Art has always had a special place in the heart of Amanda Tai.
And at 21, that love has led to opportunities most people twice her age haven’t experienced.
While still at South Forsyth High, Tai got a jump on her college career by spending two years in an advanced studies program through the University of West Georgia in Carrollton.
She graduated in 2009 before going on to earn an international affairs degree from the University of Georgia in August.
She was then chosen to serve as curator for a recent Atlanta exhibition of art by Nichol Brown, an Ohio artist.
Tai was selected by the Atlanta International Art Society to oversee a wide range of activities associated with the show, which was held Saturday, such as publicity and logistics.
Christy Brown, daughter of the artist, called Tai “a gem.”
“Amanda’s just a phenomenal self-starter,” she said. “The first time we sat down to work together, we had similar ideas but hers were even more grandiose. And I just thought, ‘Oh my gosh, if I had a company I would hire her right now.’
“She’s just so worldly and aware and astute and capable of business and creativity.”
Tai said she’s always had a great affection for art since most of her family enjoys painting, photography and other artistic outlets.
But she gained an even greater appreciation for it a couple of years ago while she was completing a study abroad program in Verona, Italy.
“The program was in English, so I felt like I was missing a part of the experience since I wasn’t learning the language,” she said. “So I went back to learn the language and then I still hadn’t had enough, so I went back for an internship.”
That position was working in a 100-year-old art museum this spring.
“I took a semester off and actually lived inside the museum and worked on an international exhibition with 160 artists … I just came alive in that world, so I didn’t want to give that up when I came back home.”
Since then, Tai said she’s tried to find “little ways to stay plugged into” the Atlanta art scene through volunteering at different shows.
She said enjoys using the experience she gained in Italy and other travels to Australia, England and Greece to help artists gain exposure and better market their work through a free-lance public relations and logistics company she recently founded.
In addition, she’s also an artist herself, creating custom jewelry, which she sells at art shows around metro Atlanta.
Christy Brown said Tai has an uncommon ability to combine business savvy with creative endeavors.
“She’s the kind of person that it doesn’t matter — good economy, bad economy — she’s going to be successful no matter what.
“It’s been a joy to be around someone her age who enjoys the arts and culture, and who understands the importance of art and culture on the community.”
Tai plans to keep putting her skills to use for a long time.
“I think art is a language that everyone can potentially speak and I view that as a tool that we can use to facilitate unlikely connections on a local and global level,” she said.