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Leila S. Case: Painting with Paula and the President in Plains

The lyrics of the 1945 classic song, “Let It Snow,” written by Sammy Cahn, remind me of the wintry weather with the wind howling and the temp hovering in the mid-20s last Saturday. It was no time for outdoor activity.
Those taking an art class with President Jimmy Carter and Paula Deen, the famed TV chef and recent “Dancing with the Stars” graduate, taught by Atlanta artist James Richards, were grateful for the warmth of the Plains Community Center.
Some 50 people, from the local community and as far away at Iowa, California and Michigan, participated in the unique fundraiser, “Painting, Paula and a President,” co-sponsored by the Plains Better Hometown program and Friends of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.
“It was a wonderful day and evening that everyone enjoyed,” said Ruth Sanders, director of the Plains Better Hometown program. The all-day painting session began with breakfast followed by an interesting two-hour seminar and demonstration by Richards. An impressionist, Sanders said Richards took crumpled up paper towels, dipped them in brown paint that he dabbed on a blank canvas to create shapes and shadows on what gradually emerged as a beautiful landscape.
“It was amazing,” said Sanders.
After lunch, the artists worked on their own painting through the afternoon. Richards walked among the students giving one-on-one advice and was aided by local Arts Council members.
“Everyone painted a different subject,” said Sanders. “Mr. Jimmy painted a colorful bird and after completing the piece he told us to ‘auction it.’ Jim framed it and also his landscape and we auctioned both paintings.”
Besides the all-day painting class, a number of the participants attended an exclusive dinner that evening in the Antique Mall with the Carters and Paula catered by Sybil Carter and assisted by John Harty.
“Sybil prepared the delicious side dishes and John grilled pork tenderloin and chicken breasts,” said Sanders. “The meal was delicious. Sybil’s daughters, Kim Fuller, Mandy Flynn, Jana Carter, Marle Usrey, and her granddaughters served. Dessert was served in the Inn’s common room.”
Sanders said the event was a huge success and proceeds will be used in Plains for the betterment of the city’s projects.
Sure sounds like a memorable experience. Americus and nearby participants were Betty Jo Songer, Robin Lowrey, Reba Hunter, Kitty Mays, Sylvia Roland, Frances Rawlins, Deena Hoffman, all of Americus, Debbie Weatherald and Brandi Henson of Leesburg, Debbie Wall, Preston, Brenda Crenshaw and Deen Goins of Buena Vista and Lilly Warnick of Albany.
Elsewhere, Rhett and Jessi Simmons and daughter, Milly, attended the annual convention of Securerisk, a group of independent insurance agents, at the Weston Hotel in Savannah that kicked off with a low country boil on the hotel lawn overlooking the Savannah River. Family and friends attending the installation of Fr. Jeff Wallace as the new priest at Calvary Episcopal Church last Friday were his son Derrick Wallace and Crystal Slavenn of Columbia, S.C., daughters Natalie and Jeff Misko, and Jill and Jamie McMillan, all of Myrtle Beach, S.C., his sister, Lucy Oakes of North Myrtle Beach, brothers, the Rev. Bill Blaine-Wallace of Farmington, Maine, and Cameron and Debra Wall of Charlotte, N.C., longtime friends Rosemary Weatherby Hamburger of Albany and Tom and Deborah Marchant of Pawley’s Island, S.C.; meanwhile, Mark and Anne Barrett attended U.S. Foods annual sales convention at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, Buckhead, last weekend and while in the big city celebrated Anne’s birthday; and smile and wish happy birthday to Jimmy Poole and Nancy Herron who celebrated a birthday this week and Jessi Simmons and Gail Ariail who recently celebrated a birthday. Don’t forget Lake Blackshear Regional Library’s annual play, a fundraising event, opens tonight at 7:30. A matinee is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available at the door. The play, a farce written by Kim Fuller, is titled, “Séance it Isn’t So,” and as always promises to be funny. I’ll see you there!

Leila S. Case lives in Americus.