Art on a Cart will be funded by the Downtown Challenge

By Melissa Macker, Executive Director

The 567 Center is thrilled to receive a Downtown Challenge grant for "Art on a Cart." This project is one of 21 ideas that were chosen to be funded in the latest round of Downtown Challenge and announced last night by the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

Starting in January, The 567's mobile art-making cart will pop-up monthly in various medians, alleys and plazas in downtown Macon with free art activities guided by local artists. The activities will be open to both kids and adults, and could include pencil sketching, clay, acrylic painting, and watercolor, to name a few.

 
 

We look forward to taking some of the fun of our art classes out into the streets of downtown! The Art Cart will also be a great opportunity to give new enjoyment to some of the beautiful and usual public spaces that give downtown Macon its character. The mission of The 567 Center is to bring creative life to downtown Macon, and the Art Cart will definitely do that.

Check out some of the other great projects being funded by the Downtown Challenge in this article in the Telegraph.

The Downtown Challenge is funded by the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists will teach artists everything from business plans to time management

 
 

by Melissa Macker, Executive Director

The 567 Center is excited to offer Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists this fall as part of its Amplify program. The 12-week workshop series will start September 20.

Work of Art is a professional development curriculum designed to teach business skills to artists in all disciplines — visual, performing and literary arts. Artists can take the whole series or individual workshops that best suit their needs. Developed by Springboard for the Arts, this series has been taught at arts organizations around the country.

Workshop topics include marketing, social media, time management, business plans, pricing and more. Each workshop will be led by a different local artist who will bring their own experience and expertise to each topic.

The goal of the Amplify program is to help creative professionals build a life by doing what they love. The 567 Center presented its first Amplify workshop, Amplify Your Creative Business, during Macon Startup Week in April. Since then, other workshops have included Wordpress Basics, Etsy Success and Artist Profiles. The Work of Art series is the perfect continuation of these workshops.

In addition to workshops, members of Amplify receive one-on-one consultations and access to special news and networking opportunities. The 567 Center hopes to build a network and support structure through Amplify that connects creatives both to each other and to the resources available in the community. 

For more information about Amplify or to register, visit the567center.org/amplify, call 478-238-6051, or e-mail Executive Director Melissa Macker at melissa@the567.org.

Plan a staycation in downtown Macon

by Melissa Macker, Executive Director

It seems like summer always flies by! In just a couple of weeks, kids will return to school, and Mercer students will be back downtown. If you haven't managed to find the time (or money) to have a vacation yet this summer, or just want the summer fun to last a little longer, it's not too late! There's plenty of fun to be had right here in downtown Macon without having to go very far. It's fun to play tourist in your own backyard, and many of the options are free or cheap. So take a couple of days off from work, play hooky, and enjoy your staycation! Here are just a few ideas:

1) Visit a museum. We have a few museums downtown. If you appreciate downtown's historic architecture, you must visit the Hay House and the Cannonball House. The Hay House is a 18,000-square-foot Italian Renaissance Revival style mansion that has been featured on A&E's "America's Castles." The Cannonball House was built around the same time and has some interesting Civil War history. Sports fans will enjoy the interactive and educational exhibits at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. For art lovers, check out the Tubman Museum. It is the largest museum in the Southeast that is dedicated to preserving and sharing the story of African American Art, Culture, and History. Their new building at the end of Cherry Street is big and beautiful and well air-conditioned, so you can spend a while here.

2) Travel by bike. What better way to see downtown from a different angle than on a bicycle! Thanks to Macon's bike share program, you can pick up a bike in front of the Tubman Museum and rent it using an app on your phone. If riding along the Ocmulgee River is more your pace, you can also pick one up at the Spring Street entrance of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail (also known as "the river walk" to locals). You can learn more about the bike share on the Macon CVB's website.

3) Enjoy a self-guided tour of downtown. Downtown has a range of new and old pieces of public art, from statues to murals. Unlike statues, murals tend to change, get painted over, or pop up suddenly, so this map of public art is a little out of date, but it's a good starting point. You may discover new murals on your way! If you stop into the Macon Visitors Center at 450 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., you'll find many more self-guided tours and suggested itineraries.

4) Explore downtown Macon's art galleries. If you've visited the galleries on First Friday, they're full of people mingling and enjoying the festivities. During the week, the galleries are quieter, which gives you a chance to really step back and appreciate the work at a leisurely pace. The staff (us included) usually love visitors and are happy to give you the low-down on what's happening downtown. Our hours are 11 am-4 pm, Monday-Friday, and we'd love for you to see our artwork in person. Other galleries to visit: Macon Arts Alliance, Travis Jean, Gallery West, and Ampersand Guild. Bonus: visiting the galleries is free!

5) Try a new restaurant. As downtown Macon grows, so does its culinary scene! Use your time off to check out a restaurant you haven't tried yet--several have opened up just this year. While you're visiting the galleries, the Red Rooster is a great lunch spot. Make sure you leave room for one of their delicious desserts (you're on vacation, after all!). Other places that have opened (or re-opened) semi-recently: Tzango at Lanier's, La Bella Morelia, Ginger, Ladda Bistro, Sang's Thai Isaan Restaurant, Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen, and Ocmulgee Brewpub. Bonus: grab yourself some ice cream at Cherry Street Scoops while you're wandering around.

6) Get the low-down on Macon's music history. Downtown Macon's streets were once frequented by many famous musicians who got their start here. When the sun sets, Rock Candy Tours can tell you many stories and fun facts as you stroll through downtown.

7) See a band--or a play. It's hard to throw a stone downtown on the weekend without hitting a musician. From restaurants to bars to venues like Fresh Produce Music Hall or Cox Capitol Theater, there's something for every musical taste almost every night of the week. You can also see a play or a variety of other performances at Theater Macon, Douglass Theatre, or Grand Opera House. Ovations365.com is a great resource for many events happening in our area.

8) Learn to paint. If you've never been to one of our paint nights, you need to try it at least once. Even people who think they don't have a shred of artistic talent are surprised what they can create with a little help. Plus it's super relaxing (especially if you bring your own wine!). Depending on the night, you can choose from Corks & Canvas (with acrylic paint), Watercolor & Wine, or Drink & Ink (which is like doodling with watercolor added).

9) Float down the Ocmulgee. When you need to beat the summer heat, there's nothing like getting wet. This isn't exactly downtown, but most floats start at Amerson River Park and end up at the Spring Street ramp (which is basically downtown). If you want to travel by kayak or canoe, Ocmulgee Outdoor Expeditions will take good care of you. Leave your cell phone and worries behind and enjoy the scenery.

10) Go shopping. No vacation is complete without shopping--or at least buying a souvenir. If you haven't already picked up something for yourself at one of the galleries or museum gift shops, there are plenty of cute shops to peruse downtown. You're sure to find something! Buy a rare book at Golden Bough, find the perfect accessory for your home at Nest, or make an impulse purchase on a like-new dress from Wear. There are other boutiques to check out, too!

11) Bonus: stay in a B & B. If you have the money and want to splurge on the complete vacation experience, stay at the 1842 Inn. This historic home has thought of every detail. It's right downtown, but it's so relaxing you may not want to get out and explore!

The 567 Center launches professional development program for creatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2017

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MACON – As a way to help creative professionals build a life by doing what they love, The 567 Center for Renewal is offering a professional development program for artists and designers in Central Georgia. The program, called Amplify, will support entrepreneurs with resources, training and networking opportunities to advance their careers.

Amplify was first developed by Macon Arts Alliance in 2014. After a successful couple of years, Macon Arts decided to pass the program on to The 567 Center for Renewal.

“We are really excited to build on what Macon Arts started with Amplify,” said Melissa Macker, executive director of The 567 Center. “It falls within our experience and mission of promoting both the arts and entrepreneurs in Macon, and we look forward to serving the creative community with this program.”

Amplify Your Creative Business, the first Amplify workshop presented by The 567 Center, took place during Macon Startup Week in April. Upcoming workshop topics will include how to sell what you make on Etsy, starting a website using Wordpress, and social media marketing.

In addition to workshops, members of Amplify receive one-on-one consultations and access to special news and networking opportunities. The 567 Center hopes to build a network and support structure through Amplify that connects creatives both to each other and to the resources available in the community. By supporting creative entrepreneurs in the growth of their business, the program is expected to ultimately create more jobs in the creative industries in Macon.

For more information about Amplify, visit the567center.org/amplify or call 478-238-6051.

 
 
 
 
 

"Return of the King" on exhibit at The 567 Center in May

by Melissa Macker, Executive Director

For the month of May, The 567 Center will feature artwork by Savannah-based artist Brian Antoine Woods in an exhibit titled, “Return of the King.” The exhibit will include paintings, drawings, ceramics and mixed media works by the artist.

Even though a range of artwork will be included in the exhibit, there are common themes in Woods’ work. As an African-American artist, Woods draws heavily on concepts such as slavery and the black experience. Images of cotton and black hands are in many of his works. To the artist, though, these images are only symbols of something deeper.

“The only theme I intentionally address is the complexity of human relations in America,” says Woods. “I tend to address this theme through visual representations of my own fears, life experiences, thoughts, dreams and observations.”

He chose the title of this exhibit, “Return of the King,” to refer to the rise and fall of oppressive institutions throughout history. It is also a nod to the moniker “King Cotton” which was used by pro-slavery authors and politicians in the 19th century. The term identified those in the cotton industry as the new ruling class in the antebellum South.

 

Orphans of Tulsa by Brian Antoine Woods

 

Like many artists, though, Woods sees his work as open to the viewer’s interpretation. Ranging from scenic landscapes to abstract forms, his artwork is subtle in its presentation. “Orphans of Tulsa” is a collage that shows dark figures in a field of strawberries while old war planes fly overhead. At first glance, it is difficult to tell whether the figures are children playing leap frog or field hands harvesting the fruit. In another piece titled “The Black Vote ‘No’,” black hands appear intertwined in a dance with a branch of cotton. A longer look reveals that the word “no” is spelled out in the outline of the hands.

 
The Black Vote "No" by Brian Antoine Woods

The Black Vote "No" by Brian Antoine Woods

 

The artist will talk about his works and what inspired them in a brief artist talk on May 5, 5:30 pm, at The 567 Center. The artist talk will be followed by a reception with the artist until 9 pm. Both events are free and open to the public.
 

Celebrating Cherry Blossom Festival with art at The 567 Center

By Leslie Law, Art & Marketing Intern

Although there are so many cherry trees in their home country, Middle Georgia still sees an influx of Japanese tourists for our own cherry blossom season. Why come all the way to Macon for something they have at home? It could be the name Macon was given by Congressional Records a time ago, as The Cherry Blossom Capital of the World. We host the blooming of over 300,000 cherry blossom trees every year! The event has garnered enough attention to become celebrated every year, in a tradition we call the Cherry Blossom Festival.

At The 567 we reflect Macon’s affinity for many different types of art, and host events that get a variety of people involved and inspired.  According to their Facebook page, the Think Pink Committee is “a group of dedicated volunteers committed to supporting the Cherry Blossom Festival in collaboration with the local art community.” In honor of the successes of the Cherry Blossom Festival, this year The 567 was allowed to host the first “Pink Poodle Parade” exhibit. Thirty artists were given a wooden poodle cut-out and told to paint it however they would like. 

Painted poodles in the "Pink Poodle Parade" exhibit at The 567 Center.

Painted poodles in the "Pink Poodle Parade" exhibit at The 567 Center.

The exhibit’s opening reception was held on Friday, February 3, and boasted each of the poodles painted by the artists. The art was varied, with everything from flower patterns to portraits to paper crafts. Some sold before the exhibit even began! Each of the poodles were complemented by a unique piece of art by the same artist, both of which will be displayed around our gallery until February 24. We had multiple visitors come through and remark on the uniqueness of the exhibit. They got to meet some of the artists and a few different ladies from the Think Pink Committee, drink pink lemonade and take pictures with their favorite poodle.

In March, we will be featured as a stop during Hip Girl Trip’s “Sake in the City” experience. The excursion harkens back to the cherry blossom’s Japanese roots, and will start at Macon Arts Alliance for sake and sushi. The next stop will be a sip-and-paint session at The 567 Center. An artist will guide them through the steps to create a Japanese-inspired cherry blossom painting, after which they can take their painting home as a souvenir. 

Macon has grown into a community that encourages each other and everyone who visits to express their passions. This has fostered an attention to the arts, which is still growing every day, and especially in downtown Macon. The Cherry Blossom Festival provides a fun way to celebrate this, and we’ve been more than happy to participate.
 

It’s Hammering Time: Making Copper Bracelets

By Jessica Vedas, Marketing Intern

On November 19th , The 567 had its very first metal jewelry workshop. Michelle Foster, of Macon Beads, led the class in morphing a piece of copper sheeting into a stunning, unique bracelet. With a class size of about ten, each one of us were friendly and encouraging while Michelle explained the steps of making the cuff our own. We watched her demonstrate what needed to be done before setting off on our own.

The several steps in the process were interesting, and I had fun experimenting with a material I’d never used before. The first step involved bending our flat sheet of copper to create a crease that would become a central feature in the design we’d later be using. Next, we hammered the metal flat, and heated it with blow torches to alter the metal as well as release natural colors; around this time, we also added designs to the copper. One of the coolest (no pun intended!) things about this part of the process was the lava rocks on which everyone fired their copper. In case you hadn’t realized, lava rocks do not retain heat. It’s for this reason Michelle chose these special rocks to work with. After cooling, we went back to hammering, and then, if desired, tinting the bracelet.

jewelry workshop 2.jpg

My favorite part of the semi-intensive process was one of the last steps: shaping the bracelet to your wrist. With a nifty tool to bend the bracelets, Michelle showed us how to properly shape our works, and even how to file the shape. Each bracelet made was unique and looked nothing like the next person’s, but by the end of the experience we all had something special that fit comfortably on our wrists.

To see more of Michelle’s work, follow her on Facebook at Macon Beads.

My first Corks & Canvas experience

by Jessica Vedas, Marketing Intern

On October 20, I had the pleasure of attending my first paint and sip class at The 567 Center for Renewal. I’d done a few marketing things for the numerous classes before, but had no real knowledge of what I was promoting. Let me tell you: I was missing out!

For anyone living under a rock, Corks & Canvas is a paint and sip class in which people are led through recreating, and often personalizing, an artist’s (the instructor’s) original work. Generally, the classes offer 11 x 14 canvases for painters to work on, but last night there were several people who chose to work on a larger, 16 x 20 canvas.

The October 20th class started a little late—which I am thankful for because of my own punctuality issues—and after getting the materials dispersed to everyone, we began. Our instructor Beth Smith and teaching assistant Deonna Belcher officially began by introducing themselves and the work we would all be recreating. Both women were very friendly, between themselves as well as with the familiar faces at these events, and made me feel like I had known them forever. Our tables, which sat consistently four people, were open and joking amongst ourselves as we followed the advice of Deonna and Beth in getting our paints on correctly. Our class was sold out, so we were all pretty cozy with one another by the end of the night.

My "masterpiece" in progress. Sometimes I had to look at my painting from a different angle.

My "masterpiece" in progress. Sometimes I had to look at my painting from a different angle.

Additionally, I want to note the lack of intimidation I felt throughout the experience. Cue the PSA: Artists, you can be pretty terrifying to people who are not artists. Being around a mixed-experience group of artists was encouraging. Although several “classmates” obviously had skill and were in attendance, there wasn’t any atmosphere of competition; I had a truly great time figuring out how to “work” my brush next to people who come out every week, or who were as inexperienced as me.

My Corks’ featured work was an autumnal color-schemed landscape emboldened by a large, bushy, colorful tree. The most prominent technique consisted of just building color on the canvas. Beth took us through establishing our background (a beautiful blue sky), our transitioning ground, and the horizon on which we built our tree (whose appearance and even quantity was painter-specific). Creating these features, it seems to me, was relaxing—almost a tutorial in brush strokes. The most fun, however, was planning and applying the tree’s foliage. Beth told us how, and we decided the rest using a combination of colors on the palette provided. Some of us more un-savvy learners also asked advice from Beth or Deonna about contrasting dark values with bright paint to make some beautiful treetops.

Everyone with their beautiful finished paintings.

Everyone with their beautiful finished paintings.

If you’re interested in trying your hand at painting in a homey, safe space, I’d recommend Corks & Canvas. The relaxed, fun atmosphere is a great habitat for sprouting a new hobby. Check out the events page on The 567’s Facebook page, or check the calendar at www.the567center.org/art-classes to get started. 

The artists of "Studio 567"

by Jessica Vedas, Intern

In September, The 567 Center displayed “Studio 567,” an exhibit in which our instructors showcased their work. These artists have years of experience which is reflected in the artwork they chose to show. We would like to spotlight a few of these artists.

"& Glow, Glow, Melt, & Flow" by Casie Trace

"& Glow, Glow, Melt, & Flow" by Casie Trace

Casie Trace is a well-practiced artist of Central Georgia. She is a published illustrator, teaches numerous art classes at the 567, and freelances whenever time permits. She received her BA from Georgia College and State University and has since had two solo art shows. With a general preference for drawing, Trace admits she likes “experimenting with ways to incorporate painting in [her] drawings.” She also notes how her preferences differ as task requirements differ; Trace almost exclusively prefers digital art when illustrating, but likes to go the more traditional route for everything else.

“& Glow, Glow, Melt, & Flow,” one of her pieces currently on display, is a mixed media piece that integrates graphite, acrylic, ink, and paper on wood panel. The artwork features a sleeping girl blooming in a dark world. An array of color is evident in this fantastical piece including pastel blues, greens, and purples. The figure seems to be transferring her dreams, represented by the vibrant colors of the composition, into the darker world around her. The inked branches, blossoms, and vines might also symbolize the flow of art into the world.

"Mardi Gras Memories" by Heather Mclaurin

"Mardi Gras Memories" by Heather Mclaurin

Heather Mclaurin is another of our instructors. She has several years’ experience with drawing, painting, and has recently developed another talent: fumage. Fumage is the technique in which impressions are made by a kerosene lamp’s smoke on canvas or paper. Heather generally prefers to draw or stencil the shape on the canvas before continuing with smoke. Afterwards, she might take a brush or sponge to pull out the details she wants to accentuate. When asked what she likes so much about the smoke technique, Heather says, “I like that it gives such a bold statement.”

“Mardi Gras Memories” is one of several fumage works on display at the 567 Center. It is a black masquerade mask with purple and green acrylic accents. A lighter gray cloud of smoke is prominent in the air above the mask, and gives the airy feel one might imagine of Mardi Gras. The contrast between black and white, as well as the pops of color, make for an aesthetically stunning work to which the eye gravitates. Viewers may see the eyeholes of the mask as the most attention grabbing element of “Mardi Gras Memories.” The form of the mask is sleek and black, but the contrast between it and the eye spaces draws you in.

"Meanwhile" by Shannon Riddle

"Meanwhile" by Shannon Riddle

Our final artist to spotlight is Shannon Riddle, the artist behind “Meanwhile,” a huge 5’x7’ portrait, that has over 20 years of experience painting. He earned his MFA at the University of Georgia and has since taught at a number of colleges in Central Georgia. “Everything I choose to paint means something to me, whether I am simply attracted to the form or if it means something more,” Riddle says. Generally preferring oil paint as his primary medium, Riddle sometimes chooses to switch his surfaces from canvas to wood panels. One trick, he acknowledges, that remains consistent regardless of surface choice is coating it entirely in a burnt orange paint before beginning.

“Meanwhile” features two figures seated in a booth of a restaurant. The work consists of an autumnal color scheme including browns, reds, and lighter neutrals. The man on the left appears to be actively involved in his meal, while the man on the right glares in the opposite direction out of the composition. In between the two characters lies another more inconspicuous figure: space. This prominent emptiness between the two figures is in itself another figure of note in the composition. The use of space as a barrier is congruent with Riddle’s fascination with the concept of isolation and human identity in his other works.

Riddle also recognizes how impactful the Middle Georgia region has been in shaping his perspective and his works. He says, “I am from here. This is where I live.”

You can see all these works in person at The 567 until September 30.

What is The 567?

by Melissa Macker, Executive Director

The 567 has changed a lot over the years since it started as an informal concept at 567 Cherry Street eight or so years ago, but it’s always been a multi-purpose space that has combined different activities in a way that people don’t always expect.  As a result, if you asked 5 random people what The 567 is, you might get 5 different answers.

The combination of art and music and business and miscellaneous other creative events (and even a church) under one roof has been messy at times. The purpose and heartbeat of these activities, however, was always the same for us: bring more people and businesses downtown. Support the unique, creative vibe of downtown. Do everything in a way that brings people together and encourages cooperation.

Of course, the way we do those things is constantly changing, just as downtown itself has changed dramatically since we started. It’s fun to look behind at what The 567 has been, and ahead to what it will be.  So what is The 567? It’s…

1.       Corks & Canvas.  By far the most common event we have these days is Corks & Canvas, partially because there’s so much demand for it. We started these classes as a way to make art fun for adults, and to help them connect with local artists who would teach the classes. Bonus: these classes have brought over 300 people downtown.

2.       Other art classes. We try to give people opportunities to grow their artistic skills and learn other mediums, including watercolor, pen and ink, and photography. We also bring families downtown with kids’ art classes.

3.       An art gallery. When people walk into our new space most days, what they first see is an art gallery. Our space is filled with rotating monthly exhibits where we showcase the work of students, local artists, and sometimes regional artists who catch our attention. We join the other downtown galleries in having First Friday art openings, and sometimes we have Coffee Talks with the artists featured in our gallery. Coffee Talks are less of a lecture and more of a conversation with the artist.

4.       Lost Keys Collective. The projects of Lost Keys Collective, such as a literary festival and the pop-up poetry garden in Third Street Park, fall right in line with our goal of bringing creative life to downtown Macon. As their fiscal sponsor, we help them process donations and give them advice from time to time, so they can keep doing cool things.

5.       A space for new businesses. We’ve had several start-up businesses call The 567 home. Of those who’ve moved on, some still have offices downtown. Those who’ve chosen to locate their business in other parts of the city after moving out still have a soft spot in their heart for downtown after experiencing what makes it so special. We also offer workshops and networking events from time to time to help business owners learn new skills and make connections.

6.       A music venue. When The 567 first opened its doors, it was mainly a music venue. As we’ve changed and downtown has changed, we’ve gotten away from putting on concerts.  We still have a soft spot for musicians, though, and we’d like to occasionally offer small concerts in the future.

7.       A place to try new things. A couple of years ago we hosted Lunch Beat Macon, a monthly lunchtime dance party. It was just one example of how we got to partner with local creatives (Floco Torres & DJ Shawty Slim) to help them bring their idea to life and make downtown a little cooler.

What is The 567 to you?