PUBLIC ART: The Athens Cultural Affairs Commission’s newly appointed public art master planner, Todd Bressi, took a preliminary step towards creating a long-term strategy for local, creative place-making during an introductory public lecture, “Transforming the City, One Community at a Time,” on Thursday, Aug. 27 at the Athens-Clarke County Library. Through a slideshow presentation of diverse, beautifying mural projects, Bressi discussed how the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program—of which he currently serves as the interim coordinator of artistic planning and director of muraLAB—has developed a reputation as one of the world’s leading mural programs while serving the community as an agent of change. As a professional urban designer and public art consultant with over two decades of experience working with various government agencies and community groups across the country, Bressi is highly skilled at recognizing and building upon each place’s distinct culture, architecture, arts resources and development opportunities. Over the next 10 months, he will continue working with the ACAC in a community-based approach to formulating a master plan of potential projects and recommended processes. Lecture attendees were given questionnaires to provide feedback, and the ACAC intends to make the questionnaire available at athensculturalaffairs.org.
MUSEUM MEDITATION: As if the Georgia Museum of Art wasn’t already one of the most peaceful places on campus, a new program will offer guided meditation sessions within the galleries. Instructor Jerry Gale, who has over 40 years of experience in meditation and yoga, is a professor in UGA’s department of human development and family science, and the director of the family therapy doctoral program. Held on Friday mornings from 9:30–10:30 a.m. throughout the fall semester, the free sessions include moments dedicated to both personal reflection and group discussion, and special topics range from mindful eating to coping with stress. Reservations can be made by calling 706-542-0448 or emailing email@example.com.
SAMURAI: A fundraising campaign for the Georgia Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition “Samurai: The War of the Warrior” is currently underway on Georgia Funder, UGA’s crowdfunding portal akin to IndieGoGo. On view from Saturday, Oct. 24–Sunday, Jan. 3, the exhibition will offer a glimpse into the lives of legendary samurai warriors through a collection of nearly 100 artifacts and decorative artworks ranging from full suits of armor, swords and sword guards, bows and arrows, saddles, painted screens and adorned helmets resembling Shinto spirits and demons.
The museum is one of only three U.S. venues where the exhibition will appear and the only venue that offers free admission. In addition to hefty expenses tied to shipping, insurance and loaning the collection from the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy, donations will assist the museum in continuing to provide quality programming free of charge to the public. The busy schedule includes lectures with scholars, an Akira Kurosawa film series (Yojimbo, Kagemusha and Seven Samurai) and a demonstration by Kendo at UGA, plus regularly held events such as a teen studio, family day, student night and gallery tours. Donations towards the $94,500 goal will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 9, and details can be found at dar.uga.edu/funder.
J1: Artists accepted into the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art’s first-ever juried exhibition, “J1,” have finally been named by guest juror Michael Rooks, curator of modern and contemporary art at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Entries were submitted by over 175 artists from around the world, with only 29 making the final cut. Ten locals will grace the walls, including Carol John, Anna LeBar, Carl Martin, Andrew Indelicato and Zuzka Vaclavik. The majority of remaining artists will be pulled in from Atlanta. An opening reception for “J1” will be held Saturday, Sept. 19 from 6–8 p.m., and the exhibition will remain on view through Sunday, Nov. 15. The full lineup of artists can be viewed at athica.org.
AAAC GRANT: All artists, organizations and events that align with the Athens Area Arts Council’s mission of “connecting arts to the community” are eligible to apply for its upcoming quarterly grant of $500. Local aerial arts nonprofit Canopy Studio, which received a grant this past March, has used its funds to collaborate with local designer Timera Temple in constructing a custom set for “Air Noir,” a film noir-inspired Repertory Company performance set for late October. The studio is also partnering with Birmingham, AL-based installation artist Amy Pleasant for its annual outreach fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 26. The deadline to apply for the grant is Tuesday, Sept. 15, and applications can be found at athensarts.org.
CCCF GRANT: The Classic Center Cultural Foundation is currently accepting applications for its annual community arts grant, which will award up to $5,000 towards offsetting rental expenses at the center. The grant is designed to support local community groups in accessing the center’s state-of-the-art facilities and bringing their performances or programming to a larger audience. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Sept. 30, and guidelines are available at classiccenter.com.
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