Josh Yoder

Local Atlanta Artist + Starbucks Barista

“My name is Josh Yoder and I have been a part of the music and art scene in Atlanta for most of my life. I moved with my family from Ohio to the suburbs of Atlanta in the early 90’s, and it was immediately clear that this was the right place for us. Early on my twin brother and I became set on dedicating our lives to music and art.  We performed locally, toured around the country, and released several albums. In 2012 we decided to stop touring to give ourselves time to make art in other ways.  Filmmaking and large performance art shows became a big focus for us as we continued to play local concerts.

Alongside my art-life is my barista-life. Starbucks has been my day job for many years and that’s what brought me to the Colony Square store in 2010. I’ve always enjoyed making coffee for people and putting a smile on people’s faces. It does sound cheesy, but I truly enjoy what I do there. My world Is much simpler these days so getting to connect with the residents, the workers and everyone who comes in is still one of the most fulfilling things I could be doing. Throughout the years I’ve met some of the most inspiring and humbling people there and some have become close friends to this day.

Midtown has been a special place to me for a long time. One of my favorite things about it is its location and how enjoyable it is to walk around. I’ve lived in many different neighborhoods throughout Atlanta but living in Midtown was the one place where I felt truly connected. Being able to step out of my front door, put my headphones on and walk to my favorite places was a beautiful thing. The High Museum, the restaurants, the park, Midtown Art Cinema, and the surrounding neighborhoods were my usual destinations.  The walks themselves always did great things for my creativity. The most unique part about Midtown compared to the rest of Atlanta is Piedmont Park.  It’s not only a quick walk from Colony Square but it connects so many neighborhoods. The park was always a great place to meet friends or just escape the traffic of the city.

I am a bit biased, but I do consider Colony Square to be the heart of Midtown. It truly is the prime spot to branch off from and experience the rest of what Midtown has to offer. I have too many memories and stories from Colony Square but there is one that’s particularly special. In 2015 I had some terrible seizures at my apartment in Midtown and then got diagnosed with brain cancer. I went through all the surgery and treatments and had to leave the apartment I was living at in Midtown. I was at the peak of my art installation work and unfortunately had to cancel everything I had booked. I was unable to perform in any capacity for a while but in 2016 I was asked to be a part of an art show at Colony Square.

This show was happening just before the major demolition began. The whole place was converted into a huge art gallery with all types of exhibits and performances. My first thoughts were that I probably should not do it. I promised myself to take a legitimate break for a while to heal, but it was a unique opportunity. My Colony Square life and my art-life were colliding, and I just couldn’t turn that down. I was given my own space inside the old gym where I built and then performed a one-man interactive art show. I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure if I still had that kind of energy. When the event started it turned into quite the magical time. It was one of the toughest performances I’ve ever done but probably the most rewarding.

The biggest difference to me regarding Colony Square now versus years ago is the redesign and the aesthetic changes. It seems like a completely different place in some ways probably because I’ve been around for so long. There’s also so many more people living in the area which is a plus in my opinion. I see the future of Colony Square much like it is already but even more thriving. As imaginative as I can be I really don’t know what to expect for the future. It feels like the beginning of a new era. My favorite places to spend time is outside at the tables or benches.  I love to just sit out there with my coffee and write. I’ve also been lucky enough to chat with some of my favorite actors out on those old benches.”

“I believe it’s important to stay humble and open minded + talk less and listen more. Allowing ourselves to slow down a bit is certainly a healthy practice.”

#PeopleofCS #CSHistory #csreimagined