Arts Issue - Notch 8 brings art to South Atlanta

The story behind Miya Bailey and Sharon Dennehey's space for serious collectors

When Miya Bailey opened his gallery Notch 8 three months ago in south Atlanta, sure, he had noble ambitions of building a creative community in an often neglected area and engaging local residents in a meaningful arts dialogue. But he also just kind of wanted to get away from everybody.

"I didn't want a place where you just pop up at," the artist, who also co-owns the popular tattoo shop City of Ink, says. "It's for serious art collectors."

Bailey is known for his community connections, as both an artist and co-founder of City of Ink, which has become a haven of sorts for the city's burgeoning visual artists. Whereas newbie art buyers might head to City of Ink to spot up-and-coming artists and purchase their first piece of art, Notch 8 caters to more seasoned creatives and subsequently, more seasoned buyers. But Bailey says the bridge between the two worlds is key.

"Young people go to City of Ink to purchase their first piece of art for their dorm room or if they just bought a house and are making their first art purchase. Then when they come up, they go to Notch 8," Bailey says. To paraphrase Bailey: You ride up to City of Ink on a skateboard, but you dress up to go to Notch 8. "The same people who bought my work at the Notch opening are the same people that frequented City of Ink."

To date, the gallery, which Bailey co-owns with his partner, Sharon Dennehey, has hosted an exhibition each month since its opening. The shows have featured the work of some of Atlanta's most popping visual creators, including Brandon Sadler, Corey Davis, Dubelyoo, and Mr. Soul. On Nov. 13, the new monthly exhibition, Smothered By Things You Love, debuts. It's intended to showcase the diversity of the featured artists.

"We're mixing it up," says Bailey, adding that Paper Frank and Tuki Carter will be among the artists showcasing work. "We're trying to show art that will exhibit to every type of person."

And although he says that the gallery's more isolated location in south Atlanta instead of — say, Castleberry Hill or Edgewood Avenue isn't ideal — he's excited about the idea of bringing art awareness to the community, and building with the residents that have been there for years.

The gallery is located near Carver High School, which his son attends. "There's nothing arts related around here," he says. "It's an underdeveloped area. Sharon and I thought it might be an opportunity to create an arts district. There's a lot of forgotten neighborhoods in Atlanta."

Part of Notch 8's proceeds from will fund an arts program to allow high school students to learn from local artists in a variety of mediums and, perhaps more importantly, build a portfolio for college or the business world. City of Ink already has a similar program, Inspire the City, in which local artists visit area high schools and encourage and mentor students in art.

"We have to do stuff in the community because you don't want to just move in and take it over," Bailey says. "Everyone's been accepting of what we're trying to do. The community just needed to be fixed up a little bit. That's the goal — keep it local, keep it clean, and do what we can do to bring art to the community."

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