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Grants Awarded to the Arts in Three Local Cities

WATKINSVILLE: Last fall, the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation received a $200,000 grant from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation under the Woodruff Foundation umbrella, pushing the foundation’s current capital campaign beyond the $1 million mark. Independently funded, OCAF has raised a total of $1,175,000 to date through membership dues, grants, fundraisers and individual donations, with a goal of raising another $625,000 to reach $1.8 million by the end of December. These funds will be used to revitalize the the foundation’s three historic facilities—the 1902 OCAF Center, School Street Studios and Rocket Hall—providing structural and safety improvements that include new roofing, flooring, HVAC and electrical components.

With a local economic impact estimated in excess of $1.9 million, OCAF attracts over 20,000 annual visitors to its exhibitions, arts-related educational programs and events. In January, the board of directors approved an allocation of $85,000 for a new roof and proper drainage system for the School Street Studios, a historic building that houses pottery studios and other classrooms. Under its new executive director, Tommy Deadwyler, who took the reins following Cindy Farley’s retirement, the center also hopes to expand its educational offerings for younger participants and establish after school programs for children this year.

To see a strong example of the quality of artwork OCAF brings before the eyes of community members, swing by the galleries to see two group exhibitions, both on view through Friday, May 4. The annual “Southworks Exhibition” features over 90 pieces selected by juror Faythe Levine from artists across the country. As one of the gallery’s most diverse shows of the year, works range from paintings, drawings and printmaking to sculptures, installation work and ceramics.

Awards include Best in Show to Andrew Hayes for “Strand,” an unusual sculpture resembling a folded book; People’s Choice to Paula Reynaldi for “Colonies,” a collection of flowers sprawling up the gallery’s wall; Best 3D to Cameron Hampton for “Coal Mining Canaries,” a collection of small birds made in coal dust; Best 2D to Kreh Mellick for a cut paper collage; and merit awards to Perry Johnson and Rosemary Segretti for portraits, as well as Mayumi Amada for “Grandmother’s Melancholy,” a textile that reveals words in its shadows.

Curated by gallery director Margot Ecke, “Fold + Facet” is this year’s Director’s Choice Exhibition showcasing the work of Eleanor Annand, Justin Turcotte and Emily Rogstad. Annand assembles printed, dyed and cut paper into three-dimensional, wall-bound compositions with recurring patterns. Turcotte’s glass vessels are alluring for the the way light faintly glows through their translucent, cut surfaces. Rogstad similarly takes inspiration from geometric forms, bending metal into unusual but functional jewelry pieces.

WINTERVILLE: The City of Winterville has received a major historic preservation grant from the Fox Theatre Institute for the restoration of the Winterville Auditorium, a 450-seat venue that was abandoned in 2002 but has recently been undergoing major renovations to return to its glory days of housing plays, pageants and concerts. An astounding $55,476 will be allocated towards installing new sound and lighting systems, as well as securing the space’s structural integrity.

Built in 1950, the auditorium is located next to the 1918 Winterville High School building, which was transformed into the Winterville Center for Community and Culture in 2016 after a multi-year, $1.3 million renovation process. The City of Winterville will be presented with a giant check during a celebration held in the Winterville Auditorium on Friday, May 11 at 2 p.m.

Promoting economic and cultural impact in local communities across Georgia, the Fox Theatre Institute’s grant program focuses on historic theaters in need of financial assistance, restoration support and operations mentoring. FTI awarded a record-breaking total of $470,541 to 13 grant recipients for the 2017–’18 cycle in the categories of historic preservation, historic structure studies or planning, and technical assistance and service. Nearby, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center also received a grant for $16,195 that will support the repair and replacement of its theater’s seating fabric.

ATHENS: The Athens Cultural Affairs Commission has announced three recipients of its Arts in Community Grant competition, each receiving $1,500. The West Broad Farmers Market will use its grant to host a free Juneteenth Community Art Engagement with visual and performing artists on June 16 to commemorate the abolishment of slavery in the U.S… “Seat in the Shade: A Summer Poetry Reading Series” will host poets Coleman Barks, Lemuel “Life the Griot” LaRoche, Jericho Brown, Colin Kelly, David Bottoms and Sandra Meeks, as well as a finale on July 27 with UGA educators and students…The UGA College of Education and Athens Housing Authority received a grant for a mural project held between middle- and high-school youth at the Parkview Community Center, UGA graduate students and a teaching artist.

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