Art NotesArts & Culture

Coloring Books, Calendars, Murals and More

UPCOMING AT ATHICA: Though its bare walls may be between exhibitions at the moment, the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art has been busy, busy, busy preparing for the upcoming season. The gallery recently announced five exhibitions to look forward to in 2016. 

Kicking off the year from Jan. 16–Feb. 28, artists Kelly Celeste Porter and Brandon Donahue will present works with a Southern vernacular aesthetic in “smalltownBIGCITY.” Multimedia show “Subtext” will explore the role of language in contemporary art from Mar. 18–May 1, and group exhibition “This Land” will focus on immigration to the U.S. from May 21–June 26. Two annual shows will follow: “Emerges IX,” which features an invited group of rising local artists, from July 16–Aug. 28, and “J2: ATHICA’s 2nd Juried Exhibition,” which is curated among international submissions from Sept. 24–Nov. 13.

In collaboration with their Chase Park neighbor, the fairly new photography service boutique Pixel & Ink, ATHICA has assembled “Outside the Lines,” a quarterly, all-ages coloring book featuring the works of local artists. Each installment’s proceeds will be split between supporting the gallery’s programming and Athens-Clarke County’s public school arts programming. Benefiting Clarke Middle School, volume one includes coloring pages by Matt Blanks, Cameron Bliss, Margot Ecke, Mike Groves, David Hale, Missy Kulik, Bryn Rouse, Ansley Sproull, Justine Stevens and Tatiana Veneruso. From Dec. 5–13, ATHICA will host an interactive event in which the public can drop in and go wild by coloring in a handful of giant line drawings by featured artists along the walls.

Following ATHICA’s creative artist-designed decks of playing cards in 2013 and tarot cards last year, the gallery has come up with another clever stocking stuffer for art lovers just in time for the holidays. A full-color 2016 calendar offers a nice introduction to contemporary Athenian artists, with pages adorned by Jim Barsness, Stanley Bermudez, Cindy Jerrell, Carol John, Ben Rouse, Rusty Wallace and more. 

Coloring books ($15) and calendars ($19) can be ordered online at, or picked up in person at ATHICA’s upcoming holiday market on Friday, Dec. 11 from 5–9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. The two-day event will have booths from over a dozen artist vendors, including Studio Mod Glass, Piedmont Provisions, Necklush, Will Eskridge Art, Make Nice Design Co. and Thready for Anything.

Saturday’s market happens to coincide with the Athens Area Arts Council’s annual art crawl and membership drive, a multimedia event at which a handy map directs attendees on where to find a diverse lineup of ear and eye candy. From 1–5 p.m., various businesses and studios within the Chase Park Warehouses will host visual art exhibitions, live music and spoken word performances. For more information on the art crawl, visit

TRANSFERS: Literally transferring artwork by faculty members from one campus to another, “Transfers” was conceptualized as an annual exhibition intending to recognize members of the University of North Georgia’s Department of Visual Arts. Currently on view at the Oconee Campus Gallery in Watkinsville through Friday, Dec. 4, the inaugural “Transfers” show features the works of four instructors from the Gainesville and Dahlonega Campuses: Alex Kraft, Vivian Liddell, Erin McIntosh and Jon Mehlferber. 

The eye-catching canvases of Liddell, who teaches drawing, painting and digital photography on the Dahlonega campus, collage layers of synthetic polymer paint and watercolor—and, at times, even embroidery thread and vintage fabrics—to create vibrant, free forms. Their dreamlike looseness and irregular form is echoed in a fun porcelain sculpture by Kraft, who teaches ceramics and 3D design, also in Dahlonega.

McIntosh, an instructor in drawing and painting as well as two-dimensional design and color theory at the Gainesville campus, contributes a series of “Foundation” paintings layering geometric forms. Her works are complemented nicely by a sculpture similarly incorporating a pentagon-shaped shelter by Mehlferber, who teaches sculpture and digital as well as 3D modeling and printing in Dahlonega. 

Located in the lobby area near the bookstore in the Faculty Center/700 Building, the gallery can be visited Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., and Friday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 

ATHFEST EDUCATES MURAL: Commemorating the 20th anniversary milestone of the AthFest Music and Arts Festival, which arrives next year, AthFest Educates is planning to commission a large-scale public mural honoring its commitment to advancing educational programming in music and arts for underserved youth and the festival’s unique role in enriching local culture. Showcasing artistic talent while simultaneously beautifying the city, the mural will be specifically designed as a multi-month collaboration through which an artist will work alongside members of a youth-serving organization.

The formal RFP process seeks to find three separate contributors: a professional local artist or team of artists who will design and paint the mural; a community organization(s) to develop and implement a multi-month, youth-based mural arts program; and a business property owner(s) willing to donate a highly visible outdoor wall to serve as the mural site. The artists and youth participants will work together in finalizing a design that thematically incorporates elements representing AthFest, Athens, music and the arts.

Proposals from artists, community organizations and business owners are currently being accepted through Monday, Jan. 11, and grantees will be announced on Monday, Feb. 8. Following a three-month planning and design period, it’s anticipated that the mural will be produced from May–June, with a dedication held on June 24, the first day of AthFest. AthFest Educates is willing to invest up to $20,000 into the project.

To request an application or ask any questions, contact AthFest Educates by calling 706-548-1973 or emailing For more information on the mural, visit