The Artside: Arts community in Augusta is in full bloom for April

April is here, and that means Augusta’s focus is on golf. When bright yellow Masters Tournament flags start to brighten our storm-damaged neighborhoods, it’s a sure sign visitors from around the world are on the way, and we will be ready to show them our city’s cultural best.


The Arts and Heritage Center in North Augusta starts us off with a Swing Into Art golf art exhibition Thursday, April 3. There will be a free reception from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. featuring the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band. The exhibit will remain on display through April 25.

• Downtown Augusta joins in with First Friday celebrations April 4. Galleries and shops along Artists Row will be open late, and between 5 and 9 p.m., there will be a variety of events ranging from children’s activities and performers to a Hackathon at, 816 Broad St., for those interested in working on hardware and software problems and solutions.

Sculptor Jeff Birchill will be at Zimmerman Gallery to talk about his latest creation titled Lowcountry Treasure, carved from a thin slab of marble. Birchill has been elected a signature member of the Society of Animal Artists. See more about the Augusta artist and his work at

Gallery on the Row showcases works by its partner-artists Betsy Borgatti, Jim Dunaway, Cyndy Epps, Ruth Pearl, Cathy Tiller and Pat Warren. Warren’s paintings will be in the spotlight for the month of April. At the Book Tavern, there will be a group art show based on Herman Melville’s literary classic, Moby Dick. A bit farther down Broad Street, Artistic Perceptions gallery is hosting an exhibit by the CSRA Photography Society, with a First Friday opening reception.

• April 4 is also the date for the opening of “Speechless: A reception with art beyond words,” at the MAC on Main Art Gallery in Thomson, Ga. The gallery, home to the McDuffie County Arts Council, will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. for the event.

• Masters visitors and hometown folks will find plenty of art exhibits to enjoy this month. At the Morris Museum of Art, several special shows complement the extensive permanent collection of Southern art. Paintings by Bo Bartlett and Betsy Eby are on display in the larger exhibit spaces where they impressed several hundred patrons at the museum’s recent gala.

The Morris also has two new smaller exhibits. Soldier Artist: Conrad Wise Chapman spotlights works created in 1864 providing a view of Confederate military structures and the city of Charleston as they appeared during the Civil War. Born in 1842 in Washington, D.C., Chapman grew up in Italy where his father, artist John Gadsby Chapman, was working. In 1861, he returned to America and enlisted in the Confederate Army. He was commissioned by Brig. Gen. Thomas Jordan, chief of staff to Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, to create the paintings of Charleston’s defenses. Those paintings now belong to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va.

Another exhibit explores drawings and watercolors by James Calvert Smith (1879-1962), a Florida-born illustrator who studied at the Art Students League in New York, was political cartoonist for the Florida Times Union, and maintained studios in New York City and Connecticut. His work appeared in such magazines as Life, Harper’s and the Saturday Evening Post, and he was commissioned to paint murals in the American Museum of Natural History and the Library of Congress.

In the west lobby gallery at the Morris there is an exhibit of turned bowls by Ed, Philip and Matt Moulthrop. The exhibit, drawn from several local collections, represents the work of three generations of noted woodturners.

• Coming up at the Morris on April 17 is a necklace workshop with Susan Senn-Davis and Amy Hammarlund of Senn Designs. The workshop fee includes materials and champagne. Call (706) 828-3807 for reservations.

Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School’s senior exhibit is featured in the first floor and third floor galleries at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art through April 24. The exhibit encompasses a wide variety of media with drawings, paintings, photography and sculpture. Blaise Ramsbotham, Heather McEnery and Melissa Sommer, senior art students from Georgia Regents University, are exhibiting in the Creel-Harison Gallery on the third floor.

• Award-winning artwork created by disabled artists throughout Georgia will be on display through April 19 at HealthSouth/Walton Rehabilitation Hospital. The exhibit is part of the 29th annual statewide tour sponsored by Georgia Artists with Disabilities Inc.

The show includes paintings, pottery, photographs, mosaics, textiles and other media. Valton Murray of Mesena, Ga., a town near Thomson and Warrenton, won best of show for his acrylic painting titled Spring Bloom. Murray paints from childhood memories and has become a well-known folk artist in the Southeast.

• At Sacred Heart Cultural Center, paintings by Mary Houston remain on exhibit in the ground-floor art hallway. The show reportedly has been one of the venue’s most popular with local collectors.

• Sacred Heart has issued an invitation to design and create party hats using fresh or dried plant materials for display during the annual garden festival April 25-27. For details, contact Mary Louise Hagler at or For complete festival information, visit

• Paintings by Sharon Fausnight are on exhibit through the end of May at Savannah Rapids Visitor Information Center on Evans-to-Locks Road. Fausnight has lived in the Augusta area for more than 15 years. A member of the Artists’ Guild of Columbia County, she holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Augusta State University.

• The Aiken Center for the Arts will host a reading and book-signing by Michigan poet Jamie Thomas at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3. The event is sponsored by the Guild of Poetic Intent, the student-run poetry club at USC Aiken, for their Emerging Writers series. Thomas has been published in numerous national journals and his book, Etch and Blur, will be available for purchase. There is no admission charge, and refreshments will be served.

More literary notes: Edgefield, S.C., poet Laurel Blossom has work in the Spring issue of Per Contra online at