Georgia’s shelter-in-place has been lifted for most people and you might be anxious to get out and about. If you’ve spent any time engaged online in art tourism or cultural tourism while safe at home, you might want to see artwork up close and personal. Maybe your love of art has you excited about visiting our local art galleries in Newton County or exhibiting at the Downtown Covington Fall Art Walk.
Although it’s not the time to be traveling to art galleries and shows just yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a tourist experience. We expect public art and other creative options in Newton County to be opening soon. In the meantime, enjoy Newton County’s art tourism from a distance through the virtual profiles of our local artists. When you learn about the artists, you’ll have a better understanding of their impact in the community.
Southern Heartland Art Gallery
Located along the square in downtown Covington, Southern Heartland Art Gallery shares various types of art from local artisans. It is one of the oldest visual art guilds east of metro Atlanta. They regularly hold art classes for children and adults and offer an art camp for children during the summer. Several of their guild members have websites to experience art tourism virtually. Think of it as an online art gallery.
Rebecca Braswell started throwing in May 2010 and fell in love with the art of pottery. Some of her beautiful and functional pottery can be viewed online at Glorified Mudd Pottery.
If you're interested in photography, Ron Manson and Phyllis Burchett are two guild members with different perspectives behind the lens of a camera. Ron Manson is a charter member of Southern Heartland Art Gallery. He began his passion for photography in 1957 as a photojournalist. After a career in the Navy and then at Southern Bell, he returned to the field as a fine arts photographer in 1995. View samples of his work online at Ron Manson’s Photographs. Phyllis Burchett was a horse trainer and breeding farm manager before launching into photography. You can see her love of horses and other animals through her work at Phyllis Burchett Photography.
Southern Heartland Art Gallery has several painters with unique approaches that make it an appealing destination in cultural tourism. Janice Balkmon is a Covington artist that specializes in portraits. She works in a variety of mediums and finds her inspiration when she can express herself with the detail in her subjects. Wendy Harrington found how she can express herself in art when she launched in 2015. She works with mixed media, painting landscapes, flowers, animals, etc. View some of her pieces at Wendy Paints. Cindy Murphy describes herself as a “Representational Impressionistic Colorist” who sees and paints the relationship of colors in light and shadow. See and learn about her unique approach when you view samples of her work online. Over the years Margaret Warfield experimented with several different mediums, oils, pastels and charcoals before finally landing on acrylic paints. You can view her work online and buy something if you like it.
There are many creative options in Newton County to see, including the works of a woodturner at Southern Heartland Art Gallery. You can view some of the final products of Rick Jackson on his facebook page for Turning Transformations. He knows how to turn some beautiful pieces of wood into amazing works of art.
WildArt is a new and innovative art studio that showcases local artisans and provides classes and special events throughout the year. The studio is located along the square in Covington. The founder, Ann Wildmon, has watched thousands of guests come to the gallery since 1987. Besides sharing the work of local artisans, she has a talent for a variety of art mediums including illustrating, painting and costume design.
Many of the artisans show a couple of select pieces of their work on the WildArt website, along with bios that offer some great information to learn about them. Susan Dodd’s inspiration comes from all the fabulous fibers from Europe. She hand-knits unique garments. Brenda Bostian was a visual arts educator before she pursued painting full-time in retirement. Another traditional painter, Margaret Caldwell Brown, has her art shown across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Several of WildArt’s artisans use their talents to create beautiful jewelry. Carla Culpepper discovered metalsmithing several years ago and works her magic by creating one-of-a-kind metal art in jewelry. Trout looks to nature for his work with wire, leather, metals, etc. Margaret Warfield, who as well as showing her art at Southern Heartland Art Gallery, has a selection of her jewelry at WildArt. Laura Ziel loves making all things jewelry, while Pat Free works with antique brass and silver for a vintage look.
Some of the artisans at WildArt show fascinating work with wood. Troy Bledsdoe is a woodturner that creates art with furniture and home accessories. Original handcrafted writing instruments are the focus of Greg Deemer at Moondrip Pens. He works primarily with three mediums: rare woods, acrylics and Trustone. Rick Rammon is a woodworker who has been specially trained as a Wood Technologist. He creates all kinds of unique boxes.
Porterdale Arts Collective
A terrific collaboration for the art tourist experience is that of Porterdale Mayor Arline Chapman and Porterdale's Quilter Laureate, Candace Hassen. Both women have been very influential in the artists’ community. Last year they launched Creative Porterdale Arts Alliance with classes held in the gym. Arline Chapman also previously hosted art classes in the renovated B.C. Crowell Studio space for the Porterdale Art Collective. Candace Hassen, who is a nationally acclaimed quilter and quilt instructor, also hosts classes and monthly meetups for stitchers. You can see her work on her Facebook page at Quilt Designs by Candace.
We hope you enjoy a taste of our local artists’ talents as you view their work online. After seeing a sampling of our local artists’ talents, seeing our creative options in Newton County in person will provide an impressive tourist experience. We are looking forward to more opportunities in art tourism when our art galleries reopen and classes and art shows resume. We’re also looking ahead to the Downtown Covington Fall Art Walk, which will celebrate our local artists on October 17, 2020 from 4 to 7 pm.