Byas: Macon is alive in the arts

June 6, 2014 

I Love Macon! My dad was from Macon. He loved it so much that there was no place he’d rather be in his retirement, so he returned here. Being near him and my mom was important to me as his health failed, so my decision to move here was a “no-brainer.”

I spent a year-and-a-half hauling my possessions from Washington, D.C., where I worked in advocacy, to a farm in Middle Georgia. I didn’t know what to expect of this new adventure, but it really didn’t matter because I always roll with the punches.

That was almost seven years ago and what I’ve discovered in that time is that life here is just as rich as in any other place I’ve lived. I’ve grown to value highly Macon’s music and architecture legacies, adjusted comfortably to the evenly-paced lifestyle, made many new awesome and dear friends, and fallen in love with one of Georgia’s greatest assets: the Museum of Arts and Sciences.

However, I have mixed emotions, because there is too much indifference here about the value of the arts as being a vital part of a thriving community. This perception is partially why I describe Macon as “a place with wonderful people, but stuck in another time.” What do you think?

There is hope, however, and I see it evidenced in the many gifted talents who perform and engage, the wonderful places that feature stand-out events, the historic venues that present world-class exhibitions and in the generous patrons who support the arts and entertainment (thank you!). Notwithstanding all doubts, I’m blessed to be part of this community and honored to begin sharing this space with Larry Fennelly.

But enough about me! Here are two events you should enjoy during this “official” first weekend of summer.

Music extravaganza and flower spectacular

Students at Phillips Children’s Performing Arts Studio will give their event of the year, “The Heart N Soul of Sound,” on Saturday at the Douglass Theatre. Making their debut during this free concert is the Phillips Jazzy Jazz Band, featuring guest guitarist Steve Smith, superintendent of Bibb County Schools.

Main Street Gray hosts its 11th annual Daylily Festival, featuring a flower show, arts and crafts vendors, car show, food, games, music by the sunDollars and 5K Daylily Dash. A regional favorite held in the Jones County Elementary School pecan grove, the festival starts this evening and runs through Saturday.

Contact Melanie Byas at

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