Art Gallery Opening Highlight of Overcast First Friday

Published 9:37 pm Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Americus-Sumter County Arts Council opened a gallery downtown on September 1st. President of the council, Karen Kinnamon, talked about how the efforts to create the gallery began.
“I have visited similar galleries in my travels. Very impressed with artists joining together in a cooperative agreement to run a gallery. The artists benefit from the sales and the gallery has a variety of work in it.”
She talked about the role of the Sumter County Arts Council in fostering arts in Sumter.
“It is an organization that has existed since 1990 under various leadership through the years. We provide opportunities for artists to show their work and we are promoting and encouraging art in the community.”
She mentioned that the venue had attracted artists from throughout the local area.
“It’s a variety of artists from Americus and Sumter County, but also from surrounding areas and of various ages with different mediums and different walks of life.”
All artists are members of Americus-Sumter County Arts Council, or ASCAC for short. The gallery also offers discounts for artists that help staff the gallery, and there are plans for artists to work on their art live on site.
Ms. Kinnamon expressed gratitude to The Windsor for making the location available.
“The new owner and manager of the Windsor offered this space and we’re paying only for utilities. They found us, and knew that we wanted to open a gallery, and this space was available.”
She described ASCAC’s work to turn the space into a gallery.
“We fixed it up. We’re not paying rent but we have made an investment in new paint on walls, picture railing, new flooring. We’ve invested probably about three or four thousand dollars in getting this space ready.”
Ms. Kinnamon also mentioned that teaching is another major way ASCAC fosters the arts, noting that students at GSW help teach classes.
She also talked about some of ASCAC’s other goals.
“As far as big dreams, we want to see public art displayed in Americus. More murals, possible projects where we paint the trash cans that are around town and the traffic control boxes. And the other big dream is to have an artist market where we will close off Jackson Street and invite artists from around the area to bring their stuff.”
Ms. Kinnamon talked about the origin of the idea for the artist’s market.
“The idea for the artist’s market came from when I went to Chang Mai in Thailand in February. “I was there studying Tai massage and went with a group from Atlanta. The teacher was from North Carolina, and there were a number of people from Georgia, and from all over. We were there for twelve days and studied with masters in Tai massage. Part of it was being able to be immersed in Tai culture.”
She described the variety of art she had seen.
“The streets were packed with people. It was a huge variety of art, from T-shirts to big tapestries, to little nick-nacks.”
She finished by restating her goals for the gallery.
“We want to attract area artists and have a good representation of art from different groups in the area.”
Aside from gallery-goers, a few students had ventured into the grey weather. Eleventh grader Carolyn Campbell talked about their fundraising efforts by selling hats and t-shirts.
“We’re fundraising to go to national FFA convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. One of our FFA members is competing at the national level. Last year he competed in grain production.”
She talked about the contestant Joan Tovar-Martinez’s accomplishments.
“He’s representing all of Georgia at the national level for FFA. He does farm work. This is his SAE, supervised agricultural experience.”