Atlanta’s cultural institutions expanded like crazy in 2017, but much of the growing was happening behind the scenes.
In 2018, some evidence of those changes will be revealed to Atlanta audiences.
Here are a few significant events to come this year:
The Alliance Theatre
After a $22 million renovation that transformed the theater from top to bottom, the Alliance Theatre will open the curtain on its new performance space in the Woodruff Arts Center.
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The reshaped theater will be ready later this year, in time for the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, said Alliance’s artistic director Susan Booth. Meanwhile, as workers were busy tearing the theater down to the studs, the human members of the Alliance took their shows on the road for the 2017-2018 season.
Those traveling shows continue this winter and spring, with performances Jan. 13-Feb. 4 of “Native Guard” at the Atlanta History Center (based on the Pulitzer-winning poems by Natasha Trethewey); presentations Feb. 10-March 4 of “The Jungle Book” at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center; and an outdoor setting of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” at the Atlanta Botanical Garden (Sept. 5-Oct. 21). Information: alliancetheatre.org
Speaking of growing things, a great institution returns to Atlanta’s horticultural community this February after a five-year absence.
Growing from seeds planted during the 1930s, Atlanta’s Flower Show, which became the Southeastern Flower Show, flourished, faltered, then disappeared in 2013. Last year, the Atlanta Botanical Garden announced it would host its own version of the event in February, called the Atlanta Botanical Garden Flower Show.
To be held Feb. 23-25, it will be a reduced version of the mammoth event that once took over large sections of the Georgia World Congress Center. The botanical garden will present a reduced version of the landscape design competition, but will focus instead on competitions in floral design, horticulture and photography. Information: atlantabg.org/
The High Museum
Last year was a time of acquisition for the High Museum of Art. In 2018, the public will get a chance to see some of those goodies.
One of the most keenly anticipated debuts is the reveal of “The Jubilant Martyrs of Obsolescence and Ruin,” an enormous cut-paper work by art-world star (and Atlanta native) Kara Walker.
Acquired last summer, the mural-sized work is 60 feet wide, and incorporates silhouettes of antebellum figures — including images of the Confederate generals carved into Stone Mountain who looked down on Walker’s childhood — set in a violent, darkly comic parade.
This year, the High will also exhibit some of the significant works by Alabama artist Thornton Dial and others that were part of a cache of 54 pieces that the museum acquired from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.
These and other artworks will be revealed when the High completes a “reinstallation” of its permanent collection, during which it will reorganize the offerings from all curatorial departments. Information: www.high.org
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
In a year brimming with selections from Ludwig van Beethoven and Leonard Bernstein, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will offer a unique theatrical staging of Bernstein’s operetta “Candide,” based on the satirical novel by Voltaire.
Combining the forces of the Alliance Theatre, the ASO and the incomparable ASO Chorus, under the baton of Robert Spano, the musical will be presented at Symphony Hall for nine performances May 9-20. Information: www.atlantasymphony.org
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
First up, among major festivals this year, is the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, kicking off at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 with a special screening of “Sammy Davis Jr: I’ve Gotta Be Me.” That evening will be followed by three weeks of films, through Feb. 15, with scores of movies showing at eight different venues inside and outside the Perimeter. The full lineup of films is to be announced Friday, Jan. 5. Information: www.ajff.org