I am the director of the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program.

I accepted the job offer on Friday, April 1, and yesterday the State Board of Education voted to confirm my hiring. It is now official: I am the sixth director of the nation’s premiere summer gifted experience.

What a long, strange trip it’s been.

I attended GHP in 1970 as an art major. At the time, the program was housed on the campus of Wesleyan College in Macon. There were 400 students, and the program was eight weeks long. My life was changed forever, principally by my painting teacher Diane Mize, but also by the entire universe we created on that campus. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by other people who were as curious about everything as I was. When the program was over, I curled up in the back seat of the car and cried all the way back to Newnan.

Forty-one years later, the program is at Valdosta State University, serving 690 students for six weeks. (We’ve been cut to four weeks for this summer for budget reasons.)

The program changed my life again when I began teaching there in 1984. The director of the program, Lonnie Love, hired me to revitalize the media support area, to serve as a liaison between GHP students/staff and the VSU library staff. I taught students how to design, produce, and present their research; back then, we’re talking actual slides and overhead projections. The overwhelming richness of the experience, my amazing faculty peers, the concerts, the performances, the kids, all were even more incredible than when I was a student. I cried most of the way home, not an easy thing to do while hurtling up I-75.

My life changed again when, after serving as the Macintosh computer lab instructor in 1996 and creating the program’s first website, Dr. Joe Searle asked me to become the assistant director for instruction in 1997. It was my job to guide the curriculum, to supervise and support the teachers, and just to make sure that the instructional half of the program worked as advertised. After thirteen summers in that position, I took last summer off, my first in fourteen summers.

At this point, those who don’t know what the Governor’s Honors Program is or how it works can go over and look at the Wikipedia article.

Here’s what many people want to know: yes, I will be leaving Newnan Crossing Elementary. The director position is a 12-month position, and we are heading into the summer even as we speak. I will retire from the Coweta County School System on May 1 (one retires on the first day of the month, I have learned); my last day at school will be Friday, April 29, essentially two weeks from now.

Because of Teacher Retirement System rules, I will have to wait 30 days before I actually start work at the DOE. However, I will not wait until June 1 before plunging in—that’s only three weeks before the staff shows up in Valdosta. I have already volunteered my time working on a couple of pressing needs, and I will spend the next six weeks volunteering even more. For example, we released the list of finalists on the day I was interviewed, and now 690 acceptance forms are waiting on my desk for me to enter the students’ data into the database. We still have three staff positions that have to be filled. I’m also responsible for the Byrd Scholarship, and all paperwork has to be out the door on May 18. All the arrangements with Valdosta State University over classroom space still have to be finalized, as well as a host of other details.

So as tempting as it might be to head off to the south of France for the month of May, I will be commuting to Atlanta on my own dime, plus still helping out at Newnan Crossing. It will be great fun. I’m sure.

I will miss Newnan Crossing without a doubt. It’s a fabulous school to work at: great principal, great staff, fun students, and my media center is a phenomenal space. And this will be the first time ever that I have not worked directly with students. It will be a big wrench to my psyche, to have a “grown-up” job.

But I’m also excited by the opportunity to be the leader of GHP as it heads into its second fifty years. I’ve been teaching in the program for more than half its existence. It’s been a part of my life for more than half of mine. I think I’ve already had a profound impact through my work in the instructional half of the program, and now I look forward to putting my stamp on the program as a whole.

I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank my predecessors: Dr. Joe Searle, director, 1996-2010; Lonnie Love, director, 1983-1995; and Cary Brague, associate director, 2006-2010. Each of these has done all the hard work in shaping the program into what it is now. I am honored to be their heir.

A small but profound rant, and other thoughts

It has not escaped my notice that when conservatives put forth plans to fix our public schools, they do not involve actually fixing the public schools. More and more standardized testing, charter schools, or vouchers: which of these involves actually taking a failing school—and let’s just point to an honest-to-goodness failing school in some inner city somewhere—and solving the problems it faces in providing a free and appropriate education to the young minds trapped there?

I have a problem with that.

In other news, my media center has been undergoing a complete technological facelift.

I’ve always stayed ahead of the curve on the technology thing, all the way back to the Apple ][e’s that Alan Wood bought me for the media center in the old East Coweta High. I made the technology readily available to the students and trained them how to use it, even to program in AppleBasic. I myself, as I’m sure I’ve said around here somewhere, programmed a word processor, a card catalog printing program, and an overdue fines/notice program that everyone in the county used until the state automated us in the late 1980s.

For the last ten years, the school system has declined to purchase Apple Macintosh computers, for reasons which we will not go into here. As the years slipped by, all the elementary schools (including mine) began to divest themselves of their iMacs, the old candy-colored winners from the 90s. And they all came to me, because I refused to give them up.

For one thing, they still ran, and they were still more reliable than all the crappy Dells flooding the county. For another, I was still able to use HyperCard (‡‡‡) to create some really useful educational tools. And finally, while other media centers might have six look-up stations, I had twenty-six. Woof!

However, a decade is a decade, and the poor things began to wheeze and complain about the bulky internet pages they were having to deal with. So I began to campaign for new computers. Two years ago, after holding my breath and turning blue, I was finally awarded six new iMacs, the first instructional Macs in a regular school setting in forever.

So I began to campaign for more. I was able to demonstrate to the powers that be how well they integrated into the network, give or take a few hurdles set up by the IT Crowd themselves due to the nature of the insecure network of PCs they have to manage.

To make an uninteresting story short, I got the money for two new iMacs from our PTO, plus a new printer, which was necessitated by the death of my old Apple LaserPrinter 16/600, after eleven years of solid service. The iMacs came last week, and the printer came yesterday.

But wait, there’s more: we were suddenly able to use some Title I money to purchase twelve iPads. I will soon have two instructional computers for each of my six tables. This should be interesting, given the real power of the things—and their real limitations. It would have been nice, for example, to have known about the money for the iPads before I ordered a new printer, because they will immediately print to an AirPrint-compatible printer, of which there are currently maybe eight, all made by Hewlett-Packard.

Oh well. I don’t think that’s something I get to complain about, having twenty Apple computers at my disposal.

However, there is something very sad about unplugging those trusty little iMacs for the last time and lugging them over to the wall, to be disposed of. And I had to say a few words over the LaserPrinter. I felt like a criminal pulling the plug on it.

Now that I’m slowly returning to the Land of the Drinking (my stomach issues have largely prevented the consumption of any alcohol) I’ve been playing around with some cocktails. At the moment, I’m experimenting with apple juice, my recent liquid of choice.

I’m not sure about this one. I’m halfway through my first attempt, and it may be a bit cloying. I’ll adjust tomorrow and try again if necessary.


1/2 oz. Galliano

3 oz. apple juice

2 drops absinthe

Shake the Galliano and apple juice with ice; strain into martini glass. Add the drops of absinthe.

This weekend interviews/auditions for the 2011 Governor’s Honors Program begin. I’m once again in charge of the theatre interviews at Pebblebrook High School. I was asked also this year to corral and confirm the interviewers, and if no one backs out between now and Saturday morning, I will have the full complement of 35, which is a first for several years.

I have applied to teach either Theatre or CommArts this summer, and I’m adamant that I don’t care which. It’s been kind of fun to have both Jobie and Mike desire me. Of course, there’s no guarantee I will be offered a position since I took last summer off, but honey, please. Does that make me nervous? Yes.

I should write a post about the coursework I’ve planned for each department. Maybe later.

Summer Countdown: Day 14

I got nothing done. It was a rough day, and you’ll pardon me for not going into details here on the World Wide Web, and the only thing I could manage was the anodyne of surfing the web. There are those of you who might have noticed the strong uptick of forwarded URLS.

We traveled to Valdosta last Thursday to visit GHP. We saw Mike Funt’s theatre students perform two “silent movies” and a “Bat,” i.e., an in-the-dark improvised radio play. And it was good, of course. The slapstick movie was quite charming, and the table chase sequence was primo.

We also stayed to participate in the annual Hogwarts Event. We had more than 24 people take part this year, including a house elf: Tom Fulton, math, had his whole family dressed as the Malfoys, including his two-year-old son. The students, as usual, went nuts.

An interesting event: the two RAs portraying Harry and Draco are engaged (I know, the slashfic writes itself), and as I was passing through the lobby they were working on their wands. (We build our own wands.) They asked if I had a moment, and I sat. They wanted to know if I would officiate at their wedding next June. I was quite touched and immediately agreed. Details to follow.

And yes, I am as confused as you are as to how this works, since the state of Georgia does not recognize such a marriage. But it was a good part of the weekend.

Group portrait:

We were still missing Harry, Draco, Cho, and Cedric at this point. They still had desk duty.

Summer Countdown: Day 19

Yesterday I got up at an ungodly hour to make the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Clarkesville, GA, for my One Day Art Camp.

For those who are coming to this late, here’s what the deal is. Forty years ago, in the summer of 1970, I spent eight weeks on the campus of Wesleyan College in Macon as an art major in the Governor’s Honors Program. Although art majors all had to cycle at one point through all three of the components— painting/drawing, sculpture, and textiles (hey, it was the 70s)—we could focus on one. I chose painting/drawing with the ever-wonderful B. Diane Mize.

The woman was amazing. She opened my eyes not only to new ways of thinking about art , and I famously say that while GHP taught me I was not an artist—which she disputes—she taught me that the creative process was at the root of everything we do. For that matter, she showed me what the creative process is.

I had not seen Diane since May of 1976, when in one of those scenes that you would disbelieve as too contrived if it were in a movie, I bumped into her in the bookstore at UGA one month before I graduated with a BFA in theatre. On the final night of GHP, six years earlier, I had performed with my theatre minor group to such acclaim that Diane had asked me if I had considered theatre instead of art as a major. Smart woman.

Three or four years ago, I was in my dorm apartment at GHP and somehow I thought of Diane. I googled her and for some reason found her Amazon wish list. I sent her a CD in gratitude for everything she did for me—you know, change my life forever, that kind of thing—and we re-established contact. This spring, I suggested that since I have the summer off, I should visit her and let her teach me all the things I failed to learn forty years ago.

And that’s what I did yesterday.

Once again, she has changed my life. She looked through my sketchbooks. She took notes on what my goals were and what my problems were. She showed me ways of looking at color—and mixing color —that render those tubes of Flesh Tint largely irrelevant. She set up an exercise in color mixing that will take me the rest of the summer to get halfway through. (As she puts it, a musician has to learn scales and etudes; why haven’t artists been trained the same way?)

She showed me a few tricks of the trade in drawing and gave me the title of a book—another book—that I need. She had me mixing paint and matching colors. (Jeff, did you know that part of you is lilac? No, not that part.) She looked over all my paintings and agreed with me on the good ones.

And the entire day she laughed at my feeble attempts and my frustrations, taking great joy in my revelations and my stubbornness and my acid struggles. It was enormous fun, and by the end of the day I was exhausted. I seriously wondered whether I would be able to drive home without falling asleep. But I was too exhilarated from what I learned. I flew home.

So did I get anything done yesterday? Not if you expected to see completed still lifes or portraits. But in most respects it was the most productive day of the summer.

Musing & planning

People have assumed, with reason, that my separation from GHP this summer must be emotionally trying for me.

It’s not. From the moment I decided last summer that I needed a break, I have not had second thoughts. I awoke one morning a couple of weeks ago from a dream about the opening meetings during preplanning that caused a twinge, but this past week, as I helped everyone get the program up and running, I had no regrets nor waves of bittersweet nostalgia.

On the contrary, it was a very good eight days, omitting always the glitches that recur every year no matter what we do to try to prevent them. I was happy to see all the returning staff and to meet the new ones. I discovered the pleasures of CJ’s Pub & Pool. The students arrived on Sunday, and it was as marvelous as always. “Good,” I thought, “the kids are here. But they’re not my kids.” And I was totally OK with that.

It was very odd driving out of the campus and passing West Hall as I left Tuesday morning. There was a sense that I was not supposed to be doing that, that strands of my being were being pulled back towards the campus. And of course being at GHP is like the best dramedy series ever, so I felt as if I were turning off the TV in the middle of an episode: you always want to know what happens next.

But that soon passed, and it wasn’t even a major twinge, to be honest. No, my decision to stay in my labyrinth this summer was the right one, and now I’m getting ready to do all those things I said I would do.

It was with some alarm, therefore, that I looked at the calendar in the kitchen this morning and realized that it seemed that many days were taken up with out-of-town duties (some back at GHP), which would preclude my getting any work done at all.

I have exactly seven weeks before I have to report for preplanning at school. Of those forty-nine days, ten are unavailable as work days. (Four more days I’m out of town, but I’m with my painting teacher from GHP: she’s going to teach me all those things I failed to learn forty years ago.)

That leaves thirty-nine days to do my work. I should probably do a daily post cataloging in boring detail what I accomplished each day. It won’t interest you, necessarily, but it will help keep me focused. We’ll call it Summer Countdown. Unless you can suggest a better name for the series in the comments.

I’ve already emailed the director of the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra to ask if it’s OK for me to include some solo work in our piece, and a piano if we provide the pianist, and he’s already responded affirmatively to both. My plan, in case I haven’t said, is to work up five fragmentary sketches so that he can choose which one would be most interesting and most playable, and then I’ll compose that piece.

Of course, I’ll also have four other sketches that I can eventually turn into full pieces, so that’s all to the good.

Also yesterday I did a couple of sketches, just to keep going with that project. Mike will be glad to know that they actually look like him. Either I’m getting better or Mike is just easier to draw.

So there we are.


[Note: I wrote this a week ago. I just now got internet access.]

Today I bought an expensive bottle of Champagne and at the end of the day gathered my friends Marcie, Daniel, and Mike around me in the lobby of Brown Hall to make a toast to commemorate my first day at Governor’s Honors, forty years ago today.

I asked them to salute with me the program that for nearly fifty years has changed so many lives, and to honor all those who have come before us who have sustained it, as well as those who will come after us, come what may.

On the way down to Valdosta, Mike and I stopped by Wesleyan College in Macon, where the seventh GHP occurred. I asked his indulgence as we parked and walked all around the campus. I took photos everywhere–the main building with its arcade, the fountain, the long walk–my dorm down by the lake–the faculty dorm–the dining hall–the infirmary–the auditorium–the art building.

All those ghosts of memories, so many lost to my fading brain, but so many that still remain–and above all, the conviction that what happened there on that campus during those eight weeks altered who I am forever, and for the better.

I remember people: Forrest, Jason, Melissa–what an impact they had on me, letting me see that I was not a freak, or that if I was, there were other, wonderful, exciting freaks out there with me. The hours we spent walking around our summer city, or lying on the grass and talking talking talking laughing and talking.

The boy on my hall who was the fantastic flutist, better than I had ever dreamed of being and certainly better than anyone I had ever heard before. The girl in painting class who was so good at everything we did. The boy who played the organ in the auditorium during breakfast before classes started–and we would sneak in to listen to him practice.

The music students that composed incidental music for the three theatre productions, including a rock musical version of Antigone for which I painted the signs of the Zodiac on the stage floor. My fellow theatre minors, working on improvised scenes that veered between surreal and maudlin and witty. Playing last chair flute in the band as we hurtled through the Overture to Candide.

Donovan’s “Atlantis” on the jukebox in the snack bar and the resonance it suddenly had for us. The awful food in the dining hall. My science major roommate who for some reason sneered at the size of my family–how would we pay for college for so many children–but then had the good manners to apologize when we received our test scores on the Ohio Psych and I outclassed him by seven percentile points.

The hippie-dippie creativity assignments from Diane Mize, our painting teacher, mimeographed epistles of instructions which I dutifully tried to do, although without any real grasp of the tools she was handing me. The day she looked at my sketch book and forbade me to “design” anything else for the rest of the summer. The battle over the nude, which she was smart enough to realize that the way to win was to give me back that dreadful painting and make me realize how bad it was.

The late night walk Forrest and I took with Mize, talking about art and life and the universe–God knows what nonsense he and I were spouting or what wisdom she tried to impart to us–and realizing that we were out past curfew. Ms. Mize had to escort us to the dorm and try to explain our absence to the dragon lady dorm mother.

The French major who played flute next to me and who I showed the musical score collection in the library. She and I were playing through the 4th Brandenburg together when I seized the opportunity at a page turn to kiss her, my first.

The concert at which the string players were playing the 3rd Brandenburg and I was gobsmacked to realize that they were leaving out the third violin part–because I was following along with the score in the audience. (Years later, at a GHP planning weekend, I told that story at lunch with fellow teachers. Buddy Huthmaker said, “That was me. I was the string teacher.” Then he told a story from that same year about the weird kid who was such a gifted physical comic in the last night skits, and I got to say right back at him, “That was me.”)

Running up the aisle of the auditorium that last night, pumped at the huge audience response to my theatre minor team’s collection of gags and puns, searching for Diane Mize, and feeling a little hurt when she said, “Have you considered pursuing theatre?” (Six years later, in the bookstore at UGA, one week before I graduated with a BFA in theatre, I was able to tell Diane Mize, whom I had not seen in five years, that I had taken her advice.)

Not being able to get into the car the next morning to go home, but running here and there to make one last goodbye, to people, to places, to that world we had created and which now was vanishing before my eyes. And being unable to uncurl from a racked, sobbing knot in the back seat of the car all the way home, unable to bear that pain.

Awakening, later, truly awakening, and realizing that I was now seeing the world with different eyes. The world was different because I was different, and that all of who I was or ever would be was because of the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. It is more than I can comprehend, and certainly more than I deserve.


I awoke at 4:10 this morning, my brain awhirl. It seems that the reality of the summer began to click with me. It’s all been rather Promised-Land-like, a hazy summer of sitting in the labyrinth, sipping Xtabentun and painting, or shambling up to the study to knock out another dozen measures or so on the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra piece. The countdown app on the iPhone still has another 10 days and 1 hour until my actual summer begins.

But yesterday it occurred to me that it would be necessary at some point today to pack for my eight-day stay in Valdosta starting tomorrow, and I guess that set off my reality alarms.

In my state of semi-sleep, I was surprised to find myself observing some events from this coming week with what was almost a frisson of sadness. You would think that would include the arrival of the students next Sunday, but mostly it was images of the staff meetings on Friday and Saturday that gave me pause. I think perhaps it’s the “drawing of the circle” nature of this week that affects me, both in actual execution and in the prospect of missing it.

It’s not that I’ve gone maudlin on myself. I have absolutely no regrets about taking the summer off, other than that I’ll not be able to stand in front of an audience of parents and say, “Forty years ago, my parents sat where you sit today.” That would have been cool. No, I needed a break, and I have work to do. But it will not do, either, to try to deny that I have given up something that is one of the most wonderful things on the planet, howsoever temporarily.

At any rate, I’m awake way earlier than I needed to be. Might as well blog.

Getting into GHP

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of interviewing candidates for GHP’s strings program. If my top candidates play as well as they think, Michael Giel will have a very good summer indeed.

At the end of the lunch break, I slipped over to Pebblebrook’s theatre, where art students were undergoing their interviews on the stage. Each student had spread out the requisite number and types of pieces on the stage floor, and the interviewers were walking around quizzing them about their work.

I realized with a small shock that I underwent that same process forty years ago.

Forty years ago.

Forty years ago, I walked into a room with my portfolio, spread it out over a couple of chairs, and was interviewed by two men. I remember not being able to answer one question about the type of drawing one of my pieces was, the answer was “contour drawing”, and I remember that the men were very entertained by my answers in general.

I remember some of the pieces in that portfolio, and I cannot believe that I made it into the Governor’s Honors Program as a visual arts major. I was not that good. However, at the time, all students had to take the Ohio Psychological, essentially an IQ test, and while academic majors had to score at least in the 90th percentile, fine arts majors could get away with the 70th. I scored something like 98, so I’m sure that tipped the balance in my favor.

On the other hand, perhaps my interviewers understood that giftedness is potential, not achievement, and they saw in my work a student who had the potential to achieve, given the training I’d get at GHP. Certainly I hadn’t had it up till that point. Our schools had no art classes; I took lessons out at the Rec Center from Tom Powers (of Powers’ Crossroads fame).

Clearly, though, I would be unable to get into the art major today. Our kids are phenomenal, as you’ll agree if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time and read my posts about the art exhibits each summer. The level of technical expertise and artistic sophistication would put my 16-year-old self, and indeed my 56-year-old self, to shame.

However, as Diane Mize, my painting teacher from the summer of 1970, has reminded me, art instruction in the schools forty years ago sucked. I might have been better prepared, better trained, if Newnan High School had be better able to teach me.

And as she has also reminded me, whether or not I was a good painter I was at heart an artist, one that deserved to go to GHP and who took all that it had to offer and transformed his life with it.

Forty years ago.

Various updates

I brought the bowl back to the dorm this morning. It’s awfully heavy. I continually fear I will drop it.

The cracks are now a feature, not a bug. When I think back on the puzzle of what to do with the interior, I am reminded of the line from Casablanca: “It seems that destiny has taken a hand.”

I spent an hour with a string quintet this morning reading through and working on Waltz for string quartet & bassoon. A cello subbed for the bassoon. It was great fun, and I was able to help them hear what I heard and to play it. I think that with actual rehearsal it would be a very presentable piece indeed. My friend and colleague Stephen Czarkowski plans to program it this fall, so maybe we’ll get a YouTube video performance of that.

There were three places that I wasn’t sure were effective, and I found that I was right about those as being weak. I was able to fix one of them on the spot, and the other two are simple doubling issues, i.e., I need more oomph at two spots that sounded bare, so all I have to do is copy and paste some notes. Done, for a ducat!

I haven’t blogged about this because it’s been touchy, but for the past week here at the Land of Pan-Dimensional Mice we’ve been under “social distancing protocol” restrictions due to the flu. No one could sit directly next to each other, everyone was issued hand sanitizer, etc., etc. (There is no hand sanitizer in the city. Tomorrow there will be no Sharpie markers.)

The “no touching” thing had some interesting repercussions. We canceled Field Day and the Saturday night dance. (Everyone dressed up in their 80s finery anyway.) I canceled my Grand Ball. We had to cut seating at peformances in half, which meant we had to double the number of performances, which meant increased monitoring duties for me, which meant less time to get the program ready to close out. It was very stressful.

The worst was facing the fact that we were going to have do the final Prism Concert twice, cancel the Friday night Graffiti Dance (the kids sign each others’ t-shirts in a last paroxysm of bonding), and somehow split up Saturday morning’s Convocation. What kind of good-bye is it when half the people you love are not there? And the idea that we were going to keep these kids from hugging each other was ludicrous. The increasing anxiety about this very real downer was getting to everyone.

Last night, however, the word finally came that since we had not had anyone register any symptoms since our only case ten days ago, we were free of restrictions. We could end our summer as we should. And there was much rejoicing.

All in all, we were magnificent. We responded quickly and appropriately, and the kids were fantastic in their good-spirited compliance with the protocols. They were actually grateful that they were still at GHP, and many said so. All the final events were kept on the schedule, and as far as I know no one was turned away from something they wanted to see. We deserve much praise.

Two days, one hour, two minutes until GHP is over.

GHP 2009 Art

Here are my favorite pieces from this year’s art exhibit, in no particular order, other than walking around the gallery.

Bottles, mixed media, by Samantha Bond. You can see the label on the right side of the photo, which should give you a sense of scale. I would love to own this piece. At the top of the white slashes, wire is looped through the canvas, with corks dancing on the end of it. It gives off an odd combination of menace and satisfaction.

Hoof and cube, ceramics, by Will Darnell. This was the artist’s solution to the “problem” of making a teapot. I should have gotten a shot from the other end, so that you could see that the base is actually a hoof and not any other organic form that I’m sure Marc is going to call me out on. I love the kludgy assemblage of forms, and I think the paint job is gutsy. The whole thing dares you to think it’s inept when you can’t stop yourself from watching it.

Old man, oil, by Maggie Ellis. Certainly I would question her title, given the subject’s still-youthful aspect, but since this work sailed directly into ELP territory, I found it both fascinating and instructive. Look for renderings like this from me in the next year or so. (Mike, Eli, you still owe me photos.)

What has 50 teeth and holds a beast inside, a zipper!, ceramics, by Christy Eun-A Kim. Ignoring the cheeky title, I liked the bravura of this piece. It’s just chaotic. Here it is from the other side.

What a glorious mess! One suspects the artist simply got bored one morning and decided to pile it all on and see what happened. A lesson to us all.

Untitled, mixed media, by Aubrey Warnick. A tidily assembled piece, I thought. The interior, of which I need a better detail shot, is encaustic; nails protrude from the surface, and stains run down from them to a collection of twigs jumbled at the bottom.

[update] Here’s a detail:

Lost in translation, acrylic, by Courtney Curtsinger. For some reason, the kids painted faces on everything this summer. They’d have a guest artist who showed them strategies for abstraction, and I’d see a nice painting developing, and then the next day there’d be a face on it. It puzzled their instructors no end, as it did me, but ironically of course such figurative work is my goal for my own work. This was one of the better ones.

At the spring, acrylic and encaustic, by Newnan’s own Katie Turner. Several works showed up this year on bare board. I thought Katie’s use of the encaustic to capture the water and its contrast to the crispness of the legs was quite clever. Again, better focus would show it off better.

Virgin’s first dance, paper and wood, by Christy Eun-A Kim. This is the first time we’ve ever had anything like this: over-the-top origami Harajuku fashion sculpture. Clearly Miss Kim loves her neomannerist torsions.

Here’s an overview of the exhibit, and here’s the other overview:

All in all a good year for art at GHP. I may snag some more images tonight.

[updated 7/23]

Two other pieces:

Untitled, wood, wire, burlap, by Corissa Duffey. This little piece struck me with its combination of form and materials.

Chair with fabric, mixed media, by Jerome F. Kendrick. The self-assuredness of this piece is amazing. Very Noguchi-like, don’t you think?