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Leila Case: The Arts Center’s ‘artist in the window’ paints at our house

Storefront window displays trimmed with beautiful merchandise, an enticement to the world beyond the building’s front door have long fascinated me.
Such is the case of the Americus-Sumter County Arts Council (ASCAC). They are taking advantage of the large front window of their Arts Center building at 326 W. Forsyth St. downtown to display artwork of local and area artists that rotates monthly.
Americus artist Yasmain Hasnain, newly elected vice president of the ASCAC who is in charge of the project called “Artist in the Window,” says the feature has been ongoing and successful for several years.
What a great idea – it not only gives the featured artist more exposure to the public, but the beautiful artwork decorates the window that otherwise would be bare and most unattractive, and it also provides passersby beautiful art to view. And it’s an honor for the artist to be invited. I personally have enjoyed seeing and admiring the work of “who’s” in the window each month.
For the month of January, my talented artist husband Bruce Case is the Art Center’s “artist in the window.” Bruce’s art, all oil on canvas, varies from large western landscapes, including one named “Rojo Canyon” to florals and a whimsical painting of bright orange pumpkins, which hangs in our kitchen during the fall months.
Bruce has enjoyed painting for years, especially after retiring from the corporate world, and has exhibited his work here and in galleries in Columbus, Phoenix, Arizona, Albany, Atlanta, and the Georgia National Fair in Perry. He has won numerous awards in juried shows, studied under some outstanding artist/teachers, and taught countless art students.
Bruce is among the many art council members who were concerned about the fate of the organization that was beginning to flounder in the 2000s, especially after the tragic death of Mary Edgemon, then president. He was relatively new on the board but was a big supporter of Mary’s efforts to get the arts council reorganized and viable again as it was in the ‘90s. Bruce was asked and willingly assumed the role of president and the arts council began to flourish again. Under his leadership Arts in Rees Park was reactivated and grew annually with leaps and bounds, there were numerous and successful art shows and fundraisers and the arts council flourished.
Today, the non-profit (501-C-3) organization dedicated to the education and enrichment of our community in the area of cultural arts continues that growth with a building of its own, a paid director Robin Humphrey, and a working board. Other than Hasnain, the 2017-2018 executive committee members are Rob Bailey, president; Bobby Ellis, treasurer, and Cate Bailey, secretary. They along with other board members look forward to the growth and expansion of the ASCAC, says Hasnain. Other plans include improving the building layout, an art gallery, and introducing more events. Already scheduled are Jazz Night March 11 and the annual Arts in Rees Park April 22. Incidentally the Arts Center is open today and is having a sale.
Membership is open to any interested Sumter County resident. To learn more click on the website: americusarts.org or visit the Arts Center. Also, look for them on Facebook.

Elsewhere, Dr. Lou and Candy Riccardi, were in Columbus this week for the debut of their granddaughter Nancy Hatcher, a member of the 2016 class of the Columbus Cotillion that took place at the Columbus Country Club. Others attending the formal event were Nancy’s mom Ashley Riccardi Hatcher and Dr. Lee Skandalakis of Atlanta; Dr. Alex Riccardi of Americus, Dr. Donnie and Kara Riccardi McMickle of Macon, and David and Haley Riccardi Fowler of Denver, Colorado.

Although the Auburn Tigers lost the Sugar Bowl game to the Oklahoma Sooners 35-19, Donnie and Sylvia Roland, Auburn U fans and season ticket holders, enjoyed the game, especially the Auburn University marching band and the halftime show that included the World Strides band and performers, and the Star Spangled Banner pregame show featuring members of the touring Lion King musical. They returned home with lots of good memories that include spending New Year’s Eve dining at Borgne Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency, then ringing in 2017 along Bourbon Street with thousands of other revelers. New Year’s Day began with beignets at Cafe Beignet, then lunch at Praline Connection, known for its soul food; and visiting Jackson Square and dining on charbroiled oysters at Drago’s at the Hilton Riverside Hotel. Game day began with beignets again followed by a stroll along Royal Street to look at antiques; lunch at Bourbon House, one of the Brennan family restaurants, and watching at the Cotton Bowl on TV at Pat O’Brien’s where they ran into Americus’ Sadie Blount, also there for the Sugar Bowl.
Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus