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Tale of Two Houses Unlikely neighbors coexist in Athens

Ampersand Magazine

Grad at 65 'Squidbillies' voice actor finishes degree after 40 years



Guide to Five Points Spring Makeup Teen Art Club


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Table of Contents 5

Graduation: A Review


Summer: Report Card


Athens Neighborhoods: Five Points


Familiar Campus Faces




Athens Last Supper


New Life for Old Produce


Fashion & Style


Pop into Spring


Art & Music


Art Abroad


Getting Signed


Teen Art Club




A Tale of Two Houses


Closing a Chapter


Dear Grads



7 14

11 18

Inside the Graduation Issue As a high school senior, I didn’t want to attend the University of Georgia. I didn’t grow up cheering for the Bulldogs — or for any other college football team. I didn’t feel a sense of pride when I wore red or black. I received my acceptance with very little fanfare and the expectation that I wouldn’t need to use it. But I was wrong. And I couldn’t be happier about it. I am inspired daily by the people I’ve met in Athens. The opportunities afforded to me, and so many others, by UGA allow for a diverse pool of passions and accomplishments. It’s a place that brings people from different backgrounds together (page 24) and encourages students to never stop learning (page 26). It fosters a community of doers who play good music (page 20), make delicious food (page 10), create meaningful art (page 18) and teach new generations (page 22). This is a place where people come together — cheering each other on toward victories and leaning on each other in times of loss. It’s only now that I’m barreling toward graduation, along with so many of my peers, that I can fully appreciate Larry Munson’s words: “There is no tradition more worthy of envy, no institution worthy of such loyalty, as the University of Georgia.” Wherever your time in the Classic City leads you next, know that you will always be a member of the Bulldog Nation. Go out and make us proud.

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Executive Editor


General Manager

Grace Donnelly

Adrienne Andrews

Natalie McClure

Managing Editor

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Daniel Funke

Holly Roberts

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Senior Editor


Dillon Thompson

Emily Schoone

Section Editors

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Shelby Eggers Jonny Williams Design Editor Lisee Pullara Assistant Design Editor

Illustrator Meredith Elder Editorial Adviser Rebecca Burns

Special Projects Manager Nancy Kenerly Student Business & Promotion Aubry Snow Distribution Manager Conner McDaniel Promotion Team


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Advertising Manager

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Assistant Photo Editor

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Account Executives

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Creative Ad Assistant

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PRODUCTION Senior Production Manager Victoria Nikolich Prepress Technician

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Jana French Copy Editor Nicolle Sartain


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Graduation: A Review 'The Graduate' BY DILLON THOMPSON

A quarter-life crisis isn’t the same type of terrifying, sports car-purchasing, mid-life crisis that your dad might have gone through a few years back. That doesn’t mean the stereotypical, early-20s, “what am I going to do with my life” freak-out isn’t a force to be reckoned with though. Watching Dustin Hoffman’s character in “The Graduate” completely fail at post-college life couldn’t feel more surreal when I watched the movie for the first time last summer. I was less than two years away from falling off the enormous cliff that the movie makes adulthood out to be, edging closer and closer every day. That’s not to say the movie’s message is all doom and gloom though. For me, there’s something to be learned from the motivation-lacking, pool-floating Hoffman, even if there isn’t something to be learned from the lovelorn wedding interrupter he becomes by the end of the film. After he graduates, Hoffman’s character actually takes time to reset. Once he finishes college, he takes time to stop trying so hard — he takes time to do absolutely nothing important whatsoever. This is how I want my quarter-life crisis to go down; not scrambling to find maturity while thrusting myself into adult life, but instead letting myself decompress and actually think about what’s to come. So after I get my degree, you can catch me floating in the pool with a pair of sunglasses and a beer, doing absolutely nothing at all.

Kanye West 'Graduation'

A letter to those graduating through the lens of Graduation BY JONNY WILLIAMS

Graduation is a time of change. You’re leaving the comforts that you’ve developed over a period of about four years ("College Dropout" and "Late Registration") to venture out and do something new. It’s exciting and highly anticipated by those who have supported you up to this point. If you’re ready for this event to happen, your feelings are more than warranted. But there will certainly be some intense lows during this period (“Barry Bonds” and “Drunk and Hot Girls”), as there tend to be in any period of transition. Fortunately these instances will be overshadowed by some of your greatest accomplishments to date (“Flashing Lights” and “Everything I Am”). And besides, graduating will lead you to make some of your best and most forward thinking work. This moment of transition isn’t what defines you — taking what you’ve learned from it and applying it does. What you do after might not be as appreciated immediately as your previous efforts ("808s & Heartbreak"), but your masterwork is on the way from there ("My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"). Sure, this sentiment is a little cheesy (“Big Brother”), but relish in the celebration (“Good Life”). I hope you feel confident (“Can’t Tell Me Nothing”) like a champion (“Champion”) should — you deserve it.



It’s an actual crown of intelligence and accomplishment. You’ve grown up seeing it worn by cartoon owls and preschoolers heading off to kindergarten — the square board that marks the victory of every graduate. But let’s admit that when you finally tried to place it on your own head, it was pretty underwhelming. A mortarboard with a skull cap attached to it doesn’t flatter many face shapes. It flattens your hair. It slides off your head constantly. It bends under the weight of a tassel. Why do we put up with graduation caps? The only answer I can find is tradition. The origins of the modern-day graduation cap can be traced back to intellectuals of the 14th century. So we wear it with pride — and some minor annoyance — because we’ve earned the right to place it — and readjust it — on our heads. The inconvenient design is excused by the knowledge that we are fidgeting with this silly-looking hat because we’ve finally accomplished a goal we set for ourselves many years ago. Personally, though, I’ll appreciate my graduation cap the most the moment I throw it in the air.




Summer: Report Card BY HOLLY ROBERTS

ummer comes quickly and quietly to campus — in the pollen coating cars and the warm breezes swinging hammocks between trees. It’s in the nervous S glances at the syllabus — the dates of finals growing closer and closer — and the exasperated cases of senioritis afflicting freshmen and seniors alike. Once the last exams are complete, though, summer presents a world of possibilities, as each year is filled with new expectations and responsibilities for students. It can be full of grueling hunts for jobs and internships, unforgettable adventures while studying abroad, laid-back days spent bumming around or an intimidating entrance to the workforce.

Freshman year is the one that starts it all

Lorenzo Cooper, a freshman art major, says: “Right now I can focus on work, but I don’t have to be working, whereas later on I’m going to be focusing on internships, trying to study abroad, maybe take a couple classes here. There’s so many things you can do during the summer, I want to experience all of it at least once.” It’s learning when to spend the night studying, and when to spend the night exploring the countless activities spread out across town. The free time should be enjoyed, and the first year of endless choices never taken for granted. Freshmen still have the world at their fingertips.

Sophomore year is the one that creeps up on you

Kellie Kratzenberg, a sophomore journalism major and fashion minor, says: “Being a rising junior is awkward if you’re not studying abroad. I would love to stay in Athens with my friends and work, but sometimes parents don’t want their kids gone. It’s an awkward period because I don’t know what I’m doing — but I’ll do something.” For those ending their second year as college students, the summer can feel stuck between the pursuit of freedom and the increasing expectation of responsibility and productivity. Classes only get more difficult with entrance into specific colleges, and the race to polish off a perfect resume is fiercely competitive. In addition, the hunt for resume-building internships can often be futile given the preference for juniors in many fields.

Junior year is the one that kicks you into high gear

Noelle Lashley, a junior journalism major, says: “When I was a sophomore I was focused on taking core classes and thought ‘I don’t have to worry.’ Now the real world is staring at me saying ‘Hi.’ Somehow it seems like school isn’t the whole world anymore, but now there’s a career on the line.” Junior year is a new era of schoolwork and responsibility that can seem daunting. However, college is a learning curve, and the future doesn’t have to be completely mapped out. Instead of dreading upcoming internships and jobs, embrace them as challenges designed to enhance the summer.

Senior year is the one that ends the best four years of your life

Monesha Grant, a senior human development and family science major, says: “The whole idea of having a summer where you hang out and do fun things or have a part time job is long gone. If you’re not going immediately into the workforce they expect you to start summer programs for majors or get ready for grad school.” James Walker, a senior English history and linguistics major, adds: “As a senior you should really examine what you want to do, what you’d regret not doing before you left, and do that. All the stuff you would wish later you hadn’t missed out on, you need to do it before you leave.” Leaving college begins a new chapter and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Students must decide whether or not to take a gap year and enjoy one last break before the real world, or else dive headfirst into new responsibilities such as internships, programs or jobs beneficial to their careers.


Athens Neighborhoods:




s it student housing, Greek Row, a historic district or a community of newer neighborhoods? With a local business hub, it’s hard to tell if we are uptown or downtown — and is that a fire station in the middle of it all? One thing is for certain: it’s constantly active. If you’ve ever driven in Athens, you know that South Milledge Avenue’s rush hour can give Atlanta traffic a run for its money. In the height of the day, whether it’s blazing or freezing, rainy or dry, Five Points is bound to be buzzing.

A place for everyone Runners, dog-walkers, families and bikers galore. At 5 a.m. or 10 p.m., one might see an early-morning or late-night jogger, while a fraternity party is starting up or shutting down. “Five Points is a state of mind,” says Murray Tillman, a 47-year neighborhood resident who lives on Hall Street. Though some may try to draw specific lines and borders around this area of Athens, the point of Five Points (no pun intended) is that if you feel you are a part of it, you can be. There is a strong sense of community within the neighborhood, though it houses a variety of people. Virtually everything here is within walking distance for residents, not to mention the University of Georgia is just a stroll down the road. Because of this, Five Points has turned

into a desirable location for students. Owners of many of the old homes have caught on to this trend, renting out a significant number of the houses in the area to students. “On our block there’s only one homeowner and that’s us,” Tillman says. While there has been a significant influx of students over the years, the area certainly does not lack in diversity, as it brings together ages, genders and lifestyles of all different kinds on the same streets.

each other,” says four-year resident Lily Cason, a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in natural resources. Almost every aspect of Five Points speaks to this small town, family feel. One of Cason’s favorite things is Fleet Feet Sports on South Lumpkin Street, which offers group runs every week. Whether it’s yoga, biking, running or even just working out — this is definitely a popular spot for the active bunch.

A sense of unity

A history that lives on

One might wonder if all the different demographics butt heads — how could a house of college kids and a retired couple live next door to each other? However, it seems most residents are able to live harmoniously. “The students certainly make it a lot more vibrant,” says Kathy Hoard, a 35-year resident and former Athens-Clarke County commissioner. And Tillman agrees. “During the breaks when the students are gone, you can’t hardly hear a thing,” Tillman says, laughing. Many of these older residents chose to stay after working for the university. Five Points provides a small community with countless amenities at arm’s length, whether that is to eat, shop or catch a UGA basketball game. “I feel very safe here; it’s a very inclusive neighborhood — everyone’s really friendly to

The preservation of old homes and buildings is an important factor for this community. In the historic districts of Bloomfield or Cloverhurst, some of the houses, as well as many of the sorority and fraternity houses on Milledge, date back to the 1800s. A few of the businesses in the area were previously privately owned homes, preserved for new use. And what about the firehouse, land-marking the center? It actually used to be an old hotel, as Hoard recalls, until the city decided to make better use of the space in 2004. “Five Points wasn’t built in a day,” Hoard says, as is evident by its significant history. What remains the same, though, she goes on to explain, is the Five Points “state of mind” that Tillman also mentioned. Whether at the hair salon, the grocery store or the coffee shop, one can always count on being greeted with a welcoming smile.

Coffee Two Story

Enjoy the open-aired porch, comfy seating options and darn good brew. Warning: You might get confused as to whether you are in a cozy home or a coffee shop.

For a cheap bite Cali N Tito's

Authentic Latin-American cuisine. Spanish music and film, eccentric décor, not to mention a live parrot. Try the fish tacos and the maduros — you won’t be disappointed.

For a night out The Pine

Great for getting drinks with friends, it also offers a stellar menu. A little bit of a newer spot, but popular among residents.

Get Outside Memorial Park

It’s a little further down South Milledge Avenue, hidden behind Milledge Avenue Baptist Church. Though it’s hidden, it’s certainly a treasure, with a pond, walking trail, dog park, and even a free zoo. @ampersand_uga



Familiar Campus Faces PHOTOS BY GREYSON IKE

Meet Nacha Davis BY GREYSON IKE


ou may not recognize the name Nacha Davis at first, but say “crazy bus driver lady” and most of the student population at the University of Georgia will immediately think of the smiling face and wildly curly hair that drives the East-West route during the week. Davis has made UGA her second family, brightening peoples’ days as a campus transit employee for 11 years now. So what’s her story? Ampersand Magazine sat down with Nacha to find out. &: How did you get started with your job? Nacha: I used to drive a school bus over in Barrow County, and one of my friends over in Barrow started driving for UGA. She had been working there for a few months and called me one day and said “There’s a position open, you’ve got to apply, you’ve got to apply, you’d love it out here." My children were getting older, I wasn’t needed at home as much anymore, so I applied, got the job and never looked back. What’s kept you here? The atmosphere, the excitement. Like I said, all of my children are grown now. I’m not needed at home. I was a stay-at-home mom in the beginning, until I drove a school bus. I love being here ‘cause of the “mom” aspect. I have, how many students here, 35,000? That’s what keeps me coming, I think. I get to meet new faces every day. So you get to know any of the students pretty well? Oh yeah. Unfortunately I don’t always get to know everybody’s name, but the same faces are on my bus every day. A lot of students make the effort to come up to the 8



front to talk to me and get to know me a little bit. And a lot of people come up front to look at the pictures. Tell us more about those. Originally, those used to just be pictures of my family, because I was not going to be at home — it was separation anxiety at first, I think, when I first started working here. My children were in high school then, so I had all of their football and wrestling pictures and everything up. I would get on my buses in the morning and I would look up and there was a picture someone had just stuck up there, like “Here’s one of me!” and I just thought “OK” (giggles). But then I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, so I left it up there. It started to get kind of cluttered and tacky, so then I started doing the selfie thing. Now I kind of pick and choose who goes on my wall. Are you good friends with many of your coworkers? Driving buses is different than working in an office — we don’t get a lot of interaction other than waving to each other as we pass on the buses. But there are those that you gravitate to. I have my little group, we’ll get together and have dinner or they’ll come to my house, I’ll go to their house to celebrate something. What’s one of your more crazy stories from driving? This one day, I was stopped over at [Waddell Hall], and this one frat boy comes running, running up to the bus. So I stopped and waited, and he gets on and says “Sorry, I wouldn’t be late but I had to get you a treat! … I got you

Skittles!” He puts his hand in his pocket and pulls out a handful of Skittles, lint — I think there was probably some tobacco — and I was like, “Uh, no” (laughs). He has graduated, but oftentimes I see him when I’m downtown — I still recognize him and will say hello. And he always says “I still owe you Skittles” How do you get through the 6 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. shift? I did daycare for 12 years and I was home full time as a mom, so I’m used to it. Getting up early isn’t difficult for me … How do I do it? Because, honestly, I love my job. That’s why. I’m always checking the clock, and I know who to expect next … It could never be monotonous. There’s too many kids, and drivers, and there’s too much stuff going on for it to be monotonous. What type of music do you play on your bus? (whispers) Contemporary Christian When did you start being known as the “crazy lady”? Probably way back in the beginning when I was on Milledge. Every once in a while I would have one kid on the bus and I would hear them say on the phone, “No, it’s cool, the crazy lady’s driving!” At first, I was like “Is she talking about me?” But then I thought it was hilarious because — well, I’m memorable (giggles). When I moved over to East-West, and picking up the freshmen, I’d say “It’s OK — get on, get on you’ll get to know me — it’s OK if you think I’m crazy!” So then it just became a thing. To me it’s a compliment.



Athens Last Supper BY GREYSON IKE

s students spend each of their designated four years in Athens — or five or six — there is a dreaded reality that none want to confront, but it inevitably has to come. It's one that seeps into the nightmares of food-lovers as graduation approaches: the last meal A before moving on from Athens. There is a good chance that many graduates will return to the Classic City, hitting their favorite taco joint or brunch spot in the process. But let’s say it is your last supper in Athens — what do you choose?

“I love The Grit because it’s so original. I’d get their black bean chili with the spinach quesadilla ... But then again, I love living right next to Taco Bell.”

– Rainey Gregg Multimedia Editor at the Red & Black

“There’s nothing like driving out to Tlaloc El Mexicano on Chase Street. To me, this is hands down the best Mexican food in Athens. The small, welcoming atmosphere makes the experience more intimate and authentic. One cannot order the wrong item off of their menu — everything is delicious. Watch out for the green salsa though, it will make your eyes water.”

– Johnelle Simpson SGA President

“I don’t think there’s a better place to get my ‘last meal’ than Last Resort. I’d get The Last Resort Praline, obviously with sweet tea, bacon vidalia dressing on my salad, and tres leches cake for dessert. My mouth is watering, and so are my eyes as I think about the possibility of never having that meal again.”

– Kevin Drew Schatell Tour Leader at UGA Visitor’s Center


New Life for Old Produce BY SHELBY EGGERS


owadays, one can recycle almost anything, but what about food? What happens when your eyes are too big for your stomach and those bananas turn brown before you can eat them? Do you just throw them away? No, please for the love of bananas don’t. Make something delicious out of them. There are only a few foods that can still be eaten after they go bad. Most of these foods are fruits — never meat — but here are a few recipes to make the most of your groceries. Note: All recipes only last two weeks at the most


Applesauce Makes one cup of applesauce


5 ripe apples Cinnamon Fruit/vegetable peeler Pan or pot


• Peel apples • Chop apples into small pieces • Put apples pieces into ungreased pan or pot • Add desired amount of cinnamon • Stir apples continually as it liquifies; stop when it is the desired amount of thickness

*Simply chop more apples to create more apple sauce *Must be stirred continually or apple pieces will burn




Banana Bread Strawberry Jam Makes two jars of jam


5 cups ripe strawberries 1 ½ cups sugar Pan or pot


• Skin and chop strawberries • Mix and mash strawberries and sugar over a medium flame • Cook until a soft mixture • Place in jars and refrigerate

Makes one loaf of bread


1 ¾ cup flour 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ⅓ cup sugar ⅓ cup butter 2 eggs 2 tablespoon milk 1 cup mashed, overripe banana (approx. 4 bananas) **The riper the better


• Mash bananas, set aside • Mix baking powder, baking soda and sugar in a bowl, set aside • Beat butter and sugar together. Add eggs and milk • Add powder mix and mashed bananas to mixture slowly • Pour mixture into greased bread loaf pan • Optional: Add oatmeal/chocolate chips on top for texture • Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until done

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Fashion & Style


Pop Into


ith each passing season comes a new crop of trends, from particular patterns and motifs to W specific cuts and silhouettes. Designers work with

world-renowned stylists and beauty experts to dream up hair and makeup looks that best reflect their vision for the newest collections. This spring, it’s all about subtle pops of color. With Pantone’s colors of the year being a soft, blush pink (Rose Quartz) and a sweet, understated blue (Serenity), it comes as no surprise that delicate looks were all over the Spring/Summer 2016 runways. Popular eye looks on the runways feature colorful eyeshadows and liners, with hints of blue and pink making appearances at Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Altuzarra and Jill Stuart. For those who might be weary of electric blue eyeliner, try a soft cerulean shadow smudged all over the lid for a fresh and subtle pop of color. Another easy way to incorporate this trend into your everyday makeup routine is to blend a warm rust shadow into the crease or add a pop of shimmery copper on the lid. If you choose to rock a colorful shadow, a light application of pinky/nude lipgloss — or even bare lips — pair flawlessly with any bold eye look.





ig, bold lashes are a match made in heaven for daring eye looks. The more coats of mascara, the better. Fluttery lashes help to balance out B bright liners and shadows, keeping the look tidy and chic rather than a

remake of Madonna circa 1982. Skip black eyeliner, however, to keep the look fresh and clean. Red lips have always been a runway staple, but this year, the classic hue is taking a turn towards a softer shade. Firetruck reds are shifting towards more pinky, neutral tones. Think a cross between “I just ate a bucket of freshly picked strawberries” and “this is my natural lip color.” With a bold, raspberry lip, opt for clean lids and a swipe of mascara. Bronzed, glowing skin is the perfect compliment to spring weather. Flowers are blooming and temperatures are rising, inspiring everyone to shed those cold-weather layers and opt for a warm bronzer to give their skin a sunkissed glow. Instead of the pink-hued, icy tones that were popular this past season, choose earthy, golden shades to bring out the warmer tones in your skin. A peach blush with a hint of shimmer is a perfect match to a matte bronzer to keep skin looking fresh and dewy. For an added hint of sheen, lightly dust a soft highlight across the tops of the cheekbones, the very tip of the nose and along the top of the cupid’s bow to create a radiant look any beach goddess would be envious of. While all of these trends are a definite must-try for spring, take care to compliment each look with natural shades to avoid looking clownish and overdone. The main idea is to create a makeup look that is fun and polished, which can be tricky to achieve, especially with color. Balance is key to giving your makeup a fresh, clean and modern look, so choose one feature to bring attention to and leave the rest neutral. Either way, these looks are sure to spring you into warmer weather in style.





Art & Music

Art Abroad


nventive and exhilarating, local artist Maria Nissan’s work has been created for and inspired by the Classic I City which she’s called home for six years. Athens has given her the time, resources and experience to create staggering murals and abstract paintings, leaving a legacy across the town. Her impending departure to study and live abroad in Italy will take the artist out of the town, but never the town out of the artist. When asked how the Athens art scene affected her career, Nissan could not overstress the inspiration she derives from the town. “It’s where I started my art career, it’s the very beginning of everything that’s happened, and it was through this community I found confidence,” Nissan says. “I don’t think without the Athens art-based community and everybody being so open to new ideas and changes, seeing new artist and musicians around every turn with their own styles, that I would be where I am today.” After working as a flight attendant, Nissan returned to school in 2010 and spent her days at the University of Georgia taking only fun classes. Then, in her junior year of college, she registered for an art class, dabbling in ceramics and dedicating endless in-studio hours. She soon fell in love with the medium, discovering a craft she couldn’t leave. Chris Hocking, an associate professor of art at UGA, worked with Nissan during an intensive three-week painting class near the end of her time as a student. This Maymester involved large-scale paintings, as Hocking explained, giving students a chance to work with a size that would eventually become a staple of Nissan’s work. “It allows most students to be a little more ambitious, part of that relating to size, scale and material, and she took great advantage of that,” Hocking said. In another class, Nissan collaborated with seven other artists to spend hours upon hours in the studio to create an Athens-inspired mural, which is on permanent display in the ceramics building. A few of these images include the Tree That Owns Itself, the Georgia Theatre and the Classic Center and other locations that “only Athens has.” “It helped create this scenic view of what Athens really means to me, with exact pinpoints of memories and what I did here,” Nissan says. While working on this project, Nissan also tackled another enormous abstract mural on tarpaper, a tribute to her time at the school, where she learned that bigger is better. “I couldn’t go back, I can’t go back, it gets bigger and bigger when I work on a painting,” Nissan said, referring to her early mural collaborations. “At the end of the process I created one of the largest murals the art school had ever seen.” This piece turned out to be three panels each measuring 12-feet-long, coming to rest at 36-by-14 feet. Materials were scraps of old art projects pieced into a collage in a tribute to the art school, completed in 2015 as part of her master’s degree portfolio. Graduating from UGA in December 2014 did not end Nissan’s production of murals, and her involvement in the Athens community continued with future art shows. That growth eventually led to recognition from Terrapin Brewing Company, who hosted a show for her work in early April.





Nissan was recently accepted into Studio Art Centers International Florence, nicknamed SACI, a prestigious art and design college in Florence, Italy. Nissan will go abroad to pursue her master’s degree in painting, and this show was her goodbye to her beloved Athens. She had a party after finding out she had been accepted into a college in Italy, the theme surrounding a collaboration painting done together with 23 other artists. These contributors all influenced Nissan’s work and had a connection with her during her time in Athens. She said it was the hardest goodbye she will have to make. Jessica Wallace, a close friend of Nissan’s included in the collaborative piece, spoke on the accessibility of her friend’s art. “Maria is very, very open — her art is her life and it’s how she expresses who she is,” Wallace said. “The way that Maria really adds to Athens in terms of art can be seen in the collaboration piece. It’s bringing people who don’t know abstract art and making them comfortable being a part of that world.” The Terrapin exhibit opened April 3, featuring a series of paintings entitled “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” The gallery, coinciding with Nissan’s birthday, showed off nine solo pieces to audiences, as well as the collaborative piece, and will run for a month after its opening. Whereas the other murals featured the cost, money going toward SACI tuition, printed neatly under the collaborative painting reads the single word “priceless.” The nine abstract pieces were all acrylic on tar

paper hung up on the walls of the Terrapin showroom, featuring some that spanned 10-by-11 feet. One collaborator, Christine Williams, added to to group piece by painting a sparkling unicorn. When asked how her friend would do abroad, she confidently said, “She puts a lot of feeling into her artwork. Even when it seems like it’s not going anywhere, she’ll get to a point where she succeeds.” Another collaborator and mutual friend, Juliet Campbell, decided her imprint upon the piece would be abstract blue waves and a golden sun. These were settled in a corner, alongside a pink, finger-painted set of ovaries and a fire breathing Piranha Plant from the Super Mario videogames. Nissan encouraged donations to cover the tuition and cost of living she will encounter upon moving to Italy, and is still taking money through a GoFundMe account. Donations of $20 or more will be reimbursed with prints designed by Nissan herself, a sign of appreciation for helping her reach for her dreams. Despite her eventual immersion into a culture of those who “literally built art,” Nissan predicts that having “Leonardo da Vinci in my face” will cause her work to be chaotic for the first few months. “I think it will go up in flames for a little bit. I’m a strong believer in ‘there’s beauty in the breakdown,’” Nissan says. “It’s in the lack of comfort that I become the strongest version of me. Once I detach myself from everything I know and love, it will create something new I can’t imagine. It’s unknown, it’s scary and I think it’ll be one of the hardest, best things I do.” @ampersand_uga




Getting Signed A Closer Look at Record Labels Today BY BLAKE MORRIS


ince the rise of recorded music, “getting signed” has served as a sort of holy grail for aspiring musicians. Observing how most artists reach superstardom, young hopefuls often see a record deal as the most important step in their own journey to success. Despite this common conception that getting signed is central to an artist’s success, record deals aren’t the be-all, end-all they used to be. With the advent of the Internet and home production, record labels and how artists approach them has shifted significantly. For starters, the primary role of record labels over the years has seemed to move away from funding. While artists used to rely heavily on labels to cover album production and distribution, the recent proliferation of digital production has made it easier for many artists to make music without third-party financial support. “The means of producing and distributing music aren’t held by an elite group anymore,” says Drew Kirby, proprietor of Marching Banana Records and guitarist for Mothers. “They’ve been found out, and we can do it on our own, and we don’t really even need those structures anymore.” With this decrease in the relevance of funding, especially for electronic and lo-fi artists, the primary role of many labels now seems to be promotion. Social networking has made advertising a lot easier, and getting music to interested listeners digitally is now the functional core of many labels. “It’s very much like a hype machine, honestly,” Kirby says. “For the most part, it’s just trying to get in touch with blogs – just people who might like it, might show it to people.” 20




Of course, this shift begs the question of whether or not a record deal, sans funding, is worthwhile for artists trying to make a living on their music. Especially with contracts that give labels much of the rights to an artist’s work, it’s important to make sure the benefit will outweigh the cost. “I see indie bands being offered deals by record labels that, other than the label sticking their name on there and maybe paying for the manufacturing, they’re not getting anything else out of it,” says David Barbe, director of the University of Georgia’s Music Business Program. “Which makes me think, ‘Why are you giving them control of your master recordings in exchange for nothing?’” That said, the less funding a label provides, the less ownership it usually claims over its artists. Especially with smaller indie labels, it’s becoming more common to see artists working with multiple companies to release and promote their music. “One of the strategies is to release on as many record labels as possible to sort of branch out, and generally record labels that are run independently don’t really mind that,” says Jeff Cardinal, who runs Plus100 Records and releases music under the moniker VAPERROR. “They help each other out. It’s symbiotic.” “I think, especially as the walls fall down a little bit more in the industry, everyone kind of has to work together,” Kirby says. “I don’t think it makes sense to keep people from other opportunities. I don’t think it benefits anyone.” While this type of open cooperation seems somewhat intuitive for a friendly, local scene like Athens, the Internet is allowing artists and labels to cooperate globally, as well. Despite geographical separation, plenty of musicians are working together through labels that are heavily Internetbased. Although this kind of digital connection often helps artists create and share work more efficiently, online activity can sometimes get stuck in people’s phones and computers. With the geographical separation the Internet allows, online labels can have a hard time getting enough artists in one city for a show. “We’re pretty much internet-based,” Cardinal says of Plus100 Records. “I would love to get some shows going, but right now it’s really hard logistically ‘cause people are all over the place.” While this can definitely be a setback at times, touring isn’t the only way of getting

noticed by potential listeners. These days, streaming is king, and artists have the opportunity to prove themselves online without constant performances. Streaming has also changed the way labels and artists make money. Serving as something of a response to piracy, paid streaming services like Spotify are now a key way for listeners to support artists even if they aren’t buying records. “The thing that’s got to happen for recorded music to thrive and really, in the long run, survive, I think, is people paying for streaming every month like they pay for recycling,” Barbe says. While streaming is dominating the music industry, every label knows there will always be collectors who prefer CDs, vinyl and even cassettes to digital listening. These days, the artists themselves can handle the distribution — and even production — of their own physical media if they feel up to the task. “I used to home-dub [cassettes] before I started the label, but as it grew and opportunity grew, I was able to outsource that,” Cardinal says. “I do create all the artwork and labels and everything. I just have it created somewhere else and then shipped to me, and I’ll ship it out.” Of course, all this isn’t to say that there’s no place for big labels in today’s world. For those looking to make more mainstream pop music, major labels like Sony are still a good option. “If you are a mainstream pop star or pop country or mainstream pop/R&B, go with a major label,” Barbe says. “That’s what they do great.” For those not looking to do pop but still in need of some funding and promotion, a larger independent label is usually the best bet. Bigger indie names like Sub Pop and Merge Records can often help artists get the help they need without stifling their creative visions. “The major indies, to me, are kind of the sweetest part of the deal,” Barbe says. “They’ll finance your record. They’ve got actual marketing information and distribution and the real stuff, but they are into having creative artists and giving them creative leeway into making records.” Although the “starving musician” can still be an all-too-common reality, the variety in today’s music industry is working with technology to give more artists the tools they need to thrive. With more options than ever before, many of today’s artists seem to be working with record labels instead of for them.

ation A perfect Gradu ther’s o gift or gift for M Day! Day & Father’s

Teen Art Club




n a particularly drizzly Friday night, I found myself in the back room of Kristen Ashley Artist shop, one of downtown’s tucked-away gems, attending Hope Hilton’s Teen Art Club. For the past year, Hilton, a renaissance woman and staple in the Athens art community, and a small group of teen artists have been meeting every week for two hours to discuss and create all things art. Upon entering the peach-painted room, there was an undeniable warmth and vibrancy in the air. Neutral Milk Hotel hummed off of Hilton’s speakers as she passed out fresh, dustrose flowers to each student, asking them to paint the lightest color pink visible in their notebooks. The students began with a confident ease, while Hilton read aloud a letter that contemporary artist André Bradley had written the class, responding to a package of poems they had previously sent him. My personal memories of highschool art are dismal and mostly consist of structured lessons in basic color theory and still-life paintings, which always turned out more dead than alive. I asked the students how Hilton’s course differs from those of their school’s, and was surprised to find most of the kids don’t take any art at school. The one’s who did all responded similarly. “I don’t like how structured art in school is. Art should be creative,” said teen art club member Hana Chaney. “Yeah, we don’t get to do stuff this creative at my high school. [Hilton] always asks us to do something random, and I’m at first like why would I do that, and then it ends up being something so fun,” added another member, Eve Houser. Perhaps this is because Hilton refuses to be prescriptive in her teaching, but rather lets each lesson engage in a dialogue with the kids; ultimately letting their interests mold the course. “We don’t focus on technique unless they ask for it,” said Hilton. "We call it an exploration.” It’s hard to tell whether the students or Hilton are the most remarkable part of the class, but I’m fairly certain it’s the compliment of the two. Hilton effervescent energy has created a truly sacred space in which kids feel safe to create and converse without the pressures of parents or institutions telling them who or what to be. The Teen Club artists are a breath of fresh air from every stodgy journalist’s banal depiction of the Facebook obsessed, absent minded millennial. The students, who range from ages thirteen to sixteen are unbelievably inquisitive and creative — these traits become fully visible in their finished art pieces. 22



I asked the students what their favorite lesson had been, and they immediately chimed in. “I liked when we picked fortunes from a bowl and then had to draw whatever was on the fortune,” said Eve Houser. “The first class I had here I ended up watercoloring an entire dragon face and I didn’t even think I liked watercolor,” said Camille CastilloStickney. “I made a zine about all of the songs that broke my heart,” said Zak Osenberg. In the two hours I spent with the class, Hilton effortlessly shifted from asking the kids to decode SMS lingo like “WBU” to discussing the feminist and artistic revolution of Georgia O’Keefe and showing the evolution of Picasso’s work from sketch into full mural. She has tapped into the ethos of both teendom and artistry, revealing something undeniably special. After class, I got a chance to speak with Hilton and get a better insight into the magical operation that is Teen Art Club. Ampersand: From my current understanding, Teen Art Club was born as a natural response to decreased funding of the arts in local schools. Can you give me an idea of the current climate in Athens regarding the arts in schools? Hope Hilton: I would say it was honestly born out of my desire to see independent and critical thinking in the arts and to move beyond projects that all have a similar end result. I love problem solving and like to invest in that culture. Athens has some pretty incredible art teachers in the public schools that I know and respect. I felt like creating a space for exploration of ideas was essential to compliment what is happening at schools, which in Athens, I have to say, is exceeding what is happening in other parts of Georgia. I’m not sure if any cuts have been made in the arts here but ... I do know that materials budgets are not what they used to be. I would be remiss to say that there are so many amazing and talented teens in Athens that I also thought it would be incredible to have them all meet one another in a safe space that celebrated and encouraged their ideas and exploration. &: How did Teen Art Club begin? Was it a group effort or a singular idea brought into fruition? HH: I’ve been teaching at Treehouse Kid and Craft for over five years and love it, but had always worked with teens and college students until then. I really like teenagers! Many of the kids who started with me at Treehouse began to outgrow wanting to hang out there. It wasn’t a

"I would love to one day teach at a community art center as well as open my own space." – Hope Hilton

dig on Treehouse, which is such an inspiring space, but a desire on their part to be somewhere less focused on wee ones. When Kristen Ashley opened the Artist Shop downtown I was so excited that it had a classroom, because that was what I needed — a space that was “cool” and more oriented toward their age group. I walked in one day, introduced myself, and mentioned I was interested in teaching some classes. We’ve collaborated ever since, with Kristen managing the website and space and insurance and I manage the classroom and the workshops. &: Can you give me a breakdown of a typical session? HH: I really try to tap into what they’re interested in and see where that takes us. I always come in with ideas as a launching point, but never examples. I believe when we see examples we copy them, at least I do. The ideas are always geared toward inspiring them to engage themselves with the world around them. We’ve had days where we discuss the history of art and how we know so much about the past because people left their mark, so to speak. Through this idea we’ve created “maps” of what we carry around with us, so one drawing may be completely full of art supplies while another is a drawing of shoes and an iPod. It’s a way to archive these years ... We’ve created zines, made wire sculptures, created maps of our dream islands, invented characters, and responded to works by contemporary artists.

&: Do you get a chance to showcase the art? What do you see as the future of the program, would you like it to expand, and are you in need of volunteers? HH: We have made one collaborative drawing which was a part of an exhibition in the gallery called “Love in All Its Many Forms.” We filled a huge page with drawings of our supplies. Kristen and I are planning a summer camp for one week in July or August that’s about creating an exhibition, making work for it, installing it, and marketing it. I taught this in San Francisco at Southern Exposure Gallery and it was the best exhibition I’ve ever seen. I want to see what we come up with in Athens. I’m always interested in volunteers, but it has to be a good fit. And never more than one. I hope this is clear without sounding snobby. What we need most are scholarships! I would love to host at least 1 or 2 teens that don’t have to worry about the cost that may prevent them from attending. I have one angel benefactor who covers any need, but we could expand our reach by having sponsors or other donors. It can make a huge difference to attend art classes with this group. To be honest, I would love to one day teach at a community art center as well as open my own space ­— conceptual art school for kids. I don’t have time right now with my own art practice and other teaching, but I’m still young. This interview was edited for length and clarity.









oger Hancock, 65, has lived at 165 Mandy Drive for about two decades now. His home — a small, one-story duplex with a rocky, sloped yard — doesn’t change much from day to day. On any given afternoon, Hancock, a self-described Georgia “thoroughbred” from Commerce, can be found sitting in a chair near his doorstep, enjoying the warm weather or watching his grandchildren play nearby. Megan Spence and Courtney Nease moved into 167 Mandy Drive — the house directly next to Hancock’s — with their two other roommates back in August. Spence and Nease, juniors at the University of Georgia who have known each other since elementary school, chose the house because it was much closer to campus than the apartment they lived in last year. Their house is separated from Hancock’s by little more than the tall, partial wall of shrubs and trees that stands between the two homes. Despite the fact that the two houses are so close to one another, the lives of their occupants couldn’t be more different. Spence says she felt uneasy when she and her roommates first moved into the house, mostly due to the simple fact that, in general, college kids tend to live next to other

college kids. “It was kind of creepy at first,” Spence, a mechanical engineering major, says. “And I was telling my mom, ‘There are Clarke County people like right next to us.’ It’s kind of leery 'cause [my parents] are expecting it to be like all college kids.” It wasn’t as if Hancock’s house was the only thing contributing to Spence and Nease’s unfamiliarity and uneasiness, though. On Mandy Drive, their house sits at a sort of dividing line between students and non-students. On one side, Hancock’s side, there are almost exclusively houses occupied by residents who have lived there for years — sometimes decades. Meanwhile, UGA students lease most of the homes on the other side of Spence and Nease’s house. This initial apprehension was augmented by the fact that Spence’s basketball goal was stolen as she was moving in over the summer. It wasn’t as if this crime couldn’t have happened in an all-student neighborhood, but it certainly served to increase Spence’s fear of her unfamiliar surroundings. As the semester went on, and Spence and Nease began to realize they wouldn’t even be communicating with their neighbors — let alone getting into any sort of conflict with them — their concerns were mostly put to rest.

Both areas were historically farming communities focused on the growing and “I mean at first I was like really uncomfortable,” Nease, a pre-nursing student, development of textiles that would then be processed at the Chicopee Mill. Both says. “And we always made sure to lock the doors. And we have an alarm that we used areas have also seen a recent infiltration of developments focused on student housing. to always set whenever we left.” Students are moving into houses on First, Third and Peter streets, student-occupied Now, however, Spence and Nease say they feel safe in their neighborhood, and neighborhoods such as The Retreat, The Verandas and Madison Heights have that they probably cause more trouble for Hancock and their surrounding neighbors popped up near North Avenue and massive student apartments such as 909 Broad than the other way around. When they blare music on weekends, or cause a lot of and The Standard tower over the North Oconee River. noise after a night out, they’ll often wonder whether or not they’re keeping Hancock “Who would’ve thought it would be like this? I never dreamed it would’ve and his wife up next door. become like it is here now,” Hancock says. “Sometimes our roommates will come home from downtown and shoot bottle Spence and Nease recognize the troubles that non-students may have in dealing rockets off,” Spence says. “I mean they’re right next to us, so unless the trees block with students moving into their neighborhoods. They’re both young, white, female that much [they'll hear it].” college students from an area of Either the trees really are Georgia significantly different that powerful of a barrier, or from where Hancock, an older Hancock is just really polite. black man, has lived most of his He says he never hears any life. For neighbors with such difloud noise from Spence and ferent backgrounds, handling Nease’s house, and that living disagreements is difficult when near college kids doesn’t bothyou're so different — sometimes er him at all. However, he can it’s hard to know what to say and easily recall his frustrations how to say it. from when the houses were “[Our neighbors] probably first built. don’t want to scare us coming “They started all the conover here either,” Spence says. struction — beating and “'Cause if I was an adult male, hammering. Was it annoying? and I knew four girls lived in the Oh my goodness, what are house, coming over probably you talking about?” he says, doesn’t feel like the right thing laughing. [to do].” It wasn’t only the conNease says she thinks college struction itself that bothered students have an easier time Hancock; he also just didn’t addressing problems with their understand the point of it all. peers, because most of them His neighborhood was vibrant experience so many of the same before the college kids moved things. She recalls how different in — he remembers a beauty her and Spence’s living situation parlor in a house across the was last year, when they lived in street, and even some nice a student-focused apartment apartments down the road complex. that were later knocked down “We lived at The Connection, to build The Verandas, anothand the people below us hated er student housing developus. They came up and talked to ment. At this time, there was us several times about being too a beautiful, well-kept house loud,” Nease says. next door, where Spence and Whether it’s Hancock walkNease’s house is today. ing down to the bus stop to pick “That was a nice house – Roger Hancock up his grandchildren in the afterthey used to have right there, noon, or Spence and Nease drivbut they tore it down,” ing home from work or class in Hancock says. “I never the evening, it seems as though the two houses have found a way to coexist. At worst, would’ve thought [the owners] would sell it.” Hancock may ask his neighbors to move their cars up the road a little — his wife is Hancock does believe his neighborhood was livelier before the new developments in a wheelchair and needs to enter the yard at a specific place. Spence and Nease even began, but he doesn’t resent students for moving in, as he acknowledges that they joke that the pit bull chained across the street bothers them more than any of their have to live somewhere nearby. Hancock’s point reflects a larger trend, as his neighnon-student neighbors. borhood is just one of dozens in the area that have experienced the same transformaBut Spence and Nease do remember a time, shortly after they first moved in, when tion in the past two decades. Hancock did complain to them, saying he was bothered by the height of the shrubChicopee-Dudley, a neighborhood of Athens most narrowly defined as the area bery between the two homes. Hancock remembers how his old neighbors — the ones near the North Oconee River and between Oconee and Third streets, has experienced before the developments began — used to keep the border between the houses at waist dramatic change in recent years. Although Hancock’s house technically lies outside of level. Although the two houses have adjusted to their surrounding residents, Hancock this region, Mandy Drive and many surrounding streets and neighborhoods have a recalls a time when his home didn’t feel as separated from the house next door. lot in common with Chicopee-Dudley.

"Who would've thought it would be like this? I never dreamed it would've become like it is here now"







obby Ellerbee believes that if a person puts 49 percent passion and effort into a goal, the universe will find a way to take care of the other 51 percent. Living by this mantra, he’s always been able to do whatever he wants, when he wants. Ellerbee looks forward to that second Friday in May as ardently as any other University of Georgia senior. He’ll proudly fling his cap and red Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication tassel into the air in Sanford Stadium alongside thousands of other 2016 graduates, but he won’t charge headfirst into a lifelong career like so many others. At 65 years old, and finishing a UGA bachelor’s degree in journalism that he began in the early 1970s, Ellerbee has already lived the illustrious career he always wanted — without the help of a college degree. He has worked successfully in radio and television, becoming the voice of the beloved Sheriff on Adult Swim’s show “Squidbillies." Having begun a talent career in radio at the age




of 16, he was already well-versed in his intended career path by the time college rolled around. “I already knew as much about my subject as anybody in the school because I had been in the trenches,” Ellerbee says. However, college was “the thing to do,” and both of his parents insisted upon his pursuing a degree. He enrolled at UGA — the same university his father graduated from with a business degree in 1949. Despite his parents’ insistence, Ellerbee wanted something more for himself than what he was getting by spending time in college, and daily trips to his radio job in Atlanta were taking a toll. He left UGA in 1974 and struck out to form his own destiny. In the coming years, Ellerbee’s fun, vibrant personality and deep, recognizable voice took him far as a radio personality at several different stations across the country. He also passed the time pursuing voicework for a variety of clients and making countless celebrity friendships along the way.

“If you want to go far, you have to go fast, and to go fast, you have to go alone,” Ellerbee says. “You can’t be tied down to a lot of stuff and you can only spend a couple years here before your next move.” From celebrating his 33rd birthday with Eartha Kitt and Etta James to living with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s bassist Leon Wilkerson, Ellerbee was doing what he loved to do. In his career as a radio personality, Ellerbee was always skating the line of appropriateness and suggestiveness when on air and changing his attitude, style and energy to reflect the atmosphere of the songs he was playing. “I remember one time I was playing the song ‘Computer Love,’ and I said, ‘This goes out to anyone with a Wang in front of them, Wang being a type of computer,” Ellerbee laughs. After a 20-year stint in Miami, Florida, Ellerbee relocated back to the Athens area in 2005 to be closer to his parents. A year later, he was contacted by his agent for a potential voice acting job at Adult Swim.

Little did he know, Ellerbee’s recognizable voice would land him the job of portraying the lovable Sheriff on the show “Squidbillies,” an adult cartoon about a fictional county in Georgia populated by squids, after actor Charles Napier left the part. “He knows how to deliver lines, he has a great sense of humor that fits right in with the show,” says Jim Fortier, writer and creator of “Squidbillies.” “He rarely doesn’t get what we’re trying to do.” Over the last 10 years, the Sheriff has become one of the most well-loved characters on the show. “That’s got everything to do with Bobby’s performance and sort of inspiring us to stretch what the Sheriff was able to do in the show,” Fortier says. Ellerbee enjoyed his work with the show, fitting the character to his own outgoing and affable personality and bonding with people around him through their recognition of his voice. “One of the greatest joys of being on 'Squidbillies' is meeting the show’s fans,” Ellerbee says. “No matter how young or old, they are — or I am — we are both instantly 20 again when we laugh at some of the things that have gone on there.” For several years, Ellerbee kept himself busy with “Squidbillies” and with his passion for relating and researching television history, an interest brought to life through his extensive “Eyes of a Generation” website and his massive museum-quality camera collection. However, after a long career riding the ebbs and flows of the broadcast industry, he felt an interest in stretching his horizons and possibly returning to the university. David Hazinski, Ellerbee’s friend and Grady College associate professor, led the charge in convincing Ellerbee to reconsider school. “He would remember his days at Grady and he expressed some regrets that he hadn’t finished,” Hazinski says. “I said, ‘Well, you know it’s across the street.’” Ellerbee had been semi-retired since around 2010 and figured that going back to college was something else he could do to fill his time, especially since college tuition is free at UGA for students over the age of 62. With encouragement from both Hazinski and another friend, Charles Davis, dean of Grady College, Ellerbee enrolled at UGA in fall 2014 to finish his degree in journalism — 40 years after he left it in 1974. “I couldn’t be prouder of him,” Davis says. “It’s no easy thing to go back to school at his age. I admire lifelong learners, and I aspire to be one myself, so anytime we can be helpful in fostering that kind of nontra-

ditional attendance, we ought to do so.” Ellerbee maintained his voice acting on “Squidbillies” while he completed the last requirements for his major, throwing a theatre minor into the mix for good measure. Coming back to college for Ellerbee was “like a duck to water,” Davis says, as he brought a wealth of his own knowledge to the undergraduate courses he took. Experiencing only a little discomfort because of his age and the newer technologies discussed in class, Ellerbee often bridged these gaps with his young-at-heart personality and relating to classmates through his humor and role in “Squidbillies.” “You don’t get students in their 60s coming back to college acting like students in their 20s,” says Fran Teague, one of Ellerbee’s theatre professors. His work ethic and willingness to learn carried him through his last graduation requirements, and May 13 is sitting triumphantly on his horizon. “It’s something that he did out of strong willpower and an attempt to help himself become a better human being, and I always applaud that,” Hazinski says. As far as future plans, Ellerbee looks forward to going with the flow the same way he always has, possibly pursuing a master’s degree through Grady College, continuing voice work and building his catalogue of television history research. “It’s closing a chapter,” Ellerbee says. “I know my dad will be looking down, and he’ll be happy.” One thing is certain, though. Ellerbee has no intentions of stopping his education, whether in the form of self-discovery or formal classwork. “He’s not waiting to sit around in a rocking chair anytime soon,” Fortier says. Although getting over his age difference and adapting to new technology was a small challenge for Ellerbee, his role in "Squidbillies," his work ethic and his likable personality saw him through these final years of his college education. “He’s one of those individuals that you love to be friends with,” Davis says. “You don’t have an interaction with Bobby in which you don’t learn something you didn’t know.” Ellerbee’s experiences — in radio, television, college and life — have been a reflection of his mantra, a combination of his effort and the universe allowing life events to fall into place. “I’m glad to come back and see the university and education through new eyes,” Ellerbee says. “It’s a world of difference from when I was here, and I’m just glad to have the opportunity to come back.”


Dear Grads, T

here are only so many ways to be a good college student — make good grades, pick up internships or extracurriculars, don’t get arrested. I remember my peers and their paths seeming comparable to mine because our playing field felt so limited. There was a script of sorts to excellence, so it was easy to feel on track. No matter how much I tried to mentally prepare myself for the structure of college to dissolve into total ambiguity and choice, that real emotional weight flew at me hard. Was I in the right place? Pursuing the right thing? Why did what I want come so easily to that person over there? There are an overwhelming number of ways to do right and wrong as an adult. So when in two years — or two months — people you’d seen as your equals for the past four years are in vastly different places, I found it easy to feel self conscious about my decisions and my work. “But what do you want to be doing?” a friend from my graduating class asked me on the phone one day in the midst of a mutual pre-quarter life crisis. When she and I had started our conversation, I was jealous (though that’s not a good look) that she was working for a major legacy newspaper in a big city compared to my position at a much smaller publication. But as we talked, I learned her small role at a big entity was managed by lots of strings I didn’t have tethering my work. She was actually envious of my freedom and the large role I had in a small newsroom. Her question – “what do you want to be doing?” – was a much more important guiding question than “where do you work?” or “what do you do?” or “Am I doing this right?” And although it was easy to feel behind in a small city in Tennessee, I was doing what I wanted. Measuring yourself against your peers post-college is just no longer valid. It’s all too complicated. And it’ll make you feel bad for no good reason. Focus, maybe for the first time, on what feels right to you. Unfortunately I think it has taken some societally recognized measures of success — high profile clips and journalism awards — to make me feel validated that I’m moving forward. But I’m learning to put up the blinders and hone in on my vision — I wish I had practiced doing this sooner.

– Maura Friedman

Class of 2013


irst of all, congratulations. It’s been a busy four (or five!) years, filled with school, work, delightfully cheap well drinks (savor that while it lasts, by the way) and a whole lot of growth. I remember graduation being a weird out-of-body experience. I skated through it feeling very little, because it’s a rush. Shiny robes, silly tassels, more photos than your high-school prom, sighs of relief. It wasn’t until the quieter moments, after everyone left and I sat alone in my apartment deciding which of my 200 free college t-shirts to donate that I felt sad. Let yourself feel everything and enjoy as much as you can. I was lucky enough to already be working when I left, but I switched jobs shortly after to a different place in my field with a full-time position. If you’re joining the workforce too, I want to give you two pieces of advice. First, cast a wide net when searching for jobs. Use your energy and your passion to get in anywhere you can. Where you start isn’t always where you’ll end up, but wherever you start will teach you so much. Second — and most important — keep in mind one thing as you start working as a junior member of your field: you have real value. I remember my first year on the job. Negative thoughts kept creeping in my head. Thoughts like, ‘I’m not experienced enough for this.’ or ‘Why am I so tired all the time?’ or ‘Will I ever know how to do this?’ It made me anxious. For a while after graduation, I felt really unsettled and lacked confidence. Hear me now — ignore these thoughts. All of them. Give yourself time to learn. Give yourself time to sleep. Give yourself time to be sad and miss your friends and the Classic City. Give yourself love, acceptance and care as you transition to a new place in your life. You’re going to want to hit the ground running after school, giving this new chapter of life all of your energy, focus and attention. This is a great idea. But still, keep just a little bit of your time to care for and love yourself. In whatever way works for you. This will give you the energy to not burn out, but keep growing and thriving wherever this new chapter in your life takes you. Oh, and one last thing for the people out there wired like me. Stop worrying so much. It’s all going to work out just fine, I promise. Sending good vibes,

– Sarah Giarratana Class of 2012

Look for Our 2016










Available at Visitor’s Centers, Butts-Mehre Athletics Hall, State Botanical Gardens, Hotels, Apartments,

Tate Student Center information desks – among other locations – and in our wire racks around town.

As the only local guide published twice a year, visitors and residents can trust it will have the most current information about our campus and city.









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Profile for The Red & Black

Ampersand Magazine, Summer 2016  

The Red & Black

Ampersand Magazine, Summer 2016  

The Red & Black