Monday, January 20, 2014

Murray Arts Council in Murray County, Georgia

Murray Arts Council in Murray County, Georgia, is the first organized multi-arts center for this North Georgia County. For a tiny non-profit, it started out with lots of energy and great ideas. First, it promoted Go Murray Arts, a center for visual, theatrical, and musical arts. GMA leased the old bank building on Market Street in Chatsworth: a wonderful brick building over a hundred years old, I think. It has lots of character. John Christian, the director, quickly filled the building with lots of great paintings: big canvases featuring showbills for plays to decorate the walls in the music/stage area, and a multitude of landscapes, portraits, and nature paintings to jump-start the next-door visual-arts and music galleries. He advocated for funds to build a small stage and quickly organized some talent shows for local children. Soon there were monthly block parties, music jam sessions, karaoke, and a small gallery to showcase local visual artists. Our local schools now have scheduled art classes that come to them in the Go Murray Arts van. Bruce opened a coffee shop that serves as a nice stopping place for creative (and hungry) souls. He recently wowed everyone with his rendition of "Just a Gigolo" on karaoke night: what a wonderful, booming voice! It all has such an exciting, metropolitan feel to it. All of these things are a "first" for Chatsworth. The arts center is already experiencing its first growing pains, after barely a year. The bank building, which has great expanses of "character," unfortunately has very little in the way of actual working space. Tables and chairs were crowded around a tiny stage. John Christian has already expanded Go Murray Arts into Eton, Georgia, by opening a visual-arts studio on 1st Street there. At present, the old bank building is still in the picture. The coffee shop and galleries are still there, for now. It's not an easy thing for a small town to support an arts center, but we're hoping that the Murray Arts Council, Go Murray Arts, and the Coffee Shop continue to flourish and grow.

Here's to cultural opportunities in Murray County and North Georgia in general: hoping we can keep everything going and growing!

Related websites:

Go Murray Arts Facebook Fan Page
John Christian's Arts venue, now in Eton, Georgia

The Coffee Shop and Gallery Facebook Fan Page

Murray Arts Center
(Arts council, non-profit)
Chatsworth, Georgia

Note: the non-profit itself was set up in nearby Dalton (Whitfield County) by current board members, with documentation filed by Brad Rowe and Penny Carpenter for the council located in Chatsworth.

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