Living Columns & Blogs

St. Paul’s leads grassroots celebration for community

Art by Glenda Coleman from Macon Arts Alliance’s June exhibit “Tasteful Visions” presented by the Ocmulgee Painters Society
Art by Glenda Coleman from Macon Arts Alliance’s June exhibit “Tasteful Visions” presented by the Ocmulgee Painters Society Special to The Telegraph

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which has anchored the corner of College and Forsyth streets for almost 150 years, was founded in a nearby railroad warehouse in 1869, by a group from Christ Church who wanted a more inclusive congregation that would not be charged for sitting in the pews.

The church is part of a campus that includes the former Appleton Children’s Home and a rectory for the priest and his family. The children at the home, founded in 1868 for the orphans of Confederate soldiers, were moved in 1924, after which the building became the Parish House for St. Paul’s, the center of activity for meetings, classes and offices.

Several weeks ago, the members of St. Paul’s fanned out in the Intown neighborhood with invitations for residents in the historic district and at St. Paul’s Tower, the retirement home adjacent to the church, to attend the 11 a.m. service on June 12, where Robert Wright, bishop of the Atlanta Diocese, would be the celebrant, and afterward to attend a picnic on the grounds.

The Episcopal Cooking Men, a band of grill gourmands, prepared hot dogs and hamburgers while other members contributed the requisite baked beans, salads and desserts for a day to get to know the neighbors and to reacquaint with old friends.

Although the near record-breaking temperature was not conducive to dinner on the grounds, the indoor picnic was no less fun for young and old alike. Velma Bryant, a nearby resident, was perfectly happy to stay inside and enjoy the cool air while the children, never at a loss for entertainment, spread out on the floor for impromptu games. Molly Wilkins’ daughter and son, Lily Kate and Bishop, made some new friends from the neighborhood.

St. Paul’s is in the College Hill Corridor and has been a hub of community and religious activities throughout its history, addressing the needs of the neighborhood during the urban flight and ensuing deterioration of the downtown residential area in the mid 20th century.

Now that urban revitalization has encouraged families to move back downtown, College Street is thriving with activity. Employees from Medical Center, Navicent Health, young professionals and students like living within bicycling or walking distance of the downtown business and entertainment center of town, and St. Paul’s is addressing, with its grassroots efforts, a younger and more diverse population seeking a sense of community through the church.


Daly Smith does not title his contemporary paintings, electing instead to number them. But, as a participant in the “Tasteful Visions” exhibition at Macon Arts Alliance, which will be in the gallery through June 24, he had to give names to his abstracts, something he thinks the viewer might find odd.

According to Smith, “they might find in one of the paintings something totally different from what I might see.” Smith’s patrons are accustomed to his realistic classical paintings of familiar scenes. However, in this collection there is a delightful array of his studies of colors and shapes, for the collector looking for this genre. Smith is part of the Ocmulgee Painters Society, whose members meet regularly to critique each other’s work and to inspire and motivate fellow artists to better their craft.

Adrian and John Wood commented on the texture and reflection of the copper pitcher, the silver sugar bowl and the brass candlestick in Mary Wain Ellison’s still life, arranged against a wood letter box and tray, all of which are reminiscent of a time when polishing family heirlooms and of preserving keepsakes were an important part of a family’s history.

In her paintings, Glenda Coleman, who grew up on a farm in Milledgeville, captures the dewy freshness of just-picked vegetables and the mouthwatering aroma of desserts arranged for a family feast.

While everyone is searching for the perfect tomatoes and for the juiciest peaches this time of year, Debbie Schuchmann’s bowl of salad greens, including plump tomatoes, would discourage the would-be gardener who could never hope to match the luscious colors in her still life.

Encaustic painting — the ancient form of applying hot bees wax mixed with resin and pigment to a canvas or other surface — is no longer an obscure artform because Bren Powell, since 2011, has educated Middle Georgia art patrons with luminous paintings of her subjects, ranging from landscapes to people, in what might be mistaken for enameled ware. After painting for years, the artist says about her encaustic works, “I think I have found my resting place.”

See these paintings and others from the Ocmulgee Painters Society the rest of this week at the Macon Arts Alliance gallery.

Katherine Walden is a freelance writer and interior designer in Macon. Contact her at 478-742-2224 or