To celebrate our arrival in Atlanta, we planned an evening at the Goat Farm Arts Center, a 12-acre compound that serves as a visual and performing arts space. Over four hundred artists utilize studio space there, with about thirty renting work-live spaces.
If we hadn’t been met by three knowledgeable guides, we probably would’ve wandered aimlessly through the space and felt as if it were an abandoned. Luckily, we had the guidance of Mark, Justin and Tian when we arrived. The three gave us a tour of the charmingly worn property.
We met at the Warhorse Coffee Shop, which, after taking a wrong turn, required a climb down a steep dirt pathway to reach. We entered and immediately wondered why we had been spending so much time in large commercial coffee shops, when this warm little space had been just a few minutes away.
One wall of the shop is covered in books, with shelves from floor to ceiling and a rolling stepladder for reaching those at the very top. All were perfectly worn, and we don’t think it was just for looks—the overstuffed leather couch and armchairs would encourage anyone to curl up with a novel for the day.
Plus, if someone were there playing on the stand up piano or offered to break for a game of chess, you’d really have no reason to leave.
For Mark, Justin and Tian, they truly never have to—all have work-live spaces on the compound for their own studio use, and also work for the Goat Farm. Mark acts as the Director of Operations, Justin as the Project Director, and Tian as the Head of Aesthetic Design.
We had to ask about the long rustic wooden table just outside of the shop, which we had eyed longingly when we first arrived. Justin explained that it was built from timber taken from the building just next door, which is hard pine and almost a thousand years old.
Our first stop was at Goodson Yard, which was being set up for our party that evening. The massive warehouse space is a performance and events venue—between art installations, dance performances by gloATL, theater and parties, the space is almost completely booked through the next year.
For an event like ours, Tian would be waiting until the space was completely built out with the stage, partitions and bar area, then would move in to make it visually appealing. If you haven’t seen photos from that evening yet, we definitely recommend checking them out to see her amazing work. We returned that evening to a space filled with just the right amount of seating, warm candle light, flowers and Le Chat Cambrioleur projecting on the back wall.
Aside from holding numerous events, the Goat Farm is the home to two permanent theater groups, the Collective Project and Saiah, which have numerous performances in the space just a few feet from Goodson Yard. The compound is also home to the arts publication Burn Away.
In terms of the artists who work in studio space there, they really have no limits—as long as you won’t be putting the place in risk of fire (which means no ceramics studios), you’re more than welcome.
Mark explained that in terms of events, they’re very selective about who they host, which made us feel even more thankful to be there. The studio and work-live rentals allow them to make a profit, and then fund their events, which they host completely free of charge. These events are what allow them to support and encourage the arts.
The Goat Farm Arts Center is really a hidden gem within Atlanta. If you’re ever in the city, we highly recommend stopping by to see it for yourself!
The bus is in Atlanta through December 23rd—we’d love for you to stop by while we’re still here!
Photos by Collin Hughes