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Neda Abghari, Fahamu Pecou, Bethany Marchman are JUNG at HeART

Collaborative exhibit launches Creative Community Housing Project for artists

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It'd be interesting to see what would happen if everyone wore a name tag everywhere they went. That way, if you were artist Fahamu Pecou standing in the endless self-checkout line at Kroger and you happened to turn around and notice fellow artist Bethany Marchman behind you, you might strike up a conversation with her even though you'd never formally met. And then you might discover that, even though your styles are totally different, you and she are exploring similar ideas in your artwork. You might even decide to get together sometime to discuss.

But people don't wear name tags everywhere they go.

Until they do, there's Neda Abghari, photographer, Atlanta native, and founder of the photo-documentary series the Creatives Project. Abghari started the project in 2007 while living in New York City in an effort to expose Big Apple artists to Atlanta talent. She returned home in 2008 with the specific goal of using the Creatives Project to help connect the different pockets of artists throughout the city.

Abghari wants to see "people mingling who don't normally mingle, and people engaging in conversations that they don't normally engage in," she says. "My goal is always, always, to bring community together."

Abghari's next curatorial effort, JUNG at HeART, which opens Friday, is a collaboration between Abghari, self-appointed hip-hop art star Pecou, and pop art surrealist Marchman. The show's work taps into the thinking of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung to explore the different ways in which childhood experiences manifest themselves in adulthood. The show will include photos by Abghari and paintings by Pecou and Marchman based on the photography.

"They are two artists but on completely opposite ends of the spectrum creatively within the city, so the photography is like the binding thread," says Abghari. "We chose the concept — it was kind of floating around in all of our heads."

JUNG at HeART will also act as a coming-out party and benefit for the Creative Community Housing Project, a Creatives Project spin-off that aims to provide housing and studio space on the cheap for working artists. Atlanta is saturated with vacant properties and "there is a need. There are artists whose lives need to be supported. ... And, there's the need for education programming," she says. So through CCHP, a property owner donates a lease, an artist gets a place to create, and in return he or she gives back to the community through artistic outreach.

CCHP will start taking applications from artists March 1. In the meantime, the organization's working on its 501(c)(3) with the goal of securing official nonprofit status by early 2012.

"It's not by any means an original idea. It's been happening in Europe for years. It's been happening in the United States," says Abghari. "However, with our program we really want it to have this human element so that the investor knows who the artists are, and they are working with the artist, and the artists are working with the community and everyone benefits."

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