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Georgia Music Hall of Fame's Otis Redding exhibit to close Sunday

For those who haven’t made it to the “Otis Redding: I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” exhibit, time is running out.

The award-winning collection, which opened to the public Sept. 14, 2007, will leave the Georgia Music Hall of Fame after Sunday. The hall of fame is set to use the space for a new exhibition, “Nashville Portraits: Photographs by Jim McGuire,” which will open May 10 and run through July 5.

Lisa Love, executive director of the hall of fame, said revenue for the museum was up 30 percent in 2008 largely because of the exhibit.

“The Otis exhibition has been a high point in the hall of fame’s history,” Love said. “We forged a partnership with the Redding family that achieved a new level of excellence, drew visitors from around the world and made a significant impact on our revenue. The best part of all is that we did this by simply telling the story of a humble man from Macon, Georgia, whose music continues to resonate with fans 41 years after his passing.”

The Redding exhibit still is drawing guests from all over, including Michael Uslan, the executive producer of “The Dark Knight” and other movies, who showed up Thursday with his brother-in-law, Sandy Osher, and a friend, Elizabeth Davis-Richard. The three flew into Atlanta and drove to Macon specifically to catch the exhibit before it closed.

The exhibit is a collection of photos, records, posters and other memorabilia donated by Redding’s family and fans. A large-screen TV shows footage of various live performances by the soul singer, who died in 1967.

Uslan pointed to footage of Redding performing at the Monterey Pop Festival and said that was the performance that turned Uslan into a dedicated Redding fan.

“I saw that movie when I was 16 years old,” said Uslan, who has authored two books about the history of rock and roll. “That was it. I was mesmerized. What he had, Janis Joplin also had. It was incredible. To deliver that kind of soul music, to deliver to different races and different age groups, to men and to women was incredible.”

Osher could barely contain his enthusiasm as he pointed at various photos mounted on the wall.

“This is a real dream coming down here,” said Osher, noting that his personal favorite song was Redding’s rendition of “Try A Little Tenderness” during a live performance in Paris. “I’ve idolized him since I was a kid.”

The group met Redding’s daughter, Karla Redding-Andrews, who shared her memories of her father.

Redding-Andrews said it was a bittersweet feeling knowing the exhibit is set to close Sunday.

“It really tears at me that this has to close,” she said. “But I know it’s time to feature other artists as well. This has been so good for the hall of fame and so good for my father’s legend. ... To have people travel so far, it’s absolutely breathtaking.”

For more information about the Redding exhibit and hall of fame, call (478) 751-3334 or visit www.georgiamusic.org. The hall is located at 200 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Macon

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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