“I believe in the power of Art to transform lives.” ~ Bo Bartlett
Hurray! The Bo Bartlett Center is open! After many years of hard work we finally crossed the finish line. I want to thank Columbus State University, all of the friends, donors and supporters of The Center, and Tom Kundig, architect extraordinaire. The Inaugural Exhibitions included a show curated by me and Betsy, of friends and mentors, entitled “Peers and Influences”. It was a treat to be able to showcase the work of so many contemporary artists.. artist friends and teachers and artists whose work has served as inspiration over the years. There is a small exhibition of memorabilia and ephemera in the gallery called Bo’s Brain.. it is a personal-history-lesson-installation replete with vitrines and display cases filled with sketchbooks, journals, clippings and detritus. The large Scarborough Galleries house a semi-permanent rotating exhibition of many of my largest paintings. It is great to have a home for them. They are happy there.. and the peacefulness filling the space makes for a comfortable viewing experience which feels like a respite from the chaos of the outside world. I hope that you will come again and again to experience the work as it is rotated seasonally.
Our work within the community continues. The annual Outreach Exhibition and sale was held at the Center.. raising funds for the programs Home Is Where The Art Is and the Art in Jails Program.. 100% of the sales went to the participants who worked hard all year to prepare for the show. Thank you to the community of supporters who came and bought work from the participants. Art Makes You Smart and Artistic Abilities work with school children and the disabled respectively and will resume again next year.
Living in a small hometown in the South stirs a complex mix of emotions. There is a slower simpler way of life which far exceeds the stereotypical cliches. One can get just about anywhere in town in just a matter of minutes.. by car, bike or on foot. The Riverwalk along the Chattahoochee (where the Bo Bartlett Center anchors a corner of the RiverPark Campus) runs for 22 Miles north and south. It is a great place to bike or stroll.. you can watch local fishermen fishing for catfish.. or watch kayakers and rafters on the whitewater .. or just watch the Great Blue Herons as they glide gracefully above the rapids. The material here is deeply rooted in the history and the cultural struggles.. the variety and the extremes are a broad-ranging mix.. a constant wellspring of inspiration.. of race and religion.. of gender preferences and patriarchy.. of light and climate.. of antebellum architecture and restored shotgun houses.. of currents and traditions.. old and new.. being reborn and dying.. always real and genuine.
The diversity of the community provides a richly textured experience for all. Joggers, bikers, musicians, artists and the homeless meld in a colorful cacophony. The success stories of many of the participants in the homeless program have been heartening. Folks who had once lived under trees with nothing but a piece of cardboard for shelter are now busily making artwork and many have found jobs, homes and in some cases even studios. It is a thrill to walk down Broadway and see the Homeless Artists of Columbus outdoors painting. I believe it has given many of them a direction and purpose to their life. When Art is being made the whole community benefits.
There are plans to start an Atelier in concert with The Bo Bartlett Center.. a traditional Arts education steeped in the classics but aware and open to all of the latest trends and contemporary movements. It will be run initially through Continuing Ed at CSU but we hope in time to have it become a Certificate program and be a part of the curriculum in the College of the Arts. So please stay tuned for that start date. Exciting times indeed!
Thank you all..