Visual artists will leave mark on Westobou and beyond

We're heading into the home stretch of the Westobou arts and entertainment marathon, with a couple of dance performances, a couple of Shakespeare performances, a canal cruise or two, art demonstrations and lots of music on the calendar between now and the Al Green concert finale on Saturday.


A CERAMICS demonstration by Jeff Donovan will be at noon today at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art on Telfair Street. He is one of six artists featured in the Augusta Columbia Connection exhibit just a few doors away in the Old Richmond Academy building, where there will be a poetry reading at 5 p.m. by Jim Hudson, Laurel Blossom and Starkey Flythe Jr. There will be refreshments at both events.

PORTRAIT ARTIST Charles Young Walls will be conducting demonstrations and a class today at Gallery on the Row . Demonstrations are free, but there is a charge for the class. On Friday, Carol Sue Roberts will teach a painting class there, and on Saturday, Margaret Ann Smith, Tamara Przlepa and Heyward Booker will be presenters. Call (706) 724-4989 for more information. And while you're in the neighborhood, check out the Whiskey Painters exhibit at Zimmerman Gallery .

ROUNDING OUT Westobou's visual arts experiences will be Morsberger Mania at 6 p.m. Friday at the Morris Museum of Art, celebrating the festival's signature artist; and then a visual arts and jazz cafe at First Presbyterian Church from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday's events include a hands-on workshop with clay artist Eva Kwong from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Heritage Academy, presented by Clay Artists of the Southeast , whose members get a discount on the registration fee. Call (706) 863-7929 for details. At 5 p.m., artist Laura Spong will talk about her artistic process at the Old ARC building.

At the same hour, the Morris Museum of Art will play host to the awards ceremony and celebration honoring the winners of the 2010 Porter Fleming Literary Competition . Top prize winners in poetry, fiction, nonfiction and playwriting categories will read from their work.

SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM DAY is also Saturday, which means free admission at the Morris Museum, the Augusta Museum of History, Fort Discovery, the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, the Augusta Canal Heritage Area and Historic Augusta's Boyhood Home of Woodrow Wilson . Print out a free admission coupon at

OUTSIDE THE WESTOBOU circle, there is an opening reception Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. for upstate South Carolina artist Mark Mulfinger at the Fire House Gallery in Louisville, Ga. He will be showing a new series of batik paintings, titled Mill Village Meanderings . In a YouTube video posted by the gallery, he describes his working process using layers of hot wax and says the subject matter was inspired by his runs along railroad tracks where houses are seen from the back side.

COMING UP NEXT week is an opening event at Augusta State University . Alan MacTaggart , who came to Augusta in 2009 as chairman of the Art Department, will have a retrospective exhibit featuring oil paintings and color drawings representative of the work he has done over the past 20 years. A new painting based on Augusta images will be included in the show.

The opening reception is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30. That event will also be a salute to Mary S. Byrd , a friend and benefactor of the art department. ASU President William Bloodworth will unveil a plaque renaming the art gallery in Washington Hall in her honor.

MacTaggart came to Augusta from Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., where he headed the Division of Fine Arts, held an endowed chair, and was dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. He holds an undergraduate degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute, an M.A. in art education from East Tennessee State University and the M.F.A. in painting from Clemson University.

Although his academic career has been based largely in the Southeast, he has lived in Europe on several occasions and traveled extensively as a tour guide and visiting artist and lecturer. An advocate for the arts, he has served on regional and national boards and international panels and currently serves on the advisory board for the Greater Augusta Arts Council and as a consultant for the Art Factory.