Atlanta's receiving a burst of attention as a fine-arts center.
The United Talent Agency, which represents actors, comedians, screenwriters, musicians and artists, recently opened a fine arts exhibit space at its Atlanta office in Midtown.
That's a significant boost for the Atlanta arts scene. The Atlanta gallery is only UTA's second, following an earlier one in Beverly Hills.
The new gallery gives Atlanta artists fresh hopes that they no longer have to go elsewhere to find success.
Yet an article Wednesday in The New York Times Arts section raised doubts about whether the UTA space will benefit Atlanta and Southern artists, or mainly represent those with already established international reputations in New York or Los Angeles.
Writer Tariro Mzezewa's feature titled "Can a Global Talent Agency Make Atlanta an Arts Destination" expressed local arts boosters' expectations that regional artists will find the UTA a nurturing home.
Displaying a regional awareness, the new gallery opened with Atlanta artist and musician Lonnie Holley's exhibit "The Eyes Were Always on Us," which continues through the end of April.
The black Birmingham native's works examine racial violence in the South, the struggle for civil rights and the perseverance of black culture.
While the new gallery should aspire to encourage regional talent, a mixture of international exhibitions will boost Atlanta's global stature, moving away from from the city's long-established provincialism. As a major international presence, the UTA center can accomplish multiple objectives.
UTA's arts gallery is another jewel for Atlanta's Peachtree cultural corridor, encompassing the Woodruff Arts Center, the Museum of Design Atlanta and the Peachtree branch of the Fulton County Library.
The Fox Theater rises a few blocks south, near the Atlanta History Center's Margaret Mitchell House, which has not yet reopened after shutting down during the Covid epidemic.
While Atlanta's fine arts and entertainment scenes flourish, the city's theater community suffers from declining audiences and funding.
As the city's movie lovers welcomed the imminent reopening of the Tara Theater, the Lyric Theater announced its closure after 42 seasons.
The Lyric's shutdown mobilized the Atlanta theater community, which issued an emergency letter calling for more financial support from corporations, business leaders and local and state government.
Atlanta's theaters are spread across the metro area. The failure of a campaign to build a grand opera house at the Woodruff Arts Center led to the Atlanta Opera Company joining the Braves in moving to Cobb County. The Atlanta Ballet Company also performs outside the city.
While suburban theaters have done admirable work through the years, Midtown's art district needs more live theater along with the Woodruff's Alliance and the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern.
A new professional company on Peachtree would showcase the original work of regional playwrights, as well as perform worthy plays from elsewhere. Midtown also needs a new music venue for classical, operatic and popular performances
The UTA gallery is only one step in Atlanta fulfilling its artistic dreams.