It’s the spookiest time of the year. No, we’re not talking about Halloween, but rather the upcoming midterm elections.
On Nov. 6, Georgia voters will weigh in on 14 U.S. House seats, eight state executive offices, all 56 state Senate seats, all 180 state House seats and, of course, the hotly contested gubernatorial race between former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D), Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) and Ted Metz (L).
Georgia Artists for Progress is a nonpartisan, not for profit organization focused on providing political resources to the community, and encouraging voting and political action through art-affiliated events. In the lead up to the midterm elections, GAP’s mission is to motivate voters and to maintain that motivation through November 6.
“I believe that the midterm elections matter because they will impact the direction of Georgia,” GAP Executive Director Nirvana Kelly says.
“If you want to have a say in the future of this state, then one of the most direct and powerful things you can do vote.”
By partnering with The Bakery, GAP has access to the DIY space and their diverse and growing following. The Bakery holds music, art, literary and social events, often in support of minority causes. In just over a year, they have become a hub and a safe space for creatives, activists and artists in the area.
“This election year has the potential to be so seismically historical and game-changing — if every single one of us participates, both in the ballot box and in every other way we know how,” Mariah Parker, better known by her emcee name Linqua Franqa, says. “For me, that’s sharing my election story, movement building through crowd moving, and getting people hyped as an emcee.”
By day, Parker serves as the Athens-Clarke County Commissioner; by night, she emcees under the name Linqua Franqa, a nod to her linguistic prowess. Parker is joined by Little Tybee — for whom GAP’s Kelly plays viola and violin — and LONER, two bands that have heavily contributed to the local community, both creatively and politically.
“I think there’s a diverse lineup, reflective of the Atlanta constituency...the constituency for Stacey Abrams. Linqua Franqa is on the bill, and she’s an elected politician. So her being there to lend her voice is obviously pretty important. Also, the fact that it’s happening at The Bakery is unique, because The Bakery does a ton of community outreach and they’re kind of like the hub. They’re the place you can go to activate young people,” LONER frontman Josh Loner says.
According to data from United States Elections Project, only 38.6 percent of Georgia’s voting eligible population participated in the 2014 midterm elections. With “Turn Up the Turn Out,” The Bakery and Georgia Artists for Progress hope to energize and encourage voters, especially those within the 18 to 24 year old demographic.
“This event is special because it's a celebration of each citizen's right to vote, and we are so fortunate to have a say in who represents us. We should never take it for granted,” Kelly says.