Ron Zaccari’s Fine Art Fills Turner Center Galleries

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The Turner Center for the Arts will host the fine arts collection of Ron Zaccari in a free Gallery Opening Reception on Monday, Sept. 17, from 5-7 p.m., marking the first time that a solo artist has been featured in all five rotating galleries at the Turner Center.

“Faces. Vases. Places. A Retrospective” will showcase Zaccari’s art work from 1968 to 2018 and include numerous works from private collections in the northeast and southeast United States.

Zaccari is esteemed for his professional career as a public school art teacher, art professor and higher education administrator, including presidential appointments at West Liberty State University, West Virginian and Valdosta State University. He has juried prestigious art competitions throughout his career and has received numerous awards from juried exhibitions.

After a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis and hiatus, Zaccari testifies that the work completed over the past two year “saved my life.” He artistically coupled this personal experience with his superb ingenuity to create a unique and extraordinary collection for others to appreciate.

Zaccari will discuss his lifetime of creating art at a Gallery Talk, on Tuesday, Oct. 2, from 6-7:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public and includes light refreshments.

“We are extremely grateful to Zac for allowing us to host his prestigious collection of fine art for six weeks in five of our galleries at the Turner Center,” said Executive Director Sementha Mathews. “This is an once-in-a-lifetime collection of his work on display in one location for us to appreciate and celebrate. It is yet another testament to how incredibly blessed we are to have such impeccable, artistic talent in our community.”

The public is invited to experience Zaccari’s collection over the six-week gallery opening, from Sept. 17 through Oct. 31. For more information on the upcoming gallery opening or other services offered by the Turner Center for the Arts, please call 229-247-2787 or visit

Julie Smith named Turner Center’s 2018 Art Instructor of the Year

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The Turner Center for the Arts held its first Instructor of the Year Reception on Monday afternoon. The center employs more than 20 art instructors throughout the year.

Ceramics instructor Julie Smith has been an instructor at the center since 2014, teaching four to five classes weekly including throwing and hand-building pottery classes, empty bowls program, and ceramics on the road, as well as other specialty classes and workshops throughout the year. Hundreds of students across the city and region have benefited from her passion and talent.

Smith has been aptly named as the center’s 2018 Art Instructor of the Year.

“The Turner Center gave me the opportunity to resume pottery in an environment that I would have never thought I could. I started doing this for high school credit , and now here I am doing it for a living. Had it not been for the center, I’d still be wondering how to fire my pottery, instead, I’m sharing that knowledge with fellow artists every day,” said Smith.

Smith completed a degree in art in 1980 and went on to complete her masters in her minor study, archaeology. After nearly 33 years, Smith decided to give pottery another try and purchased a used potter’s wheel that she says is still in her den. She sat down to the wheel with a lump of clay from Hobby Lobby and in her own words: “…here I am. It’s like riding a bike, it doesn’t go away, thank goodness!”

At the reception, Executive Director Sementha Mathews publicly thanked the teachers and instructors for their time and dedication to the Turner Center for the Arts. For information about classes and events, contact the center at 229-247-2787 or visit

Turner Center Receives GCA Grant to Promote Southern Blues Culture

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Exhibit to be Featured in a Gallery Opening Reception, on July 30

The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts is the recipient of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) project grant to raise awareness of blues musicians and their music that have shaped our unique American culture. The cultural collection will be a featured exhibit in the free Gallery Opening Reception held at the Turner Center on July 30, from 5-7 p.m.

The regional arts center was one of 132 organizations throughout the state who were collectively awarded more than $1 million in funding, and one of 36 organizations to receive a project grant, which includes appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts for fiscal year 2019.

The $6,200 grant, which was matched by the Price-Campbell Foundation, will fund a We are the Music Makers! photography exhibit in the Turner Center’s Sallie & Harmon Boyette Gallery. The 30-panel interactive exhibit features photographs taken over the past 20 years by Music Maker Founder Timothy Duffy. Exhibit attendees will be able to use their smart phones to access We are the Music Makers! audio and video clips that draw attention to the southern musical traditions of the blues.

The grant will also fund the Music Maker Blues Review concert on August 11, at 8 p.m., at the Turner Center. The Music Maker Blues Review is an all-star band of veteran musicians who have worked with Ray Charles, B.B. King, and Clarence Carter, to name a few. This lineup of performers will include Georgia natives Eddie Tigner, Albert White, and the “Empress of Atlanta Blues” Sandra Hall. A limited amount of tickets will be sold for this event, which will also take place in the center’s Boyette Gallery.

Both of these exquisite events are the productions of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports, promotes and sustains American culture music by partnering directly with the artists who make it. Their photography exhibit and musical performances have been revered across the nation for drawing attention to an important aspect of our culture and for the financial assistance they provide for struggling blues artists—of which most are over age 55 and earn less than $18,000 annually.

“We are proud to bring these high-quality and educational experiences to our communities,” said Turner Center Executive Director Sementha Mathews. “We invite those in our immediate and surrounding communities to enjoy the music that has made us. We thank the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Price-Campbell Foundation for their financial support and for helping us make this exceptional event a reality for the people we serve.”

The July 30 Gallery Opening Reception takes place at the Turner Center’s main facility, located at 527 N. Patterson Street, in Valdosta, and will also include a collection of Katie Dobson Cundiff’s visual impressions, the Empty Bowl “Fight Against Hunger” fundraiser, artwork by the Southern Artists’ League, the East African Artifacts and Fine European Porcelain collections.

For more information, call the Turner Center for the Arts at 229-247-2787 or visit

Winners Announced in 2018 People’s Choice Photo Contest

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The winners in the 10th Annual Valdosta People’s Choice Photo Contest were revealed at an awards ceremony at the Turner Center for the Arts on July 16. Congratulations to the following individuals and to ALL the photographers who entered the 2018 event.

Adult Category

First Place: Marvin Smith, One In A Million
Second Place: Susan Davis, Leaf-cicle
Third Place: Greg Fricker, Ruffled Dreams

Honorable Mentions

Marvin Smith, His Eye Was Bigger Than His Stomach
Brody Lathem, The Old Traveler
Kaylee McCutchan, Dancing in the Rain
Nicholai Courtenay, Abandoned
Sophia Coronado, Old Vallotton’s Dairy

Youth Category

Amy Vincent, Make A Wish

Honorable Mentions

Lexi Ramsay, Schools Out
Kingsten Courtenay, From Me to You

Thank you to the City of Valdosta for being our longtime partner in this event and to Coleman Talley LLP, who was our generous event sponsor this year. We look forward to announcing the Traveling Photo Display locations, as well as the dates for the 2019 photo contest details, soon.

PAAC Holds Monthly Meeting, July 19

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The Valdosta Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) will meet on Thursday, July 19, 2018, at 11:30 a.m. The 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.

Cruising for the Arts Benefits Turner Center’s Youth Art Programs

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Dreams of a luxurious Viking River Cruise for two is within reach, made possible through an Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts fundraiser to expand its Youth Art Programs. One lucky person will win a spectacular vacation for two on an 8-day Viking River Cruise, valued at $7,298, with a choice of either an eight-day Rhine Getaway Cruise or Danube Waltz Cruise to be enjoyed by the end of year 2019.

Sponsored by Viking River Cruises and South Georgia Travel, the Cruising for the Arts fundraiser will kick off at a reception on Monday, July 23, from 5-7 p.m., at the Turner Center, located at 527 N. Patterson Street. The event will feature information about the highly-respected Viking brand vacation getaways, special vacation discounts and door prizes, as well as complimentary food, beer and wine.

Raffle tickets will be sold from July 23 – Sept. 17, 2018 for $20 each or six tickets for $100. Tickets may be purchased at the July 23 reception, from any staff member at the Turner Center for the Arts, or from any Lowndes-Valdosta Art Commission (LVAC) Board member. All proceeds will support the Turner Center’s Youth Art Programs and the renovation of the center’s Annex, located at 601 N. Patterson Street. Once renovated, the Annex will supplement the Turner Center by providing the necessary space for additional youth art education classes and other youth activities.

The fundraiser is part of the Viking Cultural Exchange Program, an initiative to support the arts and make a difference in communities nationwide.

“The Turner Center is extremely grateful to Viking River Cruises and South Georgia Travel for this generous support for the arts in our area,” said Sementha Mathews, Executive Director for the Turner Center for the Arts. “The much-needed renovation of the Annex will provide youth art education opportunities for years to come and will support the welcomed and growing interest in the arts. We invite everyone to ‘Cruise for the Arts’ with us and positively impact our local arts community.”

The Cruising for the Arts drawing will be held on Sept. 17, 2018 at the Gallery Opening Reception featuring the artistic works of Ronald Zaccari. In addition to the cruise tickets, several other tickets for prizes such as Presenter Series season tickets, class vouchers, and Art Gift Certificates, etc. will be drawn at the event.

The Turner Center for the Arts is a 2017 recipient of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts & Humanities and is dedicated to enhancing the Valdosta-Lowndes County area and the surrounding region through cultural enrichment, art education and entertainment. The main facility is located at 527 N. Patterson Street and includes six art galleries, two art classrooms, two music classrooms, administrative offices and a gift shop. The art campus also includes the Pottery Studio located at 104 Webster Street and the Annex located at 601 N. Patterson Street. The non-profit, membership organization hosts seven impressive Gallery Opening Receptions annually, along with three major Broadway productions, four classical music concerts, music and photography lessons, and a variety of year-round art classes for people all ages.

Complete details, rules and regulations are available at and at For more information about Cruising for the Arts, call the Turner Center for the Arts at 229-247-2787.

PAAC Identifies City’s Arts District with Banners

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Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) members will hang banners on Saturday, July 14, to identify the City Center Arts District (CCAD), beginning at 10 a.m. in front of the historic Lowndes County Courthouse. Volunteers are needed to attach nearly 150 CCAD banners to the bottoms of the Main Street banners already affixed to poles throughout the Downtown Valdosta area.

The CCAD serves as the anchor of attraction for our community, defining a place where arts, culture and creativity improves our community’s competitive edge, attracts new and visiting populations, and contributes to the development of a skilled workforce.

The purpose of PAAC is to further the purchase and appreciation of public art and to promote its aesthetic value to the economic development of the community. The CCAD was established by the PAAC and approved by the Valdosta City Council in October 2016, becoming the first arts district in the city’s history.

The arts district follows the Central Valdosta Development Authority’s western, southern and eastern boundaries. The CCAD’s north boundary, however, extends two blocks to Webster Street to include the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, as well as its Hudson Pottery Studio and youth art education Annex.

Community volunteers are invited on Saturday to meet at the courthouse with step ladders and pliers to assist with the identification of the CCAD. For more information or to volunteer on Saturday, July 14, contact Sementha Mathews, Executive Director of the Turner Center for the Arts, at 229-247-2787 or

Kaitlyn Redish Joins Turner Center Staff

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Kaitlyn Redish has been hired as the new Public Relations and Marketing Administrator for the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, effective July 23, 2018.

In her new role, Redish will lead the integrated marketing and communications strategy to promote the mission and drive awareness of the Turner Center. She will orchestrate innovative campaigns that promote brand awareness and effectively position the center as a regional leader in cultural enrichment, art education and entertainment. Under the direction of the Executive Director, Redish will be responsible for the oversight and planning of external communications to attract diverse audiences to the center’s exhibitions, educational programming, special events, and development and membership.

“As our new Public Relations and Marketing Administrator, Kaitlyn has the professional skills and enthusiasm for the arts that our patrons, donors, members and staff will appreciate,” said Executive Director Sementha Mathews. “We welcome her to our team and look forward to some exciting projects in the near future that will draw attention to the positive impact that the arts have on the overall economic, cultural, and quality of life issues in our community.”

Redish comes to the center after serving over two years as the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce Communications Director, where she was responsible for all forms of media, marketing, and event planning. Her strong communication and organization skills strengthened the Chamber’s membership and its overall mission.

Redish has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Speech Communication and Public Relations from Valdosta State University.

After July 23, Redish can be reached at or at 229-247-2487.

Turner Center Cuts Ribbon on Guardian Bank Studio

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The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Guardian Bank Studio on June 11. The studio, located on the second floor of the center, houses the resources for the Turner Center’s Career Pathways program.

Made possible through a partnership with Guardian Bank, the Career Pathways program provides creative classes such as photography, photo editing, and other fine art disciplines for children and adults who do not have the financial resources to afford these types of courses. The Guardian Bank Studio features 11 computer stations, modern software programs, and other technology and presentation equipment. Other disciplines, such as videography and website design, will gradually be added to the program throughout the five-year strategic partnership.

The grant covers the costs of the instructors, as well as provides a number of scholarships for those with a lot of desire but limited resources. The overall goal is to equip people with skills that positively impact their economic status and contribute to the overall success of the community.

The Career Pathways program at the Turner Center serves people of Lowndes County and the surrounding region.

“We are fortunate to have this partnership with Guardian Bank that helps us provide people with creative skills and meets real needs in the communities we serve.” said Turner Center Executive Director Sementha Mathews. “The commitment of Guardian Bank and the Turner Center for the Arts staff is reaching people where they are and, together, positively impacting community development in our region.”

For more information, contact the Turner Center for the Arts at 229-247-2787 or visit