Category Archives: Local

Pet project: Oconee artists paints cats and dogs Standard

Bogart artist Debbie Payne has a basement studio in which to immerse herself in art. (Photo by WAYNE FORD)

Debbie Payne began seriously producing artwork about four years ago when she found a rather friendly niche. She paints pets — cats, dogs and even birds. This past holiday the popular item was a Christmas tree ornament with a painted portrait of the buyer’s pet. “A lot of people want white ornaments, but sometime they’ll send me a photo of a white dog,” Payne said. “OK, I’ve got to get this white dog to show up on white,” she said with a chuckle. “But I have managed to do it.” Payne works in the basement studio of her home in Keeneland…

Athens furniture maker pulls in wood artists for OCAF exhibit Standard

Abraham Tesser, shown in his studio, used his connections to bring in a slate of highly regarded wood artists for the first  OCAF exhibit on wood art. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Abraham Tesser has worked with wood for 35 years, so it was with an expert’s eye that he looked for wood artists in the Southeast to join in the first-ever exhibit featuring wood art in Northeast Georgia. “I found people whose work I really like and asked if they had any current work they would put in the show. I got very lucky. World-class people agreed,” said Tesser, an Athens resident who specializes in furniture. “They felt maybe the time was right where it was time to show some of the best that is available.” The “Wood Works: A Regional…

Students from Oconee awarded scholarships at MLK banquet Standard

Scholarships named in honor of the late Rev. David H. Nunnally were given to local students recently. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The Athens Area Human Relations Council, Inc. shared more than $10,000 in scholarships to Athens-area high school seniors on Jan. 14, including six students from Oconee County schools. The awards were part of the 38th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship banquet, which featured former University of Georgia Social Work Dean Maurice C. Daniels as keynote speaker. The inaugural Rev. David H. Nunnally Community Service Scholarships were awarded to high school seniors from local schools at the banquet. “The 2017 scholarship honorees are outstanding,” AAHRC President Marvin J. Nunnally said. “We had some tough choices to make with our…

Years ago, people were warned about a bear in Harris Shoals Park Standard


Harris Shoals Park in Watkinsville is often a place for walks, picnics and play. But a few years ago, a bear was seen in the park. As a precaution, the city put up signs warning folks that they may encounter one. The bear apparently left town on its own as no one reported any confrontations with the big hairy animal. (Photo by WAYNE FORD)

Giant dragonfly once perched beside Athens Academy lake Standard


A giant metallic dragonfly is perched along the lake on the Athens Academy campus in this photo take a few years back. The dragonfly was one of several such pieces of metal art that were placed at various sites on campus as part of a traveling exhibit. (FILE PHOTO)

Art and soul: Oconee artist captures the character of her subjects Standard

Artist Jackie Dorsey paints her subjects in her home art studio in Oconee County. (Photo by WAYNE FORD)

There was a morning recently when Jackie Dorsey went into her art studio to engage the watercolor paints and through a revealing window saw a fawn only feet from the house curled on a bed of brown leaves. Deer often browse the quiet neighborhood of her Oconee County home. About five years ago, when she and her husband, Alan Dorsey, were moving to Athens, they found a house on a cul-de-sac in a forested subdivision near the Athens Academy campus. “When I saw this house I thought ‘there is my studio,’ ” she recalled about the airy ground-floor room with…

The late Rev. Killian an inspiration at Emancipation Proclamation program Standard

Tharon Johnson received the first A.R. Killian Lifetime Achievement Award. Shown, from left, are Jordan Killian, Johnson, Ruth Killian, Martha Johnson-Nunnally and Marvin J. Nunnally. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The 27th Annual Emancipation Proclamation Program was held Jan. 1 at Bethel Baptist Church in downtown Watkinsville with a special remembrance of the late Rev. Archibald Killian, who became a prominent figure in Athens. Killian died last October at the age of 83 after battling cancer. Numerous awards were presented at the event, along with a new honor, the 1st Rev. A.R. Killian Lifetime Achievement Award. The first person to receive this award was Tharon Johnson. “Tharon was once in a high school mentoring group that Clarke Central High School Principal Dr. Russell Studevan and I served as advisers. Tharon…

OCAF opens first exhibit dedicated to art made with wood Standard

A chair based on the form of a gorilla by Robert Brou.

“Wood Works: A Regional Exhibition” will open Jan. 20 with a reception at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation in Watkinsville. The inaugural exhibit features the work of 40 wood artists and craftsmen, including furniture makers and wood turners. The exhibit remains up through Feb. 17. The reception on Jan. 20 is free and open to the public from 6 to 8 p.m. in the main gallery. The curator for the exhibit is Abraham Tesser and the sponsor is Highland Woodworking of Atlanta. Visitors can see woven baskets by Harvey Meyer, turned wooden teapots by Michael Gibson, vessels made of burls…

Oil paintings by Melody Croft on exhibit at Oconee library Standard

This oil painting by artist Melody Croft is called “Connecting.”

The Oconee County Library is hosting an exhibit of artwork by Athens artist Melody Croft during the month of January. Croft, a graduate of Valdosta State University, sometimes works poems into her oil paintings. The paintings can be viewed during regular library hours. Croft, a self-taught artist, has had numerous solo exhibits, including several in Athens and Watkinsville and one in Charleston, S.C. In Croft’s artist’s statement, she said: “Since 1992, I have read, observed, taken a few classes, and painted whenever I could. In 2001, someone suggested that I try my hand at oil painting, so I did, and…

OCAF offering wide array of winter/spring art classes Standard


The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation has opened registration for the Winter/Spring 2017 art classes and workshops. Among the classes offered are watercolor, painting, portraits, writing, pottery, metalwork, bagpipes, drawing, acting and bookbinding. For more information, go to under Art Education or call (706) 769-4565.