Arts & Culture

Plein Air Painters

For more than 20 years, a group of Athens-area artists has been following in the plein air tradition popularized by the Impressionists in the mid-19th century. "Painting in the open air is flexible, versatile and creates a record of where you have been," says Claire Clements, who notes that it became feasible when paint was put into tubes that could be easily taken outside. Click here to read the full article.

The Smithsonian's Traveling Hometown Teams

"Let me root, root, root for the home team, if they don't win it's a shame."

These lyrics from Jack Norworth's 1908 classic baseball song could also apply to Friday night football, a county basketball tournament, the middle school soccer rivalry or any other athletic competition where fans unite to support their team. This aspect of the American experience and its effect on culture and community are explored in Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, a national traveling exhibition sponsored by Museum on Main Street, a partnership of the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils. To keep reading, click here.

The Act of Letter Writing

By the time I was in my early twenties, my parents were both gone. I was grown and had warm memories, but it was daunting to think that I would be without their company as well as their experience and wisdom for the rest of my life. That’s when my grandmother started passing along old letters. My parents were penny-pinching newlyweds in the 1960s and moved far from home. Long distance phone calls were pricey, so it became ingrained habit to swap letters between the households once or twice a week. A self-confessed “pack rat,” Grandma Frey saved letters she particularly liked. Every time I’d visit, she would slide one or two more to me across the kitchen table. Sometimes she put them in new envelopes and they'd pop up in my mailbox decades after they were first written, the news now family history, yet fresh with details I never knew. Each old letter was a treasure. Click here to read more.

The Art of Pottery

Pottery unites art and utility in a rich heritage that reaches back to ancient cultures. From that time--around 25,000 B.C.--to this, each cup, bowl, plate, platter or other piece of pottery carries, in one w ay or another, the unique vision of its creator. “Pottery with a utilitarian aspect is an accessible form of art that is beautiful and creates an intimate relationship with the work,” says Cindy Farley, executive director of the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF). “For the most part potters want you to hold the piece and use it for the purpose for which it was made.” Click here for the full article.

A Touch of Heaven at The Monastery of the Holy Spirit

On twenty-four hundred acres east of Atlanta that was once a cotton farm live twenty-to-thirty Cistercian monks who call this land home. At the Monastery of the Holy Spirit on the outskirts of Conyers, its beauty and serenity transform the pilgrim and the traveler. To find out more about Georgia's Monastery, click here.

A Community with Many Dimensions ~ Quilting is a Connection Worth Saving

Quilting with its origins in ingenuity, thrift and creativity has many dimensions. One can do it alone or at a quilting bee; sew items from utilitarian coverlets to museum-quality artworks; choose patterns from traditional to original designs; use scraps of leftover fabrics to dyeing and painting one’s own.

With so many ways to quilt, it’s no wonder there are some 80 guilds in Georgia according to Pomelia Wasdin, president of the Georgia Quilt Council (GQC). “Quilting is a wonderful creative outlet,” says Wasdin, who lives in Conyers and is a member of the UFO (Un-Finished Object) Quilters. “One of the reasons I quilt is because my grandmothers quilted, and I feel connected to my family in Kentucky through quilting. Another reason I love to quilt is to be in community with others, whether they are from the town where I live or whether they live across the state.”

Click here to learn how quilts bring warmth, commemorate an event, and preserve memories and history.

A Big Love for Tiny Cars

Bruce Weiner’s Microcar Museum turns an obsessive collection into a whimsical wonderland.

Some people are collectors by nature.They hunt down and acquire objects of obsession like they breathe air. Some revel privately in their trophies, coddling and caring for their prizes in deep, dark recesses, far away from the public eye. Thankfully for those who find joy in the obsessions of others, a select few decide to shine up their precious treasures, arrange them artfully and put them on display for onlookers to ooh and ah, to wish and wonder. As odd as these amassed caches can be, it’s always interesting to see what others cherish so intensely. For Bruce Weiner, former bubble gum mogul, it is microcars.

Launched in 1997, opening the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum each weekend is a bit of an emotional struggle for the director. “It’s a personal collection,” he says,” and it’s not always easy to let people ogle them.” Yet, Weiner knows that without his passion and ability to share, these small wonders could possibly disappear into obscurity forever.  Click here to find out where this gem is located and the latest news with the museum and collection.

Regional Community Theatre

In the twelve county Region 5 area, most have active groups that regularly off er a “season” of performance.  Some counties have more than one theatrical troupe and most have a following of loyal patrons, eager for the next show.  To learn more about local community theatres and and the performing arts in the region, click here(Photo by N2O Productions)