voices The south is heating up and becoming
the new mecca for entertainment.
Hot-lanta (Atlanta, GA) is the place to
be, if you are engaged in the industry.
Record labels, movie studios and
entertainment centers are being
established here and bringing the best
in the business with them.
By Camillia Harris
ne visionary, Jai McClendon-Jones, is the Artistic Director of AREA (Atlanta Resource for Enter-
tainment & Arts). McClendon-Jones, who totes over 15 years in the arts & entertainment industry, is
crowned choreographer, instructor and arts advocator. Her business savvy and laid back approach is a
prescription for energizing the comprehensive resource incubator for arts and entertainment novices and profes-
sionals. McClendon-Jones states that “AREA is a place of solace, where creativity comes to life”. AREA encom-
passes everything from dance to music, drama to artist development, music production and recording. Industry
greats like, Kenny Leon, Jasmine Guy and Angie Stone have stepped through the doors of AREA. McClendon-
Jones states that she stands by the company motto, “My area, your area, our area has no limits”!
There are several intricate components of AREA which make up opment of their hand techniques.
the multi-disciplinary performing arts center: AREA PERFORMS AREA has many success stories, ranging from the develop-
is the training center for Dance, Music, & Drama. AREA 360 is ment of Atlanta’s local artists like India Arie and Kim Zociak of
the artist development and branding division. AREA of MOTION Real Housewives of Atlanta. AREA was featured in the dance
is the daytime or afterschool satellite program for students, where scene of Tyler Perry’s adaptation of “For Colored Girls”. The list
they are able to express their creativity. AREA SOUND STUDIOS of accomplishments goes on and on with the future looking bright
has its own in-house premier production studio with producers
and song writing engineers. In addition, there is the development
of AREA’s non-profit organization called Creative Spark Founda-
tion, which is provided on an extra-curricular basis. It was refined
to spark the creativity back into an artist. McClendon-Jones says
that all the different components tie in together to create AREA.
AREA’s target audience is young students around the age of
eight, who are already focused and eager to become successful
artists. AREA has also created a division called Rising Star, which
is geared towards helping college-bound teenagers. The goal is to
provide them with additional ways to use their talents, while as-
sisting them in exploring optional career paths, aside from being
There are so many things to look forward to with AREA. Every
year they host their annual spring production at the 14th Street
Playhouse in Atlanta. This allows community sponsors to come
out and see their growth. In the winter, they host an annual Jingle
and Mingle production, which allows everyone to come and join
in on the holiday spirit, and meet others in the arts community. In
addition to AREA’s planned events, they work with local charities
and non-profit organizations. McClendon-Jones states that there and endless. AREA plans to expand beyond Atlanta, to create a
are no limitations on the type of work they do at AREA. There are conservatory. McClendon-Jones states, “Our area is limitless, we
a host of summer classes and programs being offered, including a continue to stay humble and focused”. With the expansion to a
DJ Academy with DJ Scream and DJ Spins, which provides a one- new location that provides even greater open access to the public,
on-one cut and scratch comprehension, as well as a convergence AREA is looking at a promising future and its continuation in
program which touches on all elements and genres of dance and developing the best in Arts & Entertainment.
symphonic music, and assists high school musicians in the devel- Find more information about AREA at www.myareaatlanta.com
34 JULY • AUGUST 2011