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Talk of the Town - Living large November 30 2005

Martha Whittington turns big visions into big realities

For anyone who knows her, it's really no surprise that Martha Whittington bought her Boulevard Heights house after it had been unoccupied for seven years and condemned. After all, as an installation artist (she creates site-specific art), her mind has been trained to think big, and from the get-go, she had a vision of what the house could be.

??
Whittington obtained an undergraduate degree in sculpture from Kansas City Art Institute, and a master's from Temple University's Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. She moved to Atlanta in 1999 and built her home from almost nothing, adding two pre-fabricated structures to serve as studios. There is never a dull moment at home, Whittington says, with the house almost consistently under some kind of renovation, and full of numerous dogs and cats, large and heavy machinery, and her roommate, Christine.

??
What did this house look like before you moved in?

??
There was no kitchen, the ceiling was falling in, and the floors were a complete mess. There was no toilet, no plumbing, and no electricity. Structurally it was sound, so I renovated the whole place.

??
Why did you choose this neighborhood and house?

??
I got a great deal on this house, and it is on two lots, so I knew there would be room to build and still have space. Also, I like this area, because you almost feel like you are in the country with all the trees, woods and creeks around, but it is only 10 minutes from downtown.

??
How did you decide to become an artist?

??
My father was an electrical engineer, and my mother was a self-taught painter. Both of them always encouraged my siblings and I to be creative — we were always making our own forts and games, and anything else we could come up with.

??
What kind of art do you like to create?

??
I like to create what I want and what inspires me. Mostly things that relate to or revolve around the action of the body, as well as the environment and the basic elements of nature. Most of what I make is modular, meaning that I create it piece by piece and have a vision of what it is going to look like.

??
Where did all the heavy machinery come from?

??
When I started doing renovation work, I started acquiring things like a table saw, hand saws, drill presses, a chip saw, and more. And all of it I use on both renovating and my work.

??
Why did you choose to have your studio at home?

??
Oh, I can't imagine it any other way. I don't know how people have a studio away from home. I think it would be so difficult to come home from work, eat, then go off to another location. My studio has always been at home, and I feel really fortunate to have it that way.

??
cityhomes@creativeloafing.com



More By This Writer

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??
Leasing agent Wendy Osborne was once a native of New Orleans and was devastated by the disaster. Wanting to offer assistance, she engaged her manager, Pamela Roberts, and the two petitioned their corporate managers to offer shelter to evacuees. They, in turn, agreed without hesitation.

??
A few days after Osborne and Roberts' efforts began, Norman and Donna Hymel arrived looking for help. They had lost their home and most of their possessions in the storm, and coincidently stumbled upon the complex-turned-relief center in search of a place to stay until they could get back on their feet. They were immediately set up in a vacant apartment.

??
How did you end up in Atlanta?

??
Norman Hymel: We didn't know where we were going. We just knew we had to leave town. We figured we would head east because going west, it would have taken us a day or two to get out of New Orleans.

??
What were you doing in New Orleans before the storm?

??
We had been in New Orleans for five, six years. I was working for a shipping company in the integrated logistics support. As of what I have heard, this is the last week that I'll be receiving a paycheck and after that we are basically on our own.

??
What has become of your possessions and home in New Orleans?

??
They let us come back in and see the condition of our home. It's not livable: The walls and bottom are completely destroyed and there is no water and no electricity. It's dirty and unsanitary. The devastation everywhere — not just our home — is unbelievable.

??
What have you seen the Atlanta community do to help?

??
People are opening up their doors and giving their homes to people like us. I never expected anything like this. The people here at Parkside have been so amazing, them giving us all of this for nothing. We walked into Publix the other day, and employees just began filling our basket with food — all for free.

??
Would you like to stay in Atlanta?

??
I think we might wind up staying here. Right now, these people have given us everything we need and we are so grateful. They have told us we can stay here as long as we need at no cost, and we have a phone and television and electricity. If we don't have a home to go to, no job and no money, then we have to start over here, and thankfully we have this place to get us started.

??
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??
Leasing agent Wendy Osborne was once a native of New Orleans and was devastated by the disaster. Wanting to offer assistance, she engaged her manager, Pamela Roberts, and the two petitioned their corporate managers to offer shelter to evacuees. They, in turn, agreed without hesitation.

??
A few days after Osborne and Roberts' efforts began, Norman and Donna Hymel arrived looking for help. They had lost their home and most of their possessions in the storm, and coincidently stumbled upon the complex-turned-relief center in search of a place to stay until they could get back on their feet. They were immediately set up in a vacant apartment.

??
__How did you end up in Atlanta?__

??
Norman Hymel: We didn't know where we were going. We just knew we had to leave town. We figured we would head east because going west, it would have taken us a day or two to get out of New Orleans.

??
__What were you doing in New Orleans before the storm?__

??
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??
__What has become of your possessions and home in New Orleans?__

??
They let us come back in and see the condition of our home. It's not livable: The walls and bottom are completely destroyed and there is no water and no electricity. It's dirty and unsanitary. The devastation everywhere -- not just our home -- is unbelievable.

??
__What have you seen the Atlanta community do to help?__

??
People are opening up their doors and giving their homes to people like us. I never expected anything like this. The people here at Parkside have been so amazing, them giving us all of this for nothing. We walked into Publix the other day, and employees just began filling our basket with food -- all for free.

??
__Would you like to stay in Atlanta?__

??
I think we might wind up staying here. Right now, these people have given us everything we need and we are so grateful. They have told us we can stay here as long as we need at no cost, and we have a phone and television and electricity. If we don't have a home to go to, no job and no money, then we have to start over here, and thankfully we have this place to get us started.

??
''[mailto:cityhomes@creativeloafing.com|cityhomes@creativeloafing.com]''"
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??
Leasing agent Wendy Osborne was once a native of New Orleans and was devastated by the disaster. Wanting to offer assistance, she engaged her manager, Pamela Roberts, and the two petitioned their corporate managers to offer shelter to evacuees. They, in turn, agreed without hesitation.

??
A few days after Osborne and Roberts' efforts began, Norman and Donna Hymel arrived looking for help. They had lost their home and most of their possessions in the storm, and coincidently stumbled upon the complex-turned-relief center in search of a place to stay until they could get back on their feet. They were immediately set up in a vacant apartment.

??
How did you end up in Atlanta?

??
Norman Hymel: We didn't know where we were going. We just knew we had to leave town. We figured we would head east because going west, it would have taken us a day or two to get out of New Orleans.

??
What were you doing in New Orleans before the storm?

??
We had been in New Orleans for five, six years. I was working for a shipping company in the integrated logistics support. As of what I have heard, this is the last week that I'll be receiving a paycheck and after that we are basically on our own.

??
What has become of your possessions and home in New Orleans?

??
They let us come back in and see the condition of our home. It's not livable: The walls and bottom are completely destroyed and there is no water and no electricity. It's dirty and unsanitary. The devastation everywhere — not just our home — is unbelievable.

??
What have you seen the Atlanta community do to help?

??
People are opening up their doors and giving their homes to people like us. I never expected anything like this. The people here at Parkside have been so amazing, them giving us all of this for nothing. We walked into Publix the other day, and employees just began filling our basket with food — all for free.

??
Would you like to stay in Atlanta?

??
I think we might wind up staying here. Right now, these people have given us everything we need and we are so grateful. They have told us we can stay here as long as we need at no cost, and we have a phone and television and electricity. If we don't have a home to go to, no job and no money, then we have to start over here, and thankfully we have this place to get us started.

??
cityhomes@creativeloafing.com             13021086 1259899                          Talk of the Town - Food and shelter September 21 2005 "
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Article

Wednesday September 21, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Evacuees find the things they need most at Kennesaw apartment complex | more...
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  string(47) "Talk of the Town - west side story July 07 2005"
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  string(69) "Historic West End offers a religious and personal haven for Nadim Ali"
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  string(2776) "Nestled on the corner of West End Place and Oak Street in historic West End lies the first mosque in Atlanta to hold prayer five times a day, beginning in 1979. It caught Nadim Ali's eye, and he and other Muslims began migrating to the area in the following years. Today, a bustling Muslim community flourishes, making up an integral part of the West End neighborhood.

Ali came to Atlanta just a year after converting to Islam in search of a Muslim community that allowed him to live near a mosque and people who shared a common way of life. Now, 26 years later and at the age of 50, he is still here.

Creative Loafing: What brought you to Atlanta?

Ali: I was born in Phila-delphia and went to college at Shippensburg University to study broadcast journalism. I also converted to Islam during that time.

Afterward, I looked into some cities where I could do broadcasting as well as have a Muslim community, and some that stood out were Atlanta and Los Angeles. I went to Atlanta with the intention of staying for one week.

Why did you decide to stay in Atlanta?

Everyone said "hey" to me as I was walking down the street. That really stuck out to me, because nobody up North ever said anything when I walked down the street. I called home and said to my father, "I'm not coming home." I liked that there was a mosque inside of the neighborhood, and that people were trying to practice Islam as a complete way of life. I fell in love with the community and the people, and I loved that Atlanta was so green and so warm. I did not want to spend another winter in Pennsylvania.

Tell me more about the Muslim community in the West End.

There are between 75 and 100 families here, and we hold services every Friday at our mosque. About 300 people show up each week.

My role in our community is that I am the amir, which means that I handle family as well as emotional issues and substance abuse problems within the community.

And what about the Muslim community as a whole in Atlanta?

It is very strong, but it is not monolithic. There are a lot of cultural differences: You have people from several different nations that are all Muslim, so it can be difficult.

Did you ever consider moving to the Middle East?

Yes, actually, I did. I lived in Saudi Arabia for two years, from 1993 to 1995 and did drug counseling there.

What would you say to someone who doesn't know that a Muslim community exists in Atlanta?

We are here, and we are not going anywhere. We can be a bridge of understanding between the East and the West, because we understand how to make the two collaborate. So many people misinterpret our way of life, and since 9/11 it has been even worse. I would encourage people to learn more about it and become more tolerant.

cityhomes@creativeloafing.com"
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  string(2855) "Nestled on the corner of West End Place and Oak Street in historic West End lies the first mosque in Atlanta to hold prayer five times a day, beginning in 1979. It caught Nadim Ali's eye, and he and other Muslims began migrating to the area in the following years. Today, a bustling Muslim community flourishes, making up an integral part of the West End neighborhood.

Ali came to Atlanta just a year after converting to Islam in search of a Muslim community that allowed him to live near a mosque and people who shared a common way of life. Now, 26 years later and at the age of 50, he is still here.

__''Creative Loafing''____: What brought you to Atlanta?__

__Ali:__ I was born in Phila-delphia and went to college at Shippensburg University to study broadcast journalism. I also converted to Islam during that time.

Afterward, I looked into some cities where I could do broadcasting as well as have a Muslim community, and some that stood out were Atlanta and Los Angeles. I went to Atlanta with the intention of staying for one week.

__Why did you decide to stay in Atlanta?__

Everyone said "hey" to me as I was walking down the street. That really stuck out to me, because nobody up North ever said anything when I walked down the street. I called home and said to my father, "I'm not coming home." I liked that there was a mosque inside of the neighborhood, and that people were trying to practice Islam as a complete way of life. I fell in love with the community and the people, and I loved that Atlanta was so green and so warm. I did not want to spend another winter in Pennsylvania.

__Tell me more about the Muslim community in the West End.__

There are between 75 and 100 families here, and we hold services every Friday at our mosque. About 300 people show up each week.

My role in our community is that I am the ''amir'', which means that I handle family as well as emotional issues and substance abuse problems within the community.

__And what about the Muslim community as a whole in Atlanta?__

It is very strong, but it is not monolithic. There are a lot of cultural differences: You have people from several different nations that are all Muslim, so it can be difficult.

__Did you ever consider moving to the Middle East?__

Yes, actually, I did. I lived in Saudi Arabia for two years, from 1993 to 1995 and did drug counseling there.

__What would you say to someone who doesn't know that a Muslim community exists in Atlanta?__

We are here, and we are not going anywhere. We can be a bridge of understanding between the East and the West, because we understand how to make the two collaborate. So many people misinterpret our way of life, and since 9/11 it has been even worse. I would encourage people to learn more about it and become more tolerant.

[mailto:cityhomes@creativeloafing.com|cityhomes@creativeloafing.com]"
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  string(3077) "    Historic West End offers a religious and personal haven for Nadim Ali   2005-07-07T04:04:00+00:00 Talk of the Town - west side story July 07 2005   Erin Haber 1224091 2005-07-07T04:04:00+00:00  Nestled on the corner of West End Place and Oak Street in historic West End lies the first mosque in Atlanta to hold prayer five times a day, beginning in 1979. It caught Nadim Ali's eye, and he and other Muslims began migrating to the area in the following years. Today, a bustling Muslim community flourishes, making up an integral part of the West End neighborhood.

Ali came to Atlanta just a year after converting to Islam in search of a Muslim community that allowed him to live near a mosque and people who shared a common way of life. Now, 26 years later and at the age of 50, he is still here.

Creative Loafing: What brought you to Atlanta?

Ali: I was born in Phila-delphia and went to college at Shippensburg University to study broadcast journalism. I also converted to Islam during that time.

Afterward, I looked into some cities where I could do broadcasting as well as have a Muslim community, and some that stood out were Atlanta and Los Angeles. I went to Atlanta with the intention of staying for one week.

Why did you decide to stay in Atlanta?

Everyone said "hey" to me as I was walking down the street. That really stuck out to me, because nobody up North ever said anything when I walked down the street. I called home and said to my father, "I'm not coming home." I liked that there was a mosque inside of the neighborhood, and that people were trying to practice Islam as a complete way of life. I fell in love with the community and the people, and I loved that Atlanta was so green and so warm. I did not want to spend another winter in Pennsylvania.

Tell me more about the Muslim community in the West End.

There are between 75 and 100 families here, and we hold services every Friday at our mosque. About 300 people show up each week.

My role in our community is that I am the amir, which means that I handle family as well as emotional issues and substance abuse problems within the community.

And what about the Muslim community as a whole in Atlanta?

It is very strong, but it is not monolithic. There are a lot of cultural differences: You have people from several different nations that are all Muslim, so it can be difficult.

Did you ever consider moving to the Middle East?

Yes, actually, I did. I lived in Saudi Arabia for two years, from 1993 to 1995 and did drug counseling there.

What would you say to someone who doesn't know that a Muslim community exists in Atlanta?

We are here, and we are not going anywhere. We can be a bridge of understanding between the East and the West, because we understand how to make the two collaborate. So many people misinterpret our way of life, and since 9/11 it has been even worse. I would encourage people to learn more about it and become more tolerant.

cityhomes@creativeloafing.com             13018506 1255056                          Talk of the Town - west side story July 07 2005 "
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Thursday July 7, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Historic West End offers a religious and personal haven for Nadim Ali | more...
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Wednesday May 25, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Owner and Manager of JOMO Entertainment | more...
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5) "Rio" - Duran Duran: Has anyone besides me ever wondered why these big-haired British pretty boys are singing about some dancing Mexican chick???


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Thursday May 12, 2005 12:04 am EDT
1530 DeKalb Ave. 404-659-6594 | more...
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1) "Serenade" - Sam Thacker: Thacker has been up and coming for the last two years, and is apparently an awesome live performer.

2) "Magic Power" - Triumph: Lead singer Rik Emmett is Cohen's favorite musician and the band has been around for 20 years! Who knew?

3) "Don't Let Me Down" - A.J. Croce: A.J. definitely makes music that is different from his father's. Cohen says he's an "electrifying" live performer not to be missed.

4) "Blue Collar Man" - Styx: Isn't it nice to know that no matter what other bands people are listening to, Styx will always remain in so many of our hearts. Cohen likes to crank it on rainy days to put him back in the "mood."

5) "Good Thing" - David Ryan Harris: An emotional singer, Harris is another act that Cohen promotes and enjoys.??


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__2) "Magic Power" - Triumph:__ Lead singer Rik Emmett is Cohen's favorite musician and the band has been around for 20 years! Who knew?

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  string(1083) "       2005-05-04T04:04:00+00:00 Mike Cohen   Erin Haber 1224091 2005-05-04T04:04:00+00:00  President of Quincy EntertainmentMike Cohen, a local music promoter in and around Atlanta, shared with us the five most played songs on his iPod.

1) "Serenade" - Sam Thacker: Thacker has been up and coming for the last two years, and is apparently an awesome live performer.

2) "Magic Power" - Triumph: Lead singer Rik Emmett is Cohen's favorite musician and the band has been around for 20 years! Who knew?

3) "Don't Let Me Down" - A.J. Croce: A.J. definitely makes music that is different from his father's. Cohen says he's an "electrifying" live performer not to be missed.

4) "Blue Collar Man" - Styx: Isn't it nice to know that no matter what other bands people are listening to, Styx will always remain in so many of our hearts. Cohen likes to crank it on rainy days to put him back in the "mood."

5) "Good Thing" - David Ryan Harris: An emotional singer, Harris is another act that Cohen promotes and enjoys.??


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Article

Wednesday May 4, 2005 12:04 am EDT

President of Quincy EntertainmentMike Cohen, a local music promoter in and around Atlanta, shared with us the five most played songs on his iPod.

1) "Serenade" - Sam Thacker: Thacker has been up and coming for the last two years, and is apparently an awesome live performer.

2) "Magic Power" - Triumph: Lead singer Rik Emmett is Cohen's favorite musician and the band has been around for 20...

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[Admin link: Talk of the Town - Living large November 30 2005]