ART Station | About Us
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ART Station is in its 35th year of providing quality arts programs to its community.  The organization was founded in 1986 by Artistic Director, David Thomas, who formed a group of artists, government, corporate and community leaders from the Stone Mountain (Atlanta) community to form the ART Station Contemporary Arts Center and Theatre Company.  The Center is located in Stone Mountain Village, a small Southern town on Atlanta’s east side and adjacent to Stone Mountain, Park, the largest tourist attraction in the State of Georgia.  The founding group completed a 3.5 million dollar campaign to purchase and renovate the historic Trolley Car Barn into a contemporary arts center.  The Trolley Car Barn was built by the Georgia Railway and Power Company in 1913 and the building served as a terminus for the trolley car system from Atlanta to Stone Mountain which was called the Atlanta Rapid Transit (thus the ART in the ART Station name).  The building was renovated into a multi-disciplinary arts center. The ART in the ART Station name comes from a 1913 photograph of a trolley car in front of the building with the wording of “Atlanta Rapid Transit” written on the side of the trolley car.

  ART Station is home to its own professional Equity Theatre Company producing new plays, musicals and classics, 5 art galleries, a fine crafts gift shop, a gift shop dedicated to Southern food and culture, classrooms, production and administrative space, and a cabaret theatre presenting Atlanta’s music legends. 


ART Station’s productions, programs, classrooms and studios provide a dynamic environment that nurtures talent and ignites creativity.  ART Station offers a menu of choices for patrons and artists alike: choices about materials, points of view, and subject matter; choices about challenging our beliefs, and enriching our lives through art.

ART Station programs include: a Professional Theatre Series; a Gallery Series; Fall, Winter, and Spring Classes for children and adults; Summer Arts Camp for Youth; Performance Company for Youth; Performance Company for Teens; a Children’s Theatre Series; a Cabaret Theatre Series; a Lunch-Time Series; an annual storytelling festival with over 10,000 attendees; and fund-raising events throughout the year.

Today, the dream of the founders of ART Station is a reality with programs serving over 50,000 patrons and students each year.



ART Station is a not-for-profit, professional, multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary (theatre, music, dance, visual and literary arts) arts center, theatre company and arts organization dedicated to the production, presentation, and celebration of the visual arts, literary arts, performing arts, arts education, and community arts outreach.   ART Station believes that the arts should support and be available to citizens of all social, cultural, ethnic, and economic standing.  Therefore, the organization welcomes the task of challenging its audiences and encouraging all segments of the community to participate in and to celebrate the arts.   ART Station provides cultural and educational opportunities to the citizens and the arts programs focus on the quality works of local, regional, and national artists.   ART Station is dedicated to providing professional quality arts events at reasonable prices and to providing jobs and showcase opportunities to quality artists in the region.


ART Station is a thriving, welcoming, comfortable, contemporary center of artistic, spiritual, and educational activity bringing the community and visitors together to celebrate life, art, food, and culture.  ART Station provides an arena of goodwill and offers a healthy environment for the exchange of ideas and a variety of points of view.

Our Staff

David Thomas

Founder, President & Artistic Director

David is the founder of ART Station and is responsible for creating unity and a positive environment for arts production and education for all aspects of the ART Station organization serving as the leader of an ensemble of artists, managers and trustees. David attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, holds a BA in Communication Arts (Radio, Television and Theatre Arts) from Appalachian State University, and two MFA degrees in Theatre Directing and Arts Administration from Virginia Tech. He is a graduate of the IBM Leadership Institute, Leadership DeKalb, the Middle East Travel Seminar and is a graduate of the Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta. He has directed over 250 productions for the ART Station Theatre and has provided the artistic direction for hundreds of art exhibitions, festivals and education programs in the arts. He has served on numerous advisory boards for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Southern Arts Federation, the Fulton County Arts Council and for the City of Atlanta. David directed the opening ceremonies for the Cultural Olympiad in Atlanta and participated in the Norway games producing shows that showcased the Southeastern United States.  David has had three plays featured in the prestigious Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. His new play, Harmony Ain’t Easy was featured in the AT&T Theatre Series in 1996. He has 5 plays published and many unpublished new scripts that have produced at various theatres in the South. He is the founder of the Stone Mountain Arts Incubator Economic Development program where he received a “Georgia Trend Setter” award by Georgia Trend Magazine. David received the “Outstanding Arts Professional Award” from the Arts and Business Council from the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. His involvement in the community includes serving on the boards of the Downtown Development Authority, Main Street Stone Mountain and is the past president of the Stone Mountain Visitors Center.  He is also a volunteer for Project Open Hand Atlanta and for a local women and children’s shelter.  

Michael Hidalgo

Founder, Producing Director, Designer

Michael is responsible for overseeing all administrative aspects of the organization including payroll, bookkeeping, marketing and development; raising individual, corporate, foundation and government financial support. Since 1985, Michael has served the art center as Technical Director & Resident Set and Lighting Designer, where he is responsible for the technical direction, design and implementation of 5 – 8 theatrical productions each year; assuring technical excellence for all the art center’s programs including theatre productions, gallery exhibitions, and the general operations of the center. Michael’s set designs have toured throughout the United States. 

Bill e. Leavell

Gallery DIRECTOR &
Rental Manager

Bill was the former Executive Director for DeKalb’s Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center, was highly instrumental in development, programming, architectural design, interior decoration, logo & mantra of the newly opened center.  He is a graduate of Art Institute of Atlanta where he studied Graphic Design and Visual art.  Hailing from Newnan, Georgia, Bill also majored in Fine Art Education with a concentration in painting and sculpture at the University at West Georgia, in Carrollton, Georgia.  As Creative Director for more than14 years with Belk Department stores, a Charlotte, NC based company, his work included computer graphics, drawings, photography direction, model management and merchandise branding, rounding out his love for the arts and its involvement with the community. 

Robby Owenby

Guest Services & Marketing Manager

Robby holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Brenau University and is a proud graduate of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance, a nationally acclaimed collaboration between Brenau University, University of North Georgia, Theatre Professionals and the Northeast Georgia Community. Robby is an actor, photographer, creator, and arts administrator. As a performer, Robby has worked professionally across the country, including such Atlanta theatres as Alliance Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Actor’s Express, ART Station, Stage Door Players, and many others. Robby has also served as Director of Marketing for Atlanta Artist Relief Fund,  Volunteer Coordinator, Box Office Associate, and Marketing Associate for Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville as well as on the Front of House and Marketing Staff at Horizon Theatre.


Erin Bailey

Director of Galleries and Visual Arts Programs

For over 30 years before coming to ART Station, Erin worked for the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs. She held several positions during her long career, including: art teacher, historic facility manager, SOS! Project Coordinator, and Facility Administrator, supervising three community arts centers, including Chastain Arts Center and Gallery.  Erin earned a BFA from the University of Georgia, cum laude, with a double major in Jewelry-Metalwork and Art History. She worked as a jeweler for about 3 years, before going to work for the City of Atlanta. Erin’s education continued with studies at the Atlanta Art Therapy Institute, and the completion of an online certificate program in Arts Administration from the University of Massachusetts. 


Resident Music Director

Patrick is the composer of several musicals (including The Harvey Milk Show) which have been produced all across the United States.  He is half of the piano duo “ph Balanced”, and a member of the vocal harmony group “SIGHS.”  Patrick played keyboards on the Moody Blues “Strange Times” tour, and has also played for such stars as Richard Chamberlain, Keith Carradine and Toni Tennile.  He has sung, danced, conducted and musically directed in Mexico, Greenland and in theatres across the United States, including Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, Symphony Hall, The Atlanta Civic Center and The Fox Theatre.


Special Events and Projects Coordinator

Nancy Knight serves on the staff as a special events and projects coordinator.  She has been with ART Station since 1987 and heads up the very popular fiction writing classes at the arts center and is a property builder in the theatre program.  She served as Director of Education at ART Station from 2001 – 2008 and also curated the ART Station fine arts and crafts showcase and gift shop from 1999 to present.  She is a freelance art instructor in watercolor, oil and acrylic and is a freelance writer, having over 15 novels published.  She is a member of the National League of American Pen Women, Atlanta Writer’s Club, Southeastern Writers Association, Dark River Writers and served as the president of the Atlanta Writer’s Club and on the Board of Directors of Romance Writers of America.  She attended DeKalb College  and the University of South Carolina and majored in Literature at Georgia State University.  


Costume Designer

Jeanne’s previous ART Station credits include “Christmas Gift!,” “ARE WE THERE YET?,” “Judgment,” “Dead Certain,” It’s a Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play,” “Tuesdays With Morrie,” “Five Course Love,” “Uh-Oh…Here Comes Christmas,” “Always…Patsy Cline,” “BINGO, A Winning New Musical” and “Tea at Five.” Jeanne has worked for the Alliance Theater, The Southern Repertory Theatre, and the Joffery Ballet as Wardrobe Mistress. She is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University. Jeanne spends her days on her latest production; wife to her loving husband Howard and mother to daughter Teagan and son Turner.


Guest Director and Choreographer

As resident choreographer at ART Station for 13 years, Karen is thrilled to guest direct, having directed The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps and Gowns, The Marvelous Wonderettes, A Broadway Christmas Carol, Married Alive! and Are We There Yet?.  She has over 30 years’ experience as a ballet, ballroom and disco professional and has choreographed for: Disney, Theatre in the Square, Springer Theatre and the Colquitt/Miller Arts Council.  Other directing credits include shows for: Onstage Atlanta, Perimeter College and Stone Mountain Park.  Karen is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA and has been seen on stage at ART Station,  the Alliance Theatre, Ansley Park Playhouse, Theatrical Outfit and the McGinn/Cazale Theatre in N.Y.  Recent film & TV credits include: Devious Maids, The TLC Story,  Joyful Noise, and the upcoming feature Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.  Visit her website at:


Facility Manager

Emma Brooks has served ART Station in the capacity of Facility Manager for the past 13 years. She is a native of Stone Mountain, a graduate of Hamilton High School in Scottdale and an active member of Bethsaida Baptist Church. Prior to employment with ART Station, she was employed with the City of Stone Mountain. Emma is an active member of the community and serves as ART Station’s liaison to the Stone Mountain Civic Club. She is responsible for facility maintenance at ART Station and for supply inventory and requisition.


Stage Manager

Brandon graduated from The University of West Georgia with a B.A in Theatre. His Stage management credits include Cabaret  and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He has experience in Acting, Sound design, Props, Directing, and Playwriting. He also founded and ran his own improv troupe for two years while attending University. His goals are to expand his theatrical knowledge through professional work experience. He also hopes in the future to start his own youth theatre that caters to kids with Special needs

Chelsea Cook

Summer Camp Music Instructor

Our Board


Mayor, City of Stone Mountain, Board Member


Discover DeKalb, Board Member


Community Representative, Board Member


Board Member


Stone Mountain Memorial Association, Board Member




Board Member


Board Member


Board Member


Board Member

Susan Coletti

Board Vice-Chair

Forrest Cordes

Board Secretary

Rusty McKeller

Board MEMBer

Membership support is one of our most important sources of revenue.  As a members, you and your family help assure the continuation of future programming, and your annual tax-deductible membership donation contributes to the success of ART Station.