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Midtown’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at VoyageATL is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Atlanta’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out Midtowns’s rising stars below.

Stephen Shelton

I’m an entrepreneur, creative and student. My faithful journey to Atlanta started with just a dream and a 2008 Kia spectrum. Like most, I suffered homelessness and resorted to my car. Bootstrapping my faith and tenacity the worse was overcome. Through the struggling music and creativity was revived as well as a new love for short film. Currently a student at Georgia State University, I have the opportunity to take my aspirations to higher levels. I have one completed short film titled “Identity,” a film based on the struggles of mental illness. Read more>>

Kevin Wall, Landon Kovalick, Barry Ervin, Anthony Solomon, Carly Howard

Something to Say Productions started as an idea between me (Kevin Wall) and Barry Ervin. We had been working as production assistants in the commercial market and were discouraged by the grind needed to move up in the industry. We both knew we wanted to direct music videos and short films. Why wait? One day, while sitting on the back of a lift gate for 12 hours we decided it was finally time to risk it and start doing what we knew wanted to do. I (Kevin Wall) had been shooting music videos on my own for a little and the most previous video, I had brought on Anthony Solomon and Landon Kovalick, who were also production assistants in the commercial market, to help. Read more>>

Divie Moss

When I was in college I had the desire to get involved in some form of art but I was never really good at drawing, writing, etc. So, one day I thought, “why don’t I buy a camera and see what happens?” I did my research and bought a super cheap camera on craigslist the next day and instantly became obsessed with taking photos. Eventually, I started exploring with videos as well. Years later, here I am today, with plenty of shoots under my belt and feeling like I can shoot anything I set my mind to. Read more>>

Lauren Buglioli

I was born in Los Angeles and started acting while I was in diapers (cause La La Land, ammiright?!). My first job was a commercial for Hallmark Greeting cards, which makes all the sense because I’m perpetually in my feels. I was raised in London, England where I went to the American School in London and was lucky enough to work as a professional actress before moving to New York to get my degree from NYU. I spent ten years in New York. Those years absolutely shaped who I am today. New York can be a cruel mistress, but girlfriend helped me grow. Read more>>

Matt Dickstein

I was always doing little creative things as a kid – drawing or writing stories, or coming up, like, games or activities for my friends to do. I was always trying to use my imagination, there was no limit on what I could do or where I could go. I might have been in my backyard with my friends, but we could’ve been on another planet and we were astronauts or whatever. I remember in first grade I became obsessed with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” so I asked my teacher if I could write a play based on it. She was cool with it, and we did auditions and made tickets and we spent all of our recess time getting it together, and then we performed it for the class. Read more>>

Rene Bazel

Life sure has an interesting way of showing you who is in charge! I can remember being a senior in high school and taking on a temp job at the Governor’s Mansion in Columbia, South Carolina. I was dressed in a white dress shirt, a black bow tie, and black slacks. I smiled and served the items that were eloquently displayed on the tray I carried throughout the venue. I worked all night, cleaned up and as soon as I got in the car with my mom; I knew this was NOT the life I wanted for myself. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of people. Read more>>

Justin Kalin

I ended up here pretty much solely by dumb luck and strange fate; though anyone in my family may tell you otherwise. As a toddler, I staged my own fully choreographed lip-synch performances to every single song on Britney’s… Baby One More Time album. I went so far as to cut out tickets that had to be presented to me for admission into my room. So, anyone in that crowd is probably just surprised that I’m not directing musical theatre. Otherwise, I performed here and there when I was in middle school and loved every moment of it. As the performer in me continued to bud, my sexuality quickly made itself apparent to me and upended my ambitions. Read more>>

Venkayla Haynes

My success stems from an experience I didn’t ask for, an experience that I would never wish on anyone. I truly believe that a lot of moments and a lot of passions stem from ones pain and compassion – and for me that was sexual violence. At a young age, I was sexually abused for five years, by someone I had a great amount of trust in. Soon after, I experienced rape in my freshman year of college at Spelman, both experiences completely changed my world around. It’s hard knowing that someone you put so much trust in takes something away from you that you can honestly never get back. Read more>>

Marissa Swanson

Four years ago, as a recent transplant to Atlanta from Iowa, four months in, I met a guy who had quit his job to pursue his passion and build his own startup. It was incredibly inspiring to listen to him and learn about his story. Then, the moment came and he asked me, “Have you ever had an idea to build something?” I replied with, “yes” and he asked me, “what are you doing about it?” I had no idea where to start but his words of encouragement being, “just start!” was all it took to get the ball rolling. Read more>>

Kate Blohm

I’ve always had a love for art and knew that I wanted to be an artist when I was very young, my parents even let me dress up as an artist for career day (chambray shirt and a beret). Needless to say, there were no artists at a career fair. In high school, I really dove into the medium of photography and started working at the local photography studio in my hometown Shelby, NC. The owner of that studio was my first mentor – Elwin Stilwell, a kind and gentleman. Elwin was the first person who really encouraged me to move forward with my work and wrote my reference letter to attend the Savannah College of Art & Design. Read more>>


In 2009, as a radio host at Foxie 105 in Columbus, GA. I opened a dance studio. I had been dancing my entire life and I vowed not to ever “Be a dance teacher”, but I had the same recurring dream three nights in a row where I was standing in front of a room, on a stage teaching dancers as far as my eyes could see. I knew then God was speaking to me telling me what to do. From there, I have been striving to reach that vision and although I have come close, I never lose sight of that dream. Read more>>

Robbie Cotney

I had moved to Atlanta in 1995 as a freelance advertising writer/producer. Because my job only took up a small part of my day, I got bored and decided to seek a part-time job. I answered a help wanted ad for a seasonal assistant in the Garden Center at Intown ACE and I was hired on the spot. Eventually, I would become a full-time Garden Center Associate, then the department Manager, which I did for 12 years. Four years ago, I became the Store Administrator, and I also manage the Accounts Receivable department. Read more>>

Manav Thaker and Sajal Rohatgi

It all started with an onion. Subziwalla was born at a dinner while talking about our mutual love of onions with Indian dishes! While we differed in our opinions of what types of onions are best, we realized there wasn’t a store near us that provided easy access to fair-priced, high-quality Indian ingredients, including our beloved onions. Read more>>

Anthony Deljou

After coming to the US in the late 1970s, my father and two uncles started a small serigraphy company not far from where we are today in Midtown, Atlanta. At that time the company, Graphique Du jour, employed a half dozen people, most of whom were family members, and created serigraphy prints that sold for $20-$30. The company’s first overseas sale was made in 1986 to a client in Norway, and not long after that, we were beginning to serve clients all the way in Canada, Germany and even South Africa! By 1990, the company had almost quadrupled in size and was moved to a new location where we began to offer Fine Art. Read more>>

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