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Events & Exhibitions

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Good Sites To Visit During Black History Month

Becky

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February is Black History Month in the U.S. I’ve been selecting movies to watch and re-watch like 12 Years a Slave and Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and  it’s gotten me thinking about some of the best sites to visit to commemorate black history in our country (The King Center is right down the street from me, I need to get off the sofa and revisit it this month). From historic sites to museums, from libraries to monuments, here are just a handful of significant places to reflect on our country’s complicated history of race relations. In light of recent events, I  can’t think of a more important time in recent history to do so.

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International Civil Rights Center & Museum, Greensboro, South Carolina. Visit one of the most significant sites from the Civil Rights Movement, the historic 1929 F.W. Woolworth building  in Greensboro, South Carolina, where a lunch counter sit-in began with the Greensboro Four (Ezell Blair, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond) on Feb. 1, 1960. These are the original stools they sat in, still in place. This is part of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.

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The King Center, Atlanta, Georgia. The King Center is a 23-acre site in the heart of Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. Admission is free and includes the crypt of Dr. and Mrs. King, the Eternal Flame, the Freedom Walkway and Reflecting Pool as well as many exhibits. The King Center also incorporates The King Library and Archives, which contains the bulk of Civil Rights primary source materials. Dr. King’s Birth Home (seen above) and Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church are both within short walking distance of The King Center.

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The Harlem Renaissance Walking Tour, New York, New York. The tour focuses on sites related to the art, music, literature, religion and political events of the Harlem Renaissance, which took place from 1915-1935, as well as to current culture and issues in the neighborhood today. More information available at harlemheritage.com. The tours begin at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

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Photo by Flickr member SneakinDeacon 

The Arthur Ashe Monument, Richmond, Virginia. I love that on this boulevard of monuments to Confederate soldiers, the most recent monument addition honors Arthur Ashe. Not only the first black man to win Wimbledon, Ashe went on to become an anti-apartheid and AIDS activist. The addition of this statue is a reflection of our country’s complicated history and a strong symbol of healing.

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Mulberry Row, Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia.  Monticello has worked hard to include all aspects of Jefferson’s time on the plantation, including Mulberry Row, the community where slaves, indentured servants and hired help lived and worked. When I was a student studying the property, there were constant archeological digs and research going on to discover and share more about what slave life was like here and the important contributions enslaved workers made to this historic site. The Mulberry Row resources available online are fascinating as well.

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The Langston Hughes Library, Clinton, Tennessee. This one you may have to visit virtually, as it is a private library open for class visits and special events. Designed by Maya Lin, the building is composed of an antique barn cantilevered atop two corn cribs, and is located on a farm once owned by Alex Haley. While it nods to the vernacular rural buildings in the area, its elevated structure and interiors are modern.

Guys, I know this is the tip of the iceberg. Which sties and monuments related to black history have you found moved your the most? Please add to the list in the Comments section.

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Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Imaginary Worlds Wows at The Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Becky

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This month I took a visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, one of my favorite spots in the city. What was extra exciting about this visits is that artists from Montreal were assembling the amazing mosaiculture creatures for the upcoming Imaginary Worlds exhibition (it starts officially on May 1 2014). It was so cool to see how they decorate these living sculptures with beautiful colors and patterns completely composed of live plants. 

Here is one of the artists at work.

This amazing lady welcomes at the waterfall. When I walked by a few days later, her hair was all planted in waves of colorful plants. Sorry, I didn’t have my camera on me, but I plan on returning when it’s all done! By the way, this waterfall used to be the entry drive into the gardens and the former asphalt patch has transformed into one of the loveliest attractions there.

I especially loved the way the water fell through her hand.

I’ll be interested to see what they do to cover up the supports underneath, like on this vibrant butterfly piece.

A graceful horse grazes near the orchid house.

The best action was watching the frog being placed into the pond via a large crane and some men in the pond sporting waders.

This guy still needed his head put on. I loved seeing how they made his eye close up:

Watching them work on the cobra was really interesting. You can see how the holes in the netting will hold the plants in place. It really shows how intricate the process is and how much work is involved in putting together each creature. When they are done, you won’t see any of the structural support or the netting at all.

Here’s a start on the back of the cobra’s head and the artists serving as unwitting scale models. It was a bit unnerving to walk between the two giant snakes on the path.

Two intertwined fish rotate in the fountain at the entrance to the great lawn:

Stay tuned, I’ll continue to post photos from my fair city’s beautiful botanical gardens on Instagram. Speaking of, we’re pretty new to Instagram. Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance.

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Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Gus*Modern Sale (There’s a Feel-Good Catch…)

Becky

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We’re having a sale, with a catch: Support your local food bank with at least 3 non-perishable items or donate at foodbankscanada.ca and receive 15% off items from Gus*Modern.

So it’s easy, while you’re taking care of that cleaning out the pantry New Year’s drudgery, put a few things aside for others; after all, if you haven’t eaten it by now, you’re not going to, and it’s going to waste. Stop by a local food bank (find one in this directory) and drop off whatever you can. Remember, once the holidays are over donations tend to take a big dive, so people need your help more than ever, especially during this polar arctic blast of freezing temperatures.

Or if you don’t feel like leaving the sofa, just donate over at foodbankscanada.ca and then hope on over to all the Gus*Modern goodies and shop with a 15% discount.

Ossington Coffee Table from Gus*Modern

The Ossington Coffee Table is a mix of dark metal and walnut wood. Best of all, it has a clever open shelf for coffee table books, tabloids and the remotes. It also comes in stainless.

The Truss Chair by Gus*Modern

The Truss Chair has Scandinavian modern simplicity, but plays a little with geometry, giving it a contemporary look as well. It strikes me as the kind of chair the best student in furniture design class presents for his/her final review and gets a dream job from one of the jurors.

Carmichael Loft Sofa by Gus*Modern

Finally, a sale is a great time to invest in a sofa that will last for many years to come. Whether you like the unique Carmichael Loft Sofa or are in need of a low, mid-century modern style sectional sofa, Gus*Modern has an option for you.

Shop all Gus*Modern

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Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Great Exhibition: Paul Rand at MoDA

Becky

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Hey All! If any of you are in Atlanta between now and January 30 2013, I highly recommend swinging by the Paul Rand exhibition over at the Museum of Design Atlanta. It was very inspiring; I had no idea one man was behind so many amazing logos, book designs and graphic design principles. Unfortunately, trying to Google “Paul Rand” brings up some a lot of unrelated sites, so I’ve included the direct link to the exhibit at the end of this post.

MoDA is located right across Peachtree Street from the High Museum of Art in a very cool building that was redesigned/remodeled/given a green makeover by Perkins + Will. The MoDA space is on the first floor; its entrance is next to the entrance to the public library.

The lobby is filled with inspiring quotes from Rand, as well as an interactive exercise and a four-minute video.

Rand looked to so many different things for inspiration, including buoys:

The exhibition included a slew of amazing book cover designs by Rand.

His iconic UPS logo is one of his best known. What I enjoyed much was some of the original mock ups they have. The IBM rebus graphic below is just cut-up paper affixed with Scotch tape:

The resulting graphic:

The exhibition also included fabric he’d designed, his own chair designed by Alvar Aalto, and the plans for his and his wife’s modern home, which I would  love to learn more about as it looked like a very thoughtful mid-century mod abode with a cool courtyard. I’ll see what I can find and get back to you on that later.

Another highlight were these Rand-designed covers for Direction when he was in his 20s.

Alright, I’ll stop spoiling the entire show for you; click here to learn more about it and MoDA.

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Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

On Display: Pasquale Natale’s Houses

Becky

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Last weekend Friday I had a chance to head down to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod. Just a 90 minute ride from where I usually stay in Mashpee, once you hit Wellfleet and Truro, Cape Cod takes on an other-worldly feeling. Ocean on both sides, undulating dunes, wild grasses and the cutest little tiny cottages along the beach you’ve ever seen.

Once you hit Commercial Street in P-town things heat up; drag queens are riding their bikes down the street advertising their shows (be sure to hit Varla’s if you can), bikes ding their bells as they weave down both sides of the pedestrian-overtaken, one-way street and friends call out to friends from the balconies of restaurants and B&Bs.

photo: Becky Harris

For me, the best part of it can be hitting the galleries. While trying to remember where MDV3 Gallery was, I wandered into A Gallery, where they had just set up the show “Home Again: A continuation of the House”  by Pasquale Natale (it was opening that evening). 150 little fabric houses lined a 10-inch deep shelf around the gallery, some of them in handmade boiled wool, others in crochet and more fanciful patterned fabrics. The mini-village was appropriate in this place, where a 100 square foot beach shack is common.

photo: Becky Harris

photo: Becky Harris

photo: Becky Harris

photo: Becky Harris

The little village is not unlike any functioning community; diverse, patched together, some houses standing straighter than others, some more modest in their cladding. I suppose it didn’t hit me I was shaking up the village before the opening by buying one and brining the ranks down to 149 little houses.

photo: Becky Harris

In 1992 Pasquale wanted to reclaim the positive sign, something that had gained such a negative connotation during the AIDS epidemic, and make it positive again. 21 years later with so many advances in medicine made, it’s interesting to view them in a new light.

If you’re headed to the Cape for an early fall trip this weekend (highly recommended; the throngs of tourists have dispersed), be sure to stop by A Gallery at 192 Commercial Street. The show will run through September 10, 2013.  While you’re down at that end of the street, be sure to stop by MDV3 down at 142 Commercial Street, and Adam Peck Gallery across the street at 137 Commercial Street.

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