The Artside: From Aiken to Augusta, art is in focus

Going off-course? If you’re looking for something to do après-golf, there are several arts-related events in the Augusta area this week.


There’s a lively downtown arts scene in Aiken, S.C., and tournament visitors are welcome to join local patrons for an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 5, at Aiken Center for the Arts, 122 Laurens St. Exhibitions of works by Joanne Evans, John Fort and Gwendolyn McDonald are featured in the main galleries, and D.S. Owens has April’s show in the Aiken Artist Guild gallery.

Evans lives in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., where she paints still-life works in a traditional fine art style. She has been selected as one of Early American Life magazine’s top artists of America every year since 2004. John Fort recently exhibited in Edgefield and Beaufort, S.C., and at the Fire House Gallery in Louisville, Ga. He lives at Edisto Island, S.C., and says his work is concerned with how people deal with archetypal images from their past, and how memory and dreams can intertwine.

McDonald, a Texas native who lives in the Atlanta area, retired after a distinguished teaching career and now enjoys combining her art and creative writing skills to conduct poetry/art workshops for artists.

Owens is active in the Aiken Artists Guild, the South Carolina Artisan Center and the Carolina Nature Photographers Association. His work has been published in magazines and calendars, and he has received two awards at ACA shows.


ARTISTS AND AUTHORS are joining together at the Aiken County Visitor Center to welcome guests from 4 to 8 p.m. April 4 and 5. Artists and writers on hand to greet visitors will include Jim Harrison, Ron Krena, Wanda Henderson, Marti Healy, Sarah Jolly, Ron and Kit Columbe and Diane Hunt. The Visitor Center is in the Holley Building at 113 Laurens St.


IN AUGUSTA, the shops and galleries in midtown will celebrate First Thursday on April 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. Frances Weltch “Panny” Force is the featured artist at Midtown Market, 2113 Kings Way. She works in watercolors and collage, encompassing still lifes, landscapes and depictions of historic Augusta buildings. As the charity of the month, Sacred Heart Cultural Center will benefit when visitors purchase a cup for their refreshments. Midtown shops and restaurants are open late on First Thursday, and many feature exhibits by local artists.


FIRST FRIDAY will be celebrated April 6 in downtown Augusta, and visitors will find a variety of art on display in the Artists Row galleries. Check out Leonard Porkchop Zimmerman’s robots in an exhibit titled Weather or Not, opening Friday from 7 to 10:30 p.m. at Gaartdensity Gallery, 1155 Broad St.; and art by Jacki Mayo and Jasmine Esperanza Cruz from 8 to 10 p.m. at Sky City, 1157 Broad St.


AFTER MASTERS, plan for another busy weekend, starting with the popular Undercover Artists event at 7 p.m. April 12 on the lawn of Walton Rehabilitation Hospital. Patrons will be able to make silent bids on paintings contributed by professional artists and local personalities, but the signatures will be covered until later in the evening, hence the “undercover” aspect. Signature artist for this year is Carrie Burns Brown of Greenville, S.C.

The theme is An Evening in Tuscany, with catering by Jennifer Shuford and music by Daddy Grace and the Henrys. For ticket information, call (706) 826-5809. Proceeds help fund Camp TBI (To Be Independent), Walton Foundation’s annual camp for children and young people with acquired brain injury.


SEVERAL EVENTS are on the calendar for April 13, beginning with an Art at Lunch talk by renowned golf course landscape artist Linda Hartough at noon at the Morris Museum of Art. Several of her paintings are in the golf art exhibition that runs through April 15 at the museum. Call (706) 724-7501 to make reservations.

• The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art will host a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. April 13 to open the Creel-Harison Biennial Exhibition in the main galleries. The exhibit will include works by Ethan Brock, Jackson Cheatham, Shishir Chokshi, Chad Cole, Dorothy Eckmann, Ingrid Hofer, Melanie Miller Longshore, Lillie Morris, the collective Southern Observatory, Rosanne Stutts and Laura Umphrey. The reception also honors Amelia Grace Brooks, currently showing in the Creel-Harison Gallery on the third floor.

• April 13 also opens the spring exhibit weekend for the Arts Guild of Jefferson County. The Fire House Gallery and two other venues in Louisville, Ga., will have an opening reception for local artists from 7 to 9 p.m., and there will be music in the park with Pretty Polly from 4 to 6 p.m. April 14.


SENIOR ART MAJORS at Augusta State University have lined up a series of exhibits during April and May to showcase their work. Kelli Brooks has a show titled KICKS at the Mary S. Byrd Gallery on campus, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. April 6. Brittany Pirtle follows up with Of Mice and Men, April 11-17, with a reception from 8 to 9 p.m. April 13. Mike Cameron’s show, Engineering Art, is on display at Oddfellows Gallery downtown; that reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. April 13.

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