Ramble around points north for 44-stop art tour next weekend

Starting with 40 artists showing works at 27 stops last year, the North Georgia Art Ramble has grown to 70 artists showing at 44 stops in its second edition, unfolding Saturday, Dec. 7, and Dec. 8.

The tour of artist studios, galleries and arts centers covers a lot of geography — from Cartersville in the west all the way to Duluth in the east, and from Roswell heading north toward Jasper. Most stops are either in north metro Atlanta or less than an hour from the top end of I-285. The tour also covers a gamut of art expressions perfect for holiday gift giving, from fine art to folk art, crafts and photography.

Last year’s tour grew quickly after Canton potter Fred Ellis passed around a sign-up sheet to fellow members of the Georgia Clay Council. Seven did, and word spread to other artists.

“Believe it or not, this was actually artists trying to think like business people,” Ramble spokesperson Robin Miller, a Cumming ceramicist, explained. “In many Georgia Clay Council meetings, the topic, ‘How do you sell your art?’ had been broached. Many ideas were discussed (from festivals to Etsy sites), but there was overwhelming agreement on one thing: Talk about yourself, your story, and how that story finds its way into your art …

“We are not psychologists, we don’t know why it works, we just know from experience that it does.”

There is certain to be plenty of art talk at a kickoff Pre-Ramble Party, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the Cherokee Arts Center, 94 North St., Canton. Guests can pick up a brochure and map, meet Ramble artists, view an exhibit of works by all the participants (continuing through December) and enjoy light refreshments.

Among the Ramble stops will be Around Back at Rocky’s Place, a Dawsonville folk art gallery that will host weekend meet-and-greets with artists including John “Cornbread” Anderson, Dorethey Gorham and Billy Roper.

The Ramble is 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both days. More details: www.ngaartramble.com.


Signs of progress at Plaza Theatre

Anyone who has driven down Ponce de Leon Avenue since mid-November likely noticed — and probably wondered or even worried — about the work underway on the Plaza Theatre’s iconic, chevron-shaped sign.

It’s good news. The sign, which has greeted moviegoers to the Ponce de Leon Avenue movie house since 1939, has been undergoing a thorough restoration and update, funded by matching grants from the historic preservation-oriented Fox Theatre Institute and Plaza owner Michael Furlinger.

Here’s a rundown of what the project has entailed, provided by Christopher Escobar of the Atlanta Film Festival:

  • Repairing all the metal, especially areas affected by rust, and sealing it for protection from the elements
  • Fixing all neon light components
  • Repainting
  • Cleaning and reinforcing the white glass panels on which the letters hang
  • Replacing and updating internal electrical components (for better safety, performance and energy efficiency)
  • Replacing white fluorescent back-lights with white LEDs (for enhanced energy efficiency and to cut down on maintenance)

This sign project is the first under the wing of the newly revitalized Plaza Theatre Foundation, dedicated to preserving, restoring and sharing the Plaza with the community. The independent non-profit has a list of a dozen additional projects it plans to tackle. More on the Plaza, located at 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E., Atlanta: www.plazaatlanta.com.


Pro-Mozart Society elevates education

The Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta, which presents a concert season and provides scholarships to young classical musicians, will hold 29th Holiday Gala on Saturday, Dec. 7. The black-tie-optional fundraising event, which will be held at a Sandy Springs private club (location details provided with tickets), includes a sit-down dinner, concert and silent auction.

In addition to raising scholarship funds for students to study at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, this year’s event will also honor Georgia Boy Choir Artistic Director David White for his contributions to classical music. The Georgia Boy Choir will sing songs of the season, including Mozart.

Woodruff Arts Center president and CEO Virginia Hepner is the honorary chair, and Lois Reitzes of WABE-FM will be a special guest.

Tickets, $145, via www.mozartatlanta.com.


Dashboard Co-op’s 2014 artist roster

Dashboard Co-op, the Atlanta grassroots arts organization that seeks to revive neglected Atlanta areas through visual art presentations, has announced 12 artists who it will feature in 2014.

The artists will participate in a group exhibition on Feb. 8 in a vacant Atlanta property whose location will be announced in January.

Participating will be Kevin Byrd, Atlanta installation, 2D, video artist; Chris Chambers, Atlanta installation, 2D, video artist; Dustin Chambers, Atlanta photographer; Paper Frank, Atlanta muralist, 2D artist; Dave Greber, New Orleans video, 3D artist; Andre Keichian, Atlanta video artist; Zopi Kristjanson, Atlanta performance artist; George Long, Atlanta muralist, 2D, 3D artist; Jason Peters, New York sculptor, installation, light artist; Elizabeth Riley, New York installation, video artist; Martha Whittingon, Atlanta sculptor, 3D, performance artist; and Lindsay Wolkowicz, New York 2D, 3D, performance artist.

Dashboard Co-op is funded in part by one of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s initial SEED grants of $10,000 per year for three years, awarded in late 2012.

Interviews with and images by the artists: www.dashboardcoop.org/2014-dash-artists.


Georgia Shakespeare has new managing director

Jennifer Bauer-Lyons is the new managing director of Georgia Shakespeare, replacing Lauren Morris, who is stepping down to prepare for the birth of her first child. Bauer-Lyons had been the troupe’s director of company initiatives.