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Atlanta according to Amanda Mills

The maker, curator, and evangelist of zines and DIY art tells us where to find inspiration

Courtesy Amanda Mills
Photo credit: Courtesy Amanda Mills
Amanda Mills

If you want something done, do it yourself. That’s Amanda Mills’ approach. She took it upon herself to establish the Atlanta Zine Library and launch Atlanta Zine Fest, the city’s annual celebration of self-published literature and art. As executive director for the local nonprofit Murmur, she also helps organize year-round programming ranging from workshops at Ladyfest Atlanta to youth summer camps to gallery exhibits. She let us in on some of the places and things that fuel her creativity.

Cabbagetown Park is my favorite spot in the city to think deep thoughts by myself. I prefer enjoying the mini Machu Picchu steps and crackly gravel solo. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good swing set.

The merch table at a 529 show is the best place to see art in Atlanta. We have a thriving gallery and exhibition scene, including Eyedrum, Mammal, MINT, and Beep Beep — but it’s important to honor non-obvious spaces as well. I’m thankful for an abundance of both, and they’re not mutually exclusive.

The best advice you could give an Atlanta visitor is to let me drive. There are some crazies out there (I’m looking at you, person randomly parked on Peachtree).

The totally disparate communities is the weirdest thing about Atlanta. It’s so spread out! I have so much to discover about Atlanta still.

Atlanta’s motto should be “DIY with others.” In my experience, Atlanta’s people have been really supportive of each other. With poor infrastructure and funding, you have to be creative with resources. I think this is a defining facet of our communities.

Makeout Hill is my favorite view in Atlanta. I also really enjoy getting off work at 6 a.m. and waiting for the light to change at Freedom and Boulevard, facing the skyscrapers. I legitimately love our skyline.

The Atlanta of the future includes more empathy and understanding of struggle in its myriad forms here — and all the awesome shit people are doing because of/in spite of/born out of that struggle.

IKEA is the place I would advise someone to never go in Atlanta, unless you enjoy panic-inducing overstimulation.

The first 3 words that come to mind when I think of Atlanta are live, work, play. Just kidding: I’m totally disheartened by the “urban renewal” happening here.

Hodgepodge Coffeehouse is my favorite place to go for munchies. A jalapeño cheddar biscuit and latte will do me just fine.

Your pool is my favorite place to go when it is really fucking hot. Seriously, invite me over.

Atlanta Zine Fest is my favorite Atlanta annual event, duh! Our programming is always kick-ass and the vendors are straight up inspiring. This year’s theme centers around Girls in DIY.

Reynoldstown is my favorite neighborhood. Really fond memories of house shows, porch parties, walking to the Hop In just for an excuse to get out and move around ... It’s a small neighborhood surrounded by the bustling city.

My favorite nature spot in ATL is the swamps and train tracks of Constitution Lakes.