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Column: Architect’s watercolors featured in Buckhead exhibit
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
January 10, 2013 10:08 AM | 3648 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
“Searching for Beauty: Recent Work by Tom Ventulett” is the exhibit set for Thursday through Feb. 23 at the Swan Coach House Gallery on the campus of the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.

As a distinguished Atlanta architect since the 1960s, Tom Ventulett said he concentrated for years on creating spaces that were sensitive to a program, efficient, handsome and sometimes exciting and dramatic. And, if they were perceived as beautiful, he considered it a compliment.

In recent years he has had time and the opportunity to enjoy painting, free from the constraints of architecture — free to explore the qualities of beauty. Ventulett’s most recent watercolor works on display are centered on the fluid color, texture, patterns and iridescent translucency of sunlight and flowers which he said, “combine to form that amorphous quality we call beauty.”

This first gallery exhibit of the new year is sponsored by Forward Arts Foundation members Jan Portman and Jana Simmons. Co-hostesses for the opening reception this Thursday evening are: Ginger Watkins, Anne Powers, Carol Goodman, Mimi Godwin, Kimbrough Gibson, Wanda Hopkins, Dore Brooks, Jeanne Bowden, Jane Knight and Mary Ann Massey.

A Talk with the Artist reception on the evening of Jan. 23 will give voice to Ventulett’s inspiration and artistic talent.

The nonprofit foundation supports the visual arts in Atlanta with sales from the Swan Coach House’s gallery, gift shop and restaurant.

Information: (404) 266-2636 or visit

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The first of the 2013 series of LIFESPAN Resources sessions is scheduled for Jan. 17 through March 7 at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Buckhead. Designed to engage retired persons to use their knowledge, skills and experiences through life-enriching programs and service, the new eight-week, two-hour simultaneous Thursday morning series includes five distinctive study subjects on an adult education level.

The speaker series titled Great American Heroes of WWII is hosted by the Atlanta World War II Round Table and chaired by Northsider Jill Berry. Each speaker will review their experiences and patriotic deeds as they pass along their enduring love for America. First on the agenda is retired Pvt. Frederick O. Scheer, author of “A European Sojourn 1943-1945,” an autobiography about his time as a POW in a German labor camp. As a member of the Jewish faith, he was at the mercy of the Germans and drew upon his intelligence, skills and good nature to survive.

The Current Economics classes will feature retired Georgia Tech professor Ferd Levy with discussions around daily economic issues from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and other applicable national publications.

Based on Bo Lozoff’s book, “It’s a Meaningful Life: It Just Takes Practice,” the third series explores ways of integrating simple spiritual practice into daily lives. The facilitator is Lindley Curtis, the church’s minister for senior adults.

A tai chi exercise series will balance mind and body for eight weeks of “movement meditation” with Dawud Rasheed as instructor.

The American Short Story classes are designed to introduce seniors to modern classic stories from authors such as Kate Chopin, Ernest Hemingway and Eudora Welty — focusing on literary concepts and exploring elements of fiction such as setting and irony. Camilla Cruikshank will lead the classes.

Nominal fees are charged for individual sessions or a series, including lunch following the sessions. LIFESPAN is a volunteer organization headquartered at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Buckhead. It was founded in 1981 at the North Atlanta Senior Services as a consortium of Northside churches, an area synagogue and various community service organizations and businesses.

Over the years it has expanded with trained volunteers to encompass open adult educational classes and lectures along with wellness screening, Day Club care, medical transportation and senior resource services. The classes are hosted by local churches with volunteer instructors and expediters. The nonprofit, interfaith senior organization relies on individual donations of time and financial support from the community it serves.

Information and registration: (404) 422-4724 or visit

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The Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens will host its biannual fundraiser Elegant Salute XIII Jan. 19 on the museum site.

The 2013 black-tie gala will celebrate the facility’s monographic exhibition, “De Wain Valentine: Human Scale,” on view until Jan. 27. Featured California-based artist De Wain Valentine’s large-scale sculptures inspire the event theme and décor.

The evening will begin in the M. Smith Griffith Grand Hall with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and will progress to a multicourse seated dinner prepared by Epting Events. After dinner, guests are invited to a Full Spectrum Disco with the Krush Girls to dance the night away with cocktails and dessert and will view the current museum exhibition.

This year’s co-chairs are Betsy K. Dorminey and Dr. K. Paige Carmichael. Northsider Carolyn Tanner is serving as the Atlanta Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art coordinator.

Located on the UGA campus on Carlton Street, the museum is both an academic museum and the state’s official art museum. From the time it was opened to the public in 1948 in the basement of an old library on the university’s historic North Campus, it has grown consistently both in the size of its permanent collection and in the size of its facilities.

Today the museum occupies a contemporary building in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex. Some 52,000 square feet house more than 8,000 objects in the museum’s permanent collection –– a dramatic leap from the core of 100 paintings donated by its founder, Alfred Heber Holbrook.

Holbrook retired from an active New York law practice at the age of 70. He began a personal quest to learn about the world of art, an interest piqued by his passion for visiting museums. In his retirement he was determined to study art in a gentle Southern climate. A trip to Georgia in the mid-1940s led to his introduction to Lamar Dodd, head of the university’s art department.

The museum was formally founded in 1945, and Holbrook became its first director. He continued to serve as the museum’s director past his 90th birthday.

Since the early 1970s, the Friends of the Museum, a support group of more than 1,200 members across Georgia, has hosted fundraisers and sponsored exhibitions and educational programs at the museum.

All programming and exhibitions at the museum are fully funded by private donations from corporations, foundations and individuals. Partial support for exhibitions and programs is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. Additional support is funded through individual and corporation gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation.

The biennial gala is vital to the nonprofit museum’s success. Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art fundraising chair Julie Roth reports a goal of $100,000 to support the museum’s ongoing programs, including exhibitions, lectures, Family Days, workshops and symposia.

Information: (404) 309-0273 or visit

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The Atlanta Steinway Society is reaching out to include interested Atlanta music aficionados to join their cause as members inspire and support deserving young pianists with annual scholarship programs.

On the afternoon of Jan. 20, the three finalists for the C. Merrell Calhoun Prodigy Scholarship will play their final competition at the Buckhead home of the scholarship founder, C. Merrell Calhoun.

In 2012, 27 talented young pianists — all 14 or younger — auditioned before Brent Runnels, instructor of music and piano at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven. From this select talent pool, the three finalists, Laura Street, Laura Zhang and Judy Li, will be judged again and awarded the three designated prodigy scholarships to be used in furthering their music education. First prize is $500, second is $300 and third is $250.

Calhoun, a fine musician in his own right, is a retired marketing director and a member of the society’s board. He has been an exceptional channel for inspiring young musicians across Georgia.

The grand finale of the competition will be a formal public concert hosted by the society and starring the winner this November.

“We welcome music devotees to join our membership ranks to admire and encourage these talented youngsters as they showcase their piano performances in this very special youthful competition encouraging the enjoyment of and participation in piano artistry,” society president April Conaway said.

Barbara Kirby, an Atlanta sales agent for Steinway Pianos, was the catalyst for creating the volunteer, educational-based, nonprofit society in 1980. The organization is dedicated to bringing people, pianos and good music together to support young, developing pianists and music education throughout Georgia.

Building on in-home piano recitals reminiscent of the salon concerts of days gone by, the society still presents public concerts and works with Georgia’s college music directors to select student candidates for its three annual scholarships. The society also administers the annual Calhoun Prodigy Award for young pianists and has endowed a music scholarship at Kennesaw State University.

Information: (770) 993-3095 or visit

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