The Artside: The Artside: Local artists recognized around the country

Augusta has so many amazing artists and performers that it’s hard to go too long without hearing about one of our own being recognized outside the area.


Betty Walpert is a gem to the theater community, and the rest of Georgia knows it.

Walpert was named to the Georgia Thespians Hall of Fame at the Georgia Thespians Conference held Feb. 9-11 in Columbus, Ga.

The award is given to a person who has “dedicated himself or herself to the cause of theatre education” and has been a member of the Educational Theatre Association for more than 20 years, according to the Georgia Thespians website.

Walpert has taught at John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School many years and has been involved in theater in the community with groups such as Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre and The Augusta Players.

Betty didn’t want to brag on her award, but she did want to mention that her students were invited to perform at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Neb. Their performance of The Crucible was selected as a chapter select performance at the recent state conference.

A wine and cheese reception for the Three Friends’ Art exhibit will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Ann and Ellis Johnson Art Gallery at The Jessye Norman School of the Arts.

Frances Force, Marian Owens, and Pat Tante have put together a show with artwork highlighting “Augusta’s southern charm and the value of friendship,” according to a news release.

Some of the works in the exhibition include collages. All three of the artists received their introduction to collage via Augusta artist Malaika Favorite, from whom they’ve all taken classes. The art will be on display through March 4. Some proceeds from sales will benefit Jessye Norman School of the Arts.

Also on Feb. 16, there will be a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. for a new exhibition at Aiken Center for the Arts. Artists represented include Nanette Langner, Casey Szocinski, Judy Adamick, Anne Rauton Smith, Jill Stafford, Elizabeth Moretz Britt, Doris Sofge, Robert Stevens and Warren Westcott.

The works represent mediums including pastels, colored pencils and photography.

Featured in the second floor Brooks Gallery are a collection of works by St Mary’s Help of Christian School students. The exhibitions are free and open to the public until March 25.

At Goodwill Industries’ Hire Grounds Cafe, Alicia Cully has an exhibit of her work, and there’s a reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16. Cully works with colored stain on wood.

This weekend is the Greater Augusta Arts Council’s annual membership event, the Wet Paint Party and Sale from 7 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18. It’s free for members, so all you have to do is sign up for a membership to gain admission. Memberships start at $35.

This year’s party has a ‘60s and ‘70s Soul and Funk theme. There will be music of the era with DJ Coco Rubio, a vintage fashion show by Vintage Ooollee as well as an auction of local artwork. For more information, visit

Also on Feb. 18, a new exhibition will open at the Morris Museum of Art. The Rhythm and Movement: Paintings by James Michalopoulos features more than 30 pieces depicting historical New Orleans’ architecture.

“James Michalopoulos’ intense colors, heavy impasto, and skewed perspectives capture the unique flavor of the French Quarter and old neighborhoods throughout the South,” said Kevin Grogan, director of the Morris Museum of Art, in a news release. “His paintings pulse and sing and sway in time with the music of the French Quarter’s jazz joints, and the row houses he paints seem to embody the spirit of New Orleans.”

The exhibition will be on display through May 14.

Paint Your Palate will be from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at the North Augusta Community Center. The fundraiser for the Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta features live and silent auctions as well as raffles including the Bubbles and Bauble raffle and a Wine Wall.

Tickets are $75, which includes admission, open bar and seated, catered dinner. They are available at the Arts and Heritage Center, Parks Pharmacy, Jim Bush Florist, Bush Flowers on West Pine Grove or online at

Augusta University art professor Kristin Casaletto will have her work on display in two out-of-state locations. She’s part of a group show called Awakening: Artists React to the New Political Reality at the Green Chalk Contemporary Gallery in Carmel By the Sea, Calif. The exhibition runs through Feb. 16. Also, she has 11 works in the traveling group show, Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate, which runs through March 20 at the Fort Collins Museum of Art in Colorado.

The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston is accepting entries for its 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art. Presented by Society 1858, the museum’s member auxiliary group, the 1858 Prize awards $10,000 to an artist whose work contributes to a new understanding of art in the South.

Entries will be accepted until May 31. Artists must be from a southern state. For a list of eligible states and more details, visit



Pop Rocks: Augusta, my Christmas wish list has one thing

My family often accuses me of being a difficult person to Christmas shop for. While it is true that my tastes run toward the particular and tend to lean heavily on easy-to-wrap standards such as books and records, I believe that as I get older, I’m less concerned with the item than the idea. Give me something I believe you have thought about and carefully considered, and I’m happy. The present clearly purchased at the drug store the day before is met with considerably less enthusiasm.

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