Chris Appleton

Executive Director, WonderRoot

This native Atlantan is passionate about supporting arts that support the community. Find out how an idea among three friends became a powerhouse cause that’s bringing more art to Atlanta.

View Chris's Story
Collapse Chris's Story

The Arts Advocate

Atlanta is a city of social innovators and area natives like Chris Appleton who are doing some of the most leading-edge work. Chris has experienced firsthand all the city has to offer – and has dreamt of ways to improve it.

Chris appleton 1 35f068f815aafe27816b2883cc6e242c7f4b5948e013060aca9c59961e9b4e52

When Appleton and two friends first imagined WonderRoot in 2002, it was an idea about ways to use art and culture to build a better Atlanta. Now the arts-focused nonprofit is in a growth phase, kicking off the revitalization of a 60,000-square foot former elementary school into a cultural center.

“I think a lot of young people are trying to figure out how to build a better world, and the place to start is in your local community,” says Appleton. “Atlanta was really a ripe place for us to do that work and has embraced the ideas and values and effort that have been a part of our work since the very beginning.”

When the new WonderRoot Center for Arts and Social Change opens in the Reynoldstown neighborhood of Atlanta, it and its eight acres of surrounding land will feature event venues, a restaurant, and studio and collaboration spaces.

Adjacent to the city’s BeltLine and ensuing urban resurgence, the space will be a cultural highlight for the historic neighborhood.
 
“Atlanta over the last several years has really seen a cultural resurgence for the city’s arts organizations, and food, and just generally the investment in the city’s urban core,” Appleton says. “Part of the reason…is lifting up, by the larger institutions, of smaller organizations.”

That spirit of collaboration and progress is what keeps Appleton close to his roots, he says.

“As an Atlanta native, I choose to stay in Atlanta because I’m interested in a city that embraces diversity, that embraces progressive growth and change, and that is certainly something that I’m seeing in Atlanta in 2015.” 

Chris's Atlanta
Wonderroot square 9719899a9b0916c596443bfcca64b39ba04841826d4cfc9adaa073d92cd10a6e
Places
WonderRoot
Founded in 2004, WonderRoot provides facilities for Atlanta artists and coordinates arts-based community service programs.
Nonprofits
Careers
Explore Opportunities
Decatur square 68351e876542726af99772c8436e1902e45e92578ff25b68fb3e588dadfbaa20
Places
Decatur
A diverse suburb of commuters, artists, families, and more, centered around an active city center and excellent public services.
Film & TV
Careers
Explore Opportunities
Explore the Map

Explore the Map

Imagine that one of the best cities to start a business is also one of the best cities to start a family. A city made of neighborhoods, a thriving metropolitan. Discover people like you who chose Atlanta. Find the perfect place to live.

Discover Atlanta