Athens Sculpture Festival – June 24-26

Hands of Respect by Stan Mullins

The audience for this sculpture exhibition will bring different backgrounds, education and preferences. This is important for the artist since the response will be widespread and personal. This is the role of ART. Jack Kehoe, Professor Emeritus, UGA.

Bill Ronay & I attended this first annual, well-curated event in the Grand Hall of The Classic Center Thursday evening. Twenty diverse and talented Georgia sculptors showed their work.  

Stan Mullins’ Hands of Respect was outside, in front of The Classic Center, to welcome attendees to the Festival.

Julie Walters and the Classic Center Cultural Foundation are to be commended for their time and energy in organizing the exhibit.

Unfortunately, despite their huge efforts, the sculptors’ works looked lost in the Grand Hall. The atmosphere had little energy or excitement Thursday evening. And the artists not present were painfully obvious.

We very much enjoyed speaking with Abraham Tesser, and sitting in his “s-chair”, a fabulous work of art in walnut and italian sycamore veneer. The chair and its mates would be a gorgeous complement to any palace. It, alone, was well worth coming to the show to see.

AthFest, the huge music and arts festival featuring 150 local bands and two outdoor main stages, is a few blocks from the Sculpture Festival, and runs concurrently + Sunday. I don’t understand the thinking on that one, but was told that the date was set with the AthFest date in mind.

The Sculpture Festival is worth viewing, but was frankly not my wavelength. I kept asking myself who the artists were marketing most of the pieces to. I believe that most artists are in the business of selling their work. And, to sell anything, one must have a target audience in mind.

Some of the pieces – TO ME – conveyed misery and hopelessness. Some were presented poorly. Many didn’t so much as whisper a clue about WHY they were created.

We hope that subsequent Sculpture Festivals will be presented in a more intimate, inviting environment. And that the artists be encouraged to provide their own display units.

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