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“If you want joy in life, be an artist,” said Dean Little, featured artist in the gallery exhibit that opens Thursday, Aug. 3, at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, in Valdosta. The Gallery Opening Reception from 5-7 p.m. is free and open to the public. 

The exhibit is one of more than 20 exhibits annually that take place at the Turner Center, featuring local, regional, and national artists. While Little is familiar to the Valdosta audience, the exhibit is the first time this Thomasville artist’s work will be featured in the Turner Center galleries, in fact it will be his first exhibit ever.

“This will be my very first art exhibit, so it is honor for me to have this opportunity at the Turner Center of the Arts,” said Little, who has produced a large quantity of design material on behalf of others throughout his extensive art career. “But this is personal. I finally get to choose anything that piques my interest—be it nature, people, or activity—and apply composition, lighting, and color to express my interpretation of the subject. This is why we become artists.”

Little’s relationship with the Turner Center spans 15 years and includes taking lessons under Fay Bridges Hyatt, as well as serving as an art educator. His weekly painting class, that he has taught for more than seven years, stays at full capacity as exceptional local artists seek Little’s expert instruction to take them to the next level. 

“It’s been my pleasure to be an instructor of an oil painting class surrounded by enthusiastic students who share the same love of learning, experimenting, and creating,” said Little. “I truly love the art of teaching and the teaching of art.”

Little’s impressive career in graphic art and design encompassed creating marketing materials for clients such as IBM, Motorola, Chris Craft, STP, Intel, U.S. Navy, Harris Computer Systems, Gould Corporation, Westinghouse, and Allied Signal Avionics and PR for numerous national and international sporting organizations, including the NFL, NBA, NASCAR, Indy cars and Olympics.

With much support from his wife Debby, son Jason, and a host of locals who admire his talent, Little has poured himself into countless original art works, dozens of which will be displayed in the Turner Center gallery exhibition. 

“Art is so subjective,” said Little. “How many of us have stood in front of a painting and said, ‘What the heck?’ There are those who will embrace it. Others may have a connection based on their own experiences, or not at all. Art is Life.”

The Dean Little collection will open Aug. 3 at the gallery opening reception and will remain open through Sept. 15. The exhibit will also include the beautiful original works of the Withlacoochee Quilters Guild in the Josette’s Gallery. For more information about the exhibit or a full lineup of art education and entertainment options, visit, call 229-247-2787, or follow the Turner Center on social media.