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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.

Jim Farmer

Out On Film, Atlanta’s LGBT film festival, celebrates its 31st anniversary this year. The organization was created by Rebecca Ranson and was eventually taken over by IMAGE Film and Video and then the Atlanta Film Festival. When the Atlanta Film Festival gave up Out On Film to focus on its own festival, I took over in 2008 with a new board and team. Read more>>

John Burke

John Burke is a Grammy-nominated, charismatic pianist with a prolific musical career. Inspired by pianist George Winston and keyboardist Ray Manzarek, John has created a rich, voluminous sound that challenges common preconceptions of piano music. Read more>>

Lisa Rissmiller

As a child my mother and grandmother saved every blank piece of paper or cardboard they came across. I scribbled on the backs of envelopes, the cardboard from legal pads, and even the packaging that panty hose came wrapped around (one of my favorites because of the glossy surface). Read more>>

Teneshia Forts

I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur when I was 19 years old! I became a mother at 19 and was told so many times that you would never be successful because I was single and broke! I have always been a hard worker and a lot rejection gave me more power to never give up! Read more>>

Divine Philemond

I started writing when I was in middle school. One summer I’d done something wrong and my mom grounded for some time, I couldn’t see my friends or watch tv so the only thing I had to keep me busy were the books I would borrow from the library. Read more>>

Dr. Ayanna Abrams

Since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a healer and a truth teller. And as a daughter of immigrants, I’ve been immersed in various cultures throughout my life, and dealt with the nuances of managing several identities at once, so it was no surprise to me that I became fascinated by psychology–how your emotions, thoughts, and biology lead to certain thoughts, feelings, behaviors & experiences. Read more>>

Srinjoy Gangopadhyay

Born into a family of artists .and growing up literally in an art studio environment I realized from a very young age that I was born to be an artist. To find my voice I traveled the world from east to west from an early age. I have worked in the design and animation industry. Read more>>

Brittany Schwartzwald, Julie Bunkley

I started a fundraiser, with my co-chair Julie Bunkley, for the Marcus Autism Center called Monster Mash. We hold the event the third weekend in October. Six years ago, my son was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. My husband and I were very fortunate because our son was accepted into the Marcus Autism Center’s early intervention program. Read more>>

Colin Egan

My love for illustration started when I was young. Reading books just didn’t do it for me growing up, I would often glaze over and get distracted (unless they were picture books). Although, with cartoon shows, I would get sucked in for hours. Read more>>

Jess Izard

Everyone always told me that I was so good at arguing that I should be a lawyer, When I graduated from Chamblee High School (yes, I am an Atlanta native!), I had every intention to be a pre law student. Finally ending up at Spelman College by way of UNC Chapel Hill after transferring back home in my sophomore year, I found myself picking up restaurant jobs to subsidize my overwhelming student loans. Read more>>

Chelsea Szegidewicz

It all started from a spark of passion as a young child. Music made me feel so alive. I danced, I sung, I was in love with music. I became a student of the guitar at 11-years-old. I just kept going with it, it was my thing. I had the vision at a young age that I’d be a “Rock Star”. Read more>>

Barry Brandon

My name is Barry Brandon, BB or The Queer Indigo! I believe in the power of possibility, the power of the universe and the power of authentic living. Growing up, I essentially lived in hospitals due to my heart condition – having eight open-heart surgeries by the time I turned 27 and having been pronounced dead twice. Read more>>

Porsche Stillman

My passion for makeup began as a child watching my mother, grandmother, and aunt get dolled up. I always played in their makeup and found fun in dressing up pretending to be a celebrity. Once I got to high school I got better with my makeup application and would have fun doing my friend’s makeup. Read more>>

Nicole Nemiroff

I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I moved to Atlanta 5 years ago because there are more opportunities here, especially in the beauty industry. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I tried out a few different colleges and realized it wasn’t for me. Read more>>

Brandon “The SEVENth” McCall

I’d like to think of my music journey as a unique experience. As long as I can remember music has played a major roll in my life. Due to my biological mothers struggle with substance abuse, I was adopted at a very young age. It wasn’t a secret growing up, I was connected to and had relationships with both sides. Read more>>

Lauren Small

That Girl Can Write was a figment of my imagination. I was working in corporate America and I hated everything. Nothing seemed to be a good fit. My mother wanted me to be a lawyer. I was working for a PR firm, but I hated going to networking events. I started working in sales where I was told I just wasn’t a hunter. Read more>>

Niya Matthews

I am a Certified Life Coach, Best Selling Author, Motivational Speaker, 2 time Breast Cancer Survivor, wife to a retired Super Bowl Champion Eric Matthews of the GreenBay Packers and a mother to a daughter who is in her Sophomore year at Georgia Southern University. Read more>>

Tommy Keough

I am a self-taught full-time designer and illustrator living in Atlanta, GA. I began designing during my time as a Landscape Architecture student at the University of Georgia. What really sparked my passion for design was a self-initiated project I created called “Three Wise Words”. Read more>>

Aja Nichols

After serving 5 years active duty Navy, I wanted to open my own practice. I decided that I would work for someone a couple of years to “learn the ropes” and then go out on my own. Soon after realizing the place I worked really didn’t want me to learn the ropes, I decided to just jump. Read more>>

Chris Hermann

Back in 2008, I was in a dual degree graduate program, working on both a PhD in Bioengineering at Georgia Tech and a Medical Degree from Emory Medical School. I learned about the problem of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and how hand hygiene is a major contributor. Read more>>

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