Coffee and the arts seem like a bit of a natural fit. So for this month’s one on one we brought together Kenny Gannon, the arts venue director at Samford University, and Emma Chevalier, the director of coffee and cofounder at Revelator Coffee.
Photos by Beau Gustafson
From its origins in New Orleans, Revelator Coffee has moved its roasting operation and headquarters to Birmingham and has opened a coffee shop on Third Avenue North, as well as shop locations in New Orleans, Atlanta’s Westside, Chattanooga, and Nashville. With backing from California investors, Revelator has plans to open even more venues across the South.
This region of the country is central to Revelator’s corporate vision, Chevalier says. “Our approach to coffee celebrates variety, nuance, and seasonality,” says Chevalier. “We create a fine product with passion and integrity, and we’re pleased to offer a bit of that everyday luxury to our friends and neighbors here in the South.”
Knowledgeable baristas, highly designed spaces, and top-flight coffee are the signatures of Revelator. Chevalier says the company’s coffee offerings are tightly focused on the Southern palate with seasonal variations on its coffee menu. Revelator focuses on coffee as an agricultural product, like a fine wine.
Gannon is the director of arts venues at Samford University. Through its Wright Center, as well as other campus venues, Samford has been developing as a major part of the blossoming arts scene in metro Birmingham. The Wright Center is home for the Alabama Ballet, Opera Birmingham, the Alabama Dance Festival, the Birmingham Music Club, and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s Red Diamond SuperPOPS! series. Just a look at the upcoming events in the Samford arts season gives a glimpse into the variety of arts performances at the university.
Christmas with Amy Grant and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 4 features the best-selling contemporary Christian artist of all-time. Grammy Award-winning musician Art Garfunkel comes to Samford Jan. 28 in a benefit performance sponsored by Christian artist Gene Cotton to aid the Nicaragua Project. The highly innovative Jessica Lang Dance Company performs Jan. 30 as part of the annual Alabama Dance Festival, followed April 2 by Celtic Nights: Spirit of Freedom, celebrating 100 years of Irish independence in Celtic music and dance. The final Signature Series event of the season, on April 8–9, features Hovie Lister and the Statesmen Quartet.
Gannon is a Samford alum who went on to receive a master’s degree from Converse College and a doctorate from LSU. Before coming to Samford, he worked at Shorter University, William Peace University, the North Carolina Theatre and Conservatory, and the Florida State University Theatre.