Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery is a non-profit art space and venue in Atlanta, Georgia, founded by American painter Woody Cornwell and musician and journalist Marshall Avett, and focused on contemporary art and experimental music ranging from contemporary chamber music and sound sculpture to drone noise music and art rock. Until January 1, 2011, the organization was located in the Old Fourth Ward district, and had three art gallery spaces and one space for music and performance. It hosted approximately 180 events yearly. Established in 1998, Eyedrum is one of the longest-running art and performance spaces in Atlanta managed by volunteers.
Eyedrum often organizes events in collaboration with community partners, including the annual Listening Machines events with Georgia Institute of Technology, Henry W. Grady High School art department, and The Film Love series of art films. Besides visual art exhibitions and performances it also hosts films, lectures, and other related activities. It hosts a monthly improvisation night focused on exploration of experimentation in music and sound. In the past the music arm of the organization hosted the Table of the Elements Festival and the Rogue Independent Music Festival. Live performances from various acts such as Ken Lockie, Hubcap City, Bill Taft, and Tunnels were recorded at Eyedrum and later released as live albums.
Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery is the parent organization of an arts journal Eyedrum Periodically. Published quarterly and online, the magazine offers literary works (poetry, fiction, and essays), visual arts, and works in sound and multimedia in accordance with a succession of themes. Submitting artists may interpret these themes both literally and figuratively. Themes for the first year of publication included "Im/Permanence," "Monsters," In the Streets," and "Drones." The journal is administered by Founding Editor Colleen M. Payton (aka Miriam C. Jacobs), while each issue is managed individually, as are Eyedrum's gallery curations and performance events, by a revolving Lead Editor. Lead editors for the first year, along with Payton, include Hester L. Furey and Bill Taft. The magazine publishes an annual print edition, Best of Eyedrum Periodically.
Eyedrum's structure is unique in that it is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff. The board of directors is a working board, with members meeting monthly and handling virtually every aspect of running the space, including programming, promotions, accounting, fundraising, and janitorial duties.
1997 - Silver Ceiling opens in the 2nd floor apartment of Woody Cornwell and Marshall Avett at 249F Trinity Avenue, on the west side of downtown at the edge of the Castleberry Hill district.
1998 - Renamed as "Eyedrum", the operation moves downstairs to a street level space at 253 Trinity Ave. A group of local artists and creators band together and pay out of pocket every month to cover the rent of the new space. This early "board" was dubbed the "Original 8" and consisted of Woody Cornwell, Marshall Avett, Ben Young, Will Lawless, Rachel Pomberg, Sunni McGarrity, Bill Spence and Todd Pullen.
1999 - 253 Trinity basement space expanded to provide for a better performance stage and more display space
Sep 2001 - completes move to new 3,000 sq ft space at 290 MLK Drive on the other side of downtown
Jan 2005 - expands lease of 290 MLK to 6,000 sq ft total; Shelter show inaugurates the rough space
Mar 2005 - proper build out of new space starts; Bill Nixon show inaugurates new back gallery
Sep 2005 - construction of new stage completed, performances move to new back stage, opening up front gallery for larger shows
Jan 2011 - organization moves out of 290 MLK space and begins period of satellite events (aka "Eyedrum Elsewhere" events) at various venues around Atlanta, including 364 Nelson Street in Castleberry Hill, The Goat Farm, Beep Beep Gallery, and The Music Room at Pizzeria Vesuvius.
May 2013 - Eyedrum finds a home in the C4's FUSE Arts Center at 115 MLK, just east of Peachtree Street.
Jul 2014 - Eyedrum makes a new home at 88 Forsyth Street, in the South Downtown area.
Oct 2018 - Eyedrum celebrates its 20th anniversary.
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