeologist! I even went to Scotland to the University of Saint Andrews to study archaeology fresh out of high school. But, you know, life happens, and I came back home to Georgia. I spent the next couple years switching between colleges, trying to figure out what my life was going to look like as I still was holding on to the idea of being an archaeologist. However, my senior year began with a scheduling issue and all my classes were dropped. I scrambled to get my precious classes back but nope, they were full. I ended up taking some studio art classes, one of them being beginner’s pottery. Throwing on the wheel came quite naturally to me. My hands and body just know what to do when I’m at the wheel. Read more>>

Chalice Nelson | Licensed Psychotherapist & Wellness Curator

Throughout the course of my life, I have found that creativity is my life’s purpose. From as young as I can remember, participating in creative activities whether that be braiding my own hair, dancing, singing or knitting, they all served as cathartic exercises for me. Now, I find that in my work as a licensed psychotherapist, combining my passion to help others with my purpose has led to granting others the opportunity to explore ways to live more authentically and enhance their freedom. It is such a humbling experience to walk beside others as they to tap into their creative abilities and how it propels them forward on the path destined for them. Read more>>

Donice Bloodworth | Artist & Teacher

I’ve always been creative so it was only natural for me. From the time I can remember Art class was my favorite and I was always one of the best in the room. As I went through school I started to know the work I was doing would guide me in my college choices and most likely the career that I would eventually choose. Starting my 20th year as a teacher definitely wasn’t a part of the plan though, becoming an art teacher was all about timing and being in the right place at the right time. But I love every minute of being in front of my classroom as much as I do being in the studio in front of a canvas. Read more>>

Daniel Guyton | Playwright, Screenwriter, Actor & Teacher

When I was a child, I had a noticeable speech impediment. I was deaf in one ear, and I mumbled when I talked. It was so bad, that many of my teachers and fellow classmates could not understand me, and I often could not understand them. I was prescribed hearing aids, but those were the old giant hearing aids which made loud screeching noises whenever I touched them or even turned my head. Other children were often cruel, and I felt ashamed to wear them. I also felt ashamed to not be able to hear or speak to them, and so I became fairly reclusive for much of my childhood. If I didn’t talk to others, then they wouldn’t know I mumbled. If I didn’t try to listen, they wouldn’t know I couldn’t hear. I felt it best to just pretend that I didn’t like them, to save us all a lot of grief. My saving grace, however, was that I developed a tremendous love for the written word. I found out early on that I could express myself in writing in a way that I struggled desperately to do by speaking. Read more>>

Paul & Andrea Stafford | Photographers, Videographers & Visual Creatives

We both had this natural drive to pursue an artistic and creative career after we slowly dropped out of college. I studied architecture for 4 years at Southern Polytechnic State University, now KSU. My wife studied broadcast media journalism at Georgia State University. We struggled with “life” which made school more of an challenge for us; I had a terrible battle with depression and suicidal thoughts while my wife (then girlfriend) was homeless in and out of shelters. After a few years fighting our circumstances, overcoming them and healing from them, we got married and started our life together. Equipped with our creative outlet, realizing there is serious career potential in this unconventional profession. Read more>>

Leslie Murphy | Painting Instructor, Portrait Artist & Illustrator

Choosing an artistic career was never a question for me. For as long as I can remember, I only wanted to be an artist. Making art has always been a compulsion. I need to do it for the sake of my own well being, as well as to share the joy of creativity with others. I am compelled to keep exploring the endless possibilities of art making. It is never boring. There is always something new to explore either conceptually or technically. Read more>>

Shrodrick Spikes | Artist, Designer, Art Director & Curator

For me, creating came natural and it’s something I’ve done my entire life. As my creative practice began to evolve, I realized it was more than just creating, it was therapy. I figured if it helped me throughout life, I’m sure it would do the same for others. I decided that I wanted to shift my focus by providing creative stimuli, while changing the way people experience art, design, fashion, and wellness. Read more>>

Brianna Case | Paper Artist & Multimedia Illustrator

I have pursued an artistic career because it’s the perfect medium for me to express myself. I think art is a unique tool to convey emotions and messages. Art builds community and inspires others to create as well. In my experience, art has even served as a constructive way to deal with stress and anxiety. Having this outlet of expression has put myself, and I’m sure others, on a path to better mental health and wellness. Read more>>