For the High Museum of Arts’ marketing coordinator Aalyah Duncan, work and art are part of the same masterfully crafted creative process. Duncan, an accomplished advertising expert and a natural purveyor of all things artistic, is responsible for Atlanta’s wildly successful “Jazz at the High” summer concert series and admits that it’s nothing less than a labor of love for her. On the third Friday of every month, May through August, her work also is on display amid the museums impressive collection of art works as she blends visual exhibits and music to create a cultural experience that is the envy of communities around the country.
On Friday, July 15, songstress Julie Dexter will provide the musical accompaniment to “Memory as Medicine,” the internationally acclaimed art exhibit by Radcliffe Bailey that is currently on display at the High Museum.
In an exclusive interview, Duncan explains to rolling out the rationale behind blending the nation’s only original music form with the visual arts and why they work so well in the aesthetic tandem.
What do your responsibilities at the High Museum of Art involve?
There’s so much, but my main focus is on making the community aware and exposed to art and live music on every third Friday of the month through the Friday jazz series. There are a lot of people here in Atlanta who have not experienced the Woodruff Arts Center, as a whole, which serves as the umbrella for the High, the Alliance Theater and the Atlanta Symphony. So, that’s why, in marketing, it’s our responsibility to not only advertise the exhibitions that we have on view; it’s also to connect to people in the community. So, that’s what makes Friday Jazz a great experience … because even if you aren’t an art enthusiast, but you enjoy live music, or you enjoy the social scene or an eclectic group of people … that’s what makes it so engaging.
What’s your objective with the Jazz at the High programs?
My goal is to provide that dual message that, if you are a jazz artist or love jazz music, this is the platform for enjoying both music and art. The prestige of the High Museum will also catapult an artist’s career, once they perform here, to another place. It’s also a great platform socially because it is probably one of the most diverse as far as the make-up of the people, the socioeconomic backgrounds, race, creed, sex … Everyone comes together, all for the love of jazz music.
Who patronizes the jazz Fridays?
We’ve seen an increase of young professionals who are not necessarily into the club scene anymore. They’ve reached a level of maturity, but they are still looking for a wonderful place to enjoy music, see art and be around great people. It’s also a great opportunity if you’re on a date, you’re married and for a girls’ or a guys’ night out.
Exhibitions on view at the High Museum include Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine and John Marin’s Watercolors. For more information regarding events at the High Museum, please visit HIGH.ORG or call 404-733-5000.