Thursday, May 19, 2016

Preparing for the upcoming ARA 5-Year Anniversary Exhibit

Yesterday I, along with a few of our strategic ARA members including Lisa Wheeler, Joseph Coggins, Mev Rozsman, and Chuck Hanes, met with the managers of the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens, Georgia. We discussed plans for the August 20 to October 20 Abandoned Rural America 5-Year Anniversary exhibit. The Lyndon House is an ideal venue to host the 15th exhibition in our series of artworks paying homage to the American small family-farm. The opening reception for our exhibit at the Lyndon House is to be held on September 8th between 6-8 pm. Some of our ARA artists and writers will be presenting workshops and reading during the exhibition schedule.

Below are a few images of the Lyndon House as well as a map of its location in Athens Georgia.
Please check the Lyndon House Arts Center website for updates on this event.

Lyndon House Arts Center293 Hoyt St.
Athens, GA 30601
Contact: 706-613-3623
Regular Hours:Tuesday and Thursday: Noon- 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
Closed on UGA Home Football Game Saturdays.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Words & Music Program in Wetumpka Shows Another Side of ARA

Words and Music

A Step Back in Time

Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery (The KELLY) and the Wetumpka Depot were the hosts of the program "Words and Music" on April 3rd. Designed to take the audience back in time, there were multiple readings from both the Greensboro Writers Guild/ARA members from Georgia as well as selected Alabama readings including a charming piece about growing up in a cotton grower's family by Phyllis Kennedy of Titus, AL. The reception that followed was sponsored by Central Alabama Electric Coop. This event, as are all ARA related events was free and open to the public.

Local musicians including Elizabeth Bowles and Donny Tomlin (playing old favorites on traditional rural America instruments), The Forgiven Heart gospel group (Singing hymnal favorites accompanied by Junior Jones on piano), and David Craig who beautifully sang some of Hank Williams' Country Music hits.

Members of the Greensboro (GA) Writer's Guild read selections of their writings around the theme of "Abandoned Rural America". A beautiful video about farm life in the early to mid twentieth century will include an interview with Bill and Sarah Matthews of Titus, AL. Added to the program was a hilarious Music Video by acclaimed Cowboy humorist and former large animal veterinarian, Baxter Black which drew great laughter and applause from the audience. 
KELLY president Kathy Willis opens the program with words about
the KELLY, the DEPOT, ARA, and the musicians
Alabama native Phyllis Kennedy gave a nostalgic and humorous
look back about growing up on a cotton farm 

The event was presented in conjunction with the "Abandoned Rural America" exhibition, currently showing at The Kelly through April 22.
Readers and musicians from the Words & Music program.
Missing from the photo is singer/musician Elizabeth Bowles
An enjoyable and tasty reception was held following the program.

All images by Alabama photographer Wayne Atchison
The Wetumpka Depot is located at 300 S. Main Street in Wetumpka.

Visit the KELLY online for more information by clicking HERE

Abandoned Rural America continues at the KELLY in Wetumpka, AL through April 22

The KELLY Hosts Square Dancing in Association with the ARA Exhibit this Coming Tuesday

Grab your partner and “Do-si-do” down to The Kelly on Tuesday, April 19 from noon to 1:00 pm. Bring a sack lunch! Drinks and desserts will be provided. The Kelly is the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery located at 408 Main Street on the second floor of the city administration building next door to the Civic Center. The program will be the last in conjunction with the Abandoned Rural America exhibition, which ends on the 22nd of April. The entertainment will be provided by members of the Montgomery Square Dancing Association. Al Stevens will do the calling while Jim & Mary Wolfe, Roger & Marilyn Wright, Duane & Delores Beasley, and Jessie Barron & Martha Lyons will do the dancing. During the lunch time, Mary Wolfe will play the fiddle. Wayne Nicholson who teaches Line Dancing at the Life Long Learning Institute will give a brief history of Square dancing and instructions on line dancing for the audience. The program and exhibition are open to the public.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

ARA Announces Addition of Baxter Black Music Video at Events

We are proud to announce that renowned Cowboy Poet, Baxter Black has approved the showing of his newest music video "Is That Rural Enough for You?" at the April 3rd Abandoned Rural America reception in Wetumpka Alabama. The music video adds some very upbeat moments to the ARA theme.

Baxter Black is a cowboy poet, former large animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses. As he puts it, “he has a narrow following, but it’s deep!” For over 25 years he has traveled the U.S. and Canada, scattering his wit and left-handed observations to folks looking for a bright spot in their day. Visit Baxter's website at to learn more about this entertaining former large-animal veterinarian.
Written by: Baxter Black
Is That Rural Enough For You, music video

Performed by:  Baxter Black, Jim Schafer, Butch Hause
Mandolin and Banjo: Joe Scott  
Editor: Mitch Deck  Production: Ray Lejune

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Making Abandoned Rural America's exhibition series a success

I'm taking a break from my busy schedule thinking about what it has taken to bring the ARA exhibition series and associated project to the level it has become. Since 2011 I have been working tirelessly, with the help of a few very talented friends, to bring this series of art exhibits to as many communities as we can. Since its inception in the spring of 2011 we've grown the exhibit from a member group of 3 artists/photographers to a current group of 16 artists/photographers/artisans living and working in Georgia, 14 writers, several musicians, a talented video narrator, and dozens of helpers. Many believers in what we are doing (paying homage to the American farmer, both past and present) have helped spread the work about our project. Now we have expanded beyond the Georgia borders to Alabama with the Wetumpka exhibit and even have a representation of our works in the US Senate building in Washington, DC in Georgia Senator David Perdue's offices and conference rooms. 
We will be presenting our largest exhibit yet when we have our 5 year anniversary show at the Lyndon House Art Center in Athens, GA this coming August 28 to late  October. Please join us if you can and see what a diverse group of creative people have put together to celebrate rural America and the American farmer.
Here are some photos of our previous and current exhibits and art:
Come to our exhibits to see this collection of creative works up close.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

ARA Entering it's Fifth Year: Now Exhibiting in Wetumpka, Alabama

 The ARA exhibition series has now gone beyond it's Georgia borders roots.

Conceived in 2011 and after over 4 years of growth, exhibitions around Georgia, and presentations to regional civic groups, ARA is now exhibiting the homage to the rural American farmer to Alabama residents. The historic Kelly Fitzgerald Memorial Gallery, located at 408 South Main Street in Wetumpka, just north of Montgomery, is currently hosting the exhibition of works by our now 16 artists and artisans as well as a presentation of several poems and short essays written expressly for ARA by associated writers from the Greensboro Writers' Guild.

The artwork exhibited includes oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, encaustic paintings, egg tempera paintings, digital photographs, traditional film photography, prints from wet plate collodion photos, acrylic paintings, models of farm buildings, pottery, ceramics, pen & ink drawings, quilts, and more.

The KELLY is located on the top floor of the Wetumpka, AL Administration Building

There will be a cd with traditional music representing the rural scene and 2 songs written expressly for the exhibition series, also used in the 40 minute ARA video. The Wetumpka community artists and students are presenting their own adjunct exhibition related to the rural and farming theme entitled The Land: God's Gift. Please visit the Gallery and see the many representations of the farming community, from the past to the present. The exhibit runs from January 19 through April 22. The "artists' reception" where you will have the opportunity to meet many of the participating artists will be held on February 12th from 5:30 pm - 7 pm.

Come out and celebrate America's farm country and the people who worked hard to feed a nation and the rest of the world.

Thank you for your interest in the ARA series.

Here are a few photos of the exhibit taken by Wetumpka's Wayne Atchison and ARA member Peter Muzyka:

ARA begins on the 2nd floor
The Land: God's Gift is on the first floor

Besides the many paintings and photos
the 2 exhibits include...

pottery, farm models, and quilts
Visit the Abandoned Rural America website for more information about this dynamic and interesting production representing the American family owned small farm.

The 5 year anniversary exhibition will be held 

this coming August 28 through October at the 
Lyndon House Art Center in Athens, GA.

Monday, November 16, 2015

ARA gets Positive Reaction from Cotton Gin Festival Visitors

The annual Cotton Gin Festival in Bostwick, GA has increased tremendously in size over the past few years. Even though the festival was postponed from its regular 1st Saturday in November date to Nov. 14th, it was very well attended. The ARA exhibit has become part of the festival since November, 2013 and through the gracious support of the Bostwick community leaders, the ARA exhibit is allowed inside the historic Susie Agnes Hotel. Here is a link to the history of the Hotel:

We have received many very positive reviews of the exhibit by local residents and traveling visitors alike. Many viewers are pleased that the ARA members chose to help preserve the memory of our region's and America's small farms that have been rapidly disappearing from the nation. It is a nostalgic visual, and through the ARA video, musical and informative trip through the rural farming countryside.

ARA exhibiting members include 14 artists, photographers, and potters; 14 writers who have contributed poetry, short stories, and narratives to our book as well as wall hangings, 3 musicians ranging from traditional rural music to specialty songs written expressly for the ARA exhibit series.

Here are a few photos from the Nov. 14 event: