A Letter From Our Director, Richard Keatley

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Chers amis de l’Alliance française, 

It’s been a long, hot summer, but not an uneventful one, at least when it comes to our Alliance. Classes have continued, cultural events have started to become possible, and our partnership with the Goethe Zentrum has received a boost, with the selection of a new location and the awarding of over $125,000 from the French Ministry of Europe and International Affairs.

You may recall that back in January we began the process of looking for a new space for our primary center. Forming a joint committee along with our long-term partners at the Goethe Zentrum, we examined opportunities and explored spaces in Atlanta’s Midtown and Downtown, for what we saw as the necessary qualities of our Franco-German Cultural Center: centrality, layout, accessibility, proximity to services and aesthetic appeal.

The committee eventually identified and was impressed by Peachtree Center, whose six buildings and 23 million-square feet recently underwent a 60-million-dollar renovation.  The “city within a city” is easily accessible by car, MARTA, on foot or by bike via a lane leading directly to the Beltline and offers a wide variety of restaurants and a beautiful plaza that hosts a weekly green market. The location also has infinite potential for developing our cultural programming and collaborations with neighboring entities such as the German and Belgian consulates, Georgia State University, local and state governmental offices and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Our location on the plaza level will also offer us the kind of visibility and quality of space we will need to lure people off Zoom and back into the classroom. For more information, please take a look at the recent coverage in Global Atlanta.

Dependent on the ongoing pandemic and build-out time, we expect our new center to open during Winter Session. I will be sure to keep you posted!
We still have spaces left in our Fall Session Classes, which begin this Saturday, October 2! Please tell your friends and check out our selection of in-person and live on-line classes.

We are so grateful for all the people who have stuck with us throughout the pandemic and, especially, for the several hundred new students who have managed to find us since we first moved to on-line learning back in early 2020. While the process has been challenging, many of our students have expressed their desire to continue learning online classes even after the pandemic, meaning that we will effectively have three centers of learning – in person at Roswell or at Peachtree Center, as well as our interactive online classes: all taught by our fantastic, dedicated teachers.
We began, in fact, offering a limited number of in-person classes at our Roswell location during the summer session, with the requirement that all participants be fully vaccinated and wear masks. For the Fall Session, we will continue this “slow reopening”, with additional in-person classes in Roswell and four new classes held in the conference room of 233 Peachtree Center.

Cultural programming continues to be a challenge, but we were happy to be able to kick off our joint cultural programming with the Goethe Zentrum this summer via Zoom. Our kick-off event was well-attended and included a variety of engaging participants from Germany, France and the United States, who gave their perspective on the Climate Crisis and its relationship to contemporary cultural expression. We continued this series last weekend with the projection of the work of German photographer Barbara Dombrowski set to the music of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony in the idyllic landscape of Jordan’s Ridge, in Palmetto, Georgia. We are planning for a symposium, film screening and a theatrical performance (COVID permitting) later this Fall.

Thank you again for your support and interest.
Richard