Macon Arts Alliance aims to be more social with May exhibit

Macon, Ga. — The Gallery at Macon Arts Alliance will hold a First Friday opening reception on May 3 for “The May Social,” an exhibit featuring artwork by members of the Middle Georgia Art Association and the Fine Arts Society of Middle Georgia. The reception will be from 5-8 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

“The work in this exhibit is representational of the types of the work being produced in Central Georgia,” explained Heatherly Wakefield, director of fine art at Macon Arts Alliance. “Sometimes people perceive a competitiveness among arts organizations, but we are promoting the same thing… some of the same artists.”

Ever since the arts alliance was founded, part of its mission has been to foster collaboration and communication among arts groups. Quarterly meetings of more than 60 arts and cultural organizations, called the Arts Roundtable, are convened to share ideas and build community spirit. “The May Social” offers Macon Arts Alliance the opportunity to showcase two of Central Georgia’s fine arts groups and bring that spirit to life in a tangible way.

The Middle Georgia Art Association (MGAA) was established in 1967 by a small group of local artists. Membership was originally by invitation only, but today the group is open to the entire community, artist and non-artists alike. MGAA operates a gallery in Ingleside Village, displays work on the walls of Market City Café, and is the sponsor and organizer of the Mulberry Street Arts Festival.

Mae Thurston, president of MGAA, explains, “We want everyone in the community to work together and that’s our goal.” The collaborative spirit is shared by all the organizations participating in “The May Social.”

Martha Tisdale is a local artist and member of MGAA. She paints mostly in watercolor and acrylic, and her subject matter ranges from landscapes to animals. An avid traveller, she collects photographs and sketches from the places she visits. Back in her home studio, she scours her collection for subject matter and inspiration.

“My last trip in November was to Hawaii and that is where I saw those fish,” Tisdale explained, referring to a recent watercolor. “…I tried to look them up. I’m not sure what they were. But they were blue, the bluest blue. It just grabbed me and I thought ‘I’ve got to paint these.’”

The Fine Arts Society of Middle Georgia (FAS) is based in Houston County where they seek to bring the arts to the community. They achieve this goal by offering workshops and by conducting monthly meetings with guest speakers. FAS offers weekly sketching sessions for members and raises money for a local scholarship program. The prize is awarded to the Best of Show winner at a student art exhibit for Houston County middle and high school students at Galleria Mall each year.

Beth Smith is the vice president of the Fine Arts Society. Though she’s not academically trained, she has studied art history, which fostered a deep interest in Surrealism. She’s read the “Surrealist Manifesto” and books on the Surrealists like Dali and Magritte.

“I like to create art, other people can draw their own conclusions, get their own interpretations from it,” explains Smith. “I found in my previous exhibits that the Surrealism really has a powerful impact.”

Leslie Hoops-Wallace is a member of both the Fine Arts Society and the Middle Georgia Art Associations. She specializes in animals and landscapes and is a trained illustrator. She recently illustrated “Bullminia: The Courageous Bulldog.” In her spare time she teaches workshops on animal painting and watercolor.

“I always drew. I was adopted at 18 months old and I was drawing the first time my parents saw me,” she recalled. “I thought I’d be a veterinarian, but I was terrible at math. So I went into illustration instead.”

Collaboration and community spirit are the inspiration for “The May Social.” Learn more about these fantastic organizations and the artist who they all work to support by visiting The Gallery at Macon Arts Alliance on May 3 from 5-8 p.m. Or stop by The Gallery during regular business hours: Monday­‑Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.