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Meet Acropolis: Athens’ Innovation Festival


This Saturday, April 1, Athens’ creative community will embark on the first annual Acropolis Innovation Festival, a month-long celebration of Athens’ creative community. Acropolis month launches in style with the fifth annual Chess & Community Conference on April 1.

Held at the University of Georgia’s Mahler Hall, with doors opening at 9 a.m. and opening remarks from Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams beginning at 10 a.m., this day-long conference from one of the city’s most forward-thinking nonprofits is the perfect launch pad for a month-long celebration of innovation’s many expressions in this city. Williams will be followed by Athens youngest entrepreneur, Beau Shell of Lil’ Ice Cream Dude, and keynote speaker, renowned journalist and UGA alumnae, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, whose award-winning career spanned work for CNN, NPR, PBS and The New York Times. 

Watch Chess and Community’s recent feature on PBS Newshour to learn more!

Over 20 innovation-based events will follow in the next 30 days, hosted by multiple Athens organizations. A full schedule of events will be published at in the coming days, including a reception on April 11, hosted by the Athens Economic Development Department and Georgia Bio at Southern Brewing Company, where guests are invited to eat, drink and learn about how Athenians are using biofermentation to create great products from beer to medicine; a special appearance by Athens Science Café at the Athens Farmers Market at Creature Comforts hosting “Conversations with Plants” at 5:30 on April 12; and the second installment of My Athens free networking and inspiration program Go Getters on bright an early at The Morton Theatre on April 26. Later that evening, Athensmade & Athens-Clarke County Economic Development Department host a big wrap party celebrating the month’s events, also at The Morton.

The idea of Acropolis came from Athens-Clarke County Economic Development Department’s director Ryan Moore’s conversations with creative organizations in Athens, such as Athensmade, Four Athens, the University of Georgia and My Athens (see full list of organizing members on the Acropolis website:, who all felt the need to collaborate more concertedly and sophisticatedly to raise the awareness of Athens, Ga., innovation.

“This collaborative effort showcases innovation, but is a testament to the solidarity of the various entities engaged in promoting Athens as the best location in the southeast to exist as an entrepreneur or creator,” says ACC Economic Development Director Ryan Moore.  “Having this kind of buy-in from the community has been truly inspiring.”

Athensmade, a non-profit organization that exists to educate, support and promote homegrown brands, entrepreneurs and creative professionals in Athens, Ga., will be hosting and participating in many events around Athens as part of Acropolis month. These events include Athensmade’s Education Conversation on April 11, Athens-Clarke County’s Industry Appreciation Awards on April 24, Acropolis Awards on April 26 and Athensmade’s Twilight Party on April 29. 

To learn more about Athensmade events, contact Mary Charles Howard, Executive Director of Athensmade: For more information about Acropolis, contact Communications Committee Chair Rachel Bailey at or by phone at 304-617-6030 for more time-sensitive concerns. A detailed list of all Acropolis events will be published in the coming days at


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