Collections from Our Community

Tad Gloeckler’s Flyswatters

October 14 – January 7, 2020

Tad Gloeckler became interested in flyswatters when he saw a minimal, tail-like, Eric Bagger designed flyswatter in the gift shop of the Museum of Modern Art. He found a yellow butterfly swatter right before going to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural triumph, Fallingwater. He’s found inspiring specimens at Target and on eBay. One is Amish inspired and made with a floppy leather killing mechanism, Pampered Chef makes one with a dustpan and tweezers to pick up the carcasses, the Michael Graves model attaches to a broom for killing  flies in high spaces and the beautifully designed OXO is the one Tad uses at home. There are flyswatters gifted from the bank after buying a home and also an executive flyswatter, both strange gifts to receive. There are fly killing guns. There are flyswatters wearing disguises; a blue daisy masks an insect’s worst nightmare. Tad’s favorite piece has a simple dark palette with a great transition between the handle and head with the wire forming a subtle fly motif.

Tad’s desire to collect was fueled by teaching. Using the flyswatter with its straightforward, consistent design components, handle, shaft and swatting surface, Tad leads students in questioning, “What is invention vs. novelty?”.  In his design classes at UGA, he guides students in developing concepts, using and transforming materials and utilizing the basic design elements. Flyswatters prove to be the perfect visual and conceptual example, being so simple but so varied. Presenting a flip-flop mounted to a stick, an electrified tennis racket-like invention called the “Buzzwacker” and a swatter you lock and load, then pull the trigger to smash the insect between two orange waffled panels, Tad shows the students that it is ok to be creative, think outside the box- it doesn’t all have to be about function, it can be about creating an intriguing object and more about ideas. Tad also discusses the importance of naming the object. Instead of a “flyswatter,” he asks students to think about “insect compressors”. “We have a preconceived idea about how something should be formed. If you ask a student to make a chair rather than an object to be sat upon you will get a totally different result.”

Tad designed several, flyswatters himself. Like a Rube Goldberg machine they are multi-faceted, multi-stepped and whimsical, almost comical in their complexity and craftsmanship when considering their fly killing objective. Tad’s sculpture “Good News” takes the idea of rolling up a newspaper to smash a fly and formalizes it. Like the Philippe Stark designed swatter in his collection that stands upright on its gorgeous, minimal three legs, Tad wonders, “How can you have something that looks good sitting on the coffee table and still kill flies?” Tad’s sculpture does sit beautifully, the horn-like rolled murder weapon hangs on a masterfully constructed stand with a cross at its base alluding to the inevitable death and afterlife of any winged intruder. 

Making multiples allows Tad to show the viewer the different steps of how the sculpture unfolds and is used. “Metamorphosis-C” illustrates the three steps in transforming this sculpture from a strange little box all tightly packed-up to an attack ready fly hunting arsenal. The transformation begins with an abstract larva form, and a wing-like mesh emerges from a pupa to be reconfigured into a swatter.


Rachel Barnes' White Ceramic Cats
On view: August 20 - October 12

Rachel saw her first white ceramic cat in her early 20s at Agora (which is now Atomic). It was priced too extravagantly for her in those days but she began to covet these 1970’s mold-made kitties. After Lori from Dynamite gave her the first one word spread and friends started helping with her collection. Many evenings she comes home to find a new little friend waiting for her on the porch.

Rachel is a crazy cat lady, obsessed with cats and got that way thanks to her grandmother. It was just their thing, they loved them and for every birthday and occasion people gave them cats. Now Rachel has a bathroom dedicated to her ever growing non-white kitty collection but the white cats sit in a place of honor, where their monochromatic elegance can be appreciated, in the living room. Her husband Alfredo gets major props for not only embracing this cat colony but also helping with the interior design to feature them in their best light, in the front window.

Getting to live with the cats every day, Rachel has come to notice and love the fact that despite every puss being fluffy white, having a pink nose, pink ears and blue eyes each one is so different and has such a unique personality. Even the ones that are made from the same mold- a curling eyelash, a slanted eye, a pink protruding tongue makes each figure an individual. Many of these pieces were made in the 70’s when mold-made pottery painting was the hot new fad. It’s fun to see the artist take creative license- some having more success than others at painting the features. Rachel loves the odd ones the most, the family portrait with mom and her kittens done-up with hot pink lips and Tammy Faye eyes, the runt of the litter that looks like a cross between a cat, a lamb and a demon dog and the chubby little guy with a very chunky tail and melancholy eyes framed by curled lashes. Their idiosyncrasies are intriguing.

Nena Gilreath's Barbies

On view: June 14 - August 17

3Thurs Talk with Nena! FACEBOOK EVENT

Barbie ballerinas, princesses, brides and clad in their commemorative holiday gowns, East Athens Educational Dance Center Supervisor, Nena Gilreath, shares her collection with us.

"I Am Black Dance because I live dance through my heritage, though my ancestry, & through my art. Black Dance is creative. It's colorful." -Nena Gilreath

Mrs. Gilreath is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. She began her career by moving to Atlanta and joining the Ruth Mitchell Dance Theatre.  She later joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem, touring nationally and internationally.  In 1988, Ms. Gilreath returned to Atlanta to dance with the Atlanta Ballet.  Finally, on January 15, 1990, along with husband and choreographer Waverly T. Lucas, II they created Ballethnic Dance Company. She has implemented numerous outreach programs including the BUDDY Project through the Atlanta Project, which served as a model for the existing Danseur Development Project.  Ms. Gilreath currently serves as co-founder and co-artistic director of Ballethnic Dance Company and Ballethnic Academy of Dance. She received the 2008 Atlanta NAACP President’s Award for their positive influence on today’s youth.

Mike Landers’ Cookie Jars

April 12 - June 8, 2019

As a lifelong collector of stuff, I’ve learned that collecting anything requires me to set limits on the collection -- not just things I like — but things that fall within specific criteria for being considered for the collection. There is so much stuff to collect, you’ve got to limit and define your criteria for collecting.The first cookie jar I bought was a Humpty Dumpty cookie Jar from the 1940s designed by Brush Pottery. But I realized that if I was going to collect more, I needed to narrow my selection criteria. I decided that any cookie jar that I would collect would need to be a head-shaped cookie jar.

My collection is predominantly three dimensional likenesses of familiar two-dimensional cartoon characters. It contains many of the cartoon characters that I loved when I was a kid - Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, Mr. Magoo, Pinocchio, Popeye the Sailor, Yogi Bear, and Smokey the Bear. However, I think the most interesting and strange ones are the oldest ones. I have three stoneware jars that look like newspaper cartoon illustrations from the 1930s-1940s, Oscar the Doughboy, Mustache Man and Sailor Girl.

Vintage Cast Iron Pots & Pans: Wyler Hecht

NEW - 3Thurs event - Wyler will speaking about her collection on February 21st at 6pm!

On view through March 2019

Wyler Hecht’s diverse collection of vintage cast iron pots and pans were manufactured in the 19th and early to mid-20th century. The oldest skillets, manufactured between 1860 and 1890 are dated by the presence of a gate mark on the bottom surface. Hecht’s collection includes pieces by Wagner Ware, Griswold, Wapak, Martin Stove and Range, Favorite Piqua and several others. There are a number of unmarked skillets by these manufacturers as well. These unmarked skillets are identifiable by specific incised or raised marks (i.e. pan size number) and handle shapes and design. Iron skillets are making a fierce comeback in the culinary market, and while there are a number of contemporary manufacturers, vintage cast iron is becoming more and more sought after and certainly harder to come by.

The glass case in the lobby of the Arts Center features collections of objects from members of the community ranging from photographs to vintage bottles to toys and so much more. If you or someone you know have a collection of interest that you would like to have on display, contact Celia Brooks

Community Collection: A Selection of Toy Soldiers from the Collection of Tony Turner

On view: September 11 - November 1, 2018

This exhibit includes a selection of toy soldiers from the collection of Tony Turner.  Tony, who is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, served during the Vietnam War with four years in Vietnam and Laos.  Of particular interest to Colonel Turner, which covers roughly 50% of his collection, is the Napoleonic Wars.  This is an area that he has studied and read extensively both in history and fiction. The collection also includes pieces both vintage and modern from the Napoleonic Wars, the Civil War, World War II and the Vietnam War.

The glass case in the lobby of the Arts Center features collections of objects from members of the community ranging from photographs to vintage bottles to toys and so much more. If you or someone you know have a collection of interest that you would like to have on display, contact Celia Brooks

Community Collections: Leslie Litt’s Collection of Enamellist Society Trade Pins    
March 20 - May 19, 2018

These are a collection of unique pins traded by the members of the Enamellist
Society. Those that make and share their pins at the conferences are rewarded with a nice selection to take home with them. As a member of the Enamellist Society for over 14 years, Leslie Litt has gone to 6 Enamellist Society conferences, missing only the year she moved to Athens.

Leslie enjoys creating a unique designs that other enamellists would want to have and trade. She has amassed quite a large collection. It is interesting to see the materials, textures and techniques that are used. Sand, plastic, mesh, copper, steel, beads, copper scrubbies, silver foil and decals are a few of the materials that are utilized. The techniques are as varied as the materials and include:
embossing, form folding, Scraffito, laser printing, stenciling, Cloisonné, crackle and graphite.

Not all the pins are signed but some of the more notable artists are: Leslie Perrin, Averill Shepp, Dorothy Crockell, Gail Bradshaw, Vicki Mathieu, Suzanne Kustner, Michelle Hall Scott, Judy Stone, Tixh White, Barbara Louise Bowling and Steve Artz.Artz.

Angels Everywhere: Connee Flynn

On view through March 2018

When you enter into my world (my home) there are angels everywhere but you have to be aware of them. The same applies to our perception of their existence.

In the early 1950’s they started appearing in my artwork (too much imagination?). This peaked my interest.
I started collecting them slowly and quietly. I brought home angels from Europe and Mexico. My family and friends noticed the collection. From there the collection grew in all manner and form.

Connee Marchell Flynn, a native of New York City, began her art training in high school. She studied at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School, the Franklin School of Professional Art, The Art Students League and by invitation with graphic designer M. Peter Piening. After working for advertising agencies and a catalog
publishing firm, she freelanced for several years before her marriage.

Connee Flynn has lived in Athens since 1968. After her children were grown she returned to wood block printing and watercolor paintng. Although her interest in all mediums remains, she finds the spontaneity of watercolors exciting and printmaking challenging. Her love of nature is apparent in her works.

ZIG DOT ZAG: Featuring works by the Athens Fibercraft Guild’s “Challenge Project” participants

On view: September 19 – October 28

Each year, the Athens Fibercraft Guild presents a “Challenge Project” to its members, asking them to choose a bag that contains an unusual assortment of mystery items. Members then create a piece with these objects, while simultaneously responding to a common theme. This year’s theme was ZIG DOT ZAG. The bags contained naturally dyed wool in various forms of fleece, yarn and woven cloth. Each bag had a label indicating which plant was used to dye the colorful wool. The resulting works range from wearable garments to soft sculptures. The “Challenge Project” is always so much fun -it is like a potluck luncheon, full of delicious, unexpected surprises! Enjoy exploring all the varying works that resulted from our experiments.

If you or someone you know have a collection of interest that you would like to have on display, contact

Pictured at right: work by Erika Lewis

Clay 1976 - 2017
From the collection of Rich Panico
On view June 3 - July 29

3THURS Art Conversation with Rich Panico
July 20, 6 pm

Rich Panico began to work in clay in 1976. He started out apprenticing with Rick Berman at Callenwolde in Atlanta. His first works focused on an Oriental‪,‬ functional aesthetic in high fire and raku. An artistic community‪,‬ including Michael Simon, Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew strongly influenced his work during this time‪,‬ as well as Ron Meyers and Peter Voulkous‪,‬ who both had cultivated original voices in American ceramics‪,‬ while preserving strong links to both Oriental and European traditions. These friendships inspired a six year period of creative experimentation of which only a few pieces remain. 

From the beginning, Panico's artistic undertakings have been interwoven with a career in medicine. By the early 80's the demands of his medical practice pushed clay work into a back seat. In 1990, Panico developed an auto-immune disorder which was not adequately diagnosed until 2012. Ironically, this created an opportunity to better balance and create a more reflective life in which, by necessity he was forced to become comfortable with "living in the questions.” He began to hand build and reduced the scale of his work, resulting in an avid interest and immersion in Neolithic and Mesolithic ceramics from anonymous authors. His work became less and less connected to contemporary culture, ideologies and trends and instead, more linked to personal inquiry about the nature of the creative act and its consequences.

Currently, Panico works in low fire techniques, utilizing indigenous or recycled clay, when possible.  
Cookie Jar Case
Tibetan Treasures  

On view: April 1 - May 27

This month the collection case is filled with Education Specialist, William Kai Stephanos' objects from Tibet and Northern India. Compiled on two trips, in 2007 and 2009, these items were acquired from the Jokhang Temple and the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the original Ganden and Drepung Monasteries in Tibet proper, as well as sites in Dharamsala India, where the current Dalai Lama and many Tibetans have lived in exile since the 1950’s. 

The glass case in the lobby of the Arts Center features collections of objects from members of the community ranging from photographs to vintage bottles to toys and so much more. If you or someone you know have a collection of interest that you would like to have on display, contact Celia Brooks at  
Tibetian Collections
Louise Shaw's Papal Archive
On view January 14 - February 25, 2017

Quarterly exhibits in the Lobby cases featuring unique collections
of objects found in the closets, cabinets, shelves of Athens-area
citizens. What do you have hidden away?? 

Decades in the making, Louise Shaw’s global collection of
Popes was originally inspired by Pope John Paul II’s
papacy, but quickly expanded to other papal reigns and
Catholicism. Her lifelong source of fascination was the
gestalt of her hometown of Quincy, Massachusetts, where as
a Jew she was a minority living in a city that was 90%
Catholic. In search of Popes she literally has traveled around
the world to Mexico, Belgium, France, Argentina, The
Netherlands, and, of course, Italy. She recently returned
from a second trip to The Vatican, where she updated her
collection with Pope Francis ephemera. 
Louise Shaw Papal Archive
Athens Area Dug Bottles
From the Collection of Eric Krasle

On View July 12 - August 27, 2016

This collection is representative of more than 30 years of digging bottles. The collection includes a large chemical bottle (circa mid 1800’s) that is one of a set recovered by Jeffrey Weinberg from what was once the Crawford W. Long Apothecary in Athens, GA on Broad Street. Also in the collection is a medicine bottle that was produced specifically for the Harris Drug Company of Athens. It is a rare surviving example of the once common practice of specifically “minting” bottles for local drug stores. The photograph of the Harris Drug Company depicts the “Just what the Doctor ordered” script that matches the embossing on the bottle.
An original non-decorative Athens-embossed Bludwine bottle which contained a cherry flavored soda is from approximately 1930. A name change to Budwine was the result of censorship pressure by fundamentalists in Athens, included is an early Budwine bottle from just after the “l” was removed. Among the many Coca-cola bottles in the collection is a straight-sided embossed Athens, Georgia bottle that was produced in the early 1900’s and a gold “hobbleskirt “ edition.

Floaty Pens from the Collection of Jeff Montgomery
Push Puppets from the Collection of Katherine Winslow
On View April 21, 2016

Quarterly exhibits in the Lobby cases featuring unique collections of objects found in the closets, cabinets, shelves of Athens-area citizens. What do you have hidden away??

This quarter, on view, are two collections of objects gathered from around the globe: Floaty Pens from Jeff Montgomery and Push Puppets from Katherine Winslow.

Floaty pens, are those delightful tourist souvenir picture scenes of landmarks.
“While on a foreign study program with Furman University that ventured in part to Israel in the winter of 1994, I stumbled across "The Last Supper" floaty pen somewhere along the way. I found this floaty pen so endearingly kitschy with its sliding loaf of bread and wine that I purchased it on the spot.” – Jeff Montgomery

Push Puppet are wonderful spring loaded figures that dance when you press the bottom of their platform stage.
“I’ve been collecting push puppets for years, and have found them throughout the United States and in Europe in toy stores, restaurants and gift shops. Among my 49 push puppets is an alien figure from Roswell, N.M., “Pinocchio” from Rome, a royal guard from London, and the Krtek (“little mole”) cartoon character from Prague.” – Katherine Winslow

If you are interested in sharing your collection of….., please contact!


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