Athens has lots of galleries, and more artwork can be found around town, adding bursts of color and character to the walls of coffee houses, restaurants, bars and shops. Check Flagpole’s Art Around Town for a list of current exhibitions. Thanks to organizations like the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission and Athens Area Arts Council, the arts scene continues to thrive. Public art projects abound, especially downtown. (See list below.) Third Thursday hosts extended hours from 6–9 p.m. once per month. Many studios offer open houses and sales. For info on receptions and events, check Flagpole’s Calendar.  

Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (ATHICA)
675 Pulaski St., Ste. 1200 • 706-850-7770 •
Hours: Wed–Fri, Sun, 4–6 p.m. Sat, 1–6 p.m. 
ATHICA balances Athens-centric exhibitions with those of professional artists from across the country. The longstanding “Emerges” show highlights rising local artists, while an annual juried exhibition welcomes submissions from across the globe. In addition to traditional opening receptions, exhibitions are often accompanied by workshops, performances and talks with visiting artists. 

234 W. Hancock Ave. • 706-353-3343 •
Hours: When the theater is open
More than just an indie movie theater, Ciné is also a venue for visual art. The exhibit space runs down both walls leading from the entrance and highlights a few artists each year. Art can be viewed during the same hours as the theater, but you don’t have to buy movie tickets to check it out or enjoy opening receptions.

The Circle Gallery
285 S. Jackson St. • 706-542-8292 •
Hours: Mon–Fri, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. during the academic year
Part of UGA’s College of Environment and Design and housed on North Campus, the Circle Gallery hosts shows celebrating the relationship between fine art and themes of landscape architecture, historic preservation and, naturally, environmental design.

The Classic Center
300 N. Thomas St. • 706-208-0900 •
Hours: When the Center is open
In addition to awarding grants and scholarships, the Classic Center Cultural Foundation exists to fund the purchase of local art, which adorns the large walls of the conference and events venue. Some art remains on view permanently, while even more changes biannually through exhibitions curated by Didi Dunphy.  

Creature Comforts Brewing Co.
271 W. Hancock Ave. • 706-410-1043 •
Tue–Thu, 5–10 p.m. Fri, 3–10 p.m. Sat, 1–10 p.m. Sun, 1–6 p.m.
Launched in June 2018, Creature Comforts’ Get Artistic initiative aims to support art in its many forms: visual art, performance, music and writing. In addition to exhibitions curated by Madeline Bates, the brewery hosts artist talks, craft workshops, art parties and other enrichment opportunities for the arts community.

The Dodd Galleries
270 River Road • 706-542-1511 •
Hours: Mon–Fri, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., except university holidays
UGA’s renowned art school neighbors the Georgia Museum of Art. In addition to the popular BFA exit shows, which showcase the works of graduating students near the end of each semester, galleries host exhibitions by students, faculty members and visiting artists that rotate year-round. Regular events include receptions and lectures by artists and art historians. 

Gallery@HotelIndigo Athens
500 College Ave. • 706-309-7263 •
Hours: Same as the hotel lobby
Contemporary exhibitions in this downtown boutique hotel typically have a group focus and a theme, carefully curated by Didi Dunphy. The Glass Cube, a literal glass cube located just outside the hotel’s main entrance, serves as a unique space for site-specific installations. 

Georgia Museum of Art
90 Carlton St. • 706-542-4662 •
Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Thu, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun, 1–5 p.m.
Georgia’s official art museum, on UGA’s East Campus, houses a large permanent collection of paintings, prints, decorative arts, sculpture and more. This year’s diverse lineup includes “Women of the WPA,” “Storytelling in Renaissance Maiolica,” “Before the War: Photographs of Syria by Peter Aaron,” “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures From the Driehaus Collection” and “Emma Amos: Color Odyssey.” Admission is free, as are almost all of its many events: gallery tours, lectures, films, workshops for teens, a monthly Family Day and thrice-yearly late-night parties with a DJ. A café serves coffee and snacks Tuesday through Friday afternoons in the lobby. 

Hip Vintage and Handmade
215 Commerce Blvd. • 706-215-9585 •
Hours: Wed–Sat, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun, 1–5 p.m.
With over 100 vendors, the market offers antiques and vintage items, as well as a wide selection of handmade goods and crafts by local artists. Exhibitions rotate monthly and include paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Howard’s Gallery 
119 N. Jackson St. •
Hours: Fri–Sat, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. and by appointment
Opened in 2018 by artist and New York transplant Ridley Howard, this gallery shares a space with Tif Sigrids. The two collaborators present distinct programming, using the space’s three rooms however feels best. Upcoming shows in 2019 feature Justin Adian, Samuel Stabler, Katya Tepper, Greg Bogin and Anne Eastman.

Lyndon House Arts Center
211 Hoyt St. • 706-613-3623 •
Hours: Tue, Thu, 12–9 p.m. Wed, Fri–Sat (except home football games), 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Run by Athens-Clarke County, the arts center displays professional exhibitions in large, sunny galleries upstairs and down, while the Ware-Lyndon House museum offers a glimpse into Athens’ past through period decor and artifacts. In addition to offering classes instructed by professional artists, summer camps and the occasional festival, the center serves as meeting grounds for local craft groups. A gift shop features items created by regional artists. 

Madison-Morgan Cultural Center
434 S. Main St., Madison • 706-342-4743 •
Hours: Tue–Sat, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun, 2–5 p.m.
The nonprofit is outside of Athens in a beautifully restored 1895 Romanesque Revival building. Programming ranges from visual art exhibitions to performing arts, and annual events include an antiques show, chamber music festival and tour of homes. 

The Myers and Bertelsmann Galleries at Athens Academy
1281 Spartan Lane • 706-549-9225 •
Hours: Mon–Fri, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (Closed June and July)
Athens Academy includes two galleries on its large campus that are open to public viewing. Typically dedicated to displaying student masterpieces, the walls will occasionally feature the work of professional local artists. 

Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF)
34 School St., Watkinsville • 706-769-4565 •
Hours: Tue–Sat, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Centered in a renovated turn-of-the-century schoolhouse, OCAF is a nonprofit that promotes performing, visual and literary arts through a range of exhibitions and classes for all ages. Longstanding annual events include “Southworks,” a national juried art exhibition; “Perspectives,” the Georgia pottery invitational; a members exhibition; and a holiday market. Smaller exhibitions are hosted in a converted classroom adjacent to the main gallery. 

Tif Sigfrids
119 N. Jackson St. • •
Hours: Fri–Sat, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. and by appointment
Owner Tif Sigfrids relocated her gallery from Los Angeles and showcases the works of many professional contemporary artists. Sharing a downtown space with Howard’s, the gallery has recently hosted shows by Gracie DeVito, John Fahey and Art Rosenbaum.

UGA Special Collections Libraries
300 S. Hull St. • 706-542-7123 •
Hours: Mon–Fri, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat, 1–5 p.m. (except home football games)
The galleries feature items from the Hargrett, Russell and Brown Archives. Historical pieces include photographs, manuscripts, maps and memorabilia. 

Winterville Center for Community and Culture
371 N. Church St., Winterville  • 706-742-0823 •
Hours: Mon–Thu, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Opened in spring 2016, this $1.3 million renovation project transformed the former Winterville High School into a regional enrichment center for adults. Rotating art exhibitions vary in theme and style. In addition to the exhibition hall, the facility includes a demonstration kitchen, dining and activity space, and multiple classrooms for hosting lectures, workshops and other events.

Five Downtown Public Art Projects to Check Out 

Fire Up the Hydrants
A project of the Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department, Fire Up the Hydrants transformed 20 ordinary hydrants into functional, life-saving works of art. Spread across downtown, the hydrants were cleverly hand-painted by local artists, including Sarah Cook, Lilli Sams, Dan Smith and Jennifer Zwirn. 

Art Decko
Organized by the Athens Area Arts Council, Art Decko is a series of nine large-scale paintings installed on each floor of the Vertical Gallery, an unconventional stairwell-turned-art space in the College Avenue Parking Deck. Artists include Ashley Anderson, Jared Brown, Jeremy Kiran Fernandes, Ruth Allen, Jacob Wenzka, Hannah Betzel, Will Eskridge, Jeanne Whatley and Dorian Edwards.

Commissioned by AthFest Educates to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the AthFest Music and Arts Festival, David Hale’s “BirdSong” mural is comprised of 20 species of native songbirds flying across an exterior wall of Epiphany, on the corner of Washington and Pulaski streets. 

Hot Corner: An Athens Legacy
Downtown’s newest mural, at the corner of Lumpkin and Washington streets, is dedicated to the rich history of Hot Corner, a hub of African-American entrepreneurship. Organized by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission with support from a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the mural was created by Miami-based muralist Elio Mercado and local artist Broderick Flanigan. 

Project Ginkgo
Beautifying the concrete bases of light poles with intricate mosaics, Krysia Ara’s Project Ginkgo adds glittering charm and color into the downtown landscape. Funded by the Athens Downtown Development Authority, each design is unique and can be found outside of Flicker Theatre and Bar, The World Famous, Epiphany, Creature Comforts and Ciné.

Art Classes

ARTini’s Art Studio, Gallery & Lounge
337 Prince Ave.  • 706-353-8530 •
Learn to paint while enjoying an adult beverage. 

260 N. Jackson St. • 706-316-2067 •
Garment-making in beginner and intermediate sewing courses.
Good Dirt
485 Macon Hwy. • 706-355-3161 •
Pottery classes for all ages in a variety of techniques.

The K.A. Artist Shop
127 N. Jackson St. • 706-850-1224 •
Photo-room rentals, workshops and art supplies.

Lyndon House Arts Center
211 Hoyt St. • 706-613-3623 •
Adult and youth classes in diverse media.
Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF)
34 School St., Watkinsville • 706-769-4565 •
A wide variety of art and craftwork programs.

The Pearl Girls
548 Hawthorne Ave. • 706-850-5296 •
Classes in pearl-stringing and wire-wrapping.
Revival Yarns
297 Prince Ave., No. 17 • 706-850-1354 •
Knit and crochet classes.