Atlanta has no shortage of talent, but without opportunity that talent can be squandered. Right now Atlanta’s creative culture is undergoing a renaissance. More and more opportunities are being created by Atlantans as the south has become a hotbed for filming over the past ten plus years. While much of the creative work still happens in Los Angeles and New York, Atlantans are working hard to pry it from their clutches. 

Over the past year Gary Jordan and his team with Coalition of Artists has made it their number one goal, to empower local Atlanta creatives to take charge of their own projects while creating an equitable ecosystem for filmmakers. 

Coalition of Artists is now a little over a year old and going strong with their weekly networking event at the Atlantucky Brewery in Castleberry Hill on Wednesday evenings. The workshops and mixers give an opportunity to both experienced and novice filmmakers to create community over their shared passion. These weekly gatherings are more than just a mixer, they include short film screenings, table reads and interactive breakout sessions that allow for participants to be an active part of the creative process. Creating opportunities for co-creation and collaboration is what truly builds resilient communities, business cards and pleasantries can only go so far. 

COA formed out of a loose amalgamation of connections between L.A. and Atlanta. Co-founder Gary Jordan formed a relationship with actor David Aroundovich back in 2015 while the former was a PA and the latter was a supporting actor alongside Daniel Radcliffe. Jordan and Aranovich stayed in touch along their creative journeys and when talent agent Ralph Cooper moved from L.A. to Atlanta a connection was sealed. 

Cooper had been running writers workshops and rooms out in L.A. and wanted to keep them going as he made his transition to Atlanta. Jordan then tapped his associate Shag Owens, a connection from his time working as a record executive in the music industry. This core group of three took their combined extended networks and began the Coalition of Artists Wednesday Night Workshops on October, 26th 2022 at the Atlantlucky Brewery.

The weekly meetings have proved to be incredibly fruitful. Attendees are able to make new connections, get feedback on their work and gain insight into an industry that can feel opaque and hard to navigate. Upon attendance to several Wednesday night meetups the main throughline is the feeling of intention from the core group. 

The key organizers make sure everyone meets someone new and exchanges information. No two meetings are the same. Many times networking events can feel stale and clique-ish. Jordan and his team make sure there is variety each week. 

“We're hoping to create the type of space where we can fund projects, produce projects, distribute projects, and kind of build our own working business model with regards to film and television. You know, create and cultivate an equitable space,” Jordan told AFPZine over an exclusive video interview.

Film Prep is the next step in their plan to help create opportunities for writers. “Film Prep [happens] on Saturdays. Those are essentially writer boot camps that are run by my partner Ralph Cooper who's a talent agent”, Jordan explained. 

Outside of being a talent agent Cooper is a writer, director and producer with two Emmy awards under his belt. These courses are six weeks long with the intention of being shot and edited. “We want to be intentional about creating these types of opportunities,” Jordan said.  

Intentionality is everything when you set out to create anything. Coalition of Artists is moving with intention as they build a community by Atlantans for both newly residing Atlantans and the old timers of the area. Stay tuned by following Coalition of Arts on Instagram and check out their Wednesday night workshops at Atlantucky. 


Stephen Wilkins is founder of SLW & Steady Productions based out of Atlanta, Ga. He is a freelance writer and musician working to build an equitable ecosystem for artists of all mediums and backgrounds. You can follow him @slw_n_steady_productions on Instagram.