OnLine: Collections from our Community

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Online Collections from our Community: Arthur Johnson’s Shark Collection

“My shark collection began inadvertently when I was a student at UGA in the early/mid-eighties. My friend Greg Germani decided he wanted to give someone a nickname, and he decided it would be me, and he decided the nickname would be Shark, for no particular reason that he can recall now. The nickname stuck and was used often by my small circle of friends, who would occasionally give me a shark item, such as a plastic toy shark or candy dispenser or a Hot Wheels Sharkruiser. Some years later when I started touring with a band in Boston, I decided it would be a good use of my time and per diems to shop for sharks while I was on the road, and then my collection really took off. I’ve bought a lot of sharks over the years, but I’ve also been given many sharks; I think people enjoy the challenge of finding a shark I don’t own or haven’t even seen before. It’s difficult to say exactly how many shark objects and images I have, because they kind of permeate our household—besides the sharks displayed around our office, there’s shark art displayed around our house and in our backyard, and many shark-shaped kitchen utensils (bottle openers, pizza cutters), plus I’ve got storage tubs full of sharks that I don’t have room to display—but a thousand and one sharks seems like a good estimate. 

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"These are photos of a few favorites. Some are handmade: a hand-stitched pillow by Annika Tamura; a metal shark fabricated from street signs by Matt Haffner; a shark carved out of soap by Athens’ own Jennifer Hartley; a whirligig by R. A. Miller that we bought from R. A. himself back in the early ‘90s; a wire shark that I commissioned from an artist who was set up at the Harvard T stop in Cambridge; a shark from the 1970s board game JAWS that Stephen Larkworthy painted to look like Plastic Man, one of my identities as a member of Atlanta’s Box Heroes. Others I picked up during my touring days (a Fisher-Price shark flashlight I bought at a Woolworth’s in Munich’s Old Town in 1992 or 1993, a shark comb I found during a late-night stop at South of the Border) or I received from friends or family over the years (shark patches that my lifelong best friend Todd Butler collected for me, a Mark Trail cartoon that Boston artist Keith Maddy gave me, a Richard Scarry shark car that is one of many thoughtful gifts from my mom over the years). And to clarify: I don’t love sharks per se—it’s more that I love representations of sharks.” - Arthur Johnson

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“Born and raised in Atlanta, I first visited Athens in the fall of 1978 at the age of 14, when I rode the Greyhound bus here to see my sister Carole and we attended a midnight showing of Eraserhead at the South PJ on the UGA campus and then a UGA football game the next day (I stayed at the late, lamented Downtowner in Five Points). I enrolled at UGA myself in 1982 and graduated in 1986, and then spent a few more years here having fun with my band, the Bar-B-Q Killers, before my then-girlfriend, now-wife Donna Ashley and I decided to move to Boston, where we stayed for seventeen wonderful years before moving back to Atlanta at the end of 2005. Since returning to Georgia, I’ve worked as a freelance editor/copyeditor/proofreader/permissions editor while also occasionally playing drums hither and thither with my old Boston band, Come, and with friends in Atlanta and Athens, including Ted Hafer and David Barbe.”  —Arthur Johnson


Our Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually.

Claire Dunphy’s Czechoslovakian Wooden Bead Jewelry 

“When I was a child of four or five someone gave me a necklace of large shiny wooden beads. How I loved it and can still visualize it. Many years later as an adult I had a friend in NYC who frequented the flea markets of London and Amsterdam. One time she brought me a handsome broach made of colorful wooden beads. I was enamored and asked her to find me some more of this jewelry.

The former Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic and Slovakia, is primarily known for its glass beads but during the Depression period, produced colorful and playful wooden bead jewelry. Some say it was made primarily for children. Well, it certainly spoke to the child in me as well as the adult!

I hope you see the smiles in it as I do” - Claire Dunphy


Claire Dunphy is an artist, performer and storyteller, recently published by Bilbo Books, the first title in this biographical series is “Becoming Earthwoman”. This native New Yorker is a world traveler splitting her time between Watkinsville, Merida Mexico and Bali Indonesia.


Our bimonthly Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually.

Kendell and Tony Turner’s Poodles

“Tony and I started our love affair with Poodles when he was an Army Officer with overseas assignments.  Toy Poodles were part of my family as a child. Knowing we would be moving in the 1970s to Munich, (West) Germany, we decided to start with Toy Poodles so they could fly in the cabin with us. Flight Attendants loved them and gifted them Airline Wings to pin on their sweaters!!  

We always had at least two Poodles at a time so they would have each other when we went to work. At the time Tony retired from the Army we bought my family home in Coral Gables, Florida. By this time we had had a Toy Poodle family of Tyche, Token, Franc, Myka, and Pituca. Then came our first Miniature Poodle, Jacques. Following him were Minis Poochini and Tosca.

We retired in 2013, moved to Athens and Jazz, our first Standard Poodle, joined Poochini and Tosca.  Our sweet Minis passed over the Rainbow Bridge a couple of years ago. Naturally, our 6 year old Jazz needed a four-legged friend.  We welcomed our second standard and 10th Poodle Trane, named for John Coltrane, into our home a little over a year ago.

Over the years many friends have gifted us with nearly half of our Poodle Collection.  And those are cherished! What’s not to love about Poodles?!!”

– Kendell Turner

Kendell Turner received her B.S. Degree in Art History from the University of Miami in 1985 after studying art history and the history of architecture in Munich, Germany and Florence, Italy. She served the City of Coral Gables, Florida, as a board member and chair of the city's Historic Preservation Board (1996- 2004/2010-2013)) and the city's Library Advisory Board (2004-2010. Kendell received the Key to the City of Coral Gables in 2013 for her extensive work and dedication to the city.


Kendell and Tony retired to Athens, Georgia in 2013. She is a member of The Collectors of the Georgia Museum of Art and serves on the Friends’ Board of the Museum. She is the Chairperson of Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation’s Ware-Lyndon House Committee. Kendell and Tony serve on the UGA Libraries’ Board of Visitors.


Our bimonthly Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually.

Brittainy Lauback’s Uncle Andy was a foodie before foodies were even called foodies! He loved to dine out and from the 70’s to the 90’s collected menus from Toronto to Chicago, Philly to New York, Boston, Raleigh, Ft. Lauderdale, Montreal, San Francisco, Big Sur and Columbus, Ohio. Particularly now, all of us present day foodies are really missing visiting restaurants, socializing and eating and drinking inspiring concoctions designed by our favorite servers. Let’s pause for a  minute to take a mouthwatering trip back in time with Brittainy and Uncle Andy. 


The vintage graphic design alone is enough to drive you wild, not to mention the nostalgia of the dishes being served and when you realize Andy was dining on lobster filet combinations for $16.95, your mind is blown! Spagio’s  menu cover was designed by artist Peter Max and many times Uncle Andy would get the acclaimed chef’s signature on his menu. A borderline kleptomaniac, he wanted to make sure to remember the evening as well as collecting meal ideas to cook at home.


Brittainy found this collection in a box after Uncle Andy passed away and could not stand the thought of throwing such a cherished collection in the trash. She also shares Uncle Andy’s love of dining with friends and family and has started to add to the collection so she too can remember going out to eat and the amazing meals consumed.


Brittainy Lauback is an Athens based artist currently focusing on a photography project centered on cruise ships and cruise life. She also has a background in working and teaching graphic design.


I don’t know if Monopoly caused my interest in business or my interest in business led me to enjoy Monopoly, probably a little of both.  While Monopoly has been around since the Depression its basic business principles still hold true.  You can also learn more about the theme like the horse breed information in Horseopoly.  Different versions also show how trends change in time.  The original game’s thimble is dated now but so is the Here and Now version’s flip phone.  I enjoy playing different themed versions of Monopoly while using the same strategies and similar rules.  

Growing up as an Army Brat, I enjoyed anything military related from playing with Army men, to playing war in the nearby woods, to strategy games.  I enjoyed Chess, Battleship, and Stratego, but my favorite was attempting to dominate the world playing Risk.  I enjoyed the strategic plans to conquer the world with the tactical battles determined by a roll of the dice leading to success or failure. I used the Risk board to create a World War II game using Legos to represent different military units.  Someone else had the same great idea and created Axis and Allies, which replaced the simple geometric plastic pieces of Risk (which had replaced the earlier wooden blocks) with detailed military units with different abilities.  Both Risk and Axis and Allies provided hours of gameplay as the tides of war shifted and could continue over multiple days (McSweeneys Risk article).  Like Monopoly, I’ve collected different versions including Castle Risk, Risk Lord of the Rings, and Axis and Allies and Zombies.

Our bimonthly Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually.

Collections from our Community: Tony Paramore’s Board Games

Tony Paramore takes his board games seriously! We are all finding creative ways to occupy our time. Lots of people are getting back into jigsaw puzzles and breaking out the old board games to have some fun with family during these long summer evenings. For our next Collections from our Community, Tony shows us his favorite games and reflects on why the board game has been so influential. 

“Some of my favorite memories of growing up are playing board games with family and friends.  I started with Parcheesi, Sorry, and Checkers but as I grew older I was drawn to more complicated strategy games especially Monopoly and Risk.  While skill played a role in these games there was always an element of luck, just like in real life.  The best laid plans could be upset by the roll of the dice or the draw of a card.  When my kids got old enough, we played Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, and similar games but soon advanced to playing games I enjoy more like Battleship, Checkers, and Monopoly.  I started getting Monopoly games with themes the kids liked such as Pokémon, Star Wars, Mario Brothers, and Animaniacs (okay that one was for me).  I enjoy our family game nights and sharing the games that have brought me so much joy over the years.


Computers and game systems have allowed for more complex games.  They have even updated versions of Monopoly and Risk with animated gameplay and additional rule options.  Despite these advances, there is still something special about the tactile feel and human interaction of a board game (look at the popularity of Rook and Pawn).  Looking at all the games I have collected some might say I have enough or could even get rid of some.  Instead I enjoy how unique each one is and continue the hunt for new variations (like the Anamaniacs Monopoly I added to the collection while working on this exhibit).” 

– Tony Paramore


Collections from our Community: Julie Rutledge’s Grandparents’ Avon Bottles

Our bimonthly Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually.

“My grandparents, Sadie and Tom Rutledge, began collecting Avon bottles in the early 1970s.  They were always interested in antiques and collecting treasures in their own attempt to preserve history. One of their past times was going to flea markets and as Sadie said, “looking at all the treasures.” Sadie and Tom were drawn to Avon bottles because they were intrigued with all the different designs and shapes.


Sadie and Tom found a lot of Avon bottles at J&J Flea Market and the Pendegrass Flea Market. Once they started collecting them, friends would also collect bottles so they would have many duplicates. They got a lot of bottles from an old friend who owned a junk store off 441 in Nicholson. He’d put aside any bottles he found. 

Overtime, my grandfather built bookshelves in the basement to store all the Avon bottles. No one ever used the fragrances. They just enjoyed looking at them. In the end, they collected more than 2000 bottles.


I was in college when my grandfather died. I always enjoyed coming home to walk through the basement with my grandmother to look at all the treasures. She especially enjoyed pausing in front of the 6 bookshelves full of Avon bottles and remembering her husband. 

Sadie died March 1, 2019. She would have been thrilled to have the Avon bottle collection on display for others to enjoy.” – Julie Rutledge

Julie Rutledge is an English and ESOL teacher who took time off to raise her son. She has worked part-time at the Athens Community Career Academy for the last two years and has enjoyed working with such an ambitious and motivated group of students while also having flexibility to be home more with her son. She and her family like to be outside as much as possible, biking and walking around town. She also enjoys gardening, painting and ceramics when time allows. 


NOTE:  Did you know Avon fragrance company has been in business for over 130 years?  Started by a door-to-door salesman selling books in New York, he moved to perfumes in 1886.


“I don’t know that these are important to the world at large. I keep them on a shelf in my house, I look at them and they make me happy. As an artist and maker, I really connected with the idea of intricately made little objects whose sole purpose was to be the padding for another object. These little toys remind me of my undying affinity for the design, care and thought that goes into things we take for granted or the processes that an artist uses that the viewer never sees.”- Amanda Burk

Amanda Burk is an artist living and working here in Athens, Georgia. She is one of the founders of Double Dutch Press, a print shop open for several years in Normaltown. She painted the giant floating pepperoni pizza slice on the back of Automatic Pizza and just finished painting various delicious food items on the side of Half Shepherd Market. 


Collections from our Community: Amanda Burk’s Dream Pets

Our bimonthly Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually.

Amanda has been collecting these little animals called Dream Pets for the last twenty years since a friend gave her two for a birthday one year with an explanation that piqued her interest. In the late 1950’s these toys were used as packing material for battery operated toy trains coming from Japan. They are made from velveteen and sawdust and existed just to be the packing peanuts to protect the toy trains in shipping. People loved the little animals so much that the R. Dakin toy company started selling them separately. Half of Amanda’s collection are the original Dream Pets from the 1950’s/1960’s and the other half are reproductions the R. Dakin toy company released in the early 2000’s that she found in a sale bin in a dollar store in rural Iowa.


Our bimonthly Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually. Myung Cogan has recently had more time to comb the beaches for sharks teeth and has amassed a serious collection. Looking for these dark, pointy treasures has become a sort of meditation for her. Take a look at these fantastic finds!  

 Myung Cogan’s Sharks Teeth

“I live in Athens, GA with my husband Chris. We spend our time between Athens and Amelia Island Florida. I’ve been going to the beach my entire life and was never interested in finding sharks teeth until about a year and a half ago. A friend who lives in Amelia Island showed me her collection – all contained in a beautiful carved wooden bowl given to her by her husband. There were so many -over 6,700 which she recently counted while sheltering at home during this pandemic – all different sizes and shapes.  

I found all of mine on Amelia Island, Florida and a few on Cumberland Island, Georgia. The most I have ever found in one outing was 100 – this past winter. Another friend who has lived on Amelia for about 60 years told me when to go out and what time because there was a storm coming that week. It had to do with the wind and tide etc. I found so many that I decided to stop at 100.  That was an unusual day - most of the time I’ll find about a dozen if I’m lucky - sometimes I come back empty handed. 


The largest tooth in my collection is about 3 inches and the smallest is so tiny I can’t identify what kind it is. I have a piece of paper with drawings to identify the type of shark and I’ll spread my new findings out and compare them to the drawings. I’ve never found a tooth from a megalodon – which can be larger than a grown person’s hand. I know several people who have found them in this area so they are somewhat common. I’d love to find one but it’s not a goal - looking for sharks teeth is more like meditation and sometimes there’s a prize. 

 If you see someone walking on the beach, hunched over with their palm up and cupped they are most likely hunting/meditating.” 

– Myung Cogan


Our bimonthly Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually. As with many of us sequestered at home Carole and Hue Henry have developed a morning ritual. Hue eats his morning banana and drinks his glass of water. He arranges the empty peel in the glass and Carole retrieves both to use as still-life material. Repeated day after day, the two have amassed a collection of over 100 images and have kept themselves entertained with documenting banana peels on rocks, by the river, bananas at sunset and bananas glowing in the afternoon light. 

Collections from our Community: Hue and Carole Henry’s Banana Peels

What is creativity anyway? Does it have to be lasting? Can creative moments be collected? These are some of the questions that Hue and Carole Henry’s collection of banana peel photos can bring to mind. 

"The collection began with a banana and a glass of water – a daily routine while watching “Morning Joe” each day. The banana peel was initially tossed into the trash, but one day a year ago Hue, a retired local attorney active in community theater, took the peel, inverted it into the empty glass and gave it new meaning.  Carole, a retired UGA art education professor and former middle school art teacher, started photographing the banana peel “sculptures” at first by themselves but then in different settings both inside and outside, sometimes in natural settings and other times with decorative objects found around the house. Some choices were governed by the weather; others by serendipitous events like the sight of a visiting friend’s bright yellow kayak, strapped to the top of their parked car."


"The photos served to document the act of looking at one thing (the banana peel) and seeing or imagining something else (perhaps a flower) in a way that was fun and unique. Each banana peel was different, some riper than others, and each background an unexpected juxtaposition. Seeing them all together- over 100 images in all (only 16 are included here) documents moments of creativity that are themselves ephemeral." - Carole Henry


OnLine: Collections from our Community

Trail Trash from the collection of Michael Lachowski


Our bimonthly Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually. It’s fascinating to see what our neighbors treasure, care for, store away and/or display with pride. It gives us an understanding about what others hold dear and are inspired by. It also gives us an opportunity to connect with our past obsessions and reminisce as we have had collections of tiny soldiers, white ceramic cats, vintage hairpins, old-time. iron skillets, cartoon character cookie jars, it goes on and on! Currently, we have Michael Lachowski’s Trail Trash Collection.  Listen to Michael’s Interview on WUGA on Earth Day HERE


Michael Lachowski’s Trail Trash When Michael Lachowski goes hiking or backpacking he picks up trail litter. When he gets home, no matter what it may be, how much or how little, he puts it in a sandwich bag, labels it with where he went, what trail, and who he was with. Trail mix bags, lots of cigarette butts, a lead ball / bear bullet, foil, a glow stick, shotgun casings, and fishing lure. Some trails are more littered than others — one bag contains a single lollipop stick. At first the collections seem insignificant, but when you start aggregating it, something as simple as this, little pieces of trash in a bag, have a story to tell. It shows the impact of other people and Michael, wanting to be a good little camper, wants to tidy up.

The oldest labeled bag in the collection is from 1995 and it goes on into 2000.

Even small pieces of trash stand out on the trail. A blue piece of plastic pops even among the plants and the flowers. It’s not supposed to be there. Michael would collect small pieces of trash as he walked, cramming them into his backpack pocket. He wouldn’t empty it out until he got home from a trip, and then would have a tendency to get nostalgic about the experience. He started getting wistful looking back at these recent hikes and the trash took on more importance than when initially picked up. Some of the trash was so visually interesting it inspired him to create this collection.

So, it is like a diaristic approach, which is much like Michael’s approach to drawing and photography: “This is what I saw. This is what I did.”  He is interested in exploring the mundane. For example, he used to take pictures of voids on streets — the area where car tires never roll over and that can’t be accessed to be cleaned-up by the street sweeper, so it ends up with the debris and cigarette butts that accumulate. This collection is an extension of that.

Michael was a Eagle Boy Scout and did a lot of backpacking and camping. He fell out of it when he went to college. It wasn’t until 9 years after college, after he got into cycling and while working at a bike shop, that one of those guys got him back into hiking. They went to Shinning Rock Wilderness, which is where some of the oldest of these baggies come from. Then he would get back into his band and enjoy the more urban environment trips of being in NY and big cities. When the band broke up the second time he went back to backpacking and camping, sometimes on solo trips. If someone went with him he would note their names.

Picking up trail litter expands on the wilderness motto that appears on the Woodsy Owl patch on his backpack: 

“Pack it in, pack it out.”



Michael Lachowski came to the University of Georgia to study photography in the art department back when the building was on Jackson Street near downtown. His scene was built around the art school party crowd and was intensely interested in the new music of the time, leading him and his roommate Randy Bewley to form the band Pylon. Pylon broke up after two albums and lots of touring in order to “make art again,” and all of the band chose to remain in Athens. Lachowski made art and worked at Dixons Bicycles, then opened the design agency Candy, which he also turned into a DJ store and then a clothing store for men and women. Pylon reunited twice, ending for good when guitarist Bewley died of a heart attack. Lachowski published the magazine Young, Foxy & Free in Athens and then expanding to Atlanta. In 2012 he settled down with a job doing PR for the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia. 

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