The Ultimate Art Experience in Watkinsville, The Artland of Georgia

Chappelle Gallery in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Chappelle Gallery in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Watkinsville, deemed The Artland of Georgia for having more artists per capita than any other town in the state, is populated with unique art galleries, museums and exhibits showcasing local and national talents. Artists flock to this creative town to create, show and sell their work. Located just a stone’s throw from Athens, this artistic gem is worth a detour on your next trip to Georgia.

Get Fired Up about Pottery

Watkinsville is home to the largest pottery show in Georgia. In August and September, Perspectives: A Georgia Pottery Invitational showcases creations and demonstrations of 50 potters supported by the nonprofit Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF). A Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event, Perspectives attracts visitors from throughout the Southeast.

Happy Valley Pottery. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Happy Valley Pottery. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

For an out-of-the-ordinary art experience any time of year, visit the quirky dwelling of Happy Valley Pottery. Home of art demonstrations like none other, at Happy Valley Pottery, you can see artists demonstrating glass-blowing, pottery-making, Raku firing and more.

Browse Art Galleries

The Main Gallery at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF). Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

The Main Gallery at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF). Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

The OCAF features art exhibitions like Southworks (in April), Georgia Small Works (October), and its Members Exhibition (June 3 – July 8, 2016) in its open gallery each year. The organization welcomes artists to submit their work and art lovers to enjoy the unique displays. The art museum also hosts classes on painting and drawing, pottery, sculpture, performing arts and more.

Farmington Depot Gallery. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Farmington Depot Gallery. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

The historic Farmington Depot Gallery was once a train depot, but it now creatively houses fine arts exhibits for regional artists. Owned and staffed by local artists, the gallery features paintings, sculptures, folk art, ceramics, glass, fine furniture and jewelry.

The Chappelle Gallery, an extension of Happy Valley Pottery, is housed in the Historic Haygood House in downtown Watkinsville and also sells artwork created by more than 125 local artists.

Discover Public Art

"Rainbow Turtle" by Stanley Bermudez and Bill Pierson is one of the public art panels on display in Watkinsville this summer. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

“Rainbow Turtle” by Stanley Bermudez and Bill Pierson is one of the public art panels on display in Watkinsville this summer. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

This summer, you will find public art exhibitions throughout Watkinsville and Oconee County that feature art panels and sculptures created by local artists, including students. This collaboration between the city and OCAF gives visitors a glimpse of Watkinsville’s vibrant art scene. Download a map of the installations so you can be sure to see them all.

Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Among those top attractions, Watkinsville is home to numerous other shops and galleries that cater to artists and art lovers. Visit the Artland soon for an experience of a lifetime!

raquel-cobb-crop2Raquel Cobb is the marketing coordinator for the Oconee County Welcome Center. Graduating from Clemson University in 2015 with a degree in communication studies, Raquel is the voice behind Oconee’s social media channels and travel blog. Growing up a few miles outside of Oconee County, Raquel enjoys the small town charm Watkinsville and her hometown offers.

Georgia Grown: Kendrick Anderson | Furniture Maker

1Name: Kendrick Anderson | Furniture Maker

Where: Atlanta, GA

Story: Kendrick Anderson, an Atlanta-based furniture maker, was studying English literature in college when he became transfixed with an idea: he wanted to build a table. He had no experience in woodworking, but Kendrick knew he would be able to build furniture; after all, his family history had proven itself.

“My father builds custom homes, and my grandfather owned a sawmill/lumber yard for most of his life,” he explains. “So I guess you could say working with wood is in my blood.” After searching the city for free work in exchange for an apprenticeship, the single-minded student finally landed at a modest custom furniture shop. Following years of apprenticing and studying, Kendrick opened his own eponymous furniture-building shop.

2Kendrick draws his inspiration from mid-century modern proportions, the rejection of ornamentation by the Shakers, and the joinery (how two pieces of wood are held together) of the arts and crafts movement – all together revealing a minimalistic essence that envelopes every piece he creates. “I love the interplay between simple, clean forms coupled with exposed joinery,” he says. “I want my furniture to convey a quiet stillness when viewed from across the room, and yet possess increasing depth when inspected up close.”

Each Kendrick  Anderson piece is custom-made, and while clients generally have a broad idea of what they want, Kendrick embeds his aesthetic into their needs, creating a one-of-a-kind piece that will serve generations. “I am humbled by each piece and every client who grants me the opportunity to create something they will use for the rest of their lives.”

Content courtesy of Bearings.

All photos by Andrew Thomas Lee.