Volume 4 | issue 2 FALL/WINTER 2016
Volume 4 | Issue 2 Fall/Winter 2016
Editor & Publisher Michele Arwood
CREATIVE Director Haile McCollum
Associate Editor Callie Sewell
Production Manager Margret Brinson
Development ManagerS Jenny Dell Mallory Jones
copy Editor Jennifer Westfield
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Lindsey Strippoli
Photographers Kelli Boyd Paul Costello Stephen Elliot Abby Mims Faircloth Gabe Hanway Sangsouvanh Khounvichit Alicia Osborne Daniel Shippey Lyn St. Clair
Writers Alison Abbey Scott Doyon Sarah Gleim Andrea Goto Annie B. Jones Susan Ray Anne Royan Todd Wilkinson
INTERNS Catharine Fennell Ronnie Stripling
thomasvillearts.org 600 E. Washington St. Thomasville, GA 229.226.0588 Cover photo by: Sangsouvahn Khouncichit
contents Fall/Winter 2016 VISIONARIES
5 The (Not-So) Bitter Southerner Chuck Reece The Bitter Southerner MUSE
11 The Plains, The Parties
and The Pimento Cheese Julia Reed Author & Columnist Placemaker
17 Gone But Not Forgetting Christopher Coes Smart Growth America & LOCUS
21 Woman of the West Lyn St. Clair Featured Painter 2016 Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival
29 THOM GUIDE
91 Fashioning a Love Story Ann & Sid Mashburn
97 The Culinary Dance
Jonathan Jerusalemy Executive Chef & Culinary Director Sea Island Resort
103 Upward and Onward Katie Chastain Scholars Academy, City of Thomasville CREATORS
107 Boxwood Meets Driftwood
Bryce Vann Brock & Kelly Revels The Vine
113 Featured Artists
Letter From the Editor “So, what’s your story?” It’s a guy this time.
way with life and words. Ann and Sid are practically
He chuckles. He’s really nervous. And rightfully
walking stories, as their fashion is woven into every
so — a total stranger just plopped down across
fiber of their life together.
the table from him, baiting him with her Southern drawl.
Your thoughts about the impact you are having on the children in your life will become far more
She presses him. “No. Really!” What happens next
significant when you get to know Katie Chastain.
defies all probability for me. He actually starts to
Christopher Coes? He’s the guy I want to spend
hours with, listening to his tales about great communities.
There was a time when I dreaded dinner with this particular friend because, well, you know, she just
As we move through 2016, we’re continuing to
shouldn’t do things like that. But, over time, I grew
celebrate Thomasville Center for the Arts’ 30th
curious. Envious, really. Their faces were always
anniversary. A highlight is the design of a new
intense with emotion, but she’d return to our table
strategic plan with a bold vision for the next decade.
to share captivating stories of crazy coincidences,
To bring this vision to life, we’re crafting the story of
young lovers or tragedies of lives gone wrong. It was
how we started, how we narrowly escaped disaster,
always an interrupt to the expected and led to deep
our triumph through reinvention and what we see
and meaningful conversations between us.
for the future of our city. Keep your eye out for it!
Now that we are cities apart, I miss being a part
The partners who support THOM make our story
of the powerful connections she creates with total
even richer. The people behind these businesses and
strangers. And, sidebar, she is one of the most
organizations are true partners – friends – working
fascinating people I know, mostly because of the
with us to create a compelling, visual story of our
stories she carries with her.
life in Thomasville. Powering our efforts together is our presenting partner, Archbold Medical Center.
One of my favorite story collectors, Ira Glass, says,
They are committed to strengthening the people
“Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” I
who live here and our story intersects with a shared
think that’s the reason we are so passionate about
vision to connect people to one another.
the work we do through THOM. Every new story we hear shapes us and adds a new layer of meaning
So, what’s your story? We hope a part of our story is
to our lives. As we continue to uncover the hidden,
part of yours. Come share your tale with us and be a
creative life of Thomasville, we’re committed to
part of all that’s happening at the Center of it all in
sharing stories to add meaning to the life of our
community. It’s been a bit of a “pinch me, I’m dreaming” experience to get up close to the creatives in this issue. Chuck Reece, our favorite bitter Southerner, is a force to be reckoned with – determined to throw dishonorable Southern traditions out the window by sharing stories about the duality of the South. Julia Reed, well, she has a simply fabulous, often amusing
Instagram Influencers Nine Instagram feeds that keep us inspired and connected
Original thinkers revealing Kentucky one page and one event at a time.
A photographic celebration of all of our favorite panhandle spots. We can hear the gulf calling.
Sometimes looking deeply into our collective past inspires the future.
We want to try making a new recipe every day because she keeps it real in the kitchen.
Stunning eye candy inspired by botanical traditions and the gravity of intense color.
Rumor has it that these guys want to brew beer in Thomasville. We’re in favor!
This arts center is a collection of exploratory and innovative works. It’s way out there and we love it!
We can’t get enough of her editor’s eye and southern inspiration.
A collection of great interiors and color inspiration plus the occasional cute kid photo.
If you ask Chuck Reece what makes for a good story, chances are he will answer you with a story. Chuck is a collector of stories. He is discovering new voices and old tales and threading them together into a growing compendium of culture to create an ever-expanding portrait of the American South. The Bitter Southerner, the online magazine Chuck helped found in 2013, began as a project to promote the idea that stories can create a perception of a place and they can also challenge and change that perception. Chuck believes in the power of stories. He spends his time wading through the tides of our modern culture, pondering answers to the questions: What is the South now? What does it mean to be Southern today?
Written by Anne Royan All photo captions by Chuck Reece 5
“The most difficult question we have gotten, consistently, since we started is: How do you define the South?” Chuck says. “And, well, that’s not easy.”
Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama. Fernando DeCillis shot this photograph on the 50th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’ when Alabama state patrolmen beat down the peaceful protestors who were marching for civil and voting rights. To see that bridge, where one of the greatest evils in the history of the South occurred, filled with people of all colors, was very inspiring to me.
“We are always looking behind things and under things,” Chuck says.
perspective. “We are always looking behind things and under things,” Chuck says. “There is no way that someone can read one story published in The Bitter Southerner and get anywhere close to a complete sense of what the South is
“The most difficult question we have gotten, consistently, since we started is: How do you define the South?” Chuck says. “And, well, that’s not easy.”
actually like, today, in 2016,” Chuck says. “But my hope is that over time, a reader can read a collection and get a more complete sense of what this place is like… and really get a sense for how it doesn’t
What defines a culture? Well, basically, it’s what
always fit those stereotypes that most people have
always defines a group of people: their stories.
about the American South.”
Southern stories, like Southern culture, go beyond
'This past July marked the anniversary of
a simple definition of geography and the boundary
three years’ worth of weekly features for The
of the Mason-Dixon line. The heartbeat of the story
Bitter Southerner. Which puts Chuck’s collection
must pulse as one with the collective heartbeat
somewhere in the neighborhood of 155 stories: an
of the South. As the editor of The Bitter Southerner,
impressive archive of memories, mythologies, voices,
Chuck is always seeking
textures, tones and traditions of what we invoke
to capture this elusive
when we talk about the South. Each story shines
thing, this pulse.
the light on a different aspect of Southern life. It is a living, breathing, growing archive.
“People want to be
Photo by Whitney Ott
proud of where they
“Our point of view from the very beginning was
live and in a place like
that we are not going to feed you the stuff that you
the South, that requires
are always fed about the South. We are going to
tell the stories about people who are doing cool or
of some less-than-
interesting or innovative things in the South that
savory parts of our past,” he explains. “We don’t shy away from that, but we don’t wade into the politics of things, either. We are just storytellers. What makes a good story for us is if it’s told well and is defined in a certain way by the negative space between the stereotypes you see in the national media about the South.” It is not all just stories about grits and biscuits, bluegrass, banjo and bourbon, low country and backwater, hunting dogs and ghosts that linger, oysters and hot summer nights, Sunday school and segregation, front porches and lush gardens, fishing stories and drinking stories. Not all race relations and reconciliation, civility and hospitality, progress
maybe the world doesn’t know about,” Chuck says. The Bitter Southerner was originally created by four founding partners and began as an idea for a cocktail blog, for recounting stories about bars and bartenders and Southern cocktail culture. Yet, it quickly grew to embrace a much more expansive portrayal of life in the South. In the beginning, writers simply gave them stories for free. Journalists kept approaching them with stories about the South and a feeling like there was no place to put them. “I used to joke that during our first year, we had become the home of lost stories,” says Chuck, with laughter.
and tradition. Although — sometimes it is, except,
“Every writer who has been at it for a while, has
turned inside out and from a new angle, a fresh
tucked away in a notebook somewhere, a story that
Doug Seegers, Nashville, Tennessee. I dearly love the work of Tamara Reynolds, who shot this photograph. Tamara has this remarkable ability to make anyone who is in front of her camera comfortable. I almost feel like she can photograph people’s hearts and souls. This photo is of Doug Seegers, a country singer and songwriter who got a record deal after many years of being homeless, and it shows Doug visiting old friends at the homeless encampment where he once had to live. Sweetheart Skating Rink, Tampa, Florida, 1973. Bill Yates, a Florida photographer, spent three months photographing kids at the Sweetheart Skating Rink, and the first time those photographs were published was in The Bitter Southerner last year. It’s a remarkable collection, and it’s touring museums. But this photograph is my favorite. It shows the attitude that Southern kids had in the years when all the cultural changes brought on by the hippies in the 1960s were finally filtering into the South.
“Cancer Alley” on the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This photograph by David Hanson probably shows the clash of nature and industry — which has been part of the Southern condition for centuries now — right on the banks of the Mississippi. His story focused on the problems faced by people who live adjacent to all these chemical plants and oil refineries, but who cannot afford to move away.
City Market, Luling, Texas. This image is from a series that writer and photographer Robert Jacob Lerma did for us about the greatest barbecue places in Texas. Something about this picture says a lot to me: about the gratitude Southerners show at the table, about our region’s reverence for its foodways and so much more.
André 3000 of Outkast, the back room at Wax ’n’ Facts record store, Atlanta, Georgia. Outkast was part of a wave of young, African-American musicians and rappers who literally changed the world of music starting in the 1990s. He is a much revered — and properly so — figure in Atlanta, and this picture shows him sitting happily surrounded by stacks of records, and I love that Zach Wolfe, the photographer, caught him with an old country record by Merle Travis on top of the stack behind him. This picture captures almost the entire sweep of Southern music over the last century.
they had always wanted to write in a certain way
“I am so well aware of, and so concerned about the
and that no one else would publish,” he says. “And
weight that the history of the South has on us and
those things all seemed to gravitate toward us in
of all of the reconciliation — not just between races,
the first year.”
but between all different cultures in the South — that still remains to be done.” He pauses a long
The founders began with the platform of creating
moment to consider this and continues in his warm,
a group of stories about the South and have been
Southern drawl. “But I’m old enough now where I am
trying to slowly build a business model under it
smart enough to know that nothing ever changes
that but time and the stories we tell each other.”
Today, The Bitter Southerner has a staff of two and a half. They have recently added a fifth partner, Eric NeSmith, a vice president of development at Community Newspapers, Incorporated, who will hold the title of publisher and help the brand to navigate the next phase of business development. Of the four original founding members, only Chuck Reece is employed full time with the project. At 55 and three years into The Bitter Southerner project, Chuck says, “I feel like at age 52, I kind of stumbled into, ‘Oh, this is what you were put here to do.’” He is thoughtful, focused, passionate and describes himself as “persistent as hell.” The arc of his career has spanned from journalism to politics to corporate communications and back to journalism. He began as a sports writer and photographer for his hometown newspaper, the Times-Courier in Ellijay, Georgia, when he was 15 years old. He followed that path to the University of Georgia to study journalism and served as the editor-in-chief of the UGA newspaper, of which he is still on the board today. He wrote about the media business for AdWeek in Atlanta and then, in New York. Impressive titles followed: political press secretary, director of communications, freelance writer, creative director and now, founder and editor.
Georgia State Sacred Harp Singing Convention, Barnesville, Georgia. Johnathon Kelso shot this picture for an audio-visual story we did about the Sacred Harp musical tradition, which is intensely primitive and powerful. So powerful, in fact, that if you go to a convention like this in the South, you will see people there literally from all over the world. On the day this picture was shot, I met Germans, Irishmen, Asians, all kinds of folks. A lot of Europeans call Sacred Harp ‘a cappella heavy metal.’ I just love how a Southern tradition like this one can attract people from all over the world.
Over time, he has come to believe that stories told from a particular point of view can build a community, a coming together of different voices, a
sharing of experiences. The success and continued
The Bitter Southerner
growth of The Bitter Southerner is proving him right.
the plains, the parties Written by
Photographed by Paul Costello
and the pimento cheese
I want Julia Reed to talk about the
Julia Reed’s Deviled Eggs
spirit of the South, but all she wants to talk about is food. I get it. Hot off a book tour of her most recent collection of recipes and
Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns,
stories, Julia Reed’s South, the former
and Other Southern Specialties (2008)
New York Times food writer clearly
Yield: 24 deviled eggs
has cuisine on the brain. When I press my editorial agenda, she
1 dozen eggs
expertly presses back with her vastly
¼ cup mayonnaise
larger editorial experience.
¼ cup Dijon mustard 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
“What we always have to explain
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
to the Yankees,” she begins, having
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
just learned I hail from the Pacific
Salt & freshly ground white pepper
Northwest, “is that the South in not
Finely snipped fresh chives for garnish
a monolithic place. Even in my home state of Mississippi, if you go from
Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold
the Delta to the hills to the coast,
them in a single layer and cover with tap water. Bring
you’re in three different countries.
to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and let sit for 15
It’s like Bosnia. That’s the reason why
minutes. Drain and run under cold water until the
my book is called Julia Reed’s South,
eggs are completely cold. Peel eggs and cut in half
because it’s my personal take on it.”
lengthwise. Remove the yolks and rub through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Add the mayonnaise,
Food is Love
mustard and butter; mix until smooth. Stir in the
Outside of her Mississippi Deltan
lemon juice, cayenne, salt and white pepper to taste.
accent and palpable authenticity,
Place in a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with a cut-off
Julia best reflects her regional
corner. Neatly pipe the mixture into the egg whites by
sensibilities as most Southerners
pressing on the bag. Sprinkle the eggs with the chives.
do, through story. The Greenville, Mississippi, native recalls how she was living in Manhattan when the two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. “I was in Midtown and I saw the tower fall and I immediately turned around and started walking about as fast as I could back uptown,” she explains. “I went to my butcher because I was scared he was going to close. My mother taught me that every time something bad happens, you’ve got to get a tenderloin.”
And sure enough, for two or three days in a row,
you’re in the middle of no place, you learn early
friends camped out in her living room trying to
on to make your own fun,” Julia says. “The art of
make sense of complete senselessness. “In a time of
entertaining yourself is a fine art in the Delta.”
great mourning, you want to be with people you feel safe with and who you can break bread with,” Julia notes. “It’s pretty basic stuff. Feeding people is the most intimate and generous thing you can do.”
Even floodwaters don’t get in the way of a party. She remembers a story where men had to carry a piano up to the second floor just so the music wouldn’t have to stop. Julia sees the remnants of those
The central role food plays in both times of tragedy
spirited beginnings as informing the generations
and celebration is nothing new and certainly not
that followed. Her mother threw parties nearly every
particular to the South, yet when you string together
night and played hostess to many a distinguished
Julia’s anecdotes and recipes from her seven books
guest, including William F. Buckley Jr. and Ronald
and numerous columns, it’s hard to imagine that
other regions do it better. Perhaps it’s because the South has been doing it
The people of the Delta were not precious about their celebrations. “There’s a certain generosity of
longer. “Food was always such an integral part of Southern culture in a way I don’t think it was anywhere else until now,” she suggests. “It was always a way to connect diverse cultures.”
Life on the Plains The Delta is the richest alluvial flood plain in the world, but it’s also an unforgiving region, once populated by rattlesnakes and alligators and devastated by floods. To put it simply, you had to be a little crazy to come to a place where there was little to do and miles between neighbors. “When 14
spirit,” notes Julia, “but a generous host doesn’t have to mean that they’re buying champagne or lump crab meat for everyone at the table.” In fact, there was — and is still — an effortless blend of high and low culture (to borrow from the title of Julia’s Garden & Gun column, “The High & The Low”). Southerners like Julia pair champagne with store-bought fried chicken, serve marinated shrimp on Saltines and are unapologetic about cooking up a box of Uncle Ben’s rice for New York editors. The point isn’t to impress; for every time Julia serves roast lamb at a table set with sterling, she’s just as likely to fill a boat with her friends, a bucket of KFC and a cooler of beer, to head out for an impromptu picnic on the “beach”— the biggest sandbar in the middle of the Mississippi River. Such playful pliability is characteristic of Julia’s South. “There was a spontaneity,” she recalls. “Everybody had little planes on their farms and you’d say, ‘If we leave right now we can land in Memphis in time to go to Justine’s, this great restaurant on the banks of the river.’”
Adventure Time That sense of adventure kept Julia from ever feeling hemmed in by her hometown. “People from the Delta were always travelers,” she enthuses. “There’s always a sense of the world being a wide-open place.” Perhaps this is why Julia never considered her small-town 15
“It’s pretty basic stuff. Feeding people is the most intimate and generous thing you can do.”
Southern roots as a disadvantage, whether she was attending the prestigious Madeira boarding school for girls in Virginia, joining the ranks at Vogue and Elle or breaking into the New York Times Magazine’s editorial empire — an opportunity she was given after an editor sampled her food at a party in New York City. “These people were chasing the freaking trays around,” she laughs. “It was like they’d never seen a deviled egg or a pimento cheese sandwich or a ham biscuit.” The next day she accepted the position as a food writer for the Times. Subsequently, Julia has spent nearly two decades scribing sharp and witty tales from her South, casting the region as both a strange and magical place laced with spirited ruggedness. The day she and I talk, she’s driving home to New Orleans from a brief stay in Greenville where in one day she attended both a funeral and an outdoor wedding — in the midst of a storm. During that same stay, an attempt to quickly return something to a friend turned into an impromptu adventure. “He said, ‘We’re out on the raft. Come to the dock and I’ll pick you up,’” Julia says. “The next thing I know I’m on a three-hour boat ride that I didn’t mean to go on. And we’re eating hamburgers made of deer meat that this guy had shot and drinking ourselves drunk.” “Just another day on the Delta,” she laughs. And that’s when it hits my Northern sensibilities like a cast-iron skillet: When Julia talks about the Delta soil, sandbar picnics and pimento cheese sandwiches, she’s actually describing something much bigger. The Southern identity, as diverse as it may be, is collectively defined by the land, the adventurous spirit of the people who inhabit it, and yes, even the food. Especially the food.
Julia Reed Garden & Gun magazine gardenandgun.com/tags/julia-reed 16
There’s one thing that small, rural communities, slowly fading from heydays long past, seem to understand equally. Brain drain. That discomforting certainty that their best and brightest are destined to leave and not come back. It’s an inevitability felt so strongly that according to Patrick Carr and Maria Kefalas in their book, Hollowing Out the Middle, we actually help it along. We actively encourage our youth with the greatest potential to seek their fortunes elsewhere. There is perhaps no better argument for why place matters. And as Christopher Coes has come to realize, that puts livability — those community attributes that add up to an envious quality of life — at the center of importance for placemaking. Christopher himself was viewed as a foreseeable case of brain drain. Brought up in a family with more than a century’s worth of history in the area, through Harper Elementary, MacIntyre Park Middle and Thomasville High. He was a student of government and international relations, active with Providence 17
Written by Scott Doyon Photographed by Stephen Elliott 18
distribution, presenting tremendous implications for
Church — and not
diaspora back into smaller cities like Thomasville.
just biding time. An enthusiastic
“We’re in a smaller world now,” Christopher says. “And we need to be better prepared for that.”
Young Democrat, active in sports,
When geographical barriers crumble and business
is conducted with the rapidity of bits and bytes,
the playing field gets leveled. In a world of greatly
he was someone
expanded potential markets, you need not be a big
player to enter the game. When fast and reliable
shipping routes can get your products out in
being among that
short order, where your goods originate becomes
coveted cohort of
considerably less critical.
people who were “going places.”
As this happens, the larger players can no longer monopolize markets or the fresh talent that they
typically lure into major metropolitan areas with
job opportunities. Today’s graduates can work from
anywhere and thus live where they choose.
beyond the borders of Thomasville, he left.
For communities looking to prosper, the challenge comes in turning themselves into appealing choices. More and more, cities are looking to keep or call
In the usual telling, this is where the story ends.
back their talent by building places with the ability
Fortunes are followed, lives get built and potential
to compete into the next century, where strong local
hometown contributions disappear. A return visit is
economies emerge from a deeply interconnected
made, but by a person valued by others, somewhere
sense of community.
Coming to this realization is what ultimately
It didn’t quite happen that way with Christopher.
led Christopher to the directorship at LOCUS, a
His journey led him to St. John’s University in New
network of future-focused real estate developers
York City, just days before the 9/11 attacks. That
and investors, chasing the promise of more lasting,
experience, coupled with the context in which it
livable, lovable places.
occurred, became the foundation for his emerging awareness of the world.
LOCUS — the Latin for “place” — works to remove the bureaucratic barriers preventing the compact,
What he began to discover was that increasing
walkable development that people increasingly seem
connections, both physical and virtual, are
to want, which supports strong, local economies — a
reordering global commerce and challenging
Herculean task of sorts, and one where Coes finds
many long-held notions, for good and bad. The
himself driving change in places all around the
customer service agent working a phone bank in
India; produce from South America; the shirt you’re wearing, made in a Bangladeshi factory; and sadly,
Places like Thomasville.
the dispersed nature of terrorism all demonstrate a
Through his work, which includes Congressional
broad but interconnected system of production and
lobbying, he creates bridges to Federal resources —
he has lobbied for $28 billion thus far for bike
friends in high places such as Coes represent a
lanes and walkable neighborhoods throughout the
valuable resource indeed.
Perhaps it is inevitable that our youth will continue
That funding fuels the implementation of broader
to leave, with the allure of new experiences too
national policies that Coes also works to create,
strong to temper. But maybe our increasingly
policies that help communities like Thomasville
connected and mobile world means their departure
foster the kind of mobility choices and accessibility
will no longer equal the loss of ideas, contributions
options that keep people safely on the move.
and skills they’d otherwise have to offer.
Or, as he puts it, “that take into account
Perhaps instead, they’ll remain tethered to their
grandmothers and children who have to cross the
roots, bound by their affection for the special
places from which they’ve emerged and, like Coes,
Taken collectively, these types of efforts add up to the kind of human-centric environments that allow folks to do the things they need to do — or want to
pursue agendas that ultimately trickle back down in support of the communities they’ve physically left behind.
do — in the easiest, most enjoyable and productive
Once they’ve made their mark on the bigger picture,
ways. These things are increasingly in demand and
maybe that affection will lure them back home
necessary for communities like Thomasville to
for good, to once again walk familiar streets with
thrive and compete in the future.
neighbors old and new, united in a mutual love for
Not only is such demand evidenced by Coes’
what they share and what they’ve built.
working network of over 300 mayors and city
For Christopher Coes, that’s not too much of a
council officials seeking assistance, it’s one
stretch for a place like Thomasville.
presently being answered by his other network: 250 developers looking for the next great place to invest.
“As southerners,” he reminds me, “we’re a loving breed.”
“I have the ability to pick up the phone and bring millions of dollars to a community,” he says.
For Thomasville, where bountiful vision remains
Smart Growth America & LOCUS
subject to the constraints of limited resources,
Written by Todd Wilkinson
A near life-sized black bear, maybe 500 pounds, rises from her easel on its hinds. Nearby, the vision of a red fox, peering through a wild bouquet of Carolina Jasmine, appears to hold the light of Old World masters. Soon, the bruin will be
bound for a collector’s wall and the vixen headed to Thomasville, where painter
Lyn St. Clair is the featured painter at the 2016 Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival.
& Lyn St. Clair
I ask Lyn where the inspiration for her animal paintings comes from. “Get in,” she says. “Let’s go for a ride.” As I climb into the cab of Lyn’s pickup, I take note of the special Montana license plate on the bumper, with the letters “T-R-U-E” perched above “Women of the West.” Lyn has on pointy cowboy boots, blue jeans and a flannel shirt. She has a pile of saddle tack in the truck bed and her painting hands are firm and slightly
calloused from holding ropes and reins. A native daughter of Tennessee, she is a consummate horse and dog person — a naturalist never far from her sketchpad, camera and binoculars. Hundreds of intricate ink drawings of riding horses and dog breeds fill her file drawers. These drawings are the ones that first brought her
Born in 1963, to artist parents Betty and Dean St. Clair, Lyn grew up on a farm outside of Nashville. “I truly wanted to be an artist from the time I could hold a crayon,” she says, standing beneath a wonderfully contemporary horse painting completed by her father, who was a successful commercial illustrator.
acclaim — way back, when it wasn’t clear yet that
“I live what I paint,” she says, noting that she doesn’t
Lyn St. Clair would, in a few decades, become one of
buy photographs to use as reference or take pictures
the quiet rising stars of contemporary wildlife art.
of animals at game farms and zoos. “I want to be
Before the truck reaches a distant timbered ridgeline, she points to game trails where she’s seen black bears and mountain lions feeding on elk and deer carcasses, hills where she’s heard
authentic. I believe in painting what I know and if I’m going to paint it, I better know it.” Her fans say that conveying the spirit of her subjects, based upon firsthand contact, is what gives her work integrity.
wolves howl. Along the way, she calls my attention
Debbie Gaskins of Thomasville owns several original
to soaring golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and
works by St. Clair. Her daughter has a grizzly bear
harriers dive-bombing prey. I am a Montanan and
painting that she received as a wedding present,
it quickly becomes clear that one of the reasons
hanging above her mantel. The work emerged after
Lyn’s work exudes such vitality is the years of direct
Lyn staked out a venue and hunched at water level
observation infused into her brushstrokes.
in order to observe the Great Bear fording a river.
“The thing I love most about art is that you never get ‘there.’ No matter how hard you work, there is always more to learn, a different direction to explore, another edge to push your envelope toward and something new to discover about what you are capable of." “Lyn’s work is a combination of real life with just a
gratitude — and fearlessness. She credits a move
hint of impressionism,” Gaskins says, noting that it
to the Greater Yellowstone region decades ago as a
serves as a counterpoint to hyper photorealism.
pivotal step in the evolution of her work. She landed
“She’s an inspiration — and it’s not just her painting. She’s inspiring in terms of the battles she’s fought and has come out the other side with an upbeat, cherishing-of-life attitude,” Gaskins says.
near Yellowstone’s wildlife-rich Lamar and Hayden valleys, little American Serengetis, where grizzly bears and wolves intermix with elk, bison, moose and deer in a dynamic interaction of predators and prey.
A cancer survivor, Lyn has overcome tragedy and
Lyn wears her conservation ethic on her sleeve. She’s
adversity. The zest of her painting, which has
donated works to raise money for a wide variety of
served as her lifeline, is an expression of pure
wildlife protection programs. Among the diehard
“It helps keep my sense of wonder intact and, to me, that is essential to art.”
They swoon at the big, expansive vistas of the West because they’re thinking about spaces where imagination and creativity can wander, just as she does. “The thing I love most about art is that you never
cast of professional photographers and wildlife watchers in Greater Yellowstone, she is embraced as a devoted member of the tribe. Such comradeship has its perks, for the group is a hub of intelligence, gathering on the whereabouts of bears, lobos and other animals throughout different seasons of the year. Most of the time, Lyn hikes or hoofs her way on horseback to spots vehicles cannot go. “I constantly see animal behavior that is new to me. There are countless little discoveries and amazing things that I have seen while spending time in the wild,” she says. Lyn immerses herself in the landscape, traveling rhythmically and softly, studying the way wild things — including grass, trees and rocks — interact with their environment. “It constantly reminds me that the world is full of mystery, that there are infinite things yet to be learned,” she explains. “It helps keep my sense of wonder intact and, to me, that is essential to art.”
get ‘there.’ No matter how hard you work, there is always more to learn, a different direction to explore, another edge to push your envelope toward and something new to discover about what you are capable of. Each painting inspires the next one,” Lyn says. That may be — that it’s really about the journey and not the destination. But one thing is certain: Lyn’s work transports us. She takes us to the wildest outbacks in the Lower 48, to the understories of tall timberlands, across rivers and tarns, to haunts where real wildlife dwells. After our interview, I received a note from Lyn. It read, “Was up on top of the ranch today. Noticed a lot of recently flipped-over rocks, then saw a cinnamon sow with two coy [cubs of the year] that I hadn’t seen yet this year. They headed up over a hill that has the old Indian fire circle on top. There’s a painting in there.” My reply: “Can’t wait.”
It isn’t just about watching wildlife, but also humans. “These new works, which I plan to premiere in Thomasville, are about the different types of connections between wild things and people.” She loves the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival, she says, because at a time when the art world is in flux, the atmosphere in Thomasville represents a centrifugal force of community. The show is a yearly affirmation of the value of having nature in our lives and celebrating its magic. She has an affinity for the region and feels like she’s coming home to her roots when she’s there.
Lyn St. Clair Featured Painter
Southerners, she says, have a way of relating to
2016 Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival
nature that is an extension of regional identity.
Save the Date!
21st Plantation Wildlife Artists Festival November 10 – 20, 2016 Written by:
and so much more. This year, meet some of the men
and women woven in the pages of this issue. Learn
Photography by: Abby Mims Faircloth & Alicia Osborne
painting techniques from Lyn St. Clair at the Women of Wildlife Painting Workshop, get inspired for Fall by Julia Reed, Ann & Sid Mashburn and James Farmer at Out of the Woods Cocktails & Conversations and
It started as an idea, sparked at a dinner party
create a seasonal arrangement with expert floral
conversation between Margo Bindhardt and Bob
designers Bryce Vann Brock and Kelly Revels from
Crozer. The two, along with Louise Humphrey
The Vine. Expect to see woodland creatures in the
and the Thomasville Center for the Arts board,
trees of West Jackson Street, all designed by local
were inspired by the rich history of Thomasville’s
fiber artists participating in the Wildlife Yarn Bomb.
sporting plantations and had a vision of bringing
Back by demand, JJ Grey & Mofro will be jamming on
great wildlife artists to the Red Hills region. Their
Pebble Hill’s grounds after Afternoon in the Field.
idea is what we now call the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival, and it represents what Thomasville
There is truly something for everyone and it all
does best, both then and now: jumping onboard,
comes together with a giving spirit. All Plantation
collaborating with one another and creating a
Wildlife Arts Festival proceeds benefit Thomasville
cultural and economic success that we celebrate
Center for the Arts, which is dedicated to enriching
today, 21 years later.
the creative life of the Red Hills Region through visual, performing, literary and applied arts.
PWAF is a week-long celebration that brings over sixty wildlife artists to the Thomasville community... 27
We can’t wait to celebrate with you!
events not to miss!
On the Hunt Floral Composition Workshop with St. Simons Island’s The Vine event designers Bryce Vann Brock and Kelly Revels at
Art in the Open Public Art Walk: Furry and Feathered
Out of the Woods Cocktails &
Wildlife Yarn Bomb, “Uncaged”
Conversations with Julia Reed,
Installation and The Little Bird
James Farmer and Ann and Sid
Project Unveilings, Linda Hall
Mashburn at Ten Oaks, home of
Exhibition Opening and Fiber
Dr. and Mrs. Charles Hancock.
Art Demonstrations, all on West
Presented by Arcus Capital
Jackson Street. Powered by Hurst
Boiler. November 18: November 11:
Book signings in downtown
The Longleaf Affair Dinner with
Thomasville, with James Farmer
Master French Chefs Jonathan
at Relish and Julia Reed at Firefly.
Jerusalmy of Sea Island & Nico Romo of Charleston. A black tie evening in Pebble
Opening Night Fine Art Show Party at Thomasville
Hill’s exclusive main dining room, capped off with
Center for the Arts. Get a first glance at the show
a Game of Chance. Presented by Wellington Shields
with catering by Southern Jubilee and libations by J’s
Wine & Spirits. Presented by Commercial Bank.
Afternoon in the Field & Concert with wildlife shows
Shotgun Supper Club with a PWAF Twist! Nan Myers
and live demonstrations, followed by an outdoor
and Carol Whitney are partnering with Southern
concert featuring JJ Grey & Mofro, all on the
culinary genius Lee Epting for a fall dinner at a
grounds at Pebble Hill Plantation. Presented by
secret location. Presented by Schermer Pecans.
Thomas County Federal.
Bird Dog Bash at Pebble Hill Plantation’s Sugar
Red Hills Rover Rally, a backroad driving experience
Hill Barn. Live music with the Groove Merchants,
through historic plantations and rally at Afternoon
Southern fare by Southern Bleu Catering and
in the Field. Presented by The Wright Group.
libations by Bird Dog Bottle Co. Presented by Commercial Bank.
November 16: Dedication of a bronze sculpture created by
November 19 & 20:
Sandy Proctor in memory of PWAF founders
Sporting & Wildlife Fine Art Show & Sale at Thomasville
Margo Bindhardt and Bob Crozer in downtown
Center for the Arts.
Thomasville. November 17: Women of Wildlife Painting Workshop with 2016
PLANTATION WILDLIFE ARTS FESTIVAL November 10-20, 2016
Featured Painter Lyn St. Clair and South African
For tickets and more info, head to pwaf.org
artist Michelle Decker at Studio 209.
or call 229.226.0588 28
â€œThere is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.â€? - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
FASH~ IONING a Love Story Written by Alison Abbey Photographed by Sangsouvanh Khounvichit
Ann and Sid Mashburn are the sartorial spouses you need in your life. Sitting across from Ann and Sid Mashburn, proprietors of the uber-successful men’s and women’s stores of the same names, it’s easy to find yourself wishing they were the best friends you had at your dinner party—complete with the ability to tell a great story, punctuated with the light-hearted corrections and shared sentencefinishing that can only come from a long and loving union. Like the story of their first meeting. “We met on the beach in Long Island. On Long Beach,” Ann says. “It’s not even Jones Beach. It’s certainly not the Hamptons,” Sid says.
“I said, 'They offered me the job — can I take it?' She said, ‘I already said yes,’ and I said, ‘When was that?’ She said, ‘The day I said I do.’ It was like a Hallmark card.” “We’d both been in New York just a little over a year,” Ann continues. “I got there in January of 1984,” Sid offers. “You got there in February or March of ‘84. We met on June 2, 1985.” The following week, Ann, then assistant to Vogue fashion editor Polly Mellen, waited anxiously for Sid, a wannabe fashion designer working for British Khaki, to call. She was so anxious, in fact, that she begged the receptionist to answer the phone of a lowly assistant. “I said, 'The man I’m going to marry is going to call me this week, you’ve got to answer my phone,'” she laughs. He did (and she did) and the two began their courtship as their high fashion careers kicked into high gear. Ann worked her way through the ranks at Vogue and later, Glamour, while Sid was hired as the first men’s designer at J.Crew (known then as a “nameless catalog in New Jersey”) before going on to head accessories design for Ralph Lauren. A lengthy stint at Lands’ End followed for Mr. Mashburn, much to the chagrin of his wife. 93
“I asked her if she wanted to go out to Wisconsin [for the interview] with me and she said, ‘I don’t have to see it to know I don’t want to move there.’” When that interview turned into a job offer, Sid again asked his wife’s permission. “I said, ‘They offered me the job—can I take it?’ She said, ‘I already said yes,’ and I said, ‘When was that?’ She said, ‘The day I said I do.’ It was like a Hallmark card.” “You need to hear the resentment in my voice,” Ann says, laughing. After several years in Wisconsin, the couple and their five daughters were ready to make a big move. And take a big leap. No strangers to setting their own course, the Mashburns decided it was time to start a long-envisioned business: a retail store that would sell Sid’s designs. “Ever since I met him, he’s wanted to make his own clothing, but he’s also wanted a cool place to show it. He really is very retailcentric,” says Ann. “Sid is the definition of an entrepreneur—he’s no fear, he’s creative and he always has something he’s working on in the future. I’m more cautious, but we’d been together for 20 years by this time and I knew I had to let him do this. We had to try.” True to his pioneering ways, Sid hit the ground running to find the perfect location. That’s when Ann suggested Atlanta. “She’s a Yankee,” says the Mississippi-born Sid. “She said, ‘How about Atlanta?’ and I was like, praise God, a chance to go back to the South!” After a week in the city, he picked a surprising location—in the burgeoning West Side Provisions District. “I drove from Underground Atlanta to Lenox for a week,” he says. “I was discouraged and decided to get a taco [at future neighboring Taqueria del Sol] and the parking lot was full.” “I looked at the space and I went into Star Provisions [next door] which looked like Dean & DeLuca, and I thought, ‘okay, I can make this look cool.’ It was a very design-oriented decision,” says Ann. “It just felt right.” 94
“We offer you a cold or a hot drink, we’re playing music, you can play ping pong — none of that’s for show, this is who we are.” As for setting up shop (literally) in a neighborhood
sweet. They said we would love to work for a woman
that had yet to establish itself, Ann says it made the
and we like women’s clothes more. Sid was smart
adventure even more exciting: “There’s an element
enough to say there’s an opportunity here, let’s take
of being a pioneer.”
it. I just wanted to make sure that it didn’t detract
It’s a mindset that Sid likens to that of his Thomasville-based customers. “In Thomasville, it’s a
from the brand that we’d already built, but business was fantastic straight out of the gate for my brand.”
little bit of a self-sufficiency thing,” he explains. “We
“She did more dollars per square foot in her first
can go anywhere in the world and accomplish what
year than we were doing in year three or four in
we need to do, but we like being here. I think it’s a
men’s,” Sid says proudly. “It was incredible.”
little bit like us.” Even more incredible is the growth of the Mashburn In 2007, Sid Mashburn opened its doors and the
fashion empire. With locations in Atlanta, Houston,
store's success has been constant ever since.
D.C. and Dallas (and more in the works), the
Three years later, opportunity came knocking when West Side Provisions co-developer Michael Phillips
designing duo are careful to curate their fashion footprint step by step.
approached Ann to open her own eponymous
“We’re trying to grow at a thoughtful pace,” explains
“He said, ‘I need you to do a women’s store and he
“It’s a very sophisticated growth strategy: Wherever
really pushed me to do it,’” she says, adding that her
there’s a professional sports team, we’ll probably go
daughters were also a driving force. “My girls were so
there,” adds Sid. “And I’m only half kidding.”
The Mashburns, who pride themselves not only
done it all, but they also are very grounded and
on the clothing they sell, but also on the space in
which they sell it, put a point on finding just the right locations. They recently walked away from an
Ann points to a common thread in the desire to
opportunity in a new city because the space didn’t
discover and create—both traits the Mashburns
fit their needs.
bring to the design table in different ways. For better or worse. “Working with a spouse is incredibly
“Ann’s forte in putting design touches on the shop
difficult,” she says. “It helps that we are good at
makes it feel like our house, and really makes people
different things: Sid is very detail-oriented whereas
feel welcome,” says Sid. “We offer you a cold or a hot
I’m more 80/20. I like to do more that’s not perfect.
drink, we’re playing music, you can play ping pong—
Sid sees things that I don’t see, and as a designer you
none of that’s for show, this is who we are.” We have
have to be like that.”
the open air tailor shop, which is meant to foster this sense that we’re not just a clothing store, we
“But she can make something out of nothing,” he
actually know how to build stuff. There’s a makers’
says. “Which is me. I needed somebody to make me
mentality, which kind of permeates the place.”
something out of nothing!”
“Our stores are a history of who we are,” adds Ann.
“I don’t think you’ve ever said that before,” says Ann,
“Sid is the proudest Mississippian you’d ever want to
“but it’s an excellent analogy.”
meet, but we also want people to understand that fashion is global. We take a lot of pride knowing we are equally comfortable in Mississippi, Manhattan or Milan.” They believe that brand of understated luxury suits
their Thomasville-based clientele.
“The people are sophisticated, but accessible,” says
Sid. “They’ve seen it all, they’ve tasted it all, they’ve
Written by Written by Sarah Gleim Sarah Gleim Photographer: Photographed by Kelli Boyd Kelli Boyd 97
“Cooking comes very easily if you’re passionate about it,” Jonathan says, “but travel makes you a better chef.” 98
“In France it’s about yelling; in the United States, it doesn’t work that way,” Jonathan says. “I have had to look at my leadership style and figure out what works and that has been the most fascinating thing.” It doesn’t take me long to realize that French Master
took him to St. Louis and San Francisco; then to
Chef Jonathan Jerusalmy isn’t like other French
Hershey, Pennsylvania; Atlanta and Miami — eight
chefs I’ve interviewed. He’s not reserved or aloof
cities in 12 years.
or arrogant. Nor is his view on cuisine, that it’s the French way or the highway.
“Cooking comes very easily if you’re passionate about it,” Jonathan says, “but travel makes you a
Jonathan is energetic, funny and proud. Proud of
his French heritage, definitely proud of his culinary prowess (as he should be) and proud of his hard
And a better chef he became, learning different
work and where it’s landed him. The 42-years-young
techniques and styles from chefs around the
chef is now culinary director at Sea Island off the
country and being named a French Master Chef
coast of Georgia. From his humble origins in small
along the way. In 2011, at the age of 37, Jonathan
town France, Jonathan spent many valuable years
was honored by the prestigious Maîtres Cuisiniers de
crisscrossing the United States, where he learned
France organization when he was distinguished as
much on the long road that led to coastal Georgia.
one of 350 French Master Chefs in the world.
Jonathan remembers working at his grandfather’s
Jonathan picked up cooking tips and techniques
restaurant as a server when he was only 14.
while traveling the United States, but something
“That lasted just two weeks because I wasn’t
else he attributes to his travels is his newfound style
being challenged creatively,” he says. “I was very
of leadership. “In France it’s about yelling; in the
introverted and had a hard time expressing myself.”
United States, it doesn’t work that way,” Jonathan
So he turned his attention to the kitchen, instead,
says. “I have had to look at my leadership style and
and began to blossom. “I was able to express myself
figure out what works and that has been the most
and be creative with the food. That’s when I knew I
wanted to be a chef.” He has clearly figured out how to lead a kitchen.
The Lure of Travel Jonathan earned his Bachelor of Arts in food service, wine technology and hospitality management from the Institute Technique des Métiers de L’Alimentation in Tournai, Belgium, where he interned under famed French Master Chefs Paul Bocuse and Gerard Boyer.
Currently, as the culinary director at Sea Island, he’s in charge of 900 people, and regularly represents the resort at culinary events in Georgia and across the country.
The French Dance Jonathan has been asked to prepare the six-course dinner at this year’s Longleaf Affair at the Plantation
But something else burned inside of him — travel.
Wildlife Arts Festival in Thomasville. This will
And it was the lure of the United States that finally
actually be his third year returning to the intimate
Longleaf Affair dinner. This year, though, he’s coming with a secret weapon: his friend, French Master Chef Nico Romo, executive chef at FISH restaurant in Charleston. Nico, who is just 37 and the youngest French Master Chef in the world, also says that travel and events like the Longleaf Affair have helped make him a better chef. “Every time you do an event like this, you get to see what other chefs do,” he says. “It’s not just working with chefs like Jonathan or on new equipment; you go out afterward and eat at other restaurants and learn from those experiences. I always try to take something back with me when I visit other cities.” This isn’t Nico and Jonathan’s first dance together. Even though Jonathan is on Sea Island and Nico is in Charleston, they share similar philosophies — they focus on Southern cuisine that utilizes fresh, local ingredients. In 2013, along with chefs Didier Lailheuge 100
and Olivier Gaupin, Nico and Jonathan prepared a
The good news for Jonathan and Nico is that they
six-course dinner at Lowndes Grove Plantation in
come into this third dinner together with a proven
Charleston for more than 100 French Master Chefs.
track record. “No matter where you are and what
Talk about pressure. And, just this June, they hosted
you do, at the end of the day you want to cook
a private dinner at Sea Island for Garden & Gun
good food,” Nico says. “It’s not about you. It’s about
magazine’s second annual Southern Grown Festival.
satisfying your guests. And you can always cook food, no matter where you are, no matter what you
But don’t expect the Longleaf dinner to be a
have, as long as you’re prepared and organized.”
Southern-fried affair. Jonathan says he asked Nico to partner with him because he wants to make this
Jonathan couldn’t agree more. “We want to make
year’s dinner “very French.”
this a very French dinner, but we aren’t going to go too outside of the box,” he says. “That’s always the
“Nico and I have very different styles. Not that one
challenge. You want to create a menu that is fresh,
is better, but we come together very well,” he says.
but also one where every dish can be enjoyed by
“Nico will bring fresh ideas to the menu.”
every guest. This will be like a dance, and Nico and I
Fresh and French, indeed. A menu sneak peek shows
will take the first step.”
bites like foie gras, braised sweet breads in Périgord truffle essence, Sunburst trout with roasted grapes and bordelaise winter mushrooms and a chocolate mousse that I am actively daydreaming about.
Jonathan Jerusalmy Sea Island seaisland.com
Collaborating on and creating a menu of this caliber takes several weeks. Everyone involved, including
the host, agrees on the direction of the dinner, but
Jonathan takes the lead.
Onward Upward Written by Annie B. Jones
Five-year-old Reece Chastain is bouncing around on her tiptoes, looking for her shoes, when I open the screen door.
Photographed by Abby Mims Faircloth
“Did you hide them somewhere?” I hear her mom ask. A mischievous grin gives Katie Chastain the answer she’s looking for, and a few minutes later, Reece and her little sister Perry are both in cowboy boots, headed across the street for an afternoon with their grandmother. It’s just the introduction I would have needed, had I not already known Katie, an educator and entrepreneur here in Thomasville. Katie and I have been friends and business partners at The Bookshelf for going on four years, and every time I enter her home, it always feels like the best kind of creative chaos. It’s a house where little ones’ imaginations grow. That’s not surprising, since Katie spends her days surrounded by the innovative students at Thomasville’s Scholars Academy, an accelerated college prep magnet program, attracting students from across the community. There, Katie teaches both Design Thinking and Odyssey of the
Mind, classes dedicated to helping students solve real-world problems with creativity. The classes are a natural fit for Katie, who owned The Bookshelf, Thomasville’s local bookstore, for seven years before selling it in 2013. “An independent bookstore can be the mind of a town,” says Katie, “and it’s been a hard gap for me to fill. It felt like my own personal
“Education is huge and impacts all parts of our town.”
playground. Where else could I play with all of these ideas I have?” The answer, it turns out, was right down the street at Scholars. Katie’s years running The Bookshelf made her an expert in creative problem solving, and her passion for Thomasville meant she already had the perfect project for her new students to tackle. Enter MacIntyre Park, a 12-acre green space in the heart of town, which already boasts a creek, a children’s playground and a disc golf course. But Katie insists there’s more undiscovered potential there. “It’s next to all of these Thomasville institutions— MacIntyre Park Middle School, the Center for the Arts, Scott Elementary—and 104
walkways. They took their ideas and presented a Park Improvement Plan to Thomasville’s city council. Fast forward a few weeks, and city planner Brian Herrmann adapted the students’ plans into a grant proposal for the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD), and earlier this spring, Thomasville was selected as one of six cities to host a rural design workshop. Thanks to the work of Brian, Katie and an inspired group that creates so much synergy. I just kind of dream
of fifth graders, Thomasville received a $10,000
about the space a lot.”
grant to support the CIRD-sponsored workshop and
Katie took those dreams and encouraged fifth
follow-up planning sessions.
grade students from area schools to tackle the
The workshop, set for October, will bring together
project. The students met with the city planner, city
local leaders, non-profits, community organizations
engineers, landscape architects and artists; they
and citizens with a team of rural planning and
led community surveys and brainstormed ways to
creative placemaking professionals. Together, they’ll
make the park better and more accessible for area
develop actionable solutions to make MacIntyre Park
residents. They learned about native plants and
a more vibrant public space. Basically, they’ll do for
storm water management, and all the while, Katie
MacIntyre Park what Scholars Academy has already
eased her way back into education, trying to balance
started to do.
what she had learned as a small business owner with her new role as a teacher. “I think education is huge and impacts all parts of our town,” says Katie. “So this was my way of stepping in slowly.” Katie’s methods worked. Her students divided their findings into seven components: park entrances, amphitheater, art and sculpture, pavilions and restrooms, creek, playground and
“Your good ideas feed my good ideas, and they make a better place for all of us.” 105
For Katie, the grant and the work of her students are reminders of the role education can play in a city’s success, and she’s already brainstorming ways
for this fall’s workshop to
them actively involved in the
make the biggest long-term
impact. She’s partnering with
“It’s just a cool model of
education, and it’s been neat
Foundation (TEF) and the
to see the city schools take
Center for the Arts to start
some leaps and be willing
The Family Series, with free
to try something different,”
admission for all children.
“I love how things line up in
As an entrepreneur and as
this town,” says Katie. “Any
an educator, Katie knows
time we’ve had an idea,
making things happen in a
there’s always been somebody
town or in a classroom is
who’s been willing to say, ‘Yes,
all about prioritizing great
let’s work on that,’ or, ‘Let me
ideas. She and her husband
help you with that.’
Scott spend a lot of time
“That’s always been the
with other entrepreneurs
case. Sometimes it takes
and artists, talking
persistence to find that
about ways to make this
person, but I do think there
community a better place to
are networks of people in
live and work.
Thomasville wanting to do
This past summer, Scott and
cool stuff. Every city has these
Katie spent two weeks with
pipe dreams, but Thomasville
their children in Montreal,
is uniquely resourced to get
soaking up inspiration in
And although Scholars
and innovation districts,
Academy is where Katie has
all in the hopes of bringing
allotted a big chunk of her
some of those ideas back
time and resources, she’s also been busy integrating
to Thomasville. It’s Katie’s vision for her city to be
entrepreneurship and education in her work at
in the business of attracting new faces, constantly
the Thomasville Center for the Arts. As a member
growing and offering families a uniquely Southern,
of the Center’s Youth Arts Education committee,
small town experience.
Katie is helping to bring new programming to Scott Elementary School, where her daughter Reece started first grade this fall. The school is the site of a new arts-integrated education program, designed to teach general curriculum using the visual arts,
“Great businesses, great parks, great schools,” she says, “all of those systems feed off one another. Your good ideas feed my good ideas, and they make a better place for all of us.”
music, theatre and dance. Each teacher at Scott Elementary has undergone
ArtsNow training, helping them to develop
innovative practices that reach students and get
BOXWOOD meetsDRIFTWOOD Written by
When I envision Bryce Vann Brock at eight years old, answering the age-old
question of what she wants to be when she grows up, I see her answering casually — but with forethought, and giving what must have been a surprising
answer, coming from a third grader.
Kelli Boyd "A landscape architect." Bryce hasn’t lost that casual spirit about her. Now, she’s all blue jeans and white and black tops. What she does with these simple closet staples seems to embody her designs, from her wardrobe to her architectural landscapes — always with a pop of surprise, a slice of something unexpected. Studded cuff bracelets mixed with a statement, chunky necklace. Agave mixed with boxwoods. “I decided I wanted to be a landscape architect when my parents hired one for the house we were building,” says Bryce. “I loved it and started to notice things like arrival sequences.”
“We feel like we’re leaving our mark all over the island,” says Bryce. Bryce and her business partner Kelly Revels are owners of the landscape, flower market and event design company in Saint Simons Island, Georgia, called The Vine. When I talk to them, I am quickly taken by their passion and determination — but there’s something else. I’m always a bit of a sucker for the power of serendipity, how sharp minds can twist happenstance to their advantage. That’s there, too. 107
Planting Seeds Bryce, who grew up in Thomasville, first came to the island as a graduate of the University of Georgia. She took a job with the Sea Island Company as the director of landscape. She reflects on this as if landing such a position with one of Georgia’s most beautiful outdoor spaces, right out of college, was no big deal. “While I was at Sea Island, I did a lot of residential projects and worked on the Cloister and the spa,” she explains. “When the hotel opened in 2006, Sea Island also put the container gardening and flower shop under me.” Like any strong creative, Bryce knew her limits. To continue doing good work, she’d need some major help. One night at a party she happened to have a conversation about it with Kelly, who had grown weary of her longtime corporate job. As a child growing up in small town South Georgia, Kelly’s creativity had been sparked by the 25 to 30 hours she spent in the dance studio and from watching her family work in their garden. It sounded like a dream to actually get paid to work with Bryce at Sea Island. “After a while, Bryce and I started to notice that the Sea Island residents were bringing in designers from other markets to pull the flowers, landscapes and events together in their homes,” says Kelly. “We saw them struggle with having to outsource all these different elements.” That’s when Bryce and Kelly went around the South, searching for a nursery or garden market to serve as a one-stop-shop. When they couldn’t find one, they knew that they were on to a big idea
“People will see a project or a wedding and say that they can tell The Vine did it. Not because it’s overly extravagant, but because it’s simple and attainable. That’s our identity, which came about more naturally than intentionally.” 109
and started to write the story of their business. Originally, they took their plan to Sea Island to put it all under one roof. But in a twist of fate, the economy crashed, making Sea Island unable to support the venture. Thus, The Vine in St. Simons was born. Listening to them tell the tale of how they started out on their own, without any hesitation, I can see how well their business and creative sides connect. While The Vine began as a landscape company and garden market, they knew they wanted to add events. They didn’t let the fact that neither had any experience in events or floral arranging stop them. “I’ll never forget our first wedding event, when the mom kept asking us to see photos of our work,” Kelly says. “Of course, we didn’t have any so we kept referencing photos we liked from all the big magazines.” Thanks to that simple strategy, they snagged their first event client and surpassed their original goal of planning one wedding a month within six months. Growing Roots Bryce and Kelly’s instinct to enhance the natural surroundings of their landscapes and events is just one trait that adds to the charm of their designs. They effortlessly mix the Southern: boxwoods, ferns and hydrangeas, with the tropical: palm trees, paradise plants and banana trees, that their area provides. You might find them on the shore, shelling or foraging for driftwood, to provide just the right elements for an arrangement. “We feel like we’re leaving our mark all over the island,” says Bryce. “People will see a project or a wedding and say that they can tell The Vine did it. Not because it’s overly extravagant, but because it’s simple and attainable. That’s our identity, which came about more naturally than intentionally.” 111
Bryce traces that design sense back to her hometown. “I grew up around a lot of beauty,” she says. “The Thomasville community has done such a good job of embracing the arts and architecture.” Kelly and Bryce always joke that oxygen must’ve been developed in Thomasville because wherever they go, they meet someone with ties to the community. Kelly adds, “As someone who did not grow up in Thomasville, I’m in awe, walking into Thomasville Center for the Arts. At a time when many schools aren’t getting funding for creative arts, it’s inspiring to see all of the kids painting and taking ballet. If I hadn’t had that type of arts support in my childhood, I would never have had the courage to do what Bryce and I are doing now.” What strikes me the most about Bryce and Kelly is that their compatibility appears to be as rich as their designs. Such ease is no doubt another part of their charm. Not only do they work together, but they also travel together on family vacations. When I ask them about this, Kelly replies, “We get asked that a lot and the answer is always so simple to us. Respect. She and I truly believe that individually, we are the best in our field. Not in a sense that we are better than others, but more so that I absolutely know that beyond Bryce’s extreme talent in landscape design, she is a hard worker, people respect her decision-making and employees working for her do too. And without a doubt, she would say the same about me.”
Bryce Vann Brock AND Kelly Revels The Vine vinegardenmarket.com 112
FEATURED Artists Kelli Boyd Capturing
Annie B. Jones After five
moments and memories for
years as a corporate writer
more than a decade, Kelli is a
and editor, Annie began living
skilled photographer preserving
her very own You’ve Got Mail-
a variety of wedding, food,
inspired dream, becoming
lifestyle and commercial
owner and managing partner
moments. Kelli’s work has
of The Bookshelf in 2013. Annie
been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Knot and
loves chatting with fellow readers about what book
Southern Living. Brands like Pottery Barn, West Elm,
currently resides on their nightstands and gives
Godiva, Wayfair, Draper James and World Market
reading recommendations in a weekly newsletter
partner with her to bring their visions to life. Kelli
and on the store’s podcast, From the Front Porch. She
is the photographer behind lifestyle blogger and
and her husband Jordan and their dog Junie B. call
tastemaker Lavin Label. kelliboydphotography.com
downtown Thomasville home. anniebjones.com
Stephen Elliot Stephen
Anne Royan Anne
is a professional high-fiver with
studied at Brown University,
a knack for shooting photos.
attended the publishing
After moving from Texas, he
program at Columbia
attended the University of
University, worked in the
Barnes and Noble, studying
fashion department at
filmmaking and visual art
Harper’s Bazaar and then as a
before launching his production company. He’s had
PR Director for various fashion brands. She spent
the good fortune of traveling to places like South
months traveling solo through the Himalayas,
Africa, the Cayman Islands, Egypt and Yosemite to
teaching English to monks in the Dalai Lama’s
capture memories of fellow adventurers. His love
temple and Tibetan refugee children. She is
for Chipotle is matched only by that of his La-Z-Boy
completing a memoir and is working towards an
rocking chair. mudproductions.com
MFA in writing at Savannah College of Art & Design. She concurs with writer Tom Robbins on Julia
Sarah Gleim An Atlanta
Child’s advice: “Learn how to handle hot things.
native (yes, they do exist), Sarah
Keep your knives sharp. Above all, have a good
has spent almost half of her
life writing about what makes the heartbeat of her hometown tick. She’s a diehard foodie and even went to culinary school to further explore her love of food. When she’s not writing about the latest culinary trends and hottest restaurants, she’s probably chilling out in Decatur, where she lives with her two hound dogs, Redford and Daisy. sarahgleim.com
Todd Wilkinson Todd has been writing about art and nature for 30 years and is a Western correspondent for National Geographic. Among his several books is Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek, which explores the life of Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bear 399 and features remarkable images
TO BECOME A FEATURED ARTIST
by American photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen. Todd also wrote Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save
Please contact Thomasville Center for the Arts
a Troubled Planet, which includes a chapter about
(229) 226-0588 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Turner’s Avalon Plantation in Lamont, Florida. toddwilkinsonwriter.com