When last seen, the world’s largest kudzu basket was in scaffolding (during the 1st Annual Jasper ArtFest) - but it will be unveiled in finished form for the upcoming summer solstice celebration.
By Amelia McIntyre, Lisa Schnellinger
Come and celebrate summer at the 2nd Annual Summer Solstice Celebration on Tuesday, June 21, in Jasper. Taking place on the longest day of the year, the event is designed to bring arts and cultural groups and individuals together to offer their work to the public.
Summer Solstice is sponsored by the Pickens Arts and Cultural Alliance (PACA) and co-sponsored by Sharptop Arts Association. It is being presented in partnership with Pickens Family Partners, the Mountain Conservation Trust and Educational Excursions. Other local supporters are the Pickens County Board of Education, the Pickens Progress and Smoke Signals newspapers, WIVL Radio Station and local restaurants.
The program is a community workshop funded in part by a project grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. PACA also works in collaboration with the Pickens Chamber of Commerce and its tourism committee to promote economic development through arts and cultural tourism.
The community workshop will consist of a variety of smaller workshop events in downtown Jasper beginning at 1 p.m. on June 21. The individual workshops are designed to showcase local artists at work and engage participants to either observe or roll up their sleeves and get involved.
Arts activities in the afternoon are free. The evening program, Music From Our Mountains, is $5 admission; however, if you present a receipt from dining in a Jasper restaurant on the day of the Solstice, you will be admitted for FREE.
Activities currently scheduled are listed here. For updates and more information visit PACAGeorgia.org. Specific inquiries can be posted to the Pickens Arts and Cultural Alliance Facebook page.
Unless otherwise noted, workshops will be taking place in and around the Sharptop Arts Association at 68 D.B. Carroll Street in Jasper.
Faces of North Georgia Project
From 1-3 p.m., photographers Lisa Schnellinger and Sara Lindkrantz will be making portraits of all who wish to have their picture taken by these acclaimed artists. The pictures will be available for free download online at NorthGeorgiaFaces.org and will become a part of the Faces of North Georgia project.
The Stroller Derby
The Stroller Derby, sponsored by the Pickens Family Partners, will take place from 2:30-4 p.m. and will feature parents and children in parade with their specially decorated strollers and attire. The derby will spotlight the importance of the arts in stimulating family conversation that leads to full literacy achievement. Come cheer them on!
Kudzu Basket Photo Op
Remember the 12-foot kudzu basket created at the Jasper Artfest? Come see it and have your picture made in it or with it. This will be its first time out for viewing with the scaffolding removed and completed.
Free Arts Activities for All Ages
Summer Solstice would not be complete without opportunities to get your hands into the act! From 2-4:30 p.m., choose from assisting with the garden mosaic project sponsored by the Mountain Conservation Trust, mini greenhouse making sponsored by Educational Excursions or contributing to the sun collage that will be permanently displayed following the event.
Music From Our Mountains Program
At 7:30 p.m. come out for a coffeehouse-style concert featuring local artists. However, don’t be fooled by the description “local” and think that this is anything but a star-studded line-up.
World-renowned pianist Robert Henry (who happens to live in Pickens County) will head the bill, with a great range of other musicians and vocalists rounding out the program. For a more complete list of performers visit the PACA Web site.
Inside info: Henry, a Steinway artist, is currently performing in Alaska and following his performance here will be in concert in London. He’ll perform on a Steinway Model D grand piano, brought in specially for this concert.
Doors open at 7 and seating is limited, so come early.
As a part of the economic goal of this community workshop, the Summer Solstice Committee encourages all to enjoy the culinary arts of downtown Jasper restaurants. Several are featuring special Summer Solstice offerings so check in with your favorite place. Remember to bring your breakfast, lunch or dinner receipt and get into Music From Our Mountains for free!
WIVL is our official Summer Solstice Celebration Station. WIVL will be providing updates and broadcasting all your favorite tunes featuring the sun and summertime on the day of the event.
So follow the lyrics of such famed vocalists as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Judy Garland:
“Grab your coat and get your hat.
Leave your worries on the doorstep….
Life can be so sweet
On the Sunny side of the street!”
Well, you may need to leave your coat with your worries, but we invite you to join us on the sunny side of the street on June 21st!