Art ‘N Bloom big success

LaGRANGE – Over a hundred people wandered between beautiful pieces of art, colorful bouquets and auction items donated by locals at Highland Country Club on Thursday at the LaGrange Art Museum’s Art ‘N Bloom fundraiser.

The LaGrange Art Museum uses funds raised through fundraisers like this one and membership dues to keep the museum open to the public and filled with a wide variety of exhibits on top of their paid classes. All the speakers at the event pointed out that art – as important as it is alone – is good for far more than just aesthetic value though.

“The creative industries in our state are strong and vibrant,” said Karen Paty, the Executive Director of the Georgia Council for the Arts. “When we talk about the creative industries, we are talking about both for profit and non-profit industries. Together we have combined them, and it accounts for about 200,000 jobs in the state. … Artists and what they bring to bear are not only their outlook – the way they problem solve and approach life in general, different vantage points, looking through a different lens – but the talents and the skills that they bring to the table, to a community – to problem solve, to rethink struggles, to rethink waste, to bring communities together, to create spaces for conversations that are inviting and safe and allows everybody to heal and move on from issues.”

Paty works to inform both locals and legislatures about the role of art in education, healthcare, workforce development and downtown revitalization in order to ensure a continued positive environment for artists in Georgia. In her work, she has had a clear view of the work of a LaGrange resident, fellow champion of the arts and former teacher, Helen Rice whose view of the arts is more education focus.

“Students involved with art grow to be more civic minded adults, and they grow to be more likely to run and volunteer,” said Helen Rice, Chair of the Georgia State Board of Education. “… Students with a high level of art engagement have higher test scores in science and writing. Students who participate in the arts are 16 percent more likely to graduate from high school.”

Rice highlighted the importance of art as part of an entire education that can help students with non-art related subjects like reading, writing, self-confidence, self-control and math, with students who have taken art for all four years of high school routinely scoring higher on SATs.

That creativity does not grow or exist in a vacuum though, the speakers also talked about the importance of being around other artists and art teachers and mentors.

“Our creativity comes from people – comes from people that surround you,” said Ethyl Ault, an arts education activist. “I am only as good as the people who surround me, and I’ve been privileged to be around most of you – in some way to surround me.”

For a city like LaGrange, that not only has a thriving community of artists but boasts well known artists such as Annie Greene as natives – not to mention the numerous performing art groups like the LaFayette Society for Performing Arts and New Horizon Theatre – those surroundings are exciting for fans of both visual and performance arts.

“There are so many great performing arts here,” said Maggie McDonald, the owner of Pure Life Studios. “There is the Young Symphony… and we have people learning to dance at LSPA which is – I love that place – and people learning to act.”

The funds raised from this event went to fund part of that art community, and by extension, making a better community.

The LaGrange Art Museum is currently has “In the Land of Pasaquan: The Story of Eddie Owens Martin” on display at the museum. The museum is also taking applications for summer classes. For more information, visit


Reach Alicia B. Hill at or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2154.