The Atlanta artist shares the people, places, and things that inspired her over the past year.
Superlatives drive me crazy, especially when considering creativity. Art is subjective. Each individual engages and explores art in their own way. Besides, how can we consider that something is the “best,” when we haven’t seen “all” of what has been created?
One of the worst things that happens to children in art class is the notion that their work is not as good as someone else’s. Creativity is not about being better than but rather about doing and making something that has personal meaning and sharing that object with others.
So rather than saying the “best of,” I decided to approach this as a list of my personal favorites in my art world for 2013. These events, places, and artists changed my life and I am grateful for the encounters. Order is irrelevant.
1. Favorite event of 2013 – Alternate Roots Retreat, Arden, North Carolina
This community activist artist’s organization is coming up on its 40th year. In 2013, it chose to focus on the visual arts, and I met artists who really changed the way that I see my own practice. I found my own kind.
2. Favorite artist whom I met in 2013 – Koreloy Wilderkinde McWhirter, Burnsville, North Carolina
She is a self-taught master printmaker whose amazing life is played out in the metaphors of her complicated etchings, lithos, and letterpress works.
3. Favorite gallery – Arnika Dawkins Gallery
Located in southwest Atlanta, this gallery focuses on photography.
4. Favorite group show – Sistagraphy 20th Anniversary at Hammonds House Museum
From amateur to professionals, this collective of African American female photographers has stood the test of time.
5. Favorite museum – Hammonds House Museum
Not only does the Hammonds House have great art exhibitions, its staff also endeavors to actively engage the community in myriad ways.
6. Favorite artist’s retreat – Azule
Artists need a place to retreat so that they can work without interruption. Hambidge has always been a favorite, but this year it is joined by Azule, located in Hot Springs, North Carolina. Its architecture, constructed by local Appalachian artisans, is considered a work of art.
7. Favorite place to think and meditate – Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, southwest Atlanta
Quiet places in the city are at a premium; after all, it is a city. But this nature preserve is one of the best kept secrets in Atlanta and a great place to mediate and photograph.
8. Favorite place to learn something – Penland School of Arts and Crafts, Spruce Pine, North Carolina
Impeccable facilities with classes taught by master artists.
9. Favorite architectural discovery (right under my nose) – The Lemuel P. Grant Mansion, Grant Park.
In a city that chooses destruction and rebuilding over preservation, I was delighted to discover the Grant Mansion, also home to the Atlanta Preservation Center. This jewel is the second oldest house still standing in Atlanta.
10. Favorite monumental arts event that’s going on now – the Lucinda Bunnen Collection at the High Museum.