Comfortable walking shoes were a must last weekend to enjoy the potpourri of arts and letters in downtown Macon from First Street to Third Street Park. Ed Clark on sax was accompanied by none other than concert pianist Chenny Gan, assistant professor of piano at Wesleyan College, who traded her fine piano for a portable keyboard. The familiar riffs of K-Mo and of Evan Jones were part of the quartet whose New Orleans style jazz — played outside of Travis Jean Gallery on Cherry Street — made downtown a festive place to be for First Friday.
Native Maconite Sarah Tinsley Parker was the featured artist at Travis Jean, with her collection of abstracts, architectural images and landscapes, for her second appearance in the gallery. Parker recently completed her master of arts therapy at Georgia College after realizing the healing powers of art therapy, which can be a creative catalyst for clients. She will be the musical centerpiece for the 2017 Riverdale Arts and Jazz Festival on Oct. 21, sponsored by the Jazz Association of Macon.
Around the corner at Gallery West, Kirk and Kirsten West celebrated the arrival of Kirk’s newest book, “The Blues in Black and White,” which covers blues artists with whom Kirk worked or whom he photographed during his career in the music business. His first coffee table book, “Les Brers,” a pictorial history of the Allman Brothers Band, for whom he worked for 20-plus years as the road manager, was a favorite Christmas present two years ago. His recently published book, focusing on the soulful singers known for their storytelling blues, won’t fit in a stocking, but deserves its place under the tree.
In the gallery of Macon Arts Alliance, “I Used You,” the title of the exhibition of functional and decorative clay objects by Alexis Gregg and Tanner Coleman, opened on First Friday with its focal point the bricks, corbels and other architectural elements made by Gregg and Coleman for the construction of ambitious outdoor and indoor fireplaces and for ornamental supports which can replace the woodworker’s creations.
The curious title of the exhibit has its genesis in the use and re-use of organic material to make vessels and art objects — recycling of a sort, from dust to vase, from broken shards to mosaics. The symbiotic relationship between some of the containers and their contents made the names of some of the pieces make sense; for instance, a variegated design on a philodendron resembled the reptilian markings on the container. The show will be in the gallery until Oct. 29.
At the 567 Center for Renewal, on Oct. 6, Beth Smith moved out of her comfort zone! A landscape of the Italian countryside, dominated by lavender spilling over the sun baked clay lane caught the attention of gallery goers despite its location at the very back of the building. “Shades of Blue,” a familiar scene from New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, is simmering with energy in the blue hues of dusk, when the city comes alive with the entertainment for which it is best known. See Smith’s show through the end of this month.
CHRYSANTHEMUM IN BLOOM ON FORSYTH ROAD
After months of planning, interviewing artists and artisans, dealing with the loss of a husband and father and of furnishing the new Chrysanthemum Gallery, Ann Bingham and her son, Stephen Bingham, opened on Oct. 7 with a light brunch catered by Chef Collier, who makes a presentation as appealing as fall’s favorite flower — a chrysanthemum in bloom.
Among works by local artists displayed and for sale in the gallery at 4524 Forsyth Road are Gilbert Lee’s photography of life’s impromptu moments, Meg Campbell’s quirky and highly recognizable pottery and Yvonne Gabriel’s paintings. Gabriel’s interpretive water scenes, a trilogy of which use her son, moving under water, as the subject, are executed in layers of color and texture, commanding attention to the intricately applied detail.
She has been commissioned to paint portraits of some of Macon’s most notable citizens, among them Joan Godsey, whose portrait hangs at Mercer University. In recent years, Gabriel has explored new subjects and different techniques, pushing the boundaries of traditional painting with remarkable results. Visit the new gallery Monday through Saturday.
Katherine Walden is a freelance writer and interior designer in Macon. Contact her at 478-742-2224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.