When I first spoke with Ashley, she was so excited to be considered a finalist for the 2020 Krog that I better prepared next time to hold the phone further from my ear as she expressed the joy that defines her personality. Having had the distinct pleasure to inform her our independent judging panel selected her for the commission, I’m now pleased to introduce her to Cabbagetown and the Krog-adjacent denizens of greater Atlanta metro. You’re gonna love her! Her work is pretty fantastic as well. In the words of one panelist, the new piece is “a magical portrait.” Inspired by a real Cabbagetown neighbor, and borrowing its title from “Summertime” lyrics, it features a mysterious and sublime black woman peacefully floating, as if on clouds, in a koi pond. (Think less of Ophelia, & more Talking Heads’ “And She Was”). The angelic figure stares back at the viewer with her mysteriously content expression; in my mind whispering a suggestion, “Shantih, y’all.” “Fish are Jumping and the Cotton is High” - Design proposal sketch by Ashley Dopson Community outreach is an inseparable part of Dopson’s current artistic process, and after our initial conversation, Ashley was introduced to a handful of neighbors-in-the-know to jumpstart her journey of discovery. Among others, she spoke at length with the Patch Works Art & History Center’s Executive Director Jake Elsas about the history and struggles of early Cabbagetown, including early race relations on the factory floor. She also reached out to several more current residents who have been here for decades, and in turn, resonated deeply with the story of longtime Berean Avenue resident Bertha Wise and her artist friend, Rose Barron. Bertha moved here in 1978 (!) and now takes her place as the central character in our community-sponsored mural on the Southeast entrance of the Krog Tunnel.