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The Downtowner and Countian The Newsletter of The Jefferson County Information Center and Friends of Historic Downtown Louisville


Louisville native Charles Lewis has a lot of experience under his belt, including his years as a student majoring in physics at the Naval Academy, a career as a Navy aircraft carrier pilot, Commander of the Navy JROTC program at Jefferson County High School, and involvement in many local projects. One of those projects is The Schoolhouse Players, our regional performing arts troupe. Since Lewis’ return to Jefferson County in 1998, he has served as both an actor and as a director for “the best little playhouse in Georgia.” This season Lewis is bringing one of the largest casts ever to The Schoolhouse Players’ stage as he directs a cast of 17 in a stage version of one of the popular series from The Golden Age of Television: Father Knows Best. “And, it’s in 3-D – without glasses, in stereophonic sound, and in living color,” quips Charles Lewis. He isn’t comfortable calling himself a director. “My role is more as a facilitator than a dictatorial director,” he explains. “I let the cast members bring their talents to the role and develop it.” This year he “facilitates” for a cast that hails from Louisville, Swainsboro, Wrens, Bartow, Wadley, and Millen. “It’s a great representation of the wealth of talent in this area.”

The awesomely talented cast includes (front l to r) Amy Whitt, Karley Sanders, Anna Grace Whitt, Sam Walters, Evans Hodges, Jamie Burke, Tyler Copeland; (rear l to r) Charles Lewis, Matt Hodges, Jim Jarvis, Jodi Jarvis, Jerry Cofer, Ann Smith, Rebecca Raines, and Kailie Sanders. Not pictured Heather Williams.

Charles’ assistant director last year and this year is Margaret Newberry, owner of Louisville’s The Book Worm and a long-time supporter of The Schoolhouse Players. In fact, this production is sponsored by The Book Worm. The play’s plot is a story as relevant today as when it was written during The Golden Age of Television: parents wanting to protect their children and, at the same time, wanting to trust them to make wise decisions. For example, in the play, after reading a newspaper story about teenage elopement, Mr. Anderson realizes that he doesn’t know anything about this new teenage boy in town, the one on whom his older daughter has a big crush. But, the way “Father” continues on page 4

Local Girl Scouts World Thinking Day Event By BLANCHE GREEN

Girl Scouts of the USA recently celebrated its 100th anniversary on March 12, 2012, and the organization “Girl Scouts” continues on page 2

Inside This Issue Winter Explosion of Wellness...........2 Photo of the Month..........................3 Megafauna Woodcuts at the FHG....4

A Winter Explosion of Wellness By HELEN AIKMAN

Something kind of crazy has been going on at the Jefferson Hospital Wellness Center this winter. It started – predictably – with the arrival of the NewYear’s-resolution-makers. But whereas in past years the New Year’s attendance uptick soon petered out, this year the daily sign-in sheets have continued to grow longer and longer – even well past Valentine’s day – regularly logging more than sixty visitors a day.

new members last Monday alone,” she said. “I think people are just more conscious about fitness nowadays. And some of the insurance companies are offering incentives like reduced premiums to folks who can demonstrate that they start and continue a fitness program.”

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I’m not going to mince words about it – I’m just crazy about the Jefferson Hospital Wellness Center – the place, its staff, and its members. It’s one of my favorite places in town (after The Fire House Gallery, naturally). I’ve been a member for years, but have been attending almost daily for the past year, doing strength training at lunch and aerobics exercise in the evening whenever I can manage it. It’s not only a great place to get fit – it’s a place to hang out with old friends and to make new ones. It seems like every time I go – especially in the evenings – I meet someone new.

is moving into the next century with a growing, confident, and socially innovative group of troops.

With its weight room, circuit training room, and Power Lunch – Helen Aikman with power lifters Mike Sims and Gregg Swiney.

When I mentioned this to my friend and Wellness Center member Charles Lewis at Kiwanis Club last week, he laughed and said he’d driven past the Wellness Center the evening before and saw so many cars parked out front he thought there must be an emergency at the hospital. When I asked Wellness Center director Linda McLendon last week what she thinks is going on, she just shook her head in disbelief. “I signed up twelve

multiple rooms with aerobics training machines, the Wellness Center offers a well-rounded menu of fitness options. Ms. McLendon and the rest of the crew make sure all the equipment is clean, properly maintained, and updated periodically as budget allows.

It takes dedicated troop leaders to set the tone for such a community. Here in Jefferson County we have seven troop leaders building relationships with more than 75 girls. These leaders volunteer their time to point girls in a positive direction – with confidence, friendship, and service in mind. The goal of the Girl Scout troops is to empower young women with a sense of belonging, leadership, and advocacy. Equipped with these core values, girls have the ability to address issues in their communities and to create solutions for them. These values underlie the global community of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. In fact, they lead directly into an annual celebration of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) called “World Thinking Day.” Observed annually since 1926, World Thinking Day is a celebration of the different geographical regions of WAGGGS, observed through cultural and yearly thematic lenses.

But more than that – they work to keep the spirit of the place welcoming and encouraging – and that’s especially important to keep new members coming back. From morning till night the

This year, the focus is on Jordan (Arab Region), Malawi (Africa), Pakistan (Asia/Pacific), Republic of Ireland (Europe), and Venezuela (Western Hemisphere).

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“Girl Scouts” continues on page 3

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Photo of the Month

The theme for this year is “Together We Can Save Children’s Lives.” By utilizing this theme, Girl Scout troops have the

opportunity to raise global awareness about children’s life expectancies, reducing infant mortality, and improving maternal health. Jefferson County High School students (l to r) Ashley McIntosh, Yvette Williams, and Taylor DeVore prepare for the filming of Warrior Nation News. The students are enrolled in Ms. Anna Lush's computer applications course, where they produce the daily news and announcements for the high school. To watch Warrior Nation News, visit

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atmosphere is as friendly as can be. Early bird members like Billy Valduga, who likes pumping iron before starting his day at State Farm, and George Brewton, who mixes his exercise with coffee and conversation, are almost impossibly cheerful. And Isaiah Thomas, who helps mind the Center till closing, dispenses insightful conversation along with encouragement as he minds the operation. If you haven’t joined up yet, don’t miss out on the excitement. Membership fees are $30 per month for a pair of members – a price that can’t be beat. So stop by and sign up during regular hours (Monday and Wednesday 7:30 am–8:30 pm; Tuesday and Thursday noon–8:30 pm; Friday 7:30 am–5:00 pm) or call 478.625.7000 or visit for more information.

To celebrate World Thinking Day, the Girl Scout troops of Jefferson County are planning a special event that will be held at The Fire House Gallery on Saturday, March 23. During this event, the Jefferson County troops will celebrate the unity in friendship and service of the global WAGGGS community. Each troop will give a presentation on their assigned focus country. Topics covered will include the history of the Girl Scouts in the particular region and maternal health and child mortality issues specific to that region. Troops will also prepare traditional food from their focus countries.

Wellness Center Regular Hours: Monday and Wednesday 7:30 am–8:30 pm Tuesday and Thursday Noon–8:30 pm Friday 7:30 am–5:00 pm Page 3

The Girl Scout World Thinking Day event at The Fire House Gallery will begin at 10:00 am and continue through 2:00 pm. Members of the community are encouraged to join. Donations are encouraged and will go towards helping send Girl Scouts in our community to summer camp with their troops. Come and join us in celebrating the great strides our local Girl Scout troops are taking to change the world!

MEGAFAUNA: Woodcuts by Chris Johnson

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Those of you familiar with Latin might recall that the terms fauna and flora refer to animals and plants. For printmaker Chris Johnson, who grew up loving all different types of animals, it only made sense to create a group of fauna carved out of large pieces of wood for his newest exhibition at The Fire House Gallery. The show explores the artist’s love for working at a large scale, featuring whale, horse, and buffalo woodblocks as well as carved human figures, birds, symbols and designs. Some images are locked into a square background within the wood while others take the shape of the actual animal that they are representing. Smaller prints made from his woodcuts will also be in the show. Mr. Johnson, the son of a Marine, grew up in Georgia and lived on multiple

Chris Johnson. Border Patrol, 2010. Woodcut, 4' x 8.'

acres of land where he was able to cut down trees, tear down barns and work with his hands. These activities gave life to Mr. Johnson’s love for working with wood, and he was able to pursue this passion in college through printmaking classes. He earned his BFA at Clemson in 2008 and his MFA in printmaking at the University of South Carolina in 2011. Mr. Johnson now works in the art department at Auburn University and continues to make small and large prints from different media including copper, metal, and his favorite material, wood.

in which he goes about checking out the young man creates uproar in the family, endangers a major business relationship and even gets the local garden club involved in the turmoil. Everyone’s good intentions add to the problem, and the entanglements become funnier and funnier. Ultimately, Father discovers that, while he may “know best,” the young people know a little, too. If you enjoy live theater and family entertainment, this play is for you. You’ll leave with a smile, no matter your mood when you came in.

Using his handy reciprocating chisel, the artist is able to carve designs into his blocks ranging from large animals “Megafauna” continues on page 5

Performances are March 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7:00 pm and one Sunday matinee March 17 at 3:00 pm. Note that, by popular demand, curtain time for evening performances has been moved to 7:00 pm.

Chris Johnson. Detail from Horned Animal Party, 2011. Woodcut block, 4' x 6.'

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For reservations, call 478.364.3340 and leave a message. Adult tickets are $10 each, children under 12 are only $5. Groups of twelve or more may be discounted $1 per ticket with prepaid reservations. Also, season tickets are available for just $30 for a total of four plays. In addition to Father Knows Best you’ll enjoy Treasure Island, Wedding Belles, and Scrooge! That’s the entertainment bargain of the year. Performances are in the Mancin Auditorium at the Bartow Community Center.

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to human forms to mythological signs and symbols. Mr. Johnson uses this tool for “removing part of the character of the wood” and is thus able to give it new character and meaning. He uses recycled wood for the base of his blocks, and has even salvaged a bunk bed ladder, which he used to create a woodcut. Mr. Johnson believes that it is just as important to show an audience a woodcut block – the substrate itself that is used to make a print – as it is to display the actual print. This way, viewers are able to see inside the artist’s creative process and gain a better understanding of how prints are made. One could argue that the large woodcuts are original pieces of art themselves. Mr. Johnson enjoys working large scale for many reasons, but it is evident that with a large piece of wood there is “more of an opportunity to develop

the image” since the artist has more surface area with which to work. He uses a reductive process on his wooden blocks to carve, sand, and chisel away unwanted material, and in turn creates an image from which he can print. The next process is to roll ink on the relief surface, cover it with a piece of paper, run it through a printing press, and remove the paper to reveal a mirror image of the original form. Mythology often plays a role in Mr. Johnson’s prints and woodcuts. The artist evokes communication, symbolism in literature and art, and sign language (Braille and Morse code have both been featured in his work). He uses these symbols to communicate a didactic message in a creative and artistic manner. The mythological symbols Mr. Johnson crafts are meant to “inspire the imagination as to what they could mean” but do not typically have a “real” meaning.

Chris Johnson. Detail from The Painted Horse, 2013. Woodcut block and aerosol paint, 7' x 8.' Does this anatomically correct, spraypainted horse take the cake? You be the judge! Come check out the rest of this piece and the other show-stoppers in the exhibition at The Fire House Gallery.

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To watch a video about Chris Johnson's exhibition please visit https://vimeo. com/60757118. Wood is a durable substance that can be drawn on; and since it is not the final product for a print, an artist can sketch on the material until he creates something he likes. This is an element especially enjoyed by Mr. Johnson, the “real immediate process of drawing on the materials” before he uses them to create another work of art. “You can see the individual mark” and therefore can see the process that went into making the print. The printmaker also enjoys wrangling with the largerscale materials – their resistance and challenge. “You can be really physical with the materials,” Mr. Johnson notes when speaking of the contrast of large versus smaller prints. He appreciates the contrasting ideals of working with fine, delicate paper and then turning to carve and etch large pieces of copper, steel and wood. The method of printmaking in which one “etches metal with acid to create an image” is a dangerous yet rewarding process for Mr. Johnson, who believes the use of “physical, hardy materials” in his work attracts him to continuing to work at a large scale. “Megafauna: Woodcuts by Chris Johnson” features both large scale woodcuts and the colorful prints they produced, making for a truly unique and distinctive show. This exhibition will show at The Fire House Gallery from March 6 through March 31. The opening reception will be held at The Fire House Gallery on Saturday, March 9 from 7:00–9:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public.

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