Fritz named special projects manager at Macon Arts Alliance

MACON, Ga. – Stephanie Fritz has joined the staff of Macon Arts Alliance, the local arts agency for Macon-Bibb County, as the non-profit organization’s special projects manager. She began work on January 6 and is heading up a new, grant-funded program to promote economic development in the creative industries. The program is funded by a two-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Fritz is a graduate of the New Media and Communications program of Middle Georgia State College and was a communications intern for Macon Arts Alliance in summer 2013. During Fall 2013, she worked as an embedded arts journalist with Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalism, a partnership of Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

“During my internship at Macon Arts Alliance, I really came to understand the role of the arts in community and economic development,” said Fritz. “I’m excited to take what I’ve learned and apply it to new programming that will provide resources to local artists who want to start or grow their businesses.”

The first phase of the new project will be a community-wide assessment to identify the artists and creative professionals living in Central Georgia. Through focus groups, surveys, and convenings, Macon Arts Alliance will develop new programming that provides resources to assist with the development and growth of creative businesses. Within a year, this information will be used to introduce professional development toolkits and workshops for creative entrepreneurs in Central Georgia.

“There are hundreds of artists, writers, designers and musicians that want to make a living and a life in Central Georgia,” said Jan Beeland, MAA’s executive director. “Now is the time to lay the groundwork for local artists to become the creative entrepreneurs who will create jobs and drive economic growth in the future.”

About Macon Arts Alliance

The mission of Macon Arts Alliance is to foster and support the advancement of arts and culture in Central Georgia. MAA is working to create an environment where arts and culture thrive and where Central Georgia is recognized as an unparalleled cultural destination. Macon Arts Alliance is the designated local arts agency of Macon-Bibb County.

 

Macon Arts Alliance named local arts agency by Macon-Bibb Commission

MACON, Ga. – The Macon-Bibb County Commission unanimously approved Macon Arts Alliance (MAA) to be the designated local arts agency for Macon-Bibb County. The resolution, sponsored by Commissioner Al Tillman and Commissioner Elaine Lucas, was approved at the first regular meeting of the commission on Tuesday, January 7.

The resolution states that as Macon-Bibb County’s local arts agency, Macon Arts Alliance may “operate on its behalf in providing planning, financial support services, and development for arts organizations and artists in our community.”

“We’re honored to be the local arts agency for Macon-Bibb County,” said Jan Beeland, executive director of MAA. “Macon Arts Alliance has served in this capacity for almost a quarter of a century, and we’ll continue to work hard to fulfill our mission to foster and support the arts for all the citizens of what is now Georgia’s fourth largest city.”

Since 1988, Macon Arts Alliance has been the designated local arts agency for the City of Macon and Bibb County. Those designations enabled Macon Arts Alliance to leverage federal, state, and private grant monies, provide cultural planning services to the community, and offer professional development services to local arts organizations and artists.

“The arts and cultural sector must have a seat at the table when we talk about improving our community, and we realized early in 2013 the importance of requesting the designation from the new, consolidated Macon-Bibb County,” continued Beeland.

Beeland, MAA staff, and board members met with members of the Consolidation Transition Task Force several times during the year to determine the best way to approach carrying over the designation.

“We did the necessary research, and everyone was helpful, making suggestions about the best way to approach it,” said Beeland. “We want to thank Commissioner Tillman for initially sponsoring the resolution and Commissioner Lucas who joined him in the effort.  We couldn’t have done this so quickly and efficiently without their leadership and the support of the Mayor and the Commissioners.”

Art Matters announces third symposium

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 2, 2014
Media Contact: Jonathan Dye, jonathan@maconarts.org, (478) 308-1660

Art Matters announces third symposium
Third symposium focuses on theater and theater criticism in Middle Georgia

MACON, Ga. — Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is pleased to announce the third in its series of six public symposia on the role of criticism and arts journalism in fostering an informed and engaged community.  “Theater and Theater Criticism in Middle Georgia” will be held at Middle Georgia State College’s Professional Services Center, Room 211, on the Macon Campus, January 28 at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public and is hosted by the Department of Media, Culture, and the Arts in the School of Liberal Arts with support from the Middle Georgia State College Foundation.

The discussion at this symposium will focus on the role of theaters in Middle Georgia and how local media covers theater and theatric productions. Featured panelists will be Sydney Chalfa, Jim Crisp, Larry Fennelly, Fred Hardin, John Jones and Adam Ragusea. Art Matters Critic-in-Residence Steve Murray will moderate the discussion.

Sydney H. Chalfa is an associate professor of Theatre at Middle Georgia State College. She joined the faculty of then Macon State College in 1990 as Director of the Impromptu Players, the college’s theater company at that time and she has directed over 65 shows for the college in that capacity. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Saint Andrews University and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting and Directing from the University of Georgia. At Macon State and Middle Georgia State College, she has directed Angels in America (Parts One and Two), Big River, Once on this Island, the rock opera Tommy, Marat Sade, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, The Rocky Horror Show, Lonely Planet, Waiting for Godot, The Heidi Chronicles, and Howard Zinn’s The People Speak, to name a few. Her primary interest is studying new plays by contemporary American playwrights. She is currently directing Rabit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire to be seen at MGSC in mid-February.

Jim Crisp, Jr. is the artistic director of Theatre Macon.  Jim will be celebrating his thirty-first year in Macon in August 2013. Having lived the life of a “gypsy” all over the United States, he is happy to have finally made his home in a place as great as Macon. Jim earned a B.A. in theater from Western Illinois University and his M.F.A. in acting from the FSU / Asolo Conservatory in Sarasota, Florida. He lived in New York City for two years and Los Angeles for four years teaching, directing, acting and pursuing the illusive actor’s career. Jim arrived in Macon in 1982 to become director at the Macon Little Theatre during their fiftieth season celebration. In 1986, with a lot of help and support from friends and the community of Macon, he founded Theatre Macon, now in its twenty-seventh season. He is proud of Theater Macon’s accomplishments that have brought state and regional recognition to the theater. In addition, many of the Youth Actors’ Company graduates are working and studying professionally. His life’s work has largely been dedicated to recognizing and developing young talent. Jim has directed over 250 productions in his career and continues to search for new works that will entertain and challenge his audiences.

Larry Fennelly is a long-time observer of theater and music whose columns and reviews have appeared in The Telegraph since 1979. He holds a B.A. degree from the College of William & Mary and a Ph.D. from Florida State University, where he served as University Fellow. In addition to teaching in the journalism program at what is now Middle Georgia State College, Fennelly has taught at Wesleyan College and is currently senior lecturer at Mercer University. A perennial student, he continues to study at Georgia State University and can be found at three or four events each week in Macon or Atlanta.

Fred Hardin, originally from North Carolina, moved to Warner Robins in 1967 after accepting a teaching position at the Robins AFB School System.  He is now a retired educator, with 41 years of experience with high school, technical school, college, and elementary school. Fred has always had a flair for theatrics, and he has been deeply involved with the local theaters in Central Georgia since 1972.  He has been seen on the theater stages in Warner Robins, Macon, and Perry.  He directed over 30 plays and acted in almost that many Warner Robins Little Theatre productions.  He has served as production co-coordinator for numerous presentations.  He is an active member of the WRLT Board of Governors and served as president for many years.  Fred has been involved with publicity, season membership, and, most recently, chaired the 50th Anniversary Masquerade Gala for WRLT. Fred works to promote the performing arts wherever he can. Fred has been married to Nancy for almost 45 years. They have two married sons, Greg (an actor and computer tech) and Jeff (a freelance artist).  They have three grandchildren.

John Jones is theater manager at Macon Little Theatre. John is a retired educator who taught Language Arts/Drama for 33 years in the Bibb County School System.  He has been active in community theater since 1970 appearing in over 50 productions at Macon Little Theatre, Macon ACT, Theatre Macon and Wesleyan College.  In 2004 he began a three-year term as Board Chairman at Macon Little Theatre and continues his service as theater manager.

Adam Ragusea is the site director of GPB’s bureau in Macon, where he locally hosts NPR’s Morning Edition. He also coordinates GPB’s day-to-day involvement in the Center for Collaborative Journalism – a partnership between Mercer University, GPB, and the Telegraph of Macon – working with student journalists and exchanging material with Middle Georgia’s largest newspaper. Before coming to GPB, Adam worked at WBUR in Boston and WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana. A classical composer by training, Adam spends his spare time making music, gardening, and riding bicycles. He lives with his wife, author Lauren Morrill, and their dog Lucy in Macon’s Vineville neighborhood.

Steve Murray is the critic-in-residence at Macon Arts Alliance as part of the Art Matters project. He is an award-winning writer, reporter, critic and playwright with years of experience as both a theater and film critic. He began his career at the weekly newspaper Southline in Atlanta as a staff writer and theater critic. He went on to be a staff writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Over his years at the paper, he was an arts writer, a film and television critic, and an adjunct editor for its weekly film section, Movies & More. Since 2009, Murray has worked as a columnist and film critic for ArtsATL.com, one of Atlanta’s leading arts blogs, covering all forms of art in the Atlanta metro area.

Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is a one-year initiative designed to engage the community through high-quality arts journalism.  A $40,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant and a matching $40,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation support the $80,000 project.  The project received one of only four national arts journalism grants funded by the NEA in 2013 and is the first time in seven years that Macon Arts Alliance has been awarded an NEA grant.

The Macon Arts Alliance (MAA), in collaboration with Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, will embed paid journalism interns in various arts organizations served by Macon Arts Alliance. These journalists will create news articles, blogs, video reports and more for local news outlets, the CCJ’s newsroom, and Macon Arts Alliance’s Ovations365.com and other publications. The program provides for a critic-in-residence at the CCJ and a series of public symposia that will pair different artists and critics to discuss the state of various art forms and criticism.

About Art Matters

Art Matters is an arts journalism partnership of Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism that seeks to engage the community through embedded arts journalists. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works. Matching funding provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

About Macon Arts Alliance

The mission of the Macon Arts Alliance is to foster and support the advancement of arts and culture in Central Georgia. Macon Arts Alliance works to create an environment where arts and culture thrive and Central Georgia is recognized as an unparalleled cultural destination.

About the Center for Collaborative Journalism

The Center for Collaborative Journalism (CCJ) is a unique partnership between Mercer University, The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Peyton Anderson Foundation. The Center’s groundbreaking collaboration has students, faculty and veteran journalists working together in a joint newsroom. Learning in a “teaching hospital” model, students engage the community.

 

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Art Matters announces ‘Writing about Writing’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 5, 2013
Media Contact: Jonathan Dye, jonathan@maconarts.org, (478) 308-1660

Art Matters announces ‘Writing about Writing’
Second symposium focuses on literary criticism

MACON, Ga. — Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is pleased to announce the second in its series of six public symposia on the role of criticism and arts journalism in fostering an informed and engaged community. “Writing about Writing” will be held at the Sidney Lanier Cottage at 935 High Street in Macon, Georgia on November 18 at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. “Writing about Writing” is co-sponsored by the Historic Macon Foundation and Crossroads Writers Conference.

The discussion at this symposium will focus on the role of literature and literary criticism in society, current trends in the fields, and how the changing media landscape is affecting critics and writers. Featured panelists will be Valerie Boyd, Charles McNair and Teresa K. Weaver. Art Matters Critic-in-Residence Steve Murray will moderate the discussion.

Valerie Boyd is the author of the award-winning biography, Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. She is currently curating and editing the journals of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker. To be published by 37 Ink/Simon & Schuster, Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker will be released in 2017. Formerly the arts editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Boyd has written about the intersection of race, arts and culture for several national and regional publications. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in such publications as The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Paste, Ms., Essence and Atlanta Magazine. She is an associate professor at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she serves as the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence and teaches arts journalism and narrative nonfiction.

Charles McNair, a native of the Yellowhammer State of Alabama, released his first novel, Land O’ Goshen, to critical acclaim. Land O’ Goshen was a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1994. His long-awaited second novel, Pickett’s Charge, was published in September 2013 from the University of West Alabama’s Livingston Press. McNair currently lives in Atlanta where he writes full-time, combining freelance literary duties with assignments for corporations and businesses, including “Power of Storytelling” workshops. Since 2005, he has served as books editor for Paste magazine and has shared his reviews on Atlanta radio station WMLB 1690 AM. Charles is currently at work on his third novel, The Epicureans.

Teresa K. Weaver writes a monthly book column for Atlanta magazine and serves as editorial director at Habitat for Humanity International. Formerly the book editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1998-2007), Weaver was elected to the board of the National Book Critics Circle for six years and was a longtime member of the Southern Book Critics Circle. She now serves as a member of the advisory council for the Georgia Center for the Book.

Steve Murray is the critic-in-residence at Macon Arts Alliance as part of the Art Matters project. He is an award-winning writer, reporter, critic and playwright with years of experience as both a theater and film critic. He began his career at the weekly newspaper Southline in Atlanta as a staff writer and theater critic. He went on to be a staff writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Over his years at the paper, he was an arts writer, a film and television critic, and an adjunct editor for its weekly film section, Movies & More. Since 2009, Murray has worked as a columnist and film critic for ArtsATL.com, one of Atlanta’s leading arts blogs, covering all forms of art in the Atlanta metro area.

Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is a one-year initiative designed to engage the community through high-quality arts journalism. A $40,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant and a matching $40,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation support the $80,000 project. The project received one of only four national arts journalism grants funded by the NEA in 2013 and is the first time in seven years that Macon Arts Alliance has been awarded an NEA grant.

The Macon Arts Alliance (MAA), in collaboration with Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, will embed paid journalism interns in various arts organizations served by Macon Arts Alliance. These journalists will create news articles, blogs, video reports and more for local news outlets, the CCJ’s newsroom, and Macon Arts Alliance’s Ovations365.com and other publications. The program provides for a critic-in-residence at the CCJ and a series of public symposia that will pair different artists and critics to discuss the state of various art forms and criticism.

About Art Matters
Art Matters is an arts journalism partnership of Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism that seeks to engage the community through embedded arts journalists. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works. Matching funding provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

About Macon Arts Alliance
The mission of the Macon Arts Alliance is to foster and support the advancement of arts and culture in Central Georgia. Macon Arts Alliance works to create an environment where arts and culture thrive and Central Georgia is recognized as an unparalleled cultural destination.

About the Center for Collaborative Journalism
The Center for Collaborative Journalism (CCJ) is a unique partnership between Mercer University, The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Peyton Anderson Foundation. The Center’s groundbreaking collaboration has students, faculty and veteran journalists working together in a joint newsroom. Learning in a “teaching hospital” model, students engage the community.

 

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Art Matters announces symposium series

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2013
Media Contact: Jonathan Dye, jonathan@maconarts.org, (478) 308-1660

Art Matters announces symposium series
First symposium to be held at Museum of Arts and Sciences

MACON, Ga. — Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is pleased to announce the first in a series of six public symposia on the role of arts criticism and arts journalism in fostering an engaged and informed community. The first symposium will be held at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Ga. on October 22. A light lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and the symposium will begin in the auditorium at Noon. Admission is free and open to the public.

The discussion at this first symposium will focus on the role of visual art and art criticism in society, current trends, and how the changing media landscape is affecting the fields of art criticism and arts journalism.  Featured guest speakers will be Susannah Darrow, Shara Hughes, and Rachel Reese. Art Matters Critic-in-Residence Steve Murray will moderate the discussion.

Susannah Darrow is the executive director and co-founder of BURNAWAY, an
Atlanta-based nonprofit arts organization dedicated to providing critical coverage and dialogue about arts in Atlanta and the Southeast through an online publication, public programs, and annual print edition. She serves on the Board of Directors of ART PAPERS magazine. Darrow received a BA in Art History from the University of Georgia (2007) and a MA in Art History from Georgia State University (2013).

Shara Hughes is an Atlanta-based artist represented by American Contemporary in New York City, Michael Andersen Gallery in Copenhagen and Berlin, and Metroquadro in Turin.  She had her first solo show in Atlanta at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center in April of 2013 and was reviewed in the July/August edition of Modern Painters. Hughes is one of the 2011-2012 recipients of the Working Artist Project at the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia and will have a solo show at the end of her award grant in April 2014. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Rachel Reese is currently the communications manager of the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center. She is an independent curator and arts writer, and former editor of BURNAWAY. She is a native Atlantan recently relocated back to her hometown after several years in Philadelphia and New York. She produces Possible Press, a free, curated publication of artists’ writings. Reese writes for Bomb Magazine online, BOMBlog, and her writing has also appeared in Temporary Art Review, ArtSlant, ART PAPERS, and TWELV Magazine. She currently teaches a critical writing course at Georgia State University.

Steve Murray is the critic-in-residence at Macon Arts Alliance as part of the Art Matters project. He is an award-winning writer, reporter, critic and playwright with years of experience as both a theater and film critic. He began his career at the weekly newspaper Southline in Atlanta as a staff writer and theater critic. He went on to be a staff writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Over his years at the paper, he was an arts writer, a film and television critic, and an adjunct editor for its weekly film section, Movies & More. Since 2009, Murray has worked as a columnist and film critic for ArtsATL.com, one of Atlanta’s leading arts blogs, covering all forms of art in the Atlanta metro area.

“The Art Matters Symposium Series is an important part of the Art Matters project because it allows us to engage the community in discussions about arts journalism and criticism,” said Murray. “We have three guest speakers for our first symposium focused on visual art and art criticism, and we invite everyone to attend.  The conversation will be of interest to everyone, especially the large community of artists in the area.”

Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is a one-year initiative designed to engage the community through high-quality arts journalism.  The $80,000 project is funded by a $40,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant and a matching $40,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  This award was among only four national arts journalism grants funded by the NEA in 2013 and is the first time in seven years that Macon Arts Alliance has been awarded an NEA grant.

The Macon Arts Alliance (MAA), in collaboration with Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, will embed paid journalism interns in various arts organizations served by Macon Arts Alliance. These journalists will create news articles, blogs, video reports and more for local news outlets, the CCJ’s newsroom, and Macon Arts Alliance’s Ovations365.com and other publications. The program provides for a critic-in-residence at the CCJ and a series of public symposia that will pair different artists and critics to discuss the state of various art forms and criticism.

About Art Matters
Art Matters is an arts journalism partnership of Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism that seeks to engage the community through embedded arts journalists. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works. Matching funding provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

About Macon Arts Alliance
The mission of the Macon Arts Alliance is to foster and support the advancement of arts and culture in Central Georgia. Macon Arts Alliance works to create an environment where arts and culture thrive and Central Georgia is recognized as an unparalleled cultural destination.

About the Center for Collaborative Journalism
The Center for Collaborative Journalism (CCJ) is a unique partnership between Mercer University, The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Peyton Anderson Foundation. The Center’s groundbreaking collaboration has students, faculty and veteran journalists working together in a joint newsroom. Learning in a “teaching hospital” model, students engage the community.

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Macon Arts Alliance to present 2013 Cultural Awards at the Douglass Theatre

MACON, Ga. – Each year, Macon Arts Alliance celebrates National Arts and Humanities month by recognizing outstanding people and organizations that have made significant contributions to arts and culture in Central Georgia.

“Every year we are impressed by the quality of nominees who have invested so much time and talent into the arts and cultural community in Central Georgia,” said Jan Beeland, executive director of Macon Arts Alliance. “We’re proud to honor seven Cultural Award winners this year, including one who has been selected to receive the Rosalyn Elkan Lifetime Achievement Award. That doesn’t happen every year, and we’re honored to be able to make that distinction this year.”

The 2013 Cultural Awards will be held at the Historic Douglass Theatre in Downtown Macon on October 15 beginning at 6 p.m. A reception will immediately follow the awards ceremony and annual meeting of the Macon Arts Alliance.

Admission is free of charge, but reservations are required. Please call (478) 743-6940 to RSVP today.

The 2013 Honorees are:

Marianna Gebara – Rosalyn Elkan Lifetime Achievement Award

The 2013 Rosalyn Elkan Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree for 2013 is Marianna Gebara, managing director of Nutcracker of Middle Georgia. Gebara exemplifies dedication in her contributions to our area’s cultural life by working to ensure, largely behind the scenes, that the arts have the financial and human support needed to thrive. She’s been an integral part of Nutcracker of Middle Georgia since 1985, when she was a member of the founding group of ballet supporters. She’s served as a board member, officer, and since 2001, as managing director. The cultural landscape of Middle Georgia is defined by the events and organizations that last. For more than 27 years, Nutcracker of Middle Georgia has stood as a tradition, a rite of passage for local ballet students, and a treasured event for the multitude of families who attend each year. It’s impossible to imagine the past quarter century without Nutcracker of Middle Georgia, and it’s impossible to imagine Nutcracker of Middle Georgia without Marianna Gebara.

Janice Brice

Janice Brice has been a patron of the arts in Central Georgia for many years. In that time, she’s served in a multitude of roles and been an integral part of the cultural fabric of the area. Brice has served as the treasurer of the Central Georgia Opera Guild and the Macon Concert Association. She has been a board member of Macon Arts Alliance and was instrumental in bringing the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD to the Douglass Theatre. Her efforts go far beyond managing money. She works tirelessly to bring wonderful music and art to the community. Brice is currently on the board of the Morning Music Club.

Kathleen “Kam” Cook

Kathleen “Kam” Cook has been an encouraging, positive force of volunteerism and advocacy throughout Central Georgia and in her home of Crawford County. She has a “can-do” attitude that brings vitality and energy to every project of which she is a part. Her civic involvement has included numerous organizations such as the Crawford County Historical Society, Crawford County Kiwanis Club, History Club of Macon, Macon Heritage Foundation (now Historic Macon Foundation), and the Museum of Arts and Sciences, just to name a few. She was even an administrative assistant at Macon Arts Alliance in its early years. Cook has been a strong supporter of the Georgia JugFest and Old Knoxville Days in Crawford County, and a staunch advocate for historic preservation throughout the area.

Kenneth Hammond

Kenneth Hammond loves the arts and isn’t afraid to share that love with everyone. Some have called him a “town crier” for the arts, or a “pied piper,” if you will. He has a personal email list with which he shares regular updates about local arts and cultural events and personal invitations to attend. He convenes groups of friends to attend local events, and spreads the word about what’s happening however he can. As a member of the board of the Opera Guild, he works diligently on every event and tirelessly towards its success. He is admired for his culinary talents, his willingness to share those and many other talents, and his desire to see everyone enjoy the many arts offerings in our community.

Macon Film Festival

Macon is quickly becoming known throughout the state, and the country, as a place to make movies. From 42 to Need for Speed to Trouble with the Curve, Hollywood has taken notice. There’s no question that the Macon Film Festival has been a driving force behind Macon’s introduction into the film industry. Created in 2006 as a project of the Cox Capitol Theatre, Macon Film Festival has grown to attract high-quality films and visits by prominent filmmakers. In 2011, the festival expanded to five venues, featuring three screening venues, a workshop location, and a headquarters for ticketing and hospitality. Through its independent film competition, special screenings, workshops, community events and its subset, the Macon Film Commission, the festival has elevated Macon in the eyes of the film industry and in the hearts of all who call Macon home.

Claire Smith and Nancy Shurling

The dynamic duo of Claire Smith and Nancy Shurling have been nominated and awarded a 2013 Cultural Award together. Each has made significant contributions on an individual basis, but their work together has had an impact on the Museum of Arts and Sciences that will live on for years to come. They were the co-chairs of the 2007 event that inspired the annual event known as the Festival of Trees Luncheon. The first year was a quite an experience – Smith and Shurling volunteered to cater the luncheon which turned into a massive hit. They sold more than 200 tickets and inspired a new tradition. Their work has been phenomenal, as they’ve continued to work together over the past half decade, but 2013 marks the end of an era. This year, they will hand the tradition off to new co-chairs making this award both timely and well deserved.

Gina Ward

Gina Ward has been the manager of the Historic Douglass Theatre in Downtown Macon since 2003. She is responsible for every aspect of the theatre including keeping the seats filled through regular performances, musical events, political forums, family gatherings and film presentations. She does this all while maintaining a historic facility that requires special projects, upgrades and repairs. Those who work with Ward on a regular basis know that she is dedicated to the preservation of the Douglass and its best use as a performing arts center for Downtown Macon. She always has a smile on her face and a warm-hearted word for anyone she meets. Her demeanor is reflected in her work. She is the common denominator in all the successful events at the Douglass and in the success of downtown as a whole.

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Macon Arts Alliance names Steve Murray critic-in-residence

MACON, Ga. – Macon Arts Alliance is pleased to announce that Steve Murray has been named critic-in-residence as part of Art Matters, an arts journalism project in collaboration with Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism (CCJ). Murray will begin his tenure as critic-in-residence immediately. His office will be housed at the CCJ in Mercer Village. He will work closely with arts journalism interns, the CCJ’s staff and media partners to ensure the success of this new collaboration.

Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is a one-year initiative designed to engage the community through high-quality arts journalism.  The $80,000 project is funded by a $40,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant and a matching $40,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  This award was among only four national arts journalism grants funded by the NEA in 2013 and is the first time in seven years that Macon Arts Alliance has been awarded an NEA grant.

The Macon Arts Alliance (MAA), in collaboration with Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, will embed paid journalism interns in various arts organizations served by Macon Arts Alliance. These journalists will create news articles, blogs, video reports and more for local news outlets, the CCJ’s newsroom, and Macon Arts Alliance’s Ovations365.com and other publications. The program provides for a critic-in-residence at the CCJ and a series of public symposia that will pair different artists and critics to discuss the state of various art forms and criticism.

Murray is an award-winning writer, reporter, critic and playwright with years of experience as both a theater and film critic. He began his career at the weekly newspaper Southline in Atlanta as a staff writer and theater critic. He went on to be a staff writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Over his years at the paper, he was an arts writer, a film and television critic, and an adjunct editor for its weekly film section, Movies & More. Since 2009, Murray has worked as a columnist and film critic for ArtsATL.com, one of Atlanta’s leading arts blogs, covering all forms of art in the Atlanta metro area.

“We’re excited to have Steve on board as critic-in-residence. His years of experience in print journalism along with his recent transition to being a professional blogger give him first-hand knowledge of the changing media landscape and how it has affected arts criticism and arts journalism,” said Jonathan Dye, director of communications at Macon Arts Alliance. “He will be able to help our embedded interns identify potential stories, give them guidance on how best to present those stories, and be a strong liaison with the media partners at the CCJ. He’s a great choice for this residency.”

“I am excited to have on board someone with Steve’s talent and experience,” said Tim Regan-Porter, director of the Center for Collaborative Journalism. “Steve understands the art scenes nationally and here in Macon, and he knows first-hand the challenging nature of arts criticism in the evolving media landscape. He will provide valuable insight for students and help this program contribute to the local arts community and to the community at large.”

“This project is a great opportunity for young journalists to learn first-hand and in-depth the hard work that goes into making art. It’s also a chance to create an open and ongoing conversation among artists and the public about the many things we mean by ‘art,’ and why it’s a vital part of all of our lives. I’m hoping that Art Matters will be just the beginning of a long and rich dialogue in our community,” said Murray of the project.

About Macon Arts Alliance

The mission of the Macon Arts Alliance is to foster and support the advancement of arts and culture in Central Georgia. Macon Arts Alliance works to create an environment where arts and culture thrive and Central Georgia is recognized as an unparalleled cultural destination.

About the Center for Collaborative Journalism

The Center for Collaborative Journalism (CCJ) is a unique partnership between Mercer University, The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Peyton Anderson Foundation. The Center’s groundbreaking collaboration has students, faculty and veteran journalists working together in a joint newsroom. Learning in a “teaching hospital” model, students engage the community using the latest digital tools and leave with a strong portfolio of published work.

About Art Matters

Art Matters is an arts journalism partnership of Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism that seeks to engage the community through embedded arts journalists. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works. Matching funding provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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New exhibit highlights Macon’s ‘sense of place’

September 27, 2013 – MACON, Ga. – Macon Arts Alliance will host a First Friday opening reception for its new exhibit, “Sense of Place,” on Oct. 4. The show features work by two local artists, James Bodell and Daly Smith, and will be on display from Oct. 4 through Oct. 31. Bodell’s metal sculptures and Smith’s colorful paintings represent wildly different approaches to art making, but both are expressly linked to Macon.

“Daly Smith does very representational scenes of Macon while Jim Bodell creates sculptures out of reclaimed metal from around Macon and from Macon Iron,” said Heatherly Wakefield, director of fine art at the Macon Arts Alliance. “This show combines the historical with the modern, with Jim operating as the vibrant foundation and Daly creating the beautiful design. It’s both traditional and contemporary.”

Smith, a Macon native, is an architect who uses his skills to create simple yet colorful depictions of local landscapes and cityscapes. Bodell, former president of Macon Arts Alliance, uses iron and other materials to construct bold and contemporary sculptures. The artwork in this exhibit is quintessentially Macon, highlighting both the city and the creative individuals that call Macon home.

“We want people to know that Macon is a place where creative people can thrive,” said Wakefield. “This show helps highlight how Macon artists feel about their city.”

The opening reception for “Sense of Place” is Friday, October 4 from 5-8 p.m. and is an official One City Art Festival event. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served.

Macon Arts Alliance invites all community members to enjoy First Friday receptions and to visit the gallery Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All artwork featured at Macon Arts Alliance is available for purchase. For more information, call (478) 743-6940 or visit MaconArtsAlliance.org.

Vein Specialists of the South and Spa Medical are proud sponsors of First Friday at Macon Arts Alliance.

About Macon Arts Alliance
The mission of the Macon Arts Alliance is to foster and support the advancement of arts and culture in Central Georgia. Macon Arts Alliance works to create an environment where arts and culture thrive and Central Georgia is recognized as an unparalleled cultural destination.

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Macon Arts Alliance showcases young artists in August exhibit

MACON – Macon Arts Alliance kicks off its new exhibit, “Roaring 20s” on August 2 with a First Friday opening reception from 5-8 p.m. The show features artwork by emerging artists between the ages of 20 and 29 years old. It’s part of a “Roaring 20s” themed month for Macon Arts Alliance that includes a mid-month Great Gatsby-themed fundraiser, Taste of the Arts 2013.

“I knew early on that I wanted to play off the Roaring 20s theme”, explained Heatherly Wakefield, director of fine art at Macon Arts Alliance. “It’s a great name for an emerging artist show. August’s show will include a few new artists and some artists who are quickly becoming established locally.”

Work by more than 10 young artists will be on display. The exhibit includes a variety of styles and media. Not surprisingly, young artists tend to be more contemporary; so don’t expect rolling landscapes or still life paintings in this show. There will be beautiful work in glass, metal, bold contemporary paintings, colorful prints, and eye-catching photography on display and for sale.

“I wanted a variety of artists who represent a wide spectrum of styles and approaches. Lots of different media,” continued Wakefield. “This event will give these young artists a venue to establish themselves and build their artistic identity in Macon and Central Georgia. An emerging artist show has become an annual tradition for Macon Arts Alliance, so we’re excited to be able to continue that in August.”

“Roaring 20s” at the Macon Arts Alliance opens on Friday, August 2 with a reception from 5-8 p.m. The show continues through August 31. Admission is always free. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Call (478) 743-6940 for more information.

Vein Specialists of the South and Spa Medical are proud sponsors of First Friday at The Gallery at Macon Arts Alliance.

Beat the heat when Macon Arts Alliance presents ‘Fun in the Sun’

MACON — The Macon Arts Alliance will host an opening reception for “Fun in the Sun,” a summer-themed exhibition of paintings and ceramics on July 5 from 5-8 p.m. at its gallery on First Street in Downtown Macon.

Georgia summers are sweltering, but the Macon Arts Alliance has an event to help you beat the heat. “Fun in the Sun” features the incredible collage paintings of Macon-artist Lucy Richardson and ceramic-artist Lauren Bausch.

From her new series, “Permanent Vacation,’ Richardson creates stunning images of women living in a perpetual paradise. Under the umbrella, on a float, and with a drink in hand, her sunbathing beauties will perk your spirits on the hottest days of summer. These works of art are perfect for the beach house or the Macon house. Remind yourself that it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere with a colorful painting by Lucy Richardson.

Bausch is a young ceramicist living in Centerville, Georgia who is quickly becoming an area favorite. She creates whimsical ceramic mugs, intricate ceramic jewelry, and sculptural pieces reminiscent of coral reefs. Her beautiful and colorful pottery is the perfect compliment to Richardson’s vibrant paintings. You’ll be inspired to drink your Mai-Tai from a ceramic mug when you see Lauren’s new work.

“Fun in the Sun” opens at The Gallery at Macon Arts Alliance with a First Friday reception on July 5 from 5-8 p.m. Admission is always free.

Vein Specialists of the South and Spa Medical are proud sponsors of First Friday at The Gallery at Macon Arts Alliance.