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Release Date: 03.08.2018 | Location: All Metro Atlanta | Organization: Leff & Associates

"4 Questions Journalist Spotlight" with Arts Writer Kelundra Smith

Leff's Atlanta Media's Weekly Feature Conversation with an Atlanta Journalist

Each week, in partnership with Leff’s Atlanta Media (www.leffsatlantamedia.com), Atlanta Daybook presents our "Journalist Spotlight." Atlanta public relations professional Mitch Leff of Leff & Associates offers a conversation with a journalist in the Atlanta market, asking them four questions that'll help you learn more about local Atlanta media. What makes them tick? What's new at their media outlet? What drives them?

Mitch also operates Leff’s Atlanta Media (http://www.leffsatlantamedia.com) an online database with contact info for thousands of Atlanta-based journalists, and Mitch’s Media Match (www.mitchsmediamatch.com), a service that connects Atlanta journalists with local experts.

The Spotlight Shines on Kelundra Smith!

Kelundra Smith is a freelance arts journalist who regularly writes about theatre and visual art for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and ArtsATL.com. Her mission is to connect people to cultural experiences and each other. She writes heartstring-pulling and mind-shifting stories about the artists, influencers, makers and innovators that are shaping our world.

Her articles have been featured in The New York Times, Atlanta magazine, American Theatre, Dramatics, and other arts publications. The Georgia native has bachelor's degrees in theatre and journalism from the University of Georgia, where she was a McGill Fellow, and she earned a master's degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University.

She has been a critic fellow at the National Critics Institute and was recently a guest critic at BroadwayCon. Kelundra is a member of The Atlanta Press Club and the American Theatre Critics Association.

What kind of story makes you proud to be a journalist?

I love a story that connects art to current events in a way that resonates in people's hearts and minds. I recently wrote an article about the Actor's Express production of Tony Kushner's epic, Angels in America for American Theatre magazine. In the piece, I wrote not only about the actors and the process of staging such a large production, but also about how the themes in the play speak to politics today.

The arts have the ability to reflect our world -- and transcend it. A good story relays that power.

What is new and different about what you’re doing?

Most of the theater, dance, opera, and visual art I write about is created by women, people of color, and those in the LGBT community. When I was in college, I majored in theatre, and I remember when I was looking for information about scripts, reviews and the production history of plays by people in underrepresented groups, there was not a lot out there. It was as if non-white people had not been doing theatre, which I knew was untrue.

When I write a review, it is sometimes the only review, and therefore the only historical documentation that a specific artistic event occurred. I hope to fill the information gap. After all, journalism is in service of the people -- those who are living now and those who have yet to be born. I've had a few college students from all across the country reach out to me saying “thank you” for writing an article that they were able to cite in a term paper.

What is the best and worst thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is having the opportunity to see a lot of cool art. I have seen a lot of plays and art exhibitions all over the country and we are so lucky as Atlantans to have the caliber of art we have with such slim resources. There is no shortage of talented artists in this city, and I consider it a privilege to tell their stories. I also love it when artists and arts organizations get grants and other opportunities because of quality coverage. It's of course not why I do it but seeing someone who has been juggling three jobs in service of their passion get national recognition is really rewarding.

The worst thing about my job is constantly having to justify why arts journalism matters. There's this saying a lot of photojournalists use that when the camera is pointed toward something, it's pointed away from something else. Political and business reporting is in demand, and arts and culture positions have been cut from most publications, which makes the public believe that the arts don't matter. There's no camera on them, which is a shame because the arts are one of our greatest history teachers.

What’s the coolest thing people should know about you?

It is my goal to visit all 50 states and I have been to 27, so far. I love the pace of New York City; the beauty of Salt Lake City really left an impression on me; but there's still no place like Atlanta.

About You

Last Book Read: The Mother of Black Hollywood by Jenifer Lewis
Favorite Atlanta Restaurant: South City Kitchen
Favorite Guilty Pleasure: The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Local Getaway: Unicoi State Park
Favorite Non-Work Hobby: Coloring
Twitter: @pieceofkay
Website: http://kelundra.com

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Contact Info

Contact Name: Mitch Leff

Company: Leff & Associates

Phone: 404-861-4769

Cell: 404-861-4769

E-mail: mitch@leffassociates.com