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THOM

Volume 1 | issue 1 Fall/Winter 2013

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from the editor What if we _______________?

many of the decisions of yesterday were made by people just like those we are

Three very simple words with the power

profiling today.

to move mountains, but it’s really the blank space that makes all the difference.

We see Thom as the personification

We were a few friends sitting around a

of a community rich in history and

table musing about something a writer

visionary thinking. In each issue you’ll

from Asheville said after her first trip

see Thomasville through the eyes of

here last fall, “there’s just something

Thom and meet the thinkers, visionaries,

about Thomasville.” We batted around

muses, artists, entrepreneurs and

what we each thought that “something”

professionals who share their talent to

was. People. History. Architecture.

shape our city. We believe in the power

Art. Culture. Geography. Creativity.

of cross-pollination and collaboration,

Collaboration. And then, BAM! What if

so you will also enjoy meeting the

we created something to document the

same kind of people who are shaping

people and the ideas that are shaping

communities much like ours. This

our community?

season, we traveled to Athens to spend time with a New York designer who has

Part magazine, part guide, part

blazed new trails as a painter by finding

documentary, we have designed Thom for

friendships among the artists who have

the culturally curious, weaving together

shaped their city’s art scene over the last

the written word with images to express

twenty years.

and promote the creativity in our region. We set out to design a special gift for our

As the Center for the Arts, we strive to

community, so we wanted it to be very

enrich the creative life of our community

different from anything else we have

by elevating the literary, visual,

seen. Naturally, we love working with the

performing and applied arts. Thom is an

uber creative, so we called on the hottest

entirely new venture for us and we thank

young talent the south has to offer. Enter

the artists, and 40+ partners who have

SCAD Atlanta — and their team of 21

helped bring it to life.

writers, designers, photographers and professors — and Thom was born.

If you are a member of the Center, you’ll receive Thom by mail twice a year with a

We were in the late stages of design

special gift from our presenting partner.

when I heard our Mayor, Max Beverly, tell

If you’re not a member, I encourage you

an audience that Thomasville’s success

to become one so you don’t miss out on

is due in large part to a series of good

the coolest happenings in town. But, you

decisions made by good people over a

can pick up a complimentary copy at any

long period of time. I fancy the idea that

of our partner locations. If you have a few minutes, drop me a line and let us know what you think. Thinkers make the world go ‘round!

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contents

fall 2013

THOUGHT LEADER

2 THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT THOM The Honorable Max Beverly

6 A mentor & A Visionary Hananel Mavity

Muse

Tastemaker

12 Charming Charlie Charlie Whitney Creators

16 Inside the owls nest Brandy and Gates Kirkham Artist

24 Peter Corbin Featured Painter Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival Collaborators

26 12

26 Playing Community A Peek Inside the Treehouse 30 THOM’s guide Trailblazer

78 Simply Susan Susan Hable Smith Foodies

84 Riding Shotgun Nan Myers and Carol Whitney Placemakers

90 Jaunt Around Tallahassee’s Creative Hub Innovator

98 All About the light Kenn von Roenn 104 Concept team Savannah College of Art and Design – Atlanta 105 contributing artists


Thought Leader

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT

Written by

THOM. TO PRONOUNCE THIS word correctly is a verbal exercise that uses every

Bunny Byrne

muscle of the speech apparatus, sort of like an oratorical jumping jack. It feels

and Nikki Igbo

like an affirmation when spoken. Each time we utter a name, we invoke all of the

Photographed by

energy and meaning associated with it. (When citizens of Thomasville speak its

Jay Bowman

name, they reiterate an essence, an outlook, a truth.) For us, Thom is an abbreviation of Thomas which is an awesome name in its own right. Sure, it technically means “twin” but those who have been given the name tend to have an uncommon way of touching the lives around them. Think Edison, Paine, Jefferson, Blanchard or Wolfe. These namesakes didn’t mind undertaking huge endeavors. They were visionaries who practiced truth, justice and discipline; who went on to become charismatic leaders; who valued rich history while pursuing a bright future. Thom, although seemingly truncated, means much more. As all nicknames do, it denotes a special recognition and familiarity. It means “I’ve gotten to know you and you have become dear to me. So much so, that I can’t forget you.” Thom is up close and personal. Thom is here among us. In lieu of a memorized, remote figure in a history book, Thom is a neighbor who is alive and well, a call away. Thom celebrates the many “Thoms” of Thomasville. While these community champions may not bear the name Thom, they all share a common characteristic. They shape the lives and experiences of this exceptional Georgian community through their creative ideas and movements. They are a reminder of all the original hopes and wishes for the town. One such notable goes by the name of Max Beverly.

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thought leader

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thought leader

Mayor Max Beverly is the kind of guy who gets more sidewalk greetings than Google hits. He’s a sleeve roller-upper who can be spotted at Grassroots Coffee with Wells, his black Labrador. A grown up Boy Scout, a fan of fly fishing, grilling and the crisp appeal of craft beer. Though he has no ambitions of higher political office, he does aspire to create and maintain the best possible Thomasville for his wife, his three sons and his 18,000 neighbors. So, each day, he contributes his time and love of community to doing just that. Max is a member of a collective effort with a longstanding tradition – a Thomasville tradition of forward-thinking vision, pragmatism, and civic pride on all levels. One that includes avoiding destruction during the Civil War; efforts to heal and rebuild during the Reconstruction era; an embrace of the hunting, timber, and bread making industries, as well as healthcare and higher education; and the 1889 introduction and ongoing expansion of electricity services a mere seven years after Edison’s first electric power plant was established in New York.

of the city council to envision big picture plans for the city while leaving the day-to-day operations to

Today Max uses the same smart growth approach

a city manager. He’d talk about the desire to always

of his forefathers to fulfill his personal commitment

provide a place for his three sons to live and thrive

to the town he loves. This innovation manifests

once they’ve gone off into the world to have their own

itself through various projects including the vision

adventures.  

of a convention center to accommodate events for 500-700 people; conversion of the city’s fleet

After greeting a few passersby while admiring the

of vehicles from diesel to compressed natural gas

hustle and bustle of the downtown district on a blue-

(CNG) and the establishment of a publicly accessible

sky morning, Max would give Wells a pat on the head,

CNG filling station; true revitalization of the historic

get back in his truck, and go back to the business of

neighborhood of Victoria Place; and a full embrace of

being just another Thom. It’s kind of a Thomasville

visual and performing arts throughout the community

thing.

via a partnership with Thomasville Center for the Arts. The most amazing thing about what’s happening is the interconnectedness of it all. If anyone were to ask Max about these projects, he’d simply explain the partnerships between residents, local government, the plantations, private industry, non-profit organizations, and local schools and universities with a shrug and a smile. He’d talk about the will of the people to reduce the negative and promote the positive. He’d discuss the unique opportunity he has as a member

City of Thomasville 111 Victoria Place Thomasville, GA thomasville.org

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MUSE

Written by Ally Wright Photographed by Anna Bader

A MENTOR AND A VISIONARY I HAVE A MEMO board — a homemade one, of fabric and ribbon — covered in things that I want to do. Most of them are events. Most of them have already happened. And most of them, well, I did not actually attend. My refrigerator magnets hold up other reminders. Make this recipe! Write this person back! Visit this town! I think I just like magnets. Don’t get me wrong. I do things. But it’s mostly accidental. In the moment. Planning something in advance and making it happen? Harder. I’m always shocked when something works out. Hananel Mavity is not like that. She has a vision. She makes it happen. Both her careers — singer/songwriter and teacher — prove this. And she teaches her students to do the same. Hananel, 24, embodies a profound sense of practicality mixed with a visionary’s eye. She used this unique blend to envision herself as youth education coordinator at Thomasville Center for the Arts (TCA). And she made it happen. “Maybe I was too young to know I wasn’t qualified,” Hananel laughed. After a brief but rewarding stint as a teacher for a summer camp at TCA, she went to Youth Education and Outreach Director Mary Oglesby and said she wanted to teach in the afternoons during the school year. “Oglesby was always open-minded, always looking for the best and most creative way to do something good for the kids,” said Hananel. TCA was in the process of launching the aptly titled Art in the Afternoon, and she was hired to help teach it. Because of the program’s infancy, Hananel was able to write and create a lot of her own curriculum. This began a career path that quickly took over her life. Hananel joked about it, but she definitely wasn’t unqualified. When she was hired to teach at TCA, she had been practicing her mentoring skills for years, most recently as a student at the International School of Theology and Leadership. Hananel’s friend and lifelong mentor, David Parrish, encouraged her to apply. 6


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MUSE

Hananel credits David and his wife, Dr. Charlene Parrish, with beginning her education in mentorship, merely by being great examples. While at the school, she was able to travel to Italy and Switzerland, mentor children in orphanages and jam on the streets of Rome. I interviewed Hananel on a rare Friday afternoon when TCA was quiet — the students were on spring break. We sat on bean bag cushions arranged in a circle and discussed Hananel’s accidental teaching career, from her first class called Vocal Imagination, which consisted of two students, to the full-scale revue of Cats under her direction at the time. The production incorporated students from across TCA, harnessing their creative spirit to create costumes, design the set, plan the make-up, sing, dance and act. She mentioned her students’ names frequently, becoming excited with each one. Though she tried to keep it reined in, her enthusiasm implied that she could talk for hours about each one. This passion and excitement for her students can be seen in her studio, which is covered in their pictures and artwork. Her phone is another archive dedicated to her students’ achievements, performances, practices, and her students hanging out. It is easy to see this is more than just a job to her. As we sat on the bean bag cushions talking, her phone buzzed: “Your child prodigies have arrived.” She laughed. Three of her students came in on their spring break to perform for us. That’s dedication to art and also to their mentor. Before the kids came in, I asked Hananel about her background. Her family moved to Thomasville from Vermont when she was two years old and brought with them a love of all things artistic: theater, music, art, writing. Her mother, who studied theater and performed in college, sometimes did shows at the then Cultural Center (now TCA) and taught classes there when Hananel was young. Hananel performed alongside her mother in the auditorium, never knowing that one day she would direct large groups of students on the same stage to packed houses. She credits her family’s support and “creative household” 8


Muse

Hananel, 24, embodies a profound sense of practicality mixed with a visionary’s eye.

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MUSE

She loves being able to set people up for success naturally. Put them in a group, give them the right framework and then watch them do their thing.

with her love of the arts, and hopes to provide her

is mostly an a cappella group focused on teaching

students with a similar atmosphere. I’d say she

harmony. Several of the members are musicians,

does that.

including Trey Garland, a talented pianist who entertained me in the red-walled room of bean

During her first year teaching at TCA, Hananel

bag cushions.

lived in Tallahassee where she performed music at local venues, participated in community theater,

“Trey is amazing,” Hananel said. Again she never

and took classes at the community college. But she

missed an opportunity to brag about her students.

needed more. “A big part of me, as an artist and as an

Trey came to TCA as part of the after-school arts

educator, is that there are lot of things I love, and I do

enrichment program which TCA created for the

them all.” She has been composing songs since she

Thomasville Community Resource Center, but he

was 15, and she is a writer and a director, as well as an

excelled so quickly that it was better for him to be off

actor and singer.

on his own. Trey’s talent has flourished in the hands of these organizations. He takes piano lessons with

Hananel, who teaches students of all backgrounds

the director of the music academy and is a member

from ages 4-15, is inspired to follow her passions as

of Glee. Trey is also a part of Hananel’s new endeavor,

well. For her first album, released this summer with

Ignite, which is a group of young professional artists.

the regional label Gaterbone Records, she pulled

He wants to produce music.

from the creative talent around her to form her band. “Part of what made me realize that I needed to start

“One thing I’m really passionate about is getting

making my music again was my work with Glee Club

to know a kid, or any person, and finding out what

for Thomasville Music Academy, one of TCA’s many

they show interest in and where they show skill and

partners. It inspired me to sing again, not just in

going ‘oh, do that, really, do that, it’ll work.’” She loves

theater.” Glee lets the kids choose the songs they want

to recognize and encourage talent, instilling in her

to sing. Top 40 hits are common choices. The club

students early that “making it” requires a lot of hard

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MUSE

work. “I feel like that whole thing about being an artist

find themselves in the same position, whether they

and being totally broke doesn’t happen to people who

choose careers in the arts or become veterinarians.

learn early how to work hard.” She goes on to say this

Her teaching philosophy is about encouragement,

can mean either knowing that you need a full-time

support. She loves being able to set people up for

job on top of your art or learning to promote yourself

success naturally. Put them in a group, give them the

well and placing yourself in the right situations for

right framework and then watch them do their thing.

success, or most likely both. “I’m not worried about

She herself has reaped the benefits of finding the right

crushing their dreams,” she laughed.

framework. And she has the vision, which is much harder to be taught. It has to be intuited. Inspired.

Just the opposite, in fact. She teaches them that they can have their dreams if they’re willing to work, and

Lucky for her kids, they have Hananel as an example.

she gives them the practical methods to make these dreams come true. Her young professional artists work on résumés, business cards, and finding local or regional places to perform. “We play a much bigger part in their lives than just teaching them art. We’re here to mentor these kids, to be their friend and their teacher. With the arts, you want them to be able to express what’s going on inside them,” said Hananel. She says she is lucky to have found herself on this career path that is both her job and her art. Hananel wants her kids to be driven and passionate enough to

Thomasville center for the arts 600 East Washington Street Thomasville, GA thomasvillearts.org

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tastemaker

I n the latter part of my life, I decided to do what I really wanted to do. I am kind of a late bloomer.

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tasteMaker

Written by Jennifer Jefferson Photographed by Mia Yakel and Jay Bowman

CHARLIE I LIKE OPEN ROADS. I always have. There is something thrilling about zipping down wide expanses of asphalt. With Charlie Whitney as my guide, it is easy to get lost in this moment. Handsome man, vintage car, a buttery voice guiding me through the world, showing me things I’ve never seen before: art, antiques, architecture. I imagine in his younger years he looked like a savvy James Bond, smooth as fine silk, speeding down country, canopied roads. In his 60s, Charlie is tall and debonair. His tortoise-shell, round-frame glasses are as much a part of his signature as his love for vintage Land Rovers. He’s owned a couple. The one parked in front of his home is red, restored and rebellious. Charlie can own any room, but to see him in his home is magical. Here he is the master of ceremonies, and this is his palace. The high ceilings allow for ample space for his antler collection. The golden walls highlight his interests. This place suggests that he’s been to many corners of the world. Dutch ceramics, taxidermy and arrowheads are meticulously arranged throughout his house with hundreds of books revealing a man of sophisticated taste. French wine and moonshine pepper nooks. This setup provides a chic playground for a pug named Mango Delicious and an elusive cat. This day, Charlie sits in a corner chair. He crosses his legs, furrows his brow and clasps his hands. His platinum hair glints as slivers of light peek through the shutters and dance on his head. This is when I realize that Charlie is charming, but also shy. When pressed about his specific expertise, he defines his business, C.H. Whitney, in broad strokes: part interior designer, part renovator, part preserver, part real estate broker, part antiques dealer. In 1996, the charismatic entrepreneur moved from Moultrie to Thomasville, where he was raised. After three decades of working solely in real estate and as a fast-talking auctioneer, he opened an antiques shop and began renovating and preserving historic buildings. In his home, I stop at a painting of a fox in the woods on the floor in a corner of his living room. Charlie has also taken a liking to painting. The lines are thick and 13


tastemaker

the colors are saturated. The works are mostly scenes

describing Charlie’s genteel nature. “That’s a good guy

from life in Thomasville. The self-taught artist has

you’re with,” says Dwayne Hoven. Charlie and Dwayne

sold about 40 of his works through his antiques shop

became fast friends while shooting quail together.

where every minute detail has been well-curated. He’s

Dwayne shows me the custom case that houses his

an avid collector and seller of 18th century antiques.

guns during hunting season. Charlie restored an

“The shop supports my habit,” he says.

old service station counter and reworked it into a towering gun case. This is the genius of Charlie. He

In C.H. Whitney you will find a wolf hide, $875. The

can see the beauty in the discarded.

ivory tag reads “For the woman who runs with wolves” in Charlie’s tiny cursive handwriting. Dutch Delft

Charlie has become a reflection of the city itself. He’s

Chargers, circa 1760–1780, $1375. Queen Anne Maple

a man who can be lured by the history of the area, but

Chest, $4,800. “It’s pretty amazing once you think

he is also a supporter of art and revitalization. Simply

about it. Some of these have been around for 200

put, he knows something of value when he sees it.

years. They’re masterpieces.” His shop has become

He has long loved Savannah, and his two sons have

a go-to for fabulous finds. “Thomasville is a big art

planted their roots in Atlanta, but Thomasville is the

community,” Charlie says. “A community that is open

best fit for him. “I like the sense of community and

to art is generally more accepting of new ideas.”

being wherever you want to be in 5 to 10 minutes,” Charlie says.

Later, I will discover that Charlie seems to know everyone by first and family name. Part of his vast

You can find Charlie partaking in the wave of

reach into the community is tied to two things:

businesses budding downtown. After hours you may

he’s the fourth generation of his family to live in

see him having a glass of wine with his wife Carol at

Thomasville and he is on the board of directors for

Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop. People constantly

Thomasville Landmarks. From street to street, he can

interrupt him to say “hi,” and you can’t miss that

point out homes the organization has worked hard to

unmistakable quack coming from his phone. Charlie

save and provide a little history on the Victorian and

is entertaining to watch. He enjoys conversation, but

antebellum style homes from Thomasville to Boston,

most people don’t notice that they are talking more

Georgia. I am impressed I’ve spent 25 years just south

than he is. He never interrupts in a conversation and

of here, in Tallahassee, and could not tell anyone a

answers each and every question with care, filling

thing about the architecture or the history of the

awkward moments with a raspy laugh.

place. I do have a pretty good eye for anything new or innovative. Maybe that says something about my

His phone’s quack reminds me of the Chattahoochee

generation.

River. It whips through the South with grace and ease. People are drawn to the serenity of it. It’s peaceful, but

Charlie’s vision can be seen at the private properties

people are attracted to its wildness of spirit. I think

of his clients and friends, as well as in public buildings

the same can be said of Charlie. What he brings to

from courthouses to clock towers. He explains to

Thomasville is a worldview that’s filled with heritage

me the work that went into each building to unveil

and a constantly renewed spirit. Much like Paul

its innate beauty. He does so with the enthusiasm

Newman said to Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and

of a shy boy showing off a model airplane; Charlie

the Sundance Kid, “Boy, I got vision, and the rest of

seems to be both proud of his work and in awe of

the world wears bifocals.” In our last conversation he

his creations. “In the latter part of my life, I decided

says that many women describe him as a “renaissance

to do what I really wanted to do. I am kind of a late

man.” I would describe him as the consummate

bloomer.”

southern gentleman. When I ask him to describe himself, he says, “just a little bit of a rascal.”

Although, it often makes him uncomfortable to talk about himself, his friends take no issue with 14


tastemaker

He’s a man who can be lured by the history of the area, but he is also a supporter of art and revitalization. Simply put, he knows something of value when he sees it.

C.H. Whitney Antiques 118 Remington Avenue Thomasville, GA chwhitney.com

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Written by ALLY WRIGHT Photographed by EMILY SCHULTZ AND EVAN JANG

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creators

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creators

I BELIEVE IN GHOSTS. Let me rephrase that. I believe

Brandy and Gates’ home is like this. It’s full of the

in spirits, a certain perpetuation of soul. There are

history they’ve inherited, the past they’re building

things that remind me of this: wisteria, a cool wind,

onto. The house itself was built in the early 1980s, but

the smell of sawdust, the air in an old building, the

built to look like an old-fashioned farmhouse, one

mustiness of an old book. Large expanses of land do

that would have been added to as the need arose, as

the same, cornfields and cow pastures, woods. Lakes

new generations were born. It is part of the land the

too. There is a hint of ancestry in the smell of the

Kirkhams love and is full of artistic portrayals of it.

water, the appeal of the sun peeking out from the

Brandy remarked on the power of art to convey our

clouds, imprinting my skin.

shared experiences, how two people looking at a piece can have completely different emotional reactions,

Some people possess this quality. The quality of

both equally strong. She was talking about landscapes,

permanence, substance, certainty. Brandy and Gates

bringing your own memories of them to a painting of

Kirkham shone with it from the first moment I

one, but I think it’s a bigger thing too.

met them. I saw it even as I was driven onto their plantation in Thomasville, before I was welcomed

I wandered around their house, examined the

into their home. We passed lodges and pastures

collection of owls inherited from Gates’ grandmother,

and a black iron sign that read “Owls Nest Sinkola

the original owner. I found the hidden quail in the wallpaper (“She loved wallpaper,” Brandy laughs), and

Wh at we b r i n g to PWA F is ou r passio n fo r th e l a n d, th e l i fe st y le .

the horses, another inherited thing, galloping over bookshelves and propping open doors. Everything was in its place. One generation building on another. My initial reaction was emotional — a memory of something that hasn’t happened yet, a simulated

Plantation.” I could feel history in the air, the sense

wholeness, a hope. Later, Gates drove us around the

that this place, and these people, knew their role in

land, the lake, the barns, the sawmill. The feeling

the bigger picture and weren’t afraid to stake their

deepened.

claim to it. In the sunroom, surrounded by large open windows My personal ancestry is a shaky thing; family

revealing the forested landscape, Brandy and Gates

branches have been burned, connections forgotten

talk about the history of Thomasville — “don’t take

from lack of interest. But I was born and raised in the

my word as gospel by any means.” Gates laughs at

South, and the land itself feels alive. I am a part of it.

this, but I think I could take his word. They talk of

Photographs and paintings of Southern landscapes

their love of art, music, hunting, and the Plantation

remind me of the framed sun setting over woods in

Wildlife Arts Festival (PWAF), which they co-lead

my parents’ den — painted by my grandmother — or

with Gates as chairman and Brandy as festival

the boxes of curling black and white photographs in

coordinator. They tell of Gates’ first turkey (stuffed

my mother’s office. Yet these pictures, and the lives

and preserved on the wall in their foyer, complete

and memories they represent, stay in those boxes. I

with teeth marks in the neck from Gates’ overeager

have added my own over the years. Memory put away

dog). They talk of Avery, their nine-year-old daughter,

for later, not permanently discarded, but also not

who had been walking through the house as a cat

celebrated. It has been suggested that those boxes are

that week, practicing for a production of Cats with

the beginning of hoarding. It’s an urge I understand.

Thomasville Center for the Arts. “The center is alive,”

But then there is tradition. There is living history.

Brandy says, acknowledging that, as a leader of PWAF,

There is looking into an old picture and seeing myself

she is supporting the classes her daughters adore and

reflected.

attend consistently. Both Avery and Lexi love to ride horses when outside the classroom. They are home

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creators

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creators

on spring break, and their straight blond hair is on the periphery, entering every now and then to whisper in their mother’s ear, pushing back Brandy’s own smooth blond hair to do so. The Kirkhams love to go to the Bradfordville Blues Club, on the outskirts of Tallahassee, any night they can get out, dancing to the blues and jazz music they favor. “You have to go,” said Gates, texting me the address. “When you drive up, it won’t look like a place you’ll want to go in,” he adds laughing. “But it’s great.” Gates pulls out his iPad, showing pictures of himself at music festivals, with several musicians he’s had the privilege to meet. He plays a little guitar too but, as with most casual musicians, he swears he isn’t any good. Brandy laughs about her eldest daughter Lexi’s inevitable rise to the level of a groupie like her husband. Lexi is addicted to her Kindle — reading is her means of escape — claiming she’d have to give that up for Lent if she were Catholic. The 11-yearold loves gardening, too. Brandy lets the music thing exist as something Gates and her daughter share, though she is an admirer. She is excited about the amphitheater coming to downtown Thomasville. “Music can really bring a community together, ” says Brandy. Gates’ tour of the plantation’s land includes descriptions of the scenery as he points to longleaf pines that, when struck by lightning, are harvested for heart pine in the Sinkola Sawmill. He is a tall man, wearing jeans and a long-sleeve button-down shirt with a vest, boots. He seems at home here. He jokes that he is always searching the skies, ready for any hint or echo of a bird. Gates and the others who work on Sinkola maintain the land carefully, creating the ideal habitat for the Bobwhite quail, which is what the region is known for, hunting-wise. Thomasville has one of the highest densities of wild northern Bobwhite quail left in the United States. Gates points out the old, preserved things: the wagon they use for hunting, the electricity-free picnic house where they often have parties. He shows off the new: the repurposed shack that is his Monday night poker hall, the truck 20


creators

they use for rainy day hunts. Owls Nest (a name

children are immersed in the hunting lifestyle, but the

taken from his grandmother’s previous home) is now

parents don’t force this tradition on them, hoping an

the main house on Sinkola, but it wasn’t originally.

interest will develop naturally as they get older.

The original structure is now the main house on a different plantation, as the land has been divided into

The kids’ love of art, however, is encouraged, as Gates

smaller units over time, and is now owned by a family

admits taking it for granted when he was a child. At

member.

PWAF last year, each daughter was allowed to pick one painting to purchase. Lexi’s sold before they were able

Before meeting Gates, Brandy had never been on a

to buy it, but the artist, Amy Poor, sent her another

shoot, but she received a shotgun their first Christmas

version of it for Christmas. This gift, a small painting

together and has since learned how to use it. Gates

of a wren, is indicative of the relationships Brandy

grew up in Cleveland, coming to Sinkola every year

and Gates form with the artists who participate in the

to shoot, and is now the fifth generation of his family

festival, many of whom have become close friends.

to live here. Brandy grew up in Thomasville, but

Gates, as PWAF chairman, has a strong, dedicated

knew little of the plantations framing the town. Their

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team of volunteers, so by the time the weekend comes

was like a mother to Gates. She passed away in 2009,

around in November, he can be a relaxed host, putting

and much of Gates’ passion for the festival is about

out fires where necessary, but mostly making sure

continuing her legacy and honoring this woman who

everyone feels welcome.

Brandy describes as a “real mover and shaker.” Brandy and Gates bring in as many people and companies as

Brandy and Gates are Thomasville. Their passion for

they can to help, both locally and from Tallahassee.

its history and its future are evident in everything

They know that the more people are involved—who

they do for it, and in how excited they are talking

feel a part of the festival — the better it will be, and

about it. The community is one they want to help

the better Thomasville will be for it. Brandy says,

A rt is a r e flect io n o f ou r m e m o r i e s bac k to u s, a r e m i n d e r th at h u m a n i t y fe e ls th e s e d e e pe r co n n ect io n s .

“What we bring to PWAF is our passion for the land, the lifestyle. We want to preserve that, continue it, expose more people to it.” They expose this passion in themselves with their descriptions of the work of Tallahassee paper artist Lucrezia Bieler. On an end table in the sunroom, they have a small framed cutout of a bird, entirely made from one sheet of paper and a tiny pair of scissors. Gates says he discovered her work

preserve and to stimulate. They embody the living

toward the end of last year’s festival and proceeded to

history, the past as useful, harvested, built upon.

show it off to everybody: “If you see the stuff she does

Thomasville has always had a creative edge from the

up close, it’s unreal.”

early days of the northern settlers who came down for the winter. Today that edge is keeping the town

Their mix of old and new expands to the art they

moving forward. The Kirkhams encourage this, while

feature at the festival. They are, again, focused

preserving the past.

on preserving the tradition of wildlife art, which is what they grew up with, and inviting in newer

Their roles as leaders for PWAF let them do that. They

interpretations of it. Brandy offers Curt Butler’s

work to combine the history of the festival, which

The Family Tree as an example of the different

was started 18 years ago by Gates’ second cousin

interpretation of wildlife art. It hangs in their

Margo Bindhardt, with modern Thomasville. Margo

children’s playroom/office, art amidst the life it was

22


Creators

created to represent. The Kirkhams want there to be something for everyone to connect with at PWAF. They want the art to create conversations — to inspire buyers, yes, but also to inspire passion for the art, for the land, for the lifestyle that wildlife art is preserving. The one they love so much. It is hard to capture the exact feeling of knowing, on some larger scale, that we are not alone, that we are a part of the earth and the earth is a part of us. And we are all a part of each other. Yet that’s what art is about. Art is a reflection of our memories back to us, a reminder that humanity feels these deeper connections. When we connect with a piece, it is our memories matching up or squaring off with the artist’s memories. It is us connecting with others who are observing, questioning, discussing the art. It is me, looking at a painting of a land I have never seen before and being confronted with my own feelings of longing. It is me, inhaling the dusty smell of Gates’ sawmill and picturing my uncles’ cabinet shop, the bookshelves they built for me. It is the collections of owl figurines and lamps and plates that remind me of my mother’s classroom where she teaches second grade, always full of stuffed animals and posters and erasers and timers, all in the shape of pigs. The same thing is true of the land; it is a reflection. Maybe this is obvious. Maybe those of you reading this know and understand how the land itself is art. But maybe you forget sometimes. The land is art. Nature is art. We are nature. In the dining room of Owls Nest, an artist painted a mural covering one entire wall. The mural actually hides cabinet doors that, when opened, reveal dishes and serving ware. But when the doors are closed, they show the woods around Sinkola, bringing them into the house. In the middle, off at a distance, is a hunting wagon with a family of four painted onto it: Brandy, Gates, Lexi and Avery. The mural was first, then Brandy and Gates added by an artist friend, and then Lexi and Avery added by another.

Sinkola plantation

sinkola.com Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival

A perpetuation of spirit. A work of art.

pwaf.org 23


PETER CORBIN

PLANTATION WILDLIFE ARTS FESTIVAL FEATURED PAINTER

IN A PAINTING CAREER that has spanned more than 30 years and produced a body of work bearing comparison to the likes of A.B. Frost and Ogden Pleissner, Peter Corbin has established himself as one of the finest American sporting artists of his generation. But while his reputation is based primarily on his meticulously composed scenes of sport — fly fishing and wing shooting in particular — the paintings collected in his portfolio reveal the full range of his talent, the stunning breadth of his reach and vision. Landscapes, portraits of people and dogs, depictions of birds and other wildlife in their natural habitat, equestrian art: these too are realms in which Corbin’s classic style and respectful sensibility have made a lasting mark.

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS The American Museum of Fly Fishing / Manchester, Vermont; Cascade Mountain Winery and Restaurant / Amenia, New York; The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum / Livingston Manor, New York; Dana Corporation / St. Paul, Minnesota; Ella Sharp Museum of Art and History / Jackson, Michigan; Frazer Paper Company/ Bridgeport, Connecticut; John Treiber Agency, Inc. / Mineola, New York; L. L. Bean Inc. / Freeport, Maine; Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum / Wausau, Wisconsin; The National Art Museum of Sport / Indianapolis, Indiana; The Prudential, Giralda Farms / Madison, New Jersey

PETER CORBIN / Fine Sporting Art

81 Fraleigh Hill Road, Millbrook, NY 12545 peter@petercorbin.com 845-677-5020 www.petercorbin.com 24


C E L E B R AT I N G T H E S P O R T I N G L I F E T H R O U G H A R T IN THOMASVILLE, GEORGIA

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES GUTHRIE


We are really protective of what this is and what we all need as individuals for the Treehouse to be.

26


collaborators

A PEEK INSIDE THE TREEHOUSE

Written by

WHETHER IT IS A blanket fort in the living room or a wooden treehouse buried

Madeleine Walker

in the branches of a magnolia, children create a secret place for themselves and

Photographed by

their friends. The makeshift play area becomes a symbol of innocence, a place

Anna Bader and

where anything can be imagined, with nobody to say that imaginations are too big.

Andrew Sisk

Too often, however, the blanket fort is cleaned up, and the treehouse is filled with leaves. We all grow up and leave those intimate, safe spaces for bigger and more competitive spheres. Sometimes, in those spheres, I meet someone who sees my vision or shares my passion. It’s a light bulb moment, and I wish to pull that person into the same kind of space so we can talk for hours. Though for me it is only a desire, Bunny Byrne, Brent Runyon, Haile McCollum, and Michele Arwood make it their reality. They haven’t let that safe space disappear. These Thomasville movers and shakers carve out time every Wednesday to sit next to each other and talk in an old Coca-Cola bottling building that is now Haile’s office space. During their time together, which Haile aptly named the “Idea Treehouse,” they discuss ideas that intrigue them, and their visions for Thomasville. When I get to sit and talk with them, I can’t help but notice the positive dynamics. Their openness and respect for one another is infectious; their confidence and progressive energy, palpable. Haile, an entrepreneur with several successful business ventures under her belt, is the instigator of this creative collective. Haile’s office space seems to mimic an actual treehouse with its warm and secluded atmosphere. She explains that the Idea Treehouse came out of her desire to connect people. “I knew all these people individually and thought that something cool could happen if they were brought together to talk.” Haile wanted to create a space for ideas to flourish without demanding an outcome. There is no agenda. No note taking. Just a sacred space where, for an hour, each individual sheds their work persona and simply gets to be. Listening to them makes me a bit jealous. I want to watch their brains work together because, in the midst of this data and outcome driven world, the

27


collaborators

opportunity to sit with like-minded people for a bit of

Brent explains that most of the furnishings came

time and just ruminate feels like a luxury. These four

from his grandmother, but the artwork is more his

individuals, however, have made it a necessity.

taste. I comment that somehow it all flows together. He shrugs. “This house is all over the place, like I

“We are really protective of what this is and what

am.” It’s this ability to gather the old and the new,

we all need as individuals for the Idea Treehouse to

and produce something distinctive, that really sets

be,” Bunny explains. “We don’t find this anywhere

Brent apart in the Idea Treehouse. He is effective and

else.” She isn’t a native of Thomasville, but I would

forward moving, but with a special reverence for

never have known that from her intense loyalty to

the past.

the town. The creator of the local creative paper Thomasville Townie, Bunny looks like she stepped right

If Haile brings her desire to connect people to the

out of the 1940s, complete with her bouncy blond

Treehouse, Bunny brings her loyalty, Brent brings

bob and sassy talk. When I ask what she writes about

his reverence and effectiveness, then Michele brings

in the Townie, she looks at me with her sharp blue-

the momentum. Executive Director of Thomasville

green eyes and unabashedly says, “I only cover what

Center for the Arts, Michele is passionate about

the cool people should be doing.” When I laugh she

connecting the community and forming a creative

explains, “No really. If I think it’s cool then I will put

web of people. She and I share a nerd moment as

it in there.”

we discover our mutual fascination with creative placemaking and using the arts to improve

When she moved to Thomasville, Bunny found it

communities.

was easy for her to get a sense of who the people of Thomasville are, and what they value. “I think in my

Though for me it is a recent passion, Michele’s strong

paper and my blog I can distill that and make it into

love of community and connections started from a

little edible chunks for people who are not from here.

young age. She remembers being 9 or 10 and playing

I think that there is a perception that everyone here

in the orange grove in her backyard. “I would create

is landed gentry from way back when, and the truth

cities and towns. I’ve always been intrigued by the

is, nobody here cares and that’s why they live here.” I

idea of community. So somehow, I guess I’ve come

realize that Bunny doesn’t care either, and she brings

full circle.” It is that lifelong passion that inspires her

her free spirit, matched by her strong loyalty to

to nurture this Thomasville collective.

Thomasville, into the Idea Treehouse. As I listen to these four creative leaders talk and toss Brent Runyon shares that loyalty to Thomasville,

around ideas, I am reminded of the easy, uninhibited

though he might not voice it as often or as loudly.

conversations of childhood. Idea Treehouse is

Brent, in his position as director of Thomasville

the grown up and realizable version of “playing

Landmarks, preserves the old Thomasville while

community.” I love getting to peek into this space

championing the new. I quickly grasp that this

they have created, to get a glimpse of these creative

juxtaposition of old and new permeates Brent’s

minds and what they each bring to the table.

life. When I walk into his living room, I can’t help but notice the plush Victorian-style couch placed

But the Idea Treehouse is their space. In a

below a piece of artwork painted in primary colors

minute, I’ll get up. I’ll duck out and climb down

with children’s building blocks and sequins. Or

the metaphorical ladder and leave them to their

the arts-and-crafts rocking chair near the pop art

musings. In just a minute I’ll stop listening to them

poster. Or the framed photograph of his great, great

inspire and enjoy the ideas of each other.

grandfather and a mule caravan at the entrance to his Ikea-like kitchen.

28

I promise I’ll leave. In just a minute.


collaborators

I knew all these people individually and thought that something really cool could happen if they were brought together.

29


Discovery is not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes. – Marcel Proust 30


31


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the

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SIMPLY SUSAN

78


trailblazer

Written by

IT’S A RAINY SUMMER day when the big bungalow door swings open and my travel

Michele Arwood

companion, Nan Myers, and I are greeted by a petite blond rockin’ a pair of gym

Photographed by

shorts, T-shirt, and a pony tail tinted with slight traces of pink. One enthusiastic

Rinne Allen

“Hey, y’all!” and we find ourselves inside the home of Susan Hable Smith. She’s the creative force behind Hable Construction, a NYC based textile design business she co-founded with her sister, Katharine Hable Sweeney, almost 15 years ago. It’s a company that has evolved with the times and continued to grow on the founding principles of practicality, sophistication and timelessness. Their fabric lines are represented in interior design showrooms around the world with home and personal accessories marketed through an online shop. The idea of visiting with a design leader who you’ve followed for more than a decade is one thing, but getting to spend a few days living the Hable life is another. She’s at the top of her field in textile design, so we expected her home to be fabulous, of course. But what we really found was an artist living an authentic life in a home layered with the things she loves deeply: her family, an eclectic art collection, trinkets from her travels, nubby textiles, lots of friends, and a garden that’s to die for. She’s known for the bold, hand-drawn abstract patterns that anchor the Hable line, but has started blazing a new trail as a notable watercolorist. Ask her what inspired her to take this new path and she’ll share the story of an unlikely shift from life in the Big Apple to small town life in Athens, Georgia. It was a little more than three years ago when she followed her longtime photographer friend, Rinne Allen, to Athens to shoot photography for the product line. That visit left her charmed by the south and led to a big move for her family. On the second day of our visit, I take a walk through her garden to the historic cottage at the back of her property. It houses her design studio. Painted a deep

79


trailblazer

slate grey, it feels like a work of art itself. I arrive before she does and get a private peek at the layers of large watercolors placed about the room. I’m taken with the simplicity of the space. Rustic whitewashed walls, pops of color from her ink bottles, and scraps of memories pinned to boards. With this visit to the studio I find a space that I’m sure has inspired her new work, but my mind is more on her friends. I’ve met quite a few since I arrived. All seemingly remarkable artists, of one sort or another, who are shaping the Athens art scene and having a certain impact on Susan’s new life and work. We sit in the corner, near a window with a view to the garden. No deep burning questions from me. I’m just looking forward to hearing more about what makes her simply inspiring.

Susan: Let’s sit here. Rinne’s going to join us in a bit. Michele: You two seem so close. Do you know how fortunate you are to have so many amazing friends?

S: I definitely do. When I lived in New York, I had a small group of talented friends who had careers in the decorative arts. None of them were painters. My group of friends here is much wider and more diverse. Here, product developers hang with painters. Photographers hang with musicians. We’re very grateful for one another.

M: So who are some of the people influencing you now?

S: One of my favorite people, Didi Dunphy, lives in Five Points and has a design company called Modern Convenience. She designs cool indoor skateboards. She is just so fabulous! She also works with my friends Carl Martin and Carol John of D.O.C. Unlimited. They run a design-build firm here in Athens. When you meet Carol, you’ll see why she’s a big part of my creative life.

M: For a big city transplant, you seem to have 80


trailblazer

M: So when did you decide to venture out on your own?

S: I started our company when I was in San Francisco. I worked with a woman who had a lot of resources, but no clear direction. I knew I could do what she was doing, but chart a better course for my life. I thought, “I’m easy to be around. I want to create my own environment, and be who I am, and I know there are other people who want that too.” So, honestly that was the driving force. It wasn’t to get my art out into the world. I just wanted to create a wonderful working environment for people who wanted to be there. To show off their talent, do their thing, and then go home at the end of the day without their stomach in knots. adapted well to small town life. You were raised in a

So it happened that I was invited to India with a

small town, did you feel a connection to your creative

friend’s mother. I went for a month and it was life

side when you were young?

changing. I’ve always enjoyed going to places where I don’t know anyone. I think I like the challenge.

S: I’m from a little town, Corsicana, Texas. Throughout my childhood I had great creative

M: India is known for beautiful fabrics, is that when

experiences. I remember two really fabulous artists

your affair with fabric design started?

in town. One was a watercolorist and another was a color specialist who worked in oils. When I was in

S: Yes, right after my trip to India. My sister,

high school a teacher said, “Susan I want to talk with

Katharine, had been at home with twins. They were

your parents about you going to Parsons.” I have

two and a half at the time. She had had too much

really great parents, but when I was ready to fly my

Sesame Street and was also ready to do something.

Dad said, “Forget it, you are not going to New York”.

She’s a dynamic sales person and, when I say that is

He drew a line on the map and said you can’t go to

her thing, I mean that is her THING. When I called

the east coast or the west coast, so what did I do? I

her and said I have this business idea and this is

went to New York to California and back to New York!

what I want to do, she said great, it’s time for me too.

M: When did you get the gumption to fly the coop?

M: Does she share your artistic talent?

S: The minute I graduated from college. I moved

S: No, but she is amazing. We probably wouldn’t

to New York and went to Parsons. It wasn’t entirely

have our company if it wasn’t for her. No matter

what I expected, but I’m glad I had the experience.

what I’ve done, she’s always supported me. She’s the

Then I moved to San Francisco and I went to work.

dream partner. She’s never said “don’t do that” or

For a while I worked in sales because I guess I knew

“I think that’s ugly” or “I don’t think that’s going to

I needed to learn that. I’m super confident, but I

work”. Never. In a way, I’ve had carte blanche. She’s

didn’t have the confidence to pay my rent off of

been open to whatever I wanted to do. That never

my art. At some point I started looking for a new

happens in business and I know how fortunate we

direction and ended up working for really interesting

are. We created our business on a pure kind of love

women who all happened to be entrepreneurs.

for each other. She thought I could do anything, 81


and she gave me the confidence to do it. You know,

something from the Brothers Grimm. It was REALLY

on second thought, I said Katharine’s not artistic,

dark. I walked to the back and there was an area full

but what am I thinking? She’s very artistic, just in a

of old mattresses and junk. It was beautiful to me.

different way. She was in a hospital room giving birth to her son and doing some of our beading from her

M: Manhattan to Brooklyn. That was a leap!

bed. That was crazy! I’m sure anyone who has their own business knows you’ve got to be a little bit crazy

S: It was, but, how else was I going to learn to screen

to do your own thing.

print? I didn’t know how to do that, so I thought let’s go work in a factory. If I wanted to learn how to

M: COMPLETELY. I have a few crazy stories myself!

make chocolate, I’d go work in a chocolate factory. Oh my goodness, it was the craziest two years! No heat,

S: (Laugh) It’s really not normal! There is this burn

no air. Gunshot holes in the windows. Katharine

in you and whatever it is just has to get done. Over

and I looked like old men in the winter wearing long

the years, whenever we would make a little money

sleeves and baggy pants to work. It was great though.

we would upgrade a bit and move to a new space.

We were LEARNING. Eventually, it got to be a bit

For the first two years we did all of the printing by

much. We were ready to learn the next steps for our

hand and made everything ourselves. Eventually,

business, so we moved our printing to Rhode Island.

we moved our business from Manhattan to Brooklyn

During that time we also had two retail stores. Our

because I had a couple of dreams about screen

company is 14 years old. I would say in the first ten

printing. In my dreams I’m hearing, “you know how

years, it was like going to school. We tried new things

to paint, Susan. Why aren’t you screen printing,

and did everything we thought we should.

Susan?”

M: 10 years is a long time to be schooled. It’s also M: In a dream?

rare for a new creative business to survive that long. What do you think made the difference?

S: Yes, in a dream! I told my sister, “Don’t think I’m crazy. I had this dream and we’ve got to start screen

S: During that time, business was really good. It

printing. My back hurts from ironing so we’ve got to

wasn’t until the economy took a turn that we saw

do something else.” So I went to visit this factory in

how fortunate we were. We were in New York, we

Redhook. There was this old curmudgeon of a guy -

had cash flow, we had retail stores, and the internet

short, big ears, cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

hadn’t taken off yet. At that time, it really wasn’t a

His name was Bob. The factory would remind you of

business element for us. Five years ago we had a web

82


site, but even then we didn’t rely on it for sales. Then

our visit, I would paint or draw and Rinne would

when everything crashed around us, other people

take pictures. Everything we did there seemed to be

had web sites and we had retail overhead.

about color. We didn’t expect it to become anything in particular. We ended up publishing our images in a

M: So it was the “crash” that inspired your next step?

little limited edition book that is actually a collection of tear away posters. One side is her work, the other

S: It was. That was when we decided to rethink our

side is mine. Some people have framed them. Others

business and we moved our family to Athens. I think

have kept the book together. It’s very quiet on the

it’s also how I finally came into my own as an artist.

outside with lots of color on the inside. We plan to do

Sort of like Phoenix rising. I believe fate happens. The

more, but every time it will be a little different. We’re

Hable business has always followed an unexpected,

building up our coffers now. We decided we would

but timely path. It’s bizarre how it has all turned out.

put our money in a pot and whatever profits we

When I moved here, I was scared half to death. But

make we will set aside to print another book.

it was energizing and I got on the phone and started making new things happen for Hable. We partnered

Like all great conversations, this one took a big turn

with Hickory Chair on an exclusive fabric collection

when I asked what could possibly be next for her.

and I started learning what the fabric mills were

Not a second of a pause and I learn the answer.

about. They started asking us to design collections

SUPER EXCITING! I can’t tell you here though. It

for them. Then we did another exclusive branded

might spoil it for her. Let’s just say it’s a natural next

design for one mill, and then another, and then we

step and she’ll be blazing another new trail by doing

entered this new world in the contract industry and

something she simply loves. With creative friends

the hospitality field. We’ve gone from selling fabrics

around her, I’m sure.

to designers and decorators for residential use to licensing our designs.

Hable Construction

hableconstruction.com

M: So do you still screen print your textile designs? S: Yes, our Hable line is now exclusively hand silk screened. We may digitally print one day, but we plan to continue to do what we are doing for a while. We also have our fabric by-the-yard business, products that are all made in the U.S., a partnership with Fabricut, and a contract line of outdoor endurance fabrics with Momentum.

M: Not much going on. Is that it?!?! S: NOOOOO! My friend, Rinne Allen, and I have a project called Colorset 3. We’re developing a book that we’ve been working on for 800 years! She started shooting the photography for the Hable line about eight years ago when my daughter, Bird, was in my belly. We’ve always wanted to do something for ourselves, together. Something fun that isn’t tied to a paycheck. Colorset started when we went to visit Tate Mountain. It’s so natural and beautiful there. During 83


RIDING SHOTGUN

Written by

Lust is blind early this week and might come masquerading as true love. Wait until Friday

Lawren Gabrielle McCord

(at least!) before tweeting that you’ve just met The One.

Photographed by Rinne Allen

THIS LINE FROM MY horoscope had me looking forward to the weekend. I was

Madison Booth

extra friendly to everyone I encountered, leaving no phone call unanswered or text

Meghan Davis

message unseen. I did find love that weekend. It was a love that I had been denying,

Dena Dixon

right in front of my face for the last 26 years. I fell in love with the South. With oldfashioned Southern traditions, agriculture, rustic beauty, a close-knit community and the simplicity of a region that is both preserved and adapted.

A SWEET SOUTHERN START Homemade creamy grits, buttery cake-like blueberry muffins, frittatas bursting with the flavor of charred garden veggies, juicy fresh-cut strawberries and cups of Colorado coffee. All spread on an antique butcher block table. Brunch is served.

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FOODIES

Carol Whitney looks over, “Aren’t you glad you’re

go outside. She thought it was dangerous.” Outgoing

not covering a fitness story?” There I was sitting

Carol immediately made friendly connections and

at one of the best breakfasts in town with the two

fell in love with the natural beauty of the red hills

women who have been known to stir up a feverish

region and the longleaf pines. Not only did her new

excitement when it comes to securing seats around a

hometown provide stunning riding trails, she was also

dinner table: Nan Myers and Carol Whitney, creators

an hour and a half away from kayaking on the coast.

of Thomasville’s Shotgun Supper Club. These two

Carol was also taken with the convenient high quality

women have come together to create a unique dining

sources of food in the community. “Our growing

experience — one that supports local farmers and

season is year round. I can grow summer vegetables

food artisans — all from the foundation of a

‘til Thanksgiving in my backyard.”

friendship centered around their love of homegrown and handmade.

Carol knows about fresh foods, having been raised on the coast and in a family immersed in cuisine.

Nan welcomes us into her home and pours us rounds

While growing up, she regularly caught seafood and

of coffee. Carol tells us about the frittatas in the oven

rarely experienced a day that didn’t end with family

and the ingredients she has grown and gathered. The

dinner around the table. Yet Carol was amazed by

sweet, grassy taste of the spring artichokes made

Thomasville’s natural resources and outstanding

them the best I have ever had.

agriculture. She will tell you that she was once showered with fresh red bell peppers and peanuts

Carol, born in Savannah, moved to Thomasville 15

while driving down the road in her old convertible.

years ago. Her friends joked that she was moving

Then she will admit the experience was the result of

to the equator. “It might as well have been. It was

driving behind a produce truck. Nevertheless, while

July and 100 degrees. My corgi, Adeline, would not

in pursuit, she thought, “Where is it going? I want it.”

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Carol keeps me in stitches with her witty Whitney

home. “Every meal was at that table—breakfast,

one-liners. Every word comes out of her mouth with

lunch and dinner—unless my dad packed my lunch.

a smile. She looks into the distance as she recalls a

He would write ‘Nan 10th grade’ on the bag.” As a

memory. I can see her revisiting that moment in

teenager in high school she would remind him, “You

her mind.

don’t have to write my name. That is so not cool. I

PLEASED TO BE SEATED

have a locker.” Her father’s so invested in this table that everyone in the family can perfectly mimic the

Born and raised in Thomasville, Nan Myers is a part

face he made whenever milk was accidentally spilled

of the fifth generation of McCollums in town. Nan is

on it. “We are lucky we didn’t carve our names in it.”

ridiculously friendly and soft spoken. She is modest when it comes to speaking of her own creativity but

The table is an excellent example of Nan’s father’s

can share family stories for hours. A vegetarian for

love for antiques, a passion the two share, which

seven years, she had a change of heart when it came

led to the opening of Firefly in 1996. “I was young,

to her grandmother Weezie’s (“Louise, my cousin

ignorant and blissful, and it didn’t even occur to me

could not say his L’s”) cornbread stuffing. Today, in

that I couldn’t do it. What I didn’t realize at the tender

her home, every meal with her sons and husband

age of 24 was that it was really a clever ploy on my

is around their table — unless they are out at a ball

dad’s part to get his youngest daughter on this side of

game. Memories of her family around the dinner table

the world again.”

and the personalized school lunches from her father, Paul, are clear in her mind.

Nan’s father’s response to Shotgun Supper Club was, “What? How much? No one will ever pay that.” He

The family dinner table, a late 17th century walnut

went. He loved it. “He was borderline giddy for days

table, is the oldest piece of furniture in Nan’s parent’s

after and now likes to conjure up locations for the

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FOODIES

next one.” Nan has received letters from neighbors

mixture of people tied together by good food. After

grateful for the best experience in Thomasville and

guests purchase tickets online, the dinner location

she has been stopped while grocery shopping to hear,

is announced only to those ticket holders in order to

“We are still talking about Shotgun Supper Club. But

protect the privacy of the host and maintain a certain

we don’t want to talk too much in fear of missing out

air of mystery.

on a ticket.”

OH TASTE AND SEE

Any day of the week, you can find Thomasville locals

While enjoying lunch in town, I am not shocked to

at each other’s homes, gathering for dinner and

find myself seated next to Nan Myers’ neighbor, Clay

coffee, or enjoying wine and cheese together. I

Campbell. Clay has had tickets to all of the dinners.

witnessed firsthand, downtown passersby greeting

Predicting the longevity of the club, Clay assures me

one another by first name. Shotgun Supper Club is

that the Pebble Hill dinner will go down in the top 10.

SHOTGUN SUPPER CLUB IS ABOUT GATHERING FOLKS WHO APPRECIATE LOCALLY-SOURCED FOOD PREPARED BY INCREDIBLY TALENTED SOUTHERN CHEFS IN A BEAUTIFUL SETTING. about gathering folks who appreciate locally-sourced

“It was the best meal ever, a phenomenal meal, one

food prepared by incredibly talented Southern chefs in

you could not find anywhere. Carol and Nan stepped

a beautiful setting.

it up with this one. It was fun being out in the woods eating grass-fed beef.” His favorite dish was the

“We wanted to do something different and embrace

Sweet Grass Dairy Farm egg with potato purée, and

home. There is so much to highlight. We are

mushrooms layered and served in a mason jar.

surrounded by food and beautiful settings. Sometimes we forget – even when we are tuned in – how

Once, Clay was driving down the road and

tremendous our own backyards are.” Carol works

immediately pulled over when he received a Supper

the logistics of the events while Nan carries out the

Club alert on his phone. The number of available

presentations. At the drop of a dime, Nan can list out

tickets trickled down from 40 to 30 to 9 as he tapped

a range of blooms. “I just assumed everyone knew

away at his phone. I joke with him, thinking what

their plant material like maidenhair fern and Ville de

a sight it would have been if he looked through his

Nantes camellias. My mom has always had a beautiful

windshield, after pulling over, to see two other cars

garden. So did my grandmother. She had the most

idling in front of him, phones in hand, doing the same.

charming, beautiful backyard arrangements you’ve ever seen.”

Clay explains another time. “I was sitting on my sofa. My friend called me. It must have sold out in

Forty ticket-holders gather around a table illuminated

15 minutes. I bought four tickets.” Clay made a fist

by candlelight — a unique treasured setting to

and playfully tapped it on the counter, “I would fight

which most do not normally have access. It is a

somebody over a ticket to the Shotgun Supper Club.” 87


FOODIES

Nan is confident about what makes the Supper Club

Pastures’ grass-fed beef; two-and-a–half-inch rib eyes;

so special. “Visiting chefs are treated like rock stars

and vegetables gathered from local farmers. Meals

(nice rock stars) with the hope that these weekends

were paired with wines from Sweet Grass Dairy. A

will be as much fun for them as they are for Supper

spring supper focused on the Gulf Coast with a menu

Club attendees. The idea is to work hard but play

of deviled farm eggs, chicken liver mousse, pickled

even harder with activities like skeet shooting, a

shrimp and Louisiana crawfish. Future dinners trigger

visit to the favorite local watering hole, and private

a great deal of excitement.

accommodations and entertainment in our homes.”

GOOD FOOD. BEAUTIFUL SCENERY.

Following the first dinner, Nan and Carol quickly

The dinner bell is the distinct sound of the racking

realized they had neither the time nor the will to cook

and firing of a shotgun by the host of the private

the meals themselves. Hence the ladies, who work full

dinner location. Carol hopes “people go home with

time jobs, feel fortunate to have been in the company

information and we like to think that they are

of such amazing talents as Chef Whitney Otawka,

ordering beef from White Oaks, appreciating wine

formerly of Farm 255 and now with Hugh Acheson

at Sweet Grass Dairy, picking up spring lettuce,

at Cinco y Diez, and Chefs Sarah O’Kelley and Chris

increasing bonds with farmers. Sweet Grass Dairy

Stewart of Charleston’s Glass Onion. These chefs have

Farm is a huge contributor to the community and the

set a deliciously high standard.

food movement in this part of the state; the owners and staff are so modest and talented.”

Past menus of Shotgun Supper Club have included free range heirloom pigs (fed cheese whey and oak

With two entrances to their secret supper location,

acorns) raised by Sweet Grass Dairy Farm; White Oak

Carol and Nan include directions on how to maneuver

88


WE ARE SURROUNDED BY FOOD AND BEAUTIFUL SETTINGS. SOMETIMES WE FORGET – EVEN WHEN WE ARE TUNED IN – HOW TREMENDOUS OUR OWN BACKYARDS ARE. down the mile-long drive on an unpaved mud road

With folk cooking things

into the plantation. Along the drive, guests observe

That melt in your mouth

one of the largest compositions of virgin longleaf pine. After days of rain, riding down this mud road

I realized that a connection to Southern tradition was

we experienced some hair-raising slipping and

what was missing from my own life these last few

sliding. Misty fog lingers in the air. The trees are a

years. I was missing the natural settings all around,

lush, vivid green, like a watercolor painting. “If we

in our own backyard — the ones that we tune out as

had a chef here we would be doing things like this,”

we focus on our advancement in our daily routine

showing them the preserved beauty of the habitable

and reach for bigger city success. What was missing

wilderness. Box Hall Plantation was once owned by

was addressing everyone by name as we pass each

Nan’s godmother. She remembers the dinner table

other on the sidewalk. What was missing was my

where she stepped on a buzzer beneath the table and

connection with the simplicity of nature, natural

wonderful food, like caramel cakes, would arrive.

growing vegetables from a vine, trees rooted for decades, plants that grow from a fire’s aftermath

Carol is quick to point out natural beauty. A leaf that

making the land just as beautiful as it was in its

has fallen and collected small buds within its curls,

original state, flowers and bushes framing landscapes,

spring ferns rising from the ashes of a prescribed

and the inevitable sense of community that

burn. The knot in a tree that has been struck by

organically grows from gathering around a thoughtful

lightning and the pileated woodpecker now making

dinner table.

his home there. Firefly

So, here I am now, trying to share all of this with you

125 S Broad Street

— but not too much. Driving down Highway 33, I hear

Thomasville, GA

the lyrics to Hoagie Carmichael’s Moon Country.

fireflyhome.com

I long for that old country

Announcements for the Shotgun Supper Club are

That good for the soul country

posted in the Firefly newsletter. 89


Industrial Dr

90

Squa re A rt P ark

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ll D

The G rain Hop / Yard All Sain ts Ferm e Loun ntation ge/C ider Lodg e

ing t ree

the s har

Rail roa d

FSU Mus eum of f ine arts

’s e e s s a h lla a ub T h d e n v i u t o Ar crea

W Call St

All Saints St

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As a Georgian, I know that Southern life encompasses more than Sunday church, barbecue sandwiches, sweet tea and antiquing. Yet, I still wasn’t prepared for what I found just an hour’s drive from downtown Thomasville in Tallahassee’s arts and culture center. There I discovered a mix of Soho’s art scene, Berkeley’s diversity and Sesame Street’s attitude. Boom went the sound of my mind being blown. Fauvism jungle

1

Red, blue and purple stairs lead to Tony Demaria’s office where a seasoned Venice Beach-esque hippie is eating mustard leaves from a baggie. Though this isn’t Tony, he does give me a leaf, which tastes like mild arugula. The actual Tony, Railroad Square Art Park’s manager, with polo shirt tucked into belted jeans, beckons me to see blueprints for the park’s future. Sounding like an electric typewriter, he rattles off the 10-year history behind stimulus dollars that will fund Written by Nikki Igbo

new traffic roundabouts, high end studio space, a dog

Photographed by Meghan Davis and Jay Bowman

park, interactive water fountains and more. My eyes 91


Placemakers

cross a little, but I don’t think Tony notices. He sees what I can’t, a masterpiece in the making. I ask Tony how he landed in this community of 90s day-glo tin buildings. He tells me about all of his years spent punching corporate clocks and collecting pay stubs. It was a familiar, dependable boredom that kept him from his lifelong romance with multi-colored portrait painting until he opened Right On! A Railroad Square Art Gallery. I’m shocked. I can’t believe he paints. He doesn’t even Facebook. But as he rushes me out the door, past tomato plants growing from red Dixie cups, to tour the grounds in his golf cart, I realize that this community has become his canvas. Instead of acrylics, Tony blends galleries, herbal shops, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Buddhists, belly dancers and classic arcades. Just as an artist promotes a subject with his creation, Tony coordinates events, attracts new tenants and organizes area improvements to promote Railroad Square. When I ask about his favorite activity, he tells me it’s riding around in his groovy golf cart. He says this with a bad boy grin and I catch a glimpse of the finger painter just below the surface. He sprinkles “right on” and “groovy” throughout his description of his community’s future. The population will boom. The golf cart will be painted a safari pattern of burnt

2

Combines in Blue and Green I stare at a sky blue sign in The Sharing Tree’s window

orange, olive, sepia and celeste opaco. Tony will

which states “Trash is the failure of imagination.” The

somehow supercharge the cart’s motor so that he can

sign features red and green soda can tops, yellow

successfully pop wheelies.

flowers with button centers and stems made of sheet music strips. My inner crafter turns back handsprings.

Railroad Square Art Park 694-2 Industrial Drive Tallahassee, FL railroadsquare.us

Carly Sinnadurai, executive director of The Sharing Tree, approaches with her gurgling 3-month-old baby boy in tow. She’s all smiles, slim frame and blond hair, fingernails painted to match the blues and greens of the shop’s walls. She speaks with an impossibly relaxed voice, as if she’s always prepared to hear a joke and laugh in response. We walk through The Sharing Tree’s front room past shelves of cardstock, buttons, ribbons, plastic bottles and cork as she talks about her youth in Minnesota. It’s easy to picture her as a little girl crafting board games out of cardboard, construction paper and wooden clothespins picked up at a similar reusable resource center in St. Paul. It’s funny how life mixes

92


like This work , ons, is i t a e r c ’s y l Car niting u f o t c u d o a pr urces o s e r t h g i r the ple . o e p t h g i r e with th

memory and experience into a personal constant. Two decades later, here Carly is in Railroad Square replaying her childhood and making a living doing it. As we stroll into the workshop, Carly recounts the long days spent studying how to build a business out of creating and teaching recycled art. She describes partnerships with local non-profits, businesses, Leon County and the school district as I notice two-liter bottle cap murals, toilet roll flowers and art tissue butterflies with paper clip antennae. Carly leads me outside to a mural of giant wildflowers along the shop’s outer wall. This work, like Carly’s creations, is a product of uniting the right resources with the right people. I imagine a combo of paint–spattered hands and brushes lacquering the tin metal wall in the Florida sun. the sharing tree 617 Industrial Drive Tallahassee, FL thesharingtreefl.org

93


Happenings on All Saints Street

3

Just around the corner from Railroad Square, All Saints Neighborhood is transforming. Old two and a half story wooden homes and masonry vernacular (a style of brickwork exclusive to Tallahassee circa 1930s) industrial spaces are being repurposed, revived. This creative shift is an effort where there is no audience, only willing participants in flux with a common spirit. This united energy says no to big box stores muscling in, and says yes to local artwork hanging in

I note a drive in Ely, perhaps a seed planted by his

its bars and restaurants. It gathers for evening drinks

Thomasville restaurateur parents or political science

at Fermentation Lounge, snacks on Irish nachos and

degree. He wants to leave the world better than he

chats with swoon-worthy Ely Mathes, The Grain co-

found it, build fellowship. He could be canoeing with

owner who has the audacity to be embarrassed by his

his girlfriend or navigating local bike trails but he’s

brief stint as a Tommy Hilfiger model.

not. He’s working with Will, and Tyler Thomas of Fermentation Lounge, on the restaurant, beer garden,

I feel this energy as I sample Chef (and The Grain co-

the neighborhood and the annual Oktoberfest and

owner) Will Thompson’s daily bruschetta and resist

Springtoberfest.

the urge to bat my lashes at Ely. Ely, in turn, swipes renegade hair from his eye as he explains plans for All

After wandering around inside the Coca-Cola

Saints Hop Yard. The outdoor beer garden is located

building, I meet Tyler at Fermentation Lounge. Tyler

one block down from The Grain in what was once a

is the hipster movement personified and he’s got the

Coca-Cola distribution center and hosts a number

handlebar moustache to prove it. When I ask how he

of events including concerts, film screenings, voter

maintains his curved whiskers he gives me the skinny

rallies, fundraisers and sports promotions. As they

on his heat-resistant pomade preference. His ‘stache

expand the Hop Yard, they will convert the graffiti-

care is crucial because he often uses this accessory to

covered building into a 150-seat restaurant with a

express himself. When a patron is ready to settle up,

full bar.

Tyler flips his mustache down into the “sad” position.

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Placemakers

ron is When a pat ettle ready to s lips his f r e l y T , p u n into w o d e h c a must si t i o n . the sad po It’s been four and a half years since Tyler began barkeeping at Fermentation Lounge. He thought it would be a brief part-time gig. Now he operates both the bar and Cider Lodge, the bar’s exclusive nano brewery. He discusses the bar’s monthly events to benefit charities. He describes the way Bob Williams, owner of SRSLY Chocolate Bar in the rear of Cider Lodge, makes chocolate from cocoa beans. He speaks with a lift of his eyebrows. Excitement about All Saints Street, his business and his friends radiates off of him. I could easily down shots with this guy. Tyler takes me to Cider Lodge and we pass through the nano-brewery. I inhale the sticky-sweet scent of lemon as we discover Wes Railey in the midst of handmaking candy. Tyler and I watch with kindergarteners’ eyes as Wes, owner of Railey’s Confectionary, stretches the hot sugar into wedge-shaped treats. Along with taste testing the bar’s menu, watching Wes make candy is one of Tyler’s favorite activities. He often does both for hours on end. We hold out our hands to accept the warm sweets. Yes, that just happened. The Grain/All Saints Hop Yard 112 All Saints Street Tallahassee, FL allsaintshopyard.com Fermentation Lounge/Cider Lodge 113 All Saints Street Tallahassee, FL thefermentationlounge.com/blog 95


4

Large, Lush Color Fields Backpacked students amble down Call Street past FSU Museum of Fine Arts and I try to recall if my alma mater had an art museum on campus. Nope. I think of how these kids have no idea what they have as I introduce myself to Viki Thompson Wylder, the museum’s curator of education. The silver-haired lady has a motherly mystique about her and I can’t resist hugging her. She embraces me with a gentle yet firm squeeze before ushering me through the corridors of the 16,000-square-foot art space. Viki loves this place and it shows as she describes some of the 5,000+ pieces of contemporary Native American, South American, African and German art included in the museum’s permanent collection. For the past 25 years, since the museum’s exhibition of Judith Chicago’s Dinner Party, Viki has played a huge role in acquisition and setting the tone for visitors. She rejects the notion of the museum as some sterile sanctuary where it’s quiet enough to hear mice pee on cotton and security guards draw down on any visitor standing within a foot of the art. Rather, she believes that art is to be discussed, interacted with and absorbed into one’s thought process. We high-five in agreement. Viki continues to show me a Picasso lithograph, 1970s arpilleras, and a study drawn by her beloved Judith Chicago. Before my excursion ends, Viki explains Trevor Bell’s work. An immigrant from England, Bell was so impressed with Florida that he stayed on as an FSU professor. After watching space shuttles blast off at Cape Canaveral, Bell created Rising Heat and Light Pillar, two larger than life, trapezoidal color field paintings in tropical hues of orange, pink, periwinkle, yellow and green. As Viki recounts this with a sweep of her arms and laughing eyes, I recognize Tallahassee. Just like Bell’s rocket depictions, something huge is taking off here and it’s a beautiful thing to see. FSU Museum of fine arts 530 West Call Street Tallahassee, FL mofa.fsu.edu

96 96


Placemakers

es art v e i l e viki b s s e d, u c s i d e h and is to b t i w d ct e int era one’ s o t n i d e absorb process . t though

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innovator

Written by Sybil McLain-Topel

Color is all. When color is right, form is right. Color is everything, color is vibration like music; everything is vibration. — Marc Chagall

Photographed by Jay Bowman and Page von Roenn

LIGHT JUMPS IN AND out of the ripples of the pool. The diver ascends the platform steps, prepares for the precise plunge. Over and over, practice every day, twice a day, until muscle memory takes over and the Olympic trials of which he dreams feel as real as the gritty concrete edge of the pool. It’s the early 1970s — the Vietnam War invades every young man’s American dream and influences lifelong decisions early. For Kenn von Roenn, the ambitious Florida State University (FSU) diver on the platform, an injury and a coincidence conspire to take him from the diving pool to a very different place — a stained glass studio where he works to pay surgery bills from the injury. “All this hit when I was 21 years old. Everything came into focus and all the pieces fit together for the first part of my life at the beginning of my career,” Kenn says. Instead of a back-up plan to attend law school, he created a new career — fusing glass art with architecture. “I built 44 years on that very simple foundation.” Appointed as executive director for FSU’s Master Craftsman Studio earlier this year, Kenn von Roenn has embarked on a terrific opportunity. Leaving his studio in Louisville is bittersweet, but his life and business partner, Ursula Vourvoulis, encouraged him. Kenn’s overarching artistic philosophy was formed during an era of political protest, a time when many people questioned the status quo, including those who felt excluded from the insider world of fine art. During the Vietnam anti-war protests, the idea surfaced that art could not be owned, could not be resold, and should not be a collectible commodity. The time was right to reframe the artistic experience in terms of the individual viewer.

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Over the years, Kenn has made a profound

1966. I inherited the painting and searched for several

commitment to increasing art in public spaces, not

years for its origin, finally uncovering that Stability,

tucking installations away in sterile museums and

1936, resides in a private collection in Germany.

private collections. Working with FSU students is

And here’s the most interesting fact that links this

a natural extension of this philosophy. “The most

to Kenn’s studio — the original is painted on glass.

fundamental aspect of what I do is really based on

Naturally, I wish I could see it, but it’s tucked away

the philosophy of art in built spaces, in community

in someone’s home. I zealously agree with Kenn’s

spaces,” Kenn says. “As artists, we do things that go

aspirations for more public art installations. In fact, I

far beyond ourselves and touch lives for many years

discovered I had often walked right past one of

to come.”

his sculptures.

“In the art world of the 70s, art became more about

As I pored over his website looking at hundreds of

the few people in the world who controlled the value

photographs, I was surprised to find there’s one in

of art. Public art is so completely different from that.

Nashville in front of the Davidson County Court

Its value is determined by what it means to people

House. This is a place I’ve been frequently — not for

and how it makes that environment more pleasant

traffic tickets — for business development visits and

and meaningful.”

downtown music festivals on the plaza.

Art has played a stronger role in my life than I

At any rate, I vaguely remember the work, Citizen,

realized — in just the terms Kenn describes. My father

2010, created controversy because it was “modern.” I

dabbled in oils and acrylics, once laboriously copying

read the description and realize for the first time the

a Kandinsky he saw in the Guggenheim Museum in

translucent pointing man can be lit up at night by

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Glass is the most phenomenal material on the face of the earth...It’s almost like alchemy. It’s majestic.

passersby if they follow instructions at the sculpture’s

Kenn also directs FSU’s new public architectural

base. A crank turn causes LED lights inside the torso

art program. Both programs aim to broaden public

to burn bright blue, like electric veins. A nod to Alan

understanding of art that works in tandem with

Jackson’s neon lights on Broadway a few blocks

architecture. Now that I’ve gotten a feel for the fun

over, maybe? That’s pretty cool. But wait — I lived

and whimsy he can create, I’d like to see more.

in Nashville for more than 20 years and I just now find out about this? And how? By moving to Atlanta,

“Glass is the most phenomenal material on the face of

traveling to Thomasville, then to Tallahassee, and

the earth. It’s made from the most common material

talking to a man who lived in Louisville.

on earth, sand, through a very simple process of heat. By combining two or three other materials, this

Now that I understand how to turn on those lights,

new material is created. It’s almost like alchemy. It’s

trust me, next time I’m in Music City I’m planning to

majestic,” he says.

crank it up. The lights on the statue of course. This is exactly the type of interaction with art that’s Kenn’s

The installation I most want to see weighs 550,000

goal. “The value of public art is determined by how

pounds and is part of the structure of a high rise in

people relate to it. You should not have to wait for

Charlotte, North Carolina, at Three Wells Fargo Center.

some authority to tell you it’s a great work of art,” he

This fascinates me because of the size and because it

says.

integrates completely with the structure.

In addition to joining the studio team at a nascent

Having worked with architects for five years, I can

time, as they make plans to build a new space that

only imagine the meetings they had during the design

will be six times larger than their current space,

document phase. The emphasis on collaboration 101


innovator

requires a leader with just the right amount of ego to guide the project forward and stay on schedule, but not the kind of “starchitect” that rubs people the wrong way. Kenn seems to have just the right blend of confidence and leadership. It’s easy to imagine him playing with his four grandchildren and letting them go to his studio to play. He becomes as enthusiastic as one of them as he describes the Charlotte installation. “It’s a glass sculpture integrated into the building. It rises 50 feet on all four sides then drops 20 feet. The glass has a kinetic quality that changes light as the sun changes position in the sky, as the viewer moves around”. “The glass sculpture is part of the fabric of the building. If you took that away, the building would be infinitely less. It’s the world’s largest glass sculpture and it came in two months ahead of schedule and 20 percent below budget. This is something every client wants to hear and valuable for students to learn early in their careers as artists,” he says.

new glass art techniques. They’re popular for commemorating historic moments. While we’re there,

Master Craftsman Studio serves as a professional

she takes a call about a future installation, which

atelier where work includes sculpture, statuary,

gives me a moment to ponder why cobalt blue always

ornamental work, stained glass, cast stone, cast

resonates with me. It’s the incredible Marc Chagall

metals, molding processes, advanced computer

stained glass windows at the Art Institute of Chicago,

technologies, and business processes.

which I’ve enjoyed on a number of trips to the city. Sarah and I return to her studio space where she tells

When I first met with Sarah Coakley, the studio’s

me how she came to be at the studio.

event coordinator for the past five years, she sported a necklace made from dark glass hearts held together

“I took a glass workshop, three days. I could see what I

with silver chains. Her mission is part business, part

was doing in painting could transfer to glass. You can

art — and she’s just as savvy about one as she is the

use powder to paint on glass — no more leaded lines

other. The center stone reads in bold white letters of

like in stained glass,” she says. “We had an iron pour

fused glass, “buy art.” Sarah is self-effacing about her

and I’m showing my friend Nancy what I’m doing in

role in convincing Kenn to return to his alma mater in

the glass workshop and she grabs my elbow, looks

a leadership role. “We’re going to be such a presence

me in the eyes and says, ‘It’s like the mother ship has

in large-scale, local art,” she says. “Kenn is a perfect

called you home at last.’” Now it’s time to put what

match for us.”

she’s learned into action at a higher level and she’s thrilled Kenn joined the studio.

When Sarah leads us to FSU’s historic Dodd Hall to view modern stained glass seals honoring alumni,

A lot has changed since Kenn von Roenn practiced

her enthusiasm takes over. She points to new seals

dives. For one thing, the pool he remembers is gone.

recently installed in the middle of each cobalt blue

But he’s still dreaming big dreams. And with his 44-

stained window, explaining how they incorporate

year track record of completing projects across the

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country, it’s a safe prediction that FSU will win big in the long run. Kenn’s been explaining his vision for the studio when I ask him to talk more about his early career. He’s just told me the diving story and there’s an instant connection for me between light reflected in the water in the pool and light shining through colored glass. Water and glass. “They are both transparent, but also liquid. Light passes through them and yet they also have some characteristics of being a solid,” he says. “Subconsciously maybe there was a connection. I never thought about it that way before.” That’s the way great collaborations work. Ideas fuel one another as artists share their dreams. This time, not only will clients win, many students will get a crack at collaborating with a man who understands glass, light and how to create beautiful art that merges with architecture. Master Craftsman Studio

905 West Gaines Street Florida State University Tallahassee, FL craft.fsu.edu 103


SCAD–Atlanta Concept team

LISTEN. COLLABORATE. CREATE. For us, SCAD Atlanta photographers, designers and writers, art is everything. It is our tried and true form of personal expression. It is our pathway to clarity, our mode of finding meaning, our chance to relate on the world front. We can’t see ourselves being anything but the artists we aspire to be. We don’t want to either. That’s why we sought a university that not only promotes art, but also champions the notion of making a good living from art. SCAD offers the aggregate of professors, curriculum and unique experiences we need to be equipped for the road ahead. When collaborative projects like Thom come along, we see them as opportunities that echo all of the great things we’ve discovered during our academic journey. We listen, share, visualize and create with the understanding that our commitment to a job well-done, coupled with the chance to work with enthusiastic partners, is big, beautiful and promising. After all, we’re doing what we love and we don’t see anything hard about true love. Thom’s development was art in motion – combining the right elements to reach and inspire hearts. All it took was a little elbow grease, countless emails, thousands of shots of photography, 20 pimento cheese sandwiches, a handful of Skype sessions, a few edits, and some road trips to Thomasville. We’re proud of what we’ve created together and we hope you see why.

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Contributing Artists Clay Byars is a southern art kid

Currently finishing his BFA in

fascinated by technical mastery

Graphic Design at SCAD-Atlanta,

and things that go vroom! During

Trey Veal sees his choice to become

the day he teaches branding and

a designer as more of a lifestyle

the subtle powers of serifs, and in

than a career. He feels the need to

the evenings likes to draw stick figures with glowsticks

make sure every aspect of life is well designed and

in front of his camera. He posts his work at byarsclay.

functioning properly. Architecture holds a special

wordpress.com.

place in his heart and he hopes to eventually return to SCAD and earn a second BFA in Interior Design. To see his work or get in touch, visit treysveal.com. Nikki Igbo is a freelance writer and editor who is currently enrolled in the MFA Writing program at

Gabriel Hanway, a native of

Savannah College of Art and

Tallahassee, was given his first

Design (SCAD). She serves as the

camera at the age of 12. He

Opinions Editor for The Connector, SCAD’s weekly online newspaper and SCAN, SCAD’s quarterly print

graduated from the University of Georgia and the International

magazine. She is also an on-air personality at SCAD

Center of Photography in New York City. He continued

Atlanta Radio. nikigbo.com

his training by assisting London and New Yorkbased celebrity photographer Jason Bell. Gabriel’s photographic interests vary, but he has always been

Jay Bowman is an Atlanta artist

fascinated with the unique landscape and culture of

who describes himself as “a writer

North Florida and South Georgia. gabrielhanway.com

who uses a camera to tell stories” which he has done for the last 10 years. Jay is presently on track to

Catherine Westerfield is a recent

earn a Masters of Fine Art in the Spring of 2014 from

SCAD Atlanta graphic design

Savannah College of Art and Design.

graduate. She was part of the SCAD Concept Team and continued with Thom as a freelance designer. She

Having a long-standing desire

is currently working as a graphic designer for an ad

to become a professional

agency in Columbus, Georgia. catwestdesign.com

photographer, Abby Caroline Mims obtained a degree in Commercial Photography in 2006. After

Amber Grim is a recent SCAD

beginning her entrepreneurial endeavor in the Atlanta

Atlanta graduate with a BFA in

area, she returned to her roots in South Georgia.

Graphic Design. She has been

Abby has a love for photographing architecture

passionate about design from a

and interiors as well as a passion for portraiture of

very young age, and continues to

children and families. She believes small businesses

follow that passion today as a freelance designer for

are the backbone to successful communities and

Cartoon Network in Atlanta, Georgia. ambergrim.com

takes pride in promoting her commercial clients through her photography. abbycaroline.com

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Elisabeth Ireland Poe Gallery


THOM Issue 1 - Fall 2013