In late March 2020, representatives of many of the art organizations and facilities in Athens, Georgia began meeting informally once a week to ensure that our community of artists continued to be strong as our county began to shelter in place. Dubbed the “Athens Art Alliance,” the participating organizations include the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (ATHICA), the Lyndon House Arts Center, Creature Comforts’ Get Artistic program, tiny ATH gallery, the Georgia Museum of Art, the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission, the Athens Area Arts Council, the Athens-Clarke County Arts Division, Flagpole Magazine, and the Athens Downtown Development Authority. The group has worked together to identify projects and strategies that would help advocate for our shared creative community, already vulnerable before COVID-19 and more so since.
Inspired by the public poster art of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the mid 20th century, ATHENS BANNER PROJECT funded members of the Athens artistic population, focusing on those working in the service/hospitality or retail industry who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The banners spread messages of resiliency, unity, and support for local culture and community. Funded by the Athens Downtown Development Authority, five artists received $350 each for original art banner designs. These designs are printed and distributed to the storefronts in downtown Athens for display during the summer of 2020. The artists selected are Marvella Castaneda, Jess Dunlap, Elinor Saragoussi Phillips, Maximos Salzman and Klee Schell.
June 10. 2020
LOBBY CASE: Frank Jackson, like all of us, is spending a lot of time at home which is informing and transforming his charming house sculptures. We’re looking forward to showcasing his work this summer at the Arts Center! LOBBY CASE is our new program featuring small objects and sculptures by Athens based artists.
“The houses came about when one day I was working on a mug and waiting for the handle to be dry enough to attach to the cup. I had a bit of clay left over and I started playing around with the scraps and made a very simple house. The next day, while waiting for handles to dry I made another house. On the third day I skipped the mug and made a house. That was 221 houses ago.
Before Covid-19 I did most of my work at Good Dirt Clay Studio. In March I carved out a work space in a storage shed at my house. It’s very different working alone in this space compared to working with other people at Good Dirt. I miss the people and the energy that comes from working in a community studio, but I am also enjoying my new work space and very grateful that I have a place where I can continue working.
The houses have changed since Covid-19. Some of the changes come from working in a different space with different tools. For example, I don’t have a slab roller at home so I roll out all of my slabs by hand and they can only be as wide as my rolling pin. Other changes have more to do with the design of the houses which may be a reflection of our current isolation. Windows have become smaller, stairs to the front doors are higher, and some of the latest houses look more like forts or fortresses than houses.” – Frank Jackson
Frank Jackson received his BFA in painting and an MFA in printmaking. He then got a library degree (MLS) and worked as an art librarian at museums, archives and university art history departments until 2016. Frank has always loved ceramics and knew that it was something he wanted to pursue one day. Since 2016 he has worked exclusively in ceramics on a full-time basis.
Take a break from the news, loading the dishwasher (yet again) and that looming Zoom meeting to step into the funky poppy fantasy world Elinor Saragoussi has created for the Glass Case in the Arts Center Lobby. Glass Case features small objects and sculpture by Athens based artists. This is the debut installation.
"Dioramas have always been a source of inspiration. Visiting the taxidermy animals displayed in their painted environments in a natural history museum, has been a highlight. So, having the opportunity to build a tiny world within a contained, diorama-like space was a treat and pushed me to explore different techniques and work with new materials. Utilizing hand cut figures from a music video set I designed for my band Baby Tony and The Teenies, I constructed a whole new world for the figures to reside in. With this installation, I hope to give viewers a chance to immerse themselves in a whimsical place full of quirky characters and join me in leaving behind this reality if only for a moment.
Elinor Saragoussi, from Denver, Colorado, is currently based in Athens, GA. She works with a variety of mediums, including felt, set design/installation and illustration to create fantastical, colorful works. Elinor has a biology degree from the University of Colorado, and is also a musician who sings and plays bass in her band Baby Tony and The Teenies. Elinor’s work can currently be seen in the Glass Cube at Hotel Indigo and she painted a piano that lives at the Classic Center for a project supported by the Athens Area Arts Council and The Athens Cultural Affairs Commission. Her most recent installations include creating sets for Adverse Music Festival where she participated in a one month residency at Athica to prepare for this project.
April 27, 2020
As we are still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we thought we may share what is on display in the Lounge Gallery at the Arts Center. This program changes quarterly and is an opportunity for an artist just launching a career or re-visiting a career to have a small solo exhibition. Lee’s careful considerations of common household objects are significantly relevant during these weeks we have all spent at home.
Lee Coffey (b.1994) is an artist based in Athens, Georgia. Working primarily in oil paint, his artworks celebrate the mundane, depicting everyday items such as house keys or signage with an emphasis on scale and color. He draws inspiration from flea markets, thrift stores, Internet holes, advertisements, art history and the objects that make up his daily surroundings. His paintings have been included in select group exhibitions at Hathaway Contemporary, Lyndon House Art Center, and the Pinecrest Lodge.
Lee grew up in Virginia and moved to the suburbs of Atlanta at 13. Outside of art, his interests include skateboarding and music. Lee is a big fan of the music of Jonathan Richman. He is currently finishing a BFA in painting at the University of Georgia. He is also the assistant director at Tif Sigfrids and Howard’s galleries in downtown Athens.
We asked Lee what he has been up to during the past month… “I recently finished painting a portrait of Tony Hawk that I had made a drawing for before the outbreak. I am currently working on some smaller oil paintings of targeted Instagram ads, thinking about perspective in the physical and philosophical sense. I’ve also been working on more drawing and collage stuff at my house. Somedays it’s tough to stay focused and motivated but I’m thankful to have space to work. It’s a bummer social distancing with the weather being so nice somedays but what can ya do? I’ve been skateboarding in this empty lot by my house and finally gotten around to watching some of the movies friends have recommended to me. I’m trying to learn to how to juggle a soccer ball.”
Another wonderful #ACCArtsDivision collaboration. Asher Hill from the Morton shot and edited a couple gallery tours for us just incase you all forget what these beautiful spaces look like as we are sheltering place! Yes, shelter in place! Thanks Asher!
As you know, the Arts Center is closed until further notice. However, we have an incredible Juried Show to share. We are moving the 45th online. Each day (see menu to the left) in the morning hours we will post a new work on display in the galleries with a short story. #45JuriedShowOnLine. #ArtsCenterOnLine. #ACCArtsDivision @lyndonhouseartscenter
Our Teen Cartoon Illustrators Club goes on line! The first Zoom meeting was a great success. Thanks to the Lyndon House Arts Foundation for supporting this program both actual and virtual. Thanks of course to the wonderful Robert Brown. Robert is great mentor and inspiration. When we are out of our current dilemma, please visit Wuxtry Comics. Support our local businesses! And, great background by the way! Art is persnickety, it happens no matter what. Please stay safe and well.
What are you doing? Art Education, William Stephanos
Dario (my cat) and I are spending lots of time together these days. He’s happy I’m working from home. I’ve been keeping up (virtually) with the Arts Center as well as helping out with the government’s COVID-19 response. I’ve also helped to distribute food to school kids and have been running errands for others. I’m just glad I can help.
In my spare time I have been painting, a lot! I plan on making new jewelry too.
Please stay home if at all possible for other people’s sake and your own. Athens we are going to get past this and soon we will be on to bigger and better things. Make Art!
April 4.2020 What are you doing? Education Program Leader, Toni Carlucci
I’m cooking Cacao Pumpkin brownies with rice salad and dahl. It was my first time for the brownies- They are GF and dairy free. I’m serious about boosting my immune system. Pictured are supplements that give that extra boost. Rejuvenation Stew is one of my all-time favorites (with sweet potato, turmeric, fennel, kale, goji berries and coconut milk). Delicious!! Books I’m reading (thanks to Susie Birch) on painting portraits in watercolor- An on-going delightful struggle.
What are you Doing? Arts Center Studio Manger, Nick Daglis
I’m cooking comfort food; my mother’s delicious chicken and broccoli casserole recipe! I’ve been sucked into the 24/7 Antiques Roadshow channel on PlutoTV and listen to an assorted playlist (with fave artists) containing disco/funk (Brothers Johnson), classic rock (Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention), raggae (Capleton), Jazz (Medeski, Martin, and Wood), and folk music (Vic Chesnutt). I listen to these while working in my hot glass studio! I’m working overtime on our small business @groundupglass to react to the necessary changes imposed by the nation’s current situation. While working on our website, I’m taking custom orders and doing production of hand-blown glass soap dispensers, as well as our other glass products.
What’s keeping you busy?
Arts Center Staff Working From Home.
What are you Doing? Arts Center Program Leader, Shannon Williams
I’m watching Poldark on PBS. I’m cooking a delicious roasted cauliflower and chickpea soup while listening to jazz on the Bose. And I’m not reading anything other than lots and lots of emails!
What’s keeping you busy?
Arts Center Staff Working From Home. What are you Doing?
Arts Center Program Supervisor, Didi Dunphy
I’m reading Eleanor Davis’s new book – “A Hard Tomorrow” (this photo from her website) Our second artist in our Lyndon House Arts Center Artist Print Edition Series! I’m SO done with cooking at home! Got social distance to-go from The National over the weekend! http://www.thenationalrestaurant.com. I’m watching The ZZ Top documentary on Netflix and listening to Jerry Saltz’s very new book “How to be an Artist” on Audible. I’m making Cross stitch- my usual obsession with making modernism a feminine activity. Also, here’s an article from the Sunday paper that was of much interest- Stella!
What’s keeping you busy?
Arts Center Staff Working From Home. What are you Doing?
Arts Center Curator, Beth Sale- My youngest son loves to read "Brown Brown What do you See" with images by Eric Carle. He’s learned so many words from this book. My favorite page is the purple cat. My oldest son and I still read together almost every day. We’ve gone through so many books: the Wildwood series, Grace Lin’s series, and all the Lemony Snicket books to name a few. We are currently reading book three of C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, “The Horse and His Boy”.
Keeping a stocked pantry with two teenagers and a toddler is like trying to hold the wind in your hands. For dinner last night, I made brown rice with spinach, and topped it with lentil soup. Eating on the back deck is the Covid version of dining out.
When Tom Hanks and his wife tested positive for the Coronavirus at the start of our Shelter in Place experience, my family decided to watch a Tom Hanks movie every night. “Castaway” was perfect for a fresh perspective, and reminded us all how lucky we are. “Terminal” reinforced that feeling. The man survived on saltines and didn’t leave the airport for ages. Watching Tom Hanks play Mr. Rogers was delightful.
This record by Pharoah Sanders has a wonderful refrain "Love is Everywhere."
What is keeping you busy?
Arts Center Staff Working From Home. What are you doing?
Yes, we’re busy working from home but we’re also reading, cooking, watching, listening and making. This week we’ll be posting what each staff member is currently enjoying and finding inspiration in. First off is Jaime Bull in Communications and Outreach.
For me, it’s been all about cooking and gardening. I’m reading Alison Roman’s “Nothing Fancy”, Indian(-ish) by Priya Krishna (next pic is a recipe for Saag Paneer which is the bomb!) and then sharpening my astrological skills with “Astro Poets” by Alex Dimitroy and Dorothea Lasky. The Garlickiest Fried Rice form Bon Appetit is a great lunch made with day old rice (I add in frozen peas) and a perfect snack while watching “Tiger King” and Fortune Feimster’s hilarious comedy special “Sweet & Salty”. I’m also listening to a lot of John Prine this morning and sending lots love as I hear he is sick and needs well wishes.
What is keeping you busy?
We are working from home! Who is the happiest!??! The pets and the baby!!!!
The Lyndon House Arts Center staff are working from home!
During this unusual time with the outbreak of COVID-19, the Lyndon House Arts Center is closed until further notice. So, we are moving the Arts Center online to the social media platforms of Instagram, Facebook and our website. Please check in daily for #ArtsCenterOnline and #45JuriedShowOnline for art, artist interviews and other art activities as we remain in our sequestered working locations. Always in support of Athens and Athens creative community, visit us virtually for a fix of Athens area arts.