About CCI

collage of historic and contemporary photos of same street
Atlanta’s Auburn Avenue, past and present.


Culture Centers International is a catalyst sparking economic development of Urban Main Streets through the exploration of corridors of African Diaspora memory and its dissemination through multidisciplinary arts.


The mission of Culture Centers International is to collect the history of African Diaspora businesses, to educate the community through the arts, and to sustain African Diaspora legacies through cultural tourism and historic preservation.

Founded in 2017 by Dr. R. Candy Tate, CCI is a 501(c)(3). All donations are tax-deductible.

About Culture Centers

During the Black Arts Movement, the Neighborhood Arts Center (The NAC) at 252 Georgia Avenue, in Atlanta’s Mechanicsville neighborhood, thrived from 1975 to 1990 as Atlanta’s first public Black “culture center.” While the Atlanta Black Center (ABC) existed as a privately supported space, artists advocated for the tax dollars of people that looked like them should be used for arts of an Africana aesthetic. All would be welcomed, but the art expression would be unapologetically Black, uppercase “B.”

The NAC was the first Black Arts Movement (BAM) culture center in Atlanta funded by city, state, and federal public dollars. While historians park BAM between 1965-1975, Atlanta’s NAC is a definitive expression that the Black Arts Movement continued through the 1980s. The Fulton County Arts Centers, the Auburn Avenue Research Center, and the National Black Arts Festival are all direct descendants of the NAC family tree. In fact, many NAC “Babies” are still productive today. Institution building started as early as the 19th century with churches, higher education schools, and entrepreneurial ventures, still finds branches and leaves when we have cultural family reunions.

Some of the NAC Artists/Administrators included: Jim Alexander (photography), Ebon Dooley (Ashe), John Kole Eaton (administrator/performing artist), Former Mayor Shirley Franklin (board chair), Dr. O.T. Hammonds (board chair, Ashe), Akbar Imhotep (actor), Samuel L. Jackson (actor), Joe Jennings (musician), Tom Jones (theater), Spike Lee (actor/film maker), Michael Lomax (City of Atlanta), Alice Lovelace (poet/activist/administrator), John Riddle (Muralist/2nd director-Ashe), Sandra Swann (first director-Ashe), and many more.

Dr. R. Candy Tate’s book ‘Our Art Itself was Our Activism’: Atlanta’s Neighborhood Arts Center (1975-1990) is forthcoming from Clark Atlanta University.

Our P.E.A.K. Goals

  • Promote heritage tourism through audio and guided tours, as well as educational excursions.
  • Educate the public with events, special programs, and a curated Culture Calendar. 
  • Acquire oral history of Black businesses, like Atlanta's Paschal's Restaurant & Motor Lodge, a gathering place for Civil Rights leaders 
  • Keep community partners informed by identifying and preserving sites.

Get our newsletter