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Sementha Mathews

Valdosta Photographer Documents Frontline Heroes

By Blog, News
Brittanie Metzler_CNA/MA @ Valdosta Family Medicine

Brittanie Metzler

CNA/MA Valdosta Family Medicine

Brittni Harvey, LPN @ SGMC

Brittni Harvey


Amidst the tragedy and fear that has surfaced due to COVID-19, one local photographer is documenting the unsung heroes who have also surfaced as beacons of light behind the masks.

Javon Longieliere, photographer/owner of Javon Longieliere Photography and photography instructor at the Turner Center for the Arts, is capturing life in the moment.

“My goal with this project is to spotlight the members of our community who are sacrificing tirelessly to keep our own part of the world healthy, fed and running properly,” said Longieliere. “I am creating simple portraits of our frontline neighbors so that I can showcase the fighting and selfless spirit that they demonstrate to the rest of our community.”

Longieliere said these are not glamour shots; these are real portraits of local people in a worldwide crisis. They are our neighbors, our family doctors and nurses, our local government leaders, our grocery store workers, law enforcement personnel, sanitation workers, etc., all rising from their everyday duties into the battlefield.

As Longieliere utilizes his professional skills to document this time of our community’s history, each of his subjects receive a digital copy of his or her images as a token of his personal appreciation for their services.

For more information, visit

Turner Center Reschedules Spring Into Art

By Blog

The Turner Center for the Arts has rescheduled the opening of the 33rd Annual Spring into the Art Exhibition to Monday, May 11, allowing artists an additional four weeks to create outstanding works of art that the community has come to expect at this event.

“We have adjusted our schedules—as everyone is having to do—on account of the coronavirus pandemic and in consideration for the health and safety of others,” said Executive Director Sementha Mathews. “In the weeks ahead, we will continue to monitor conditions and will make additional adjustments as necessary.”

Spring Into Art, the Turner Center’s largest exhibition and fundraiser of the year, traditionally features more than 200 regional artists and showcases more than 400 original works of art. The entries will be accepted and displayed within the Turner Center’s elegant gallery space at 527 N. Patterson Street. All artwork will be available for purchase and are eligible to win award prizes totaling $6,000.

The artist entry deadline is Thursday, April 16, and the entry fee is $40 for one piece or $60 for two. Delivery of the art work is scheduled for April 23-25 and 27-28.

“We have received a flood of calls and emails from artists concerned about the original scheduling of Spring Into Art. The outreach has shown us that the artists, for whom the exhibit was created to support, have strong desires to continue this annual tradition,” said Curator Bill Shenton. “We are so grateful for the artists’ continued support and participation in Spring Into Art, and we look forward to celebrating the art in life with our community on May 11.”

The Center is also currently welcoming sponsors for the 33rd annual event. All Spring Into Art sponsors are listed in the exhibit program, on the walls of the Turner Center galleries, on the Center’s website, and in other printed and online materials to show appreciation for their commitment to the arts.

Additional information about artist deadlines, sponsorship opportunities and revised Spring Into Art schedule may be found at here.

Classes Cancelled Through End of March

By Blog

In consideration for the health and safety of our patrons and guests, the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts has cancelled all of its classes through March 28. All facilities are closed; however, staff is accessible by phone and email and all center-related information is posted at

We’ve been keeping up with the troubling news of how quickly and severely the Coronavirus is spreading, and we are trying to figure out how to keep our doors “open” while keeping them shut. Beginning today, Turner Center staff will post daily art engagement activities to keep our homebound audiences of all ages entertained and engaged via social media and website posts. We thank our local artists and art teachers who are also supplying us with inspiring information to share with you. We hope it will bless you as much as it does us to serve you.

According to the Americans for the Arts, the arts are fundamental to our humanity. They inspire us and foster creativity, goodness and beauty. The arts bring us joy, help us express our values, and build bridges between cultures. The arts are also a fundamental component of a healthy community, strengthening them socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times.

As always, thank you for your support. Most importantly, please be safe as you make your own decisions for personal health and safety. Our community will endure this, as we’ve done many other incidents, by praying and working together.

Calloway Wins Military Tribute Public Art Naming Contest

By News

The Valdosta Public Arts Advisory Committee (PAAC) and the Turner Center for the Arts recently awarded Molly Calloway a gift certificate for winning the Military Tribute Public Art Naming Contest. Calloway’s name suggestion, “Wings of Freedom,” was selected from among dozens of entries.

“The highly-visible monument located at Freedom Park has remained nameless, since the public event for the Military Tribute Public Art, held on Nov. 11, 2019,” said PAAC Chair Bruce Smith. “Everything was literally set in stone, with the exception of its name. The PAAC voted to hold the naming contest to further engage the public in this particular piece and in the arts community in general.”

The statue, an 11-feet high mosaic work that includes historical images fired on ceramic tiles, was created by Thomasville Artist Marty Haythorn, with some additional help from the community, as tribute to the men and women who have served in the armed forces in protection of our country.

Calloway said that she decided to name the art piece “Wings of Freedom” because of the way the eagle is displayed on top of the monument with fierce beauty and strength. She said she enjoyes viewing the photos of military heros depicted in the tiles on the monument, many of them affiliated with Moody Air Force Base and those who have once served at Moody.

“’Wings of Freedom’ just came to me in seconds, and the name seemed fitting,” she said. “I’m very honored and thrilled to be a small part of a really wonderful public art piece that honors our military.”

Calloway participates in Veterans Day events every year, and said she believes it’s important to continue to pay tribute to people who continuously fight for our country.

“I think we all need to be aware of those who defend and protect those freedoms that we all enjoy, and that the freedom came at a price. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet seen the monument to go visit Freedom Park, because it really is a very unique piece. I hope it is a community treasure years to come.”

For more information about similar events in the arts community, contact the Turner Center for the Arts at 279-247-2787.


Turner Center Hosts William Rawlings, Feb. 4

By News

The Turner Center for the Arts will host Georgia author William Rawlings, Jr. for a book signing on Feb. 4, 2020, from 4-6 p.m.

Rawlings, a semi-retired internal medicine physician and the author of 10 novels, will review one of his latest books, “Girl with the Kaleidoscope Eyes,” which was released in fall 2019. His newest book “Six Inches Deeper—the Disappearance of Hellen Hanks” is scheduled to be released in spring 2020 and is the true-crime account of a murder that took place in South Georgia in 1972. Rawlings will give a preview of his latest book at the Feb. 4 book signing, along with a discussion about his life and work as an author.

After spending most of his life practicing medicine, Rawlings began fiction writing relatively late in life. His first novel, the thriller “The Lazard Legacy,” was published in 2003 when he was age 55. Set in a small Georgia town much like his hometown of Sandersville, it involves a doctor escaping big-city life only to stumble onto a nightmarish secret. Other books that followed include, “The Rutherford Cipher,” “The Tate Revenge” (winner of the Golden Eye Award), “Crossword” and “The Mile High Club.”

This event is free and open to the public. For more information about the author, visit For additional information about the event, visit or call 229-247-2787.

Turner Center Presents New Gallery Collections

By News

The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts’ Gallery Opening Reception on Monday, Jan. 13 featured the 13th annual DrawProject fundraiser and VSU President Dr. Richard Carvajal as the guest auctioneer. Artworks donated by area artists were auctioned at this annual event to raise scholarship funds for VSU art students that are awarded in the fall semester.

The gallery event also features the fine art works of local artists Mary VanLandingham and Christine Cabral in the Price-Campbell and Josette’s Galleries respectively. Both are VSU alumni and are enjoying their first solo gallery shows at the Turner Center.

VanLandingham’s exhibit consists of oil paintings of landscapes found in the South East United States, primarily Georgia and Florida, capturing the familiarity and beauty of the southern coast and countryside. VanLandingham’s artwork will showcase a variety of entrancing scenes of water, land and sky.

Cabral’s inspired art work features acrylic paint on canvas, while occasionally incorporating mixed media fabrics and vinyl into her paintings. Upon losing her mother in 1997, the natural evolution of grief and emotion transformed Cabral’s expression. Driven by the notion that the desire to connect and revisit one’s childhood is universal, Cabral transforms her canvas with childlike and innocent imagery touched also by the heartache of grief and separation.

“The Turner Center for the Arts is proud to participate in the annual DrawProject exhibit and in our longstanding relationship with VSU’s Department of Art and Design,” said Executive Director Sementha Mathews. “This exciting art event adds a distinctive dimension to our winter gallery reception with silent and live auctions, providing all of us with an opportunity to obtain excellent, original art at affordable prices, while also celebrating our exceptional local artists.”

The Turner Center’s East African Art and Fine European Porcelain permanent collections are also on display in the Tillman and Howard Galleries.

All exhibits will remain open for the public’s enjoyment through Wednesday, Feb. 26. For more information, call 229-247-2787 or visit

PAAC Meets Sept. 19

By Blog

The Valdosta Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) will meet on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. The regularly-scheduled meeting will take place in the second-floor board room of the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, located at 527 N. Patterson Street.

The purpose of PAAC is to further the purchase, creation and appreciation of public art for its aesthetic value to the community. The PAAC also encourages the preservation and protection of works of public art which play a vital role in the economic development of the community.

For more information about the PAAC, call 229-247-2787.

Turner Center Offers Cultural Hula Dance

By Blog

Turner Center Offers Cultural Hula Dance

As part of its cultural enrichment focus, the Turner Center for the Arts will offer Hawaiian Hula as part of its class offerings, beginning in October 2019. The dance instruction, which will be held in the art galleries at 527 N. Patterson Street on Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m., will cost $50 for four weeks of instruction.

“Cultural enrichment is built into our mission statement, so we are proud to expand our art classes to include introductory Hawaiian Hula, beginning in October,” said Executive Director Sementha Mathews. “We anticipate these classes to not only shed light on the Hawaiian culture, but to also provide hours of fun for family and friends to make some great memories together.”

Instructor Jan Gochenouer has taught Hula and other forms of Polynesian dance for over a decade. A native of Hawaii, Gochenouer moved to Valdosta from Hawaii in 1995. She began dancing Hula at age 10 and performed as a professional Polynesian dancer for six years.

Each month, Gochenouer’s students will learn the hand and feet dance movements to a particular Hawaiian song. By the end of four lessons, students will have learned the entire song and dance coordination. Gochenouer has planned to start the classes in October with the Hawaiian song, “Little Brown Gal”—a song that she taught to a North Florida beauty pageant contestant who went on to win her contest.

Gochenouer said she wants to bring the spirit of “aloha” to South Georgia. The first set of Hula lessons will take place on Oct. 1, 8, 15 and 22. Three addition sessions are on the Turner Center’s schedule for November 2019 and in February and March of 2020.

For more information or to register for the Hula classes, call the Turner Center at 229-247-2787 or visit

FREE Gallery Opening Reception Sept 16

By Blog

Featured artists are from Valdosta and Jacksonville

The Turner Center for the Arts will host the fine arts collections of Sean Hurley, Kristy Hughes, Jenny Hager & D. Lance Vickery, as well as the literary works of author Cheryl Carvajal, in a free Gallery Opening Reception on Monday, Sept. 16, from 5-7 p.m. The event will take place at the Turner Center galleries, located at 527 N. Patterson Street.

This gallery opening is unique in that it features two married couples extremely talented in their specialties.

Hurley and Hughes are members of the art faculty at Valdosta State University.

Hurley is an illustrator and print maker, whose drawings and prints examine the world with an unwavering eye for certainty and detail. Hurley’s work is well known among printmakers especially throughout the northeast, and they can be found in dozens of private collections as well as the collections of the Boston Athenaeum, the University of New Hampshire Museum of Art, and the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. His work is regularly exhibited in New York by Ebo Gallery and at The Old Print Shop, and in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at Piscataqua Fine Arts.

Hughes is an abstract expressionist mixed-media artist who creates colorful collaged paintings about the human experience of knowing and not knowing. In her work, Hughes navigates between the contradictions of internal and external experience, paying attention to moments of simultaneity. Her work has been shown across the US, at venues in Brooklyn, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Indianapolis and has been published in Friend of the Artist, Burnaway, Cut Me Up Magazine, Execute Magazine, among others.

Vickery and Hager teach sculpture at the University of North Florida.

Vickery’s work balances between formalist sculpture and aesthetics and conceptual considerations of materials. He utilizes the tension between interiority and exteriority, both metaphorically and physically, in his works. These ideas manifest themselves in the process, materials and concepts. The pieces are rich in surface, texture and color, while visceral and physical in the process by which they were created.

Hager is a mixed-media and installation artist, whose artwork “Wings” was publicly displayed in Smith Park, in Valdosta, for the past year. Hager is interested in a variety of processes and materials, and finds inspiration in dreams, objects from her childhood, gadgets, sea life and other curiosities. She is also very interested in collaboration; the spirit of community is important in both her teaching practice and in her own work. Hager’s work has been exhibited across the country and recently in the Cymru Ironstone Castle Exhibition in Wales, the Pedvale Open-Air Art Museum in Latvia and Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri in Seggiano, Italy. Hager created Sculpture Walk and UNF Seaside Sculpture Park, both in Jacksonville, Fla.; and she and Vickery created a sculpture on the Campus Program at UNF, among other projects.

Most Turner Center Gallery Opening Receptions also feature local authors and book-signing opportunities. The Sept. 16 reception is no exception and will feature the writings of Cheryl Carvajal, English teacher at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and wife of Valdosta State University President Richard Carvajal. Her books are available for purchase on the night of the event and are also available in the Turner Center Gift Shop. At the event, Carvajal will help the Turner Center launch a new writing program for youth called, Young Writers League, that will be led by Carvajal on Saturday mornings at the center, beginning on Oct. 12.

The East African Artifacts and the Fine European Porcelain collections—both permanent collections of the Turner Center—will be displayed in the Tillman and Howard Galleries respectively at the event.

“The Turner Center is proud to host and support the inspired works of these local artists at the free Sept. 16 Gallery Opening Reception,” said Executive Director Sementha Mathews. “Free admission to the Turner Center is made possible by the continued generous support of local members and donors. We invite the public to experience the fine art displayed at this community event, while using the opportunity to also become more familiar with everything your arts center has to offer for patrons of all ages.”

The gallery offerings will remain on display through Oct. 30 at the Turner Center. For more information on the upcoming Gallery Opening Reception or other services offered by the Turner Center for the Arts, call 229-247-2787 or visit