Five facts about the growing involvement in the art scene

More and more neighborhoods are seeing splashes of color being thrown up on the walls surrounding them, turning a blank wall into a beautiful work of art. Below is a list of five facts about the positive impact murals have made to inner-city neighborhoods.

  1. Taking “tough” looking neighborhoods and softening them up with positive murals is one way that people are trying to change where they live. Communities like the one in this article are getting their youths involved, having up to 800 young adults, from the ages of 14 to 21, to work on these projects. Read more here.
  2. Murals aren’t just for the eyes; they’re there to spark conversation and build connections. Some go along with the businesses that they’re on, but once other companies see these, they’re also wanting to get a mural done on one of their blank walls and are reaching out to local muralists and letting them branch out and build connections throughout these industries. This article goes in depth about the beautifying of cities.
  3. Many turn their noses up to graffiti and street art because of the negative connotations that have come along with it in the past, but many of the muralists want to change those thought processes. Many associate street arts as just someone scribbling their name on a wall for the world to see, but it’s much more than that. Graffiti can be very beneficial to up, and coming neighborhoods, here is some more information.
  4. While some muralists are creating these murals as forms of advocacy and protest, others may just be creating to expand their brand and to get paid. The gap between graffiti artist and strictly muralist emerges here. Read more about it here.
  5. Bringing some color to blank spaces is a great way to invoke conversation and emotions in people. Murals are an easy way to revitalize public spaces and to get people talking and walking around their neighborhoods more. Muralists come and go to all areas of the world, here are just a few spots on this globe that have outstanding murals.

With the ever-growing population of our cities, adding a little bit of life to these walls is helping make these houses in these neighborhoods feel like home.

Heather Hurtt photography©

Changing neighborhoods, one spray can at a time

Mónica Alexander grew up in Houston as a lover of all things art. This love led her to Savannah College of Art and Design. After graduation in 2013, Alexander moved to Atlanta where she currently resides and calls home. She got her foot in the door with her first mural at Phoenix Fest in 2014, afterward being recruited to do a large art piece on Hodgepodge coffee shops outer wall in 2016 and Forward Warrior this past August. Alexander is just one of dozens of local artists who have come together to flip Atlanta’s dreary neighborhoods and turn them into places of vibrant colors and thoughtful murals.


While sitting on a bench on a brisk November morning in front of her Forward Warrior piece. Asked what inspires her and how she incorporates her inspiration into her art, cars turned the corner from Carroll Street and a little French Bull Dog and its owner came trotting up to a tree that stood no more than ten feet in front of us as Alexander says “Anime, modern illustration, art museums, and the political climate– we want to be creating work but still be creating work with a purpose.”

“Forward warrior is a phrase that an old roommate and I used to encourage one another with when times were tough,” says Peter Ferrari, founder, and curator of Forward Warrior and Facet Gallery. This phrase sparked an annual summer arts event that began in 2011. Partnered alongside Cabbagetown Initiative non-profit this event has street artists, graphic designers, social justice activists, and visual poets coming together to create murals on the half-mile stretch of wall beginning on Wylie Street, going towards Carroll Street, on to Pearl Street and ending right in the gateway of Krog Street Tunnel. This event takes place over a single weekend during the summer season, giving artists only 48 hours to complete these massive works of art.

Niki Zarrabi another muralist “ Mural work is very labor intensive and physically demanding, especially in the heat of Georgia’s summer so I can see there being an element of being “warriors.” Zarrabi has two unique styles that she is known for, the first being her abstract patterning and the second being her “melting” flowers. “For Forward Warrior, I wanted to try the flowers. It was my first mural based off my Botanicals series but it became a huge hit, so I have been asked since to repeat the same concept for other projects” says Zarrabi.

Artist Niki Zarrabi’s mural based off of her series, Botanicals 

“The best part is the creative atmosphere of working alongside so many other creatives and inspiring artists. The crowd of friends, family and friendly Cabbagetown neighbors also is an amazing aspect,” says Zarrabi.

Whether they’re pushing forward through hard times, creating thought-provoking art or being a warrior through Georgia’s hot summers, this annual arts event will keep people coming back year after year to gaze upon the new, and old, murals along Wylie Street.

Check out some more work from the artists featured in this blog post below!

Mónica Alexander–  Website | Instagram @itsmmmonica

Niki Zarrabi– Website | Instagram @nikizarrabi

Forward Warrior– Instagram @forwardwarrior

Five facts about hardships in the restaurant industry

Working in the restaurant industry is a great way to make cash fast, but not very beneficial when it comes to the health of the workers in these restaurants. Below is a list of five facts concerning restaurants workers.

1.  “59% of restaurants fail within the first three years.” Many of the same types of restaurants tend to pop up all over the place, this meaning more competition for the ones similar surrounding them. Having to keep a new restaurant afloat may seem harder than it should be. This post on “mobivity” will give you more insight.

2. Restaurants face a number of challenges ranging from figuring our cliental to staffing to having returning customers. There is more to a restaurant than meets the eye. Having to dig into the numbers, up to date systems, and loyal employees are tricky things to have to juggle. will help you dive more into some information.

3. Many restaurants do not have enough employees to be able to offer healthcare, leaving a lot of the workers up the creek without a paddle when it comes to their physical and mental health. Most restaurant employee’s health deteriorates from working long hours throughout the days and nights, seven days a week. The Boston Globe discusses one restaurants woes with mental health.

4. There’s a hospitality summit that has been going on for four years now called the “Welcome Conference”. This conference is held to bring people from restaurants all over the United States of America together to form a tighter knit bond and to help each other flourish and learn what they can do to become better than the year before. com talks about just that in this written article.

5. Like most things, the restaurant industry is changing at a rapid pace. Keeping up with these changes are having some older restaurants scrambling around for something to grip onto. com takes you into some easy fixes for this day of age.

With the growing information that managers and owners are receiving on how to better the work place restaurants will start taking better care of their employees.


Not all heroes wear capes–some wear aprons

Silas, 2-years-old, was born premature and has needed the help of a machine to breathe from just three months old. Silas had been hospitalized for six months due to random apnea events where he would stop breathing, his heart rate would drop, and he would need resuscitation, according to his parent.

Silas Burdette’s medical ventilator

Abby McDonald and Jesse Burdette, both working in the restaurant industry, were faced with financial difficulties from having to take off work so much. Between the hospital bills, home bills piling up, being out of work, and the cost of the machine the family needed some extra help. They received it from the industry they worked in .

McDonald and Burdette had been receiving help from CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees), an organization that helps the children of restaurant employees. CORE had sent an application for Silas to Giving Kitchen, hoping that the family would be accepted. Giving Kitchen, a non-profit organization, granted the family’s request and helped them financially. Giving Kitchen paid their rent and utilities so that this family could focus on their son, instead of having to stress about being out of work.

“It is not easy to ask for help, but they make you feel comfortable and accepted. It is wonderful to know there are good people still out there” says McDonald.

“They understood I was going through an extremely difficult time and they try and make it as stress-free as possible. They made the checks out to our landlord, electric company, water, and sent them out” says McDonald.

Silas Burdette and his mother, Abby McDonald

This family is one out of thousands of restaurant employees that Giving Kitchen has offered their grant to.  After Ryan Hidinger, the co-founder of Giving Kitchen passed away in 2014, his wife and his friends have kept his memory alive by continuing to help others out in the industry.

Preparing for the day – Silas Burdette and his mother, Abby McDonald

Ryan and Jen Hidinger would host an underground supper club every Sunday at their home in Grant Park, which would consist of fresh cooked meals and libations. After Labor Day weekend in 2009, where they served 200 guests in the backyard of their home, they decided to team up with others to host more intimate supper clubs. These nights are what fueled their dream to open a restaurant.

Ryan Hidinger was diagnosed with stage-four gallbladder cancer in December of 2012. The couple was surrounded by friends and family who radiated all of their love and financial support which helped to cover Ryan’s medical expenses. This gave the Hidingers the push that would create Staplehouse, and ultimately, the founding of The Giving Kitchen in 2013.


Exterior of Staplehouse, the for-profit restaurant that The Giving Kitchen is based out of

The organization has helped 1,222 restaurant employees with over $1.9 million in grants since the creation 5-years ago. Amanda Newsom, the marketing and communications manager of Giving Kitchen says this is unique. “There are not any other organizations in the country doing what we are doing specifically. We are the only nonprofit supporting restaurant workers in the way that we do, that we know of.” Newsom has been working with nonprofits for over ten years and has been with Giving Kitchen for a year.




This organization is rapidly growing. With seven full-time employees and two part-time employees, totaling nine staff members, this nonprofit continues to add staff to support their growth and expansion. Newsom says “We rely heavily on our awesome volunteers, as well. We have over 700 volunteers on our volunteer newsletter list who have volunteered at least once in the past two years. They help with events, office tasks, and anything else we need support with beyond our staff. We also have interns on occasion.”

Giving Kitchen is an organization that shows just how tight-knit of a community the restaurant industry is. “The Giving Kitchen is building a restaurant community where crisis is met with compassion and care, and anyone can be a hero,” says Newsome.