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LENZ HELPS AMPLIFY DECATUR RAISE $40,000 TO FIGHT POVERTY

Lenz recently presented the 2017 Amplify Decatur Concert Series, helping raise $40,000 for its beneficiary Decatur Cooperative Ministry (DCM), a Decatur-based, nonprofit organization that works to prevent and alleviate poverty and homelessness in Decatur and DeKalb County.

Since the first Amplify event (formerly known as Poverty Is Real) in 2011, Amplify has helped to raise more than $150,000 for DCM. Each year, Lenz has served as the presenting sponsor. Amplify was founded by Lenz partner and Vice President of Marketing Mike Killeen, who remains an Amplify board member. Christine Mahin, Lenz Marketing’s Accounts Supervisor, who helped plan and produce the inaugural Amplify Decatur Music Festival in 2016, served as festival director this year. Lenz President and CEO Richard J. Lenz serves as the Chair of the Amplify Advisory Board. And the entire Lenz team contributed to the marketing and production of the event.

On April 22, thousands gathered on the Downtown Decatur Square for the Amplify Decatur Musical Festival, the centerpiece of the concert series. Americana legend and three-time Grammy winner Lucinda Williams headlined the outdoor festival, which drew more than 2,000 guests. Also performing were Noah Gundersen, John Moreland, Harold Holloway & Company, Packway Handle Band, and Kristen Englenz & The Committed.

“Anyone who attended the event will recognize how special this community is, as hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, restaurants, beer vendors, citizens, city officials, police force, and artists came together to create a magical night,” said Richard Lenz. “It takes a village to put on a great event like we experienced, and I can’t thank them enough. I was lucky enough to spend time with Lucinda and she said she was impressed with the event and audience, which meant a lot.”

Amplify Decatur also featured a four-night stand at historic Eddie’s Attic, featuring Caroline Herring, Leopold & His Fiction, Scott Miller, Bob Sima, and Angie Keilhauer. On April 30, it culminated with the Bob Dylan vs. The Band cover night featuring seven local and regional acts.

Major sponsors included WABE 90.1 FM, The Pinewood, Lockman Homebuilding, The Leafmore Group, Decatur Package Store, Natalie Gregory, and Iris and Bruce Feinberg. Additional sponsors included AtlantaBen.com, Georgia Urology, Hall, Booth, Smith, First Baptist Decatur, Courtyard Marriott, Oakhurst Realty Partners, Plumb Works, Creative Loafing, Scott D. Miller M.D., McCurdy & Candler LLC, Private Bank of Decatur, Verisol Partners, Travis Grubb Residential, Decatur Rotary Club, North Decatur Methodist Church, 97.1 The River, Brick Store Pub, Decatur Presbyterian Church, Decatur CD, Oakhurst Baptist Church, Dynamo Swim Club, Holy Trinity Parish, The Arlo, and New Chance Signs.

Lenz is extremely proud to have worked alongside the Amplify My Community team to make this event a reality.

Scroll down to view some of the photos from this amazing event!

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The Evolution of Lucinda Williams

By Mike Killeen

Lucinda Williams recently told Rolling Stone magazine of an early meeting with a Columbia Records executive. “He said, ‘You have a lot of potential, but you need to work on your songs. None of them have bridges.’ After the meeting, I got out my Bob Dylan and Neil Young albums. I said, ‘These songs don’t have bridges either. So f*#@ that guy.’”

Williams has always recognized the signal from the noise That’s one reason she’s earned unbridled adulation from fans and artists alike for more than 30 years.

Many were introduced to Lucinda Williams via Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, the 1998 album that earned a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album and universal praise from music critics the worldwide (Car Wheels landed at number 305 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 best albums of all time).

But by then, those in the know already recognized Williams as one her generation’s most vital artists and a leader of the “alt-country” movement she helped create, thanks to her eponymous 1988 breakthrough album and 1992’s Sweet Old World. By the time Essence was released in 2001, Time magazine also had Williams in its sites, calling her “America’s best songwriter” the following year.

Part of Williams’s appeal is how she seamlessly blends the honored traditions of folk, country, and blues while introducing a sensibility that feels entirely her own. Perhaps this can be traced to her upbringing. Her father was Miller Williams, a literature professor and poet who read his poem “Of History and Hope” – containing the line “We know the sound of all the sounds we brought” – at Bill Clinton’s 1997 inauguration. Lucinda Williams followed her dad’s teaching job across the Southeast, including to Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia. Later, under her own volition, she settled first in New Orleans, then Austin, then New York City, and finally Los Angeles, where her passion for music became a formal pursuit.

Today, Williams says she is writing and singing better than she ever has, and it’s hard to argue. She is surely more prolific. Once known for her measured perfectionism (it took 11 years for her to release the consecutive albums, Lucinda Williams, Sweet Old World, and Car Wheels on a Gravel Road), Williams’s most recent release, Ghosts of Highway 20, represented her second double album in a span of just 18 months, following 2014’s Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone. Both belong to Williams’s newly formed record label, Highway 20 Records, perhaps offering a bit of symmetry for an artist who has always been truly independent.

Lucinda Williams headlines the 2017 Amplify Decatur Music Festival on Saturday, April 22. Lucinda and her band will go on around 9:15 p.m. Visit AmplifyDecatur.org for tickets and more information.

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You Should Know: Meisa Salaita and Jordan Rose

Superheroes are often depicted wearing capes and flying around bustling cities in their bright and extravagant costumes. Jordan Rose and Meisa Salaita may not look the part, but they have become superheroes in their own important way by celebrating and promoting Atlanta’s thriving scientific community.

Jordan and Meisa are the co-founders and co-directors of the Atlanta Science Festival, a riveting 11-day celebration (March 15-25) of local science and technology right here in Atlanta, Georgia. The festival is designed to bring people together around a shared love for science through 100 individual and creative events. With experiences such as cooking and eating bugs, discovering the science behind brew-making, walking through Atlanta’s forests to witness the local wildlife, and stopping the zombie outbreak, it’s no wonder that the festival has seen remarkable success in a few short years. There is something for everyone, and no one will walk away from the festival disappointed at its offerings.

Behind it all are Jordan and Meisa.

Meisa Salaita holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern University, and is no stranger to working within scientific culture. Prior to co-founding the festival, she worked with two different National Science Foundation Centers for Chemical Innovation. She originally came up with the idea of the Atlanta Science Festival when she heard about similar festivals happening in Europe. After that, she decided that Atlanta needed to have one too. Thanks to Meisa’s passion and determination, the Atlanta Science Festival has grown from a collaboration between the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Georgia Tech, and Emory to a can’t-miss Atlanta event for the scientific and non-scientific communities alike.

When asked why the festival means so much to her, Meisa spoke about her passion for spreading the love of science: “It’s really important to make science a part of culture and to showcase how science is interesting, fun, not scary, and important! By having events that connect science to everyday life and to things that people are already interested in outside of science, we are able to achieve that.”

The co-architect of the festival is Jordan Rose. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology as well as his Master of Public Health degree in prevention science from Emory, Jordan has gone on to hold multiple scientific roles. From working as the Associate Director of the Center for Science Education at Emory to becoming the Executive Director of the Georgia BioEd Institute, Jordan’s love for science has followed him everywhere he has gone.

Jordan’s passion for the festival is evident when speaking to him. He believes that, for a lot of people, science leaves a bad taste in their mouth, perhaps because of a negative experience in their education. To Jordan, the festival is a way to bring those people back into the fold and break down the stereotypes that exist over scientists and science alike. To Jordan, it all boils down to one idea, “We’re trying to show people that scientists are people too.”

You can check out the Atlanta Science’s Festival schedule here. Learn more about the people behind the Atlanta Science Festival here.

Lenz is proud to market, sponsor, and support the 2017 Atlanta Science Festival.

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Lenz is proud to present the 2017 Amplify Decatur Music Festival on April 22, 2017

Lenz is proud to present the 2017 Amplify Decatur Music Festival—to be held outdoors on the Decatur square on Saturday, April 22. The event is produced in partnership with Eddie’s Attic and will feature three-time Grammy Award winner, Lucinda Williams and her band.

Additional acts include Noah Gundersen, John Moreland, Harold Holloway and Co., Packway Handle Band, and Kristen Englenz. Every dollar raised will be directed to Decatur Cooperative Ministry to support their efforts to prevent and alleviate homelessness in and around Decatur and DeKalb County. Last year’s event raised $30,000 for DCM.

Here’s a look at last year’s festival!

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Lenz creative director receives worldwide recognition

A work by Lenz Creative Director Ben Barnes recently received worldwide recognition, when it was hosted at a museum in Milan, Italy.

The poster, entitled “Sow,” is the first in a series of three posters. Ben created the poster back in the mid 2000s based on the World War II Victory Garden Posters, most notably borrowing their militarist feel with a strong call to action. When asked why he made the poster, Ben said, “I wanted to do some good with the skill set that I had.” Ben wanted to motivate people to help the environment, and the poster does so by encouraging everyone to plant a garden.

When Ben began creating the poster, a professor that inspired Ben pointed him in the direction of a contest. The contest, called Green Patriot Posters, was hosted by two professors at the Rhode Island School of Design through an idea they called the “Canary Project.” The professors, just like Ben, wanted to use design as a way to do good and help the environment. The contest called for posters that had an aspect of environmental activism, and Ben’s poster fit right in. A year after the contest, the Canary Project picked Ben’s poster to be a part of a book produced from other art entered in the competition, alongside artists Shepard Fairey and DJ Spooky. The book received recognition from multiple online sources, including wired.com.

From there, the success of the poster snowballed. A year later, Ben was asked if his poster could be included in a large format calendar which would be released in Germany. Of course, he said yes. Fast forward yet another year, and the poster was included in a nationwide design museum tour alongside several other graphic design works. The exhibition was called “GRAPHIC DESIGN: NOW IN PRODUCTION,” and its travel list would make any voyager jealous. From New York to Texas to Los Angeles, Ben’s poster traveled across the states.

But the poster’s journey wasn’t done. Ben’s work made it all the way to Milan, Italy at the Triennale di Milaon Musuem. The poster joined other photographs, publications, and graphic materials produced by artists, architects, and community gardeners from across the globe. The exhibition, called ‘Urban Orchard’ and a part of the events of the 21st Triennale International Exhibition, presented a series of subjects related to urban agriculture.

Ben says, “It was all overwhelming, shocking, and surprising! I wasn’t expecting anything to come out of it. I was just thinking that this is something I could do and maybe use for my portfolio to show potential employers where my head is at. It’s just nice to feel like I could do more.”

Ben also said that, to him, his design and work isn’t about the recognition or awards. It’s about doing what he loves.