Culture Briefs

  • AIDS Athens Celebrates Release of Athens Eats at The National


    Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

    Aids Athens Volunteer Paige Miller with copies of "Athens Eats."

    The National was especially pretty on a recent crisp spring afternoon. Sunlight streaming through the restaurant’s windows made the glassware and big dispensers of lemonade and tea sparkle. Fresh white linens topped with blue and white oil cloth were set off by fresh cut azaleas and a large pink and white orchid.

    It was a serene setting to celebrate the long awaited release of Athens Eats: Recipes from theClassic City. The cookbook has been 11 years in the making and is a fundraiser for AIDS Athens.


  • Community Unites for Celebration of Artist Harold Rittenberry


    Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

    Harold Rittenberry in front of his work commissioned for the Cobbham neighborhood.

    One of the first things you notice at the Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church is the deference with which people treat each other. Titles are used and strangers are welcomed. 

    On a recent Saturday, its congregants opened their doors wide to welcome the larger community as people came from the far reaches of the Athens area to pay their respect to one man: folk artist Harold Rittenberry. Or Mr. Rittenberry, as he is always referred to in the modest but powerful church on Rose Street.


  • Philip Juras’ The Wild Treasury Offers Meditations on Growth, Change, History and Place


    Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

    'The Wild Treasury of Nature' by Philip Juras

    Old Fire Hall No. 2, the headquarters of the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, was recently the site of yet another discussion of history, change and preservation. This time, the historical gem in question wasn’t a landmark building. It was  Little St. Simons island, that rare 10,000 acres of undeveloped wilderness off of the coast of Georgia.

    The event was a reception for Athens-based landscape painter Philip Juras and his newly released book, The Wild Treasury of Nature: A Portrait of Little St. Simons Island. The party and book signing was organized by Avid Bookshop. 


  • 41st Juried Exhibition is Challenging, Diverse and a Pleasure to View


    Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

    Jennifer Kirkpatrick's "Bent Corner" is made of masonite and house paint

    The parking lot inspired creativity from the get-go at the reception for the 41st Juried Exhibition at the Lyndon House Arts Center on Thursday night. Visitors were trying to squeeze their cars anywhere they could, inventing parking spaces in their frenzy to make it to this beloved annual event.

    Inside, attendees were well rewarded for their struggle, as the show delivers some fine work.


  • Upcoming Theater Performances, Sketch Comedy, Ethnic Nights

    New Play Festival: UGA students have been turning out an astonishing amount of dramatic writing in recent years, not simply in quantity but in quality of an impressive level. Clearly it’s high time to feature a sampling of some of the best work by current students and recently graduated alumni. There are seven playwrights and four directors. The whole thing is overseen by executive director John Patrick Bray, a UGA professor who is also a notable playwright himself. It’s an eclectic collection of plays, but Bray has noticed an emerging theme of the supernatural, family connections (and the lack thereof), and babies both born and unborn. He's joined by two PhD students (Geoffrey Douglas, Seth Wilson) and an MFA acting student (Ami Sallee) in directing the seven plays with a strong ensemble of student actors.


  • AthFest Educates Selects Lou Kregel as its 2016 Theme Artist


    Local colorist and pattern designer Lou Kregel has been officially named as the theme artist of the 2016 AthFest Music & Arts Festival and AthHalf Half Marathon. Her artwork will be used on the event websites, merchandise, signage and as cover art of the 20th anniversary AthFest 2-CD set.


  • Ray Lee Wins Solo Show Award at 'Reciprocal II: OCAF Members at UNG'


    Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

    Detail of "Residue" by OCAF Member Georgia Strange.

    Georgia Strange’s “Residue” has the added benefit of an olfactory component. Viewers can experience the work from two feet away with their eyes closed. There is a familiar smell that perhaps you can’t quite put your finger on. The smell of almost used up bars of Dial soap. 

    From a distance, the work looks like one of those scraps of paper watercolorists create as they mix color samples. The bars of soap, which are nailed in tidy rows to a white board, have a luminous quality and appear to have subtly different values and color saturations. 

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t track Ms. Strange down to ask her more about her oddly appealing work at this week’s opening reception for "Reciprocal II: OCAF Members at UNG." But I did get to chat briefly with Ray Lee, the lucky winner of a future solo show that night.


  • The Colorful Home of Athens Textile Artist Susan Hable Smith


    Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

    Susan Hable Smith in her art lined entry; the sofa is upholstered in Hable Construction fabric.

    The brass fox knocker on the azure blue door hints at the surprises that lie within the Cobbham home of designer Susan Hable Smith. Inside, Moroccan textiles, bold wallpapers, pairs of diminutive chairs, assorted opera props, funky photographs and quirky ceramic eyes are arranged artfully in a visual feast.

    On one of those sunny, warm surprise Saturdays in February, the artist was sharing her home with supporters of WUGA. The back door was wide open, welcoming the breeze and revealing camellias in full bloom and tea olives beginning to flower.  The large kitchen table offered up heaps of pimiento cheese and other specialties by Marti’s at Midday.

    It was plain to see that this Texas to New York City to Athens transplant has mastered the Southern hospitality thing.


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