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Downtown’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of downtown’s gems below.

Katrina Cava

Sisters of The Moon in 2018 in my kitchen as a form of therapy. Being a younger mom, I was trying to find something that was my own and that would allow me to be or feel like a creative again. In the beginning, I started making bath bombs and candles and I would post them for fun on my social media accounts. One day I was offered $100 (my first sale) for my products and felt so funny taking that and I had actually offered to make them for free. But that’s kind of how it all started. From that point on I tried to post about my candles and bath bombs often tying them into my readings and/or ritual practices toward healing and self-love. Read more>>

Lucy Crivelli

For the first four years of my life, I lived with my grandparents in Barranca Honda Morelos Mexico. My mom had me at 23, and it wasn’t easy for her. While my grandparents raised me in Mexico my mom was living with her siblings and working in Los Ángeles cleaning houses, serving tables, and trying to give me the best life possible while being away. It wasn’t until she had a place of her own and enough money to pay for me to cross the border that we’d be reunited forever. Eventually, my grandparents followed, and we made our home in Culver City, California. Read more>>

Vandreena Cotton-Meeks

In all honesty, I have been a photographer for my entire life; my parents gifted me with my first camera when I was three years old and I still have it today! Thanks to several box tops (and their penchant for supporting my dreams & hobbies), they gave me a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes 110 Mini Film Camera. Once it arrived, I rarely put it down and made sure I captured everything. From weekends at Red Top Mountain & Lake Allatoona to parades & events in downtown Atlanta to family moments around the house, everything became a photographic subject. Read more>>

Kara Cannella

I am a professional dancer/ content creator. I’ve been dancing for about 16+ years and have a BFA in Dance / Business from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. I started my Tiktok Career in 2020 doing small little dances, and seeing the recognition from people I didn’t know felt so empowering. I continued on my choreography journey on TikTok and started growing my following by making cute, trendy dances that got me to meet the most incredible people in the world and pursue my dreams in LA as a working dancer/choreographer. Read more>>

Jennifer Elaine Peete

God revealed my passion and natural talent of painting in the summer of 2015 after my ankle was fractured in three places making me immobile for eight weeks. While I was healing, I decided to teach myself how to paint and develop my craft. It was like art therapy: comforting to the bones and soothing to the soul. I have always known how to draw and sketch, but it wasn’t until I picked up the paintbrush that I fell in love with creating masterpieces. Read more>>

Shuwan Chen

I am Shuwan, a visual artist residing in New York City. I hold a BA in Sociology from the Australian National University (2016) and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts (2022). My work delves into the connection between physical and digital spaces, objects, and experiences. I utilize digital data from an archive of glitched images to produce new photographs and sculptures, exploring the vision of the future through the lens of a glitch. Read more>>

Will Harvey

I’m originally from a small town out in Northwest Georgia, where the idea of motion graphics and 3D art are not super familiar. That didn’t deter me though from wanting to pursue it and it became one of the catalysts to make me want to dive deeper into 3D and editing software. What really made me want to pursue it even further though were watching movies and trying to figure out what they did to create scenes and effects. That lead to a rabbit hole of information and understanding of different techniques that allowed me to create films and art that I didn’t think were possible at the time. This mixed with the support of my parents and teachers lead to me doing this professionally. Read more>>

Vivian Dong

My name is Vivian Dong, and I am Chinese. Now I am a senior student at SCAD, majoring in fashion design. I am an optimistic designer with a girly romantic design style, and I am planning my personal brand. My hobbies include painting, calligraphy, and making doll clothes. My mother also studied art, so I’ve been influenced by her artistic environment since I was a child. I remember admiring Vera Wang’s wedding gown design as a child and fantasizing about becoming a fashion designer someday. Read more>>

Bridget Ford

I am so much better than what I was and where I thought I would be. I remember walking on the sidewalk with everything I owned in a trash bag beside me. I focused on making it to tomorrow, let alone next year. No one person has everything. No one person has it all. But in one moment, I lost everything I valued the most, which is family. I began scrambling for a place to stay, searching for food to eat, and praying for peace. I walked up and down the hot pavement every day while I stayed in a motel to get a job at any fast food restaurant that would give me a chance. Read more>>

Javontae Kelson

Javontae Kelson publicly known as Kels Minor. Born and raised in Gramercy, LA, a small town between New Orleans, LA and Baton Rouge, LA. Growing up my influences were Mia X, Lil Boosie, Eminem, and Lauryn Hill. I began songwriting at the age of 9. Music has always been an inspiration and a release for me. Day-to-day life is what inspired me to begin writing music. Music is the way I express myself, my vocals are like a visual of me. It helps people understand exactly what I’ve been through so that they can relate to me better. I started off as an artist but then formed an independent record label called F.O.G MUSIC, LLC in July of 2020, which I am now scouting talented artists to share their music with the world. Read more>>

Ashley McCurdy

For the past eight years or so I struggled with finding my true happiness due to different events that occurred in my life. It is fair to say that I struggled with my mental health. Depression, anxiety, lack of self-confidence and negative thoughts were contributing to my struggle to find my true happiness. On the outside, people believed I had it all; a loving husband, a career, and kids. However, true happiness is not determined by people or things but by happiness from within. I am still a work in progress but by attending therapy and learning different mechanisms, I have started the self-work. Read more>>

Chris Olinger

I’ve been a part of animal welfare for much of my life, volunteering at shelters, local rescue organizations and working at a clinic in my hometown. I’ve seen the worst that people can do to animals, but I’ve also seen how kind humans can be and how close the connection can become between pets and their people. I rescued Gwen, a chocolate lab when she was only six weeks old. Gwen was with me for 15 years. She was the one constant being in my life, my family, my best friend. Read more>>

Gina Glogovac

I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada and graduated from the University of Nevada Reno in 2019. I was always creative but was so focused on school and never really considered the fact I could combine the two (I very much followed the traditional path). However, I fell in love with business and graduated with a marketing degree. After graduating I, of course, immediately started job hunting. I found that all of the positions I was interested in required some sort of graphic design experience, which I didn’t have. Read more>>

The Voice Of #TTB

I started blogging about mainstream pop culture news in 2012 at the age of 22. However, it was just a hobby at that time & then in 2013 I started a website where I would promote local artists within the city & the site started gaining traction so I launched my parent company in 2014. Under that company, I had online subsidiaries catering to various aspects – so one site was used for pop culture news, another site was used for promoting local artists & then I attempted to venture into the world of pro wrestling news but at that my love for wrestling wasn’t there so that quickly shut down. Read more>>

Jamiere Wilson

As a lifelong skateboarder, Ilikethursdays started as a personal page where I shared my skateboarding videos with friends. Skate videos are an important part of skateboarding culture that I fell in love with. My love for music would influence whatever skateboard video I wanted to make. Over time, my skateboard videos became more intricate and gained local traction. This led me to fall in love with filmmaking/photography as a whole during middle school (2013-2016). As I began to experiment with more film/photo techniques, I began producing content outside of skateboarding. Read more>>

Shariece Williams

I was born in Vallejo, California, and received a M.A. in Education at a HBCU (college) Norfolk State University, in Norfolk Virginia. I have worked with the youth all over the globe in places such as China, Germany, France, Italy and of course the United States of America. I am a licensed educator. I have an amazing husband and two amazing children, my son Pendarvis ll and daughter Paris. I love and enjoy singing, Dancing, exploring, and traveling around the world with my family. Read more>>

Jamaal Jackson

I’m not really sure where to start. But the best way I can describe my journey is to explain my dreams; to explain my passions. My first love was the game of baseball. I was fortunate enough to have earned the opportunity to play professionally from 2008 – 2012. I mention this era in my life because my background in athletics has truly laid the foundation for everything that’s unfolding in my life in the current day. After baseball, I worked in corporate for seven years. But I began podcasting in 2015 with a couple of friends. That podcast was called SEX WITH STRANGERS: A GROWN FOLKS PODCAST (shoutout to Cii & Juice). Read more>>

Robyn Munroe

I started as a massage therapist. I was good money but it was not my passion. I had always wanted to take a tour of the CNN Center and one day my friends surprised me and we went. During the tour, the Tour Guide asked if anyone wanted to read the teleprompter. I eagerly raised my hand and after I finished reading I received a standing ovation from the other guests on the tour. Throughout the rest of the tour, I kept getting asked if I always wanted to be an anchor…and though it was not always my dream, at that very moment it became my passion. Read more>>

Markisha Goodman

I am a hairstylist and I wanted to do more in my business to make woman feel like a queen by adding to their beauty. I was selling paparazzi jewelry, and was like I can just make my own jewelry. My mom said to me one day “Why don’t you just make your own jewelry?” So, I started before my son passed away a year ago. I could not sleep at night so I used to be up all night making jewelry and started creating so many new things. I was in the process of making my own gloss before my son passed away and I was telling him. Read more>>

MercéDez Martin-Davis

I am a 27-year-old entrepreneur. I am a mother of three and wife. I moved to Atlanta, Georgia in October of 2014. I’m originally from Gary, Indiana. Since a little girl, I’ve always had a hustling ambition. I never looked for handouts I’ve always went out and got it on my own. I have a passion for helping people and always coming up with ideas. I took my way of doing things into my own hands and determined I would have multiple streams of income. After working several 9-5 jobs I knew that it was not for me and I did not like working for someone, so I became my own boss. I put in overtime by networking and attending events to get my name and face out there in the world. Read more>>

Kelsey Necowitz

Back in high school, I was taking a lot of anatomy and science classes because I had thought I wanted to pick a career in the medical field. During my senior year, I did an observation of a physical therapist, and that is when I learned that I should not go down the medical path. It was a couple of months before I had to send out college applications, and I didn’t know what to do, but earlier in the year I had to take an art class. I thought for sure that I would do badly in the class because I never drawn before, but it ended up being the opposite. I had never considered art school but, my Mom told me to consider going, so I did some research and I learned about SCAD. Read more>>

Michelle Mary Schaefer

I’m an Actor, Screenwriter, Playwright, Director, Producer, Director of Artistic Sign Language (DASL), Deaf Culture Consultant in Theatre and Films, Social Media Manager, Communication Manager, and Project Manager who happens to be Deaf. However, I do not allow my Deafness to stop me from following my passions despite society’s ignorance, oppression, assumption, rejection, and discrimination. Once you have the passion within you, the fire keeps going, and it has been burning since I was four years old. I have been in the industry for years and working extremely hard daily, non-stop, which shows my dedication. Read more>>

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