Thanks to the Museum of Arts and Sciences, we know the Christmas season is officially here. The opening of the “Festival of Trees” exhibit, which was celebrated for years at the museum has become so popular that a move to the Terminal Station was necessary to accommodate the crowds of children-at-heart who noshed on Natalia’s sumptuous cocktail buffet before traveling to the museum for a first look at the Christmas trees decorated by local artists and designers.
Over the years, we have drooled over the luscious peaches made by Mark Ballard for his tree, gazed in awe at the Victorian doll tree and admired the originality of crafts used on other themed trees.
For a huge dose of pink, the Cherry Blossom Festival tree could not be missed. Linda Maddox, executive director of the Central City Park activities for the festival, was all smiles, surrounded by the staff who helped create this confection a few days prior to the opening.
On that Thursday evening, Candy and Malcolm Burgess, major sponsors of the event, enjoyed the auction and raffle items, which spilled over tables and decorated the walls of the venue. Guests vied for a chance to win the raffle of Steve Penley’s giclee of Abraham Lincoln, Joe Adams’ vivid abstract or the striking nude by the museum’s executive director, Susan Welsh. With exhibitions to curate and a constant whirl of activity at the museum, one has to wonder when Welsh finds the time to paint.
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If a visit to the fantasy of trees at the museum doesn’t awaken your Christmas spirit, you have to be related to Scrooge!
HOT OFF THE EASEL
The Middle Georgia Art Association located in Ingleside Village is hosting an exhibition of works by the Ocmulgee Painters Society through Nov. 28. Titled “Hot Off the Easel,” the exhibition features some well known Macon painters including Daly Smith, Warren Griffin and Sue Bond. However, even from an amateur’s perspective, the show is of exceptional quality, indicative of the artists’ passion for perfecting their craft.
There are familiar scenes one would recognize such as Smith’s “The Stables at Wesleyan,” also illustrated by Joy Lynn Stanley in her “Wesleyan Stables.” It is obvious the artists would rather record their travels on canvas than hang on to dozens of photographs. Bond’s trips to favorite destinations are depicted in “Fall Scene Thetford, Vermont” and in “Colorado Summer Sky,” each one executed in the ethereal colors and textures reflective of the mountain ranges which are so different from one state to another.
If only my garden could look as inviting in August as Mary Wain Ellison’s “Late Summer Garden,” resplendent with roses and lush plants. Debbie Schuchmann, better known in her day job in the health care field, prefers the bolder colors like her “Fresh Radishes,” which look good enough to eat even if you don’t like radishes. Local chiropractor Charley Causey’s small canvases were intriguing, especially his miniature “Appalachia.”
The Ocmulgee Painters Society meets on a regular basis to create among friends, critique each other’s work, share their successes and ask the more seasoned among them for advice, which is always generously given. Don’t miss this opportunity to find a significant piece of art for the collector on your gift list.
AN UPLIFTIN’ GOSPEL MEET
“Sanders Family Christmas,” playwright Connie Ray’s sequel to “Smoke on the Mountain,” is a hilarious second visit with the Sanders family, which has been asked to entertain and inspire the dwindling congregation of the Rev. Oglethorpe’s Baptist church with a gospel sing and testimonials or witnessing. The Milledgeville Players in partnership with Allied Arts staged the play in the Allen’s Market building for two weeks and to a sold-out house at the matinee Nov. 16.
The last performance is this afternoon, so you have time for the short drive to Milledgeville to see a cast that keeps you in stitches from the first act, and exposes the bumbling efforts of imperfect humans to appear pious and perfect in what is billed as a “gospel musical comedy.”
It is December, 1941 in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, and the preacher decides the young men going off to war, including one of the Sanders’ boys, deserve a proper send off. June Oglethorpe, the preacher’s wife, portrayed by LeeAnn Kelly, makes no bones about her lack of musical ability, but offers to “sign” during the performances for her audience and steals the show. Her self-taught interpretation of “signing” for an audience that is obviously not hearing impaired brought down the house.
The Milledgeville Players, under the direction of John Geist, made the Sunday drive well worth the trip.
Katherine Walden is a freelance writer and interior designer in Macon. Contact her at 478-742-2224 or email@example.com.