Menu

The 2022-2023 Flagpole Guide To Athens, GA

Art Around Town

Athens has a handful of interesting galleries, and even more eye-catching 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 weekly list of current exhibitions. Organizations like the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission and Athens Area Arts Council continue to fund public art projects, while many working artists frequently show off their studios during open houses and seasonal sales. For info on receptions and events, check Flagpole’s calendar in print and at flagpole.com.  

ACE/FRANCISCO Gallery 

675 Pulaski St., Suite 1500 • acefranciscogallery.com

Located inside of the historic Leathers Building, this new gallery was established in May 2022 by Jason Thrasher and Beth Hall Thrasher. Following the inaugural exhibition of painter Vernon Thornsberry, upcoming shows include Ouida Williams; John Cleveland, Lukyan Davis and Philip Juras; and Franni Thrasher. Exhibitions are accompanied by a limited edition of numbered and signed prints; the sales of which support the gallery as well as student arts organizations in the Southeast.  

The Athenaeum

287 W. Broad St. • art.uga.edu/athenaeum

Much like the scholarly sanctuaries of ancient Greece, the newly opened Athenaeum of UGA’s Lamar Dodd School of Art is dedicated to creative engagement and education. Curated by Dodd Galleries director Katie Geha, the Athenaeum is a downtown contemporary art space focused on internationally and nationally acclaimed artists and cross-disciplinary conversation.

Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (ATHICA)

675 Pulaski St., Ste. 1200 • 706-850-7770 • athica.org

ATHICA balances Athens-centric exhibitions with those of professional contemporary artists from across the globe. Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, the all-volunteer organization successfully purchased its building in 2021. In addition to traditional opening receptions, exhibitions are often accompanied by educational workshops, performances and panel discussions with visiting artists. 

ATHICA@Ciné Gallery

234 W. Hancock Ave. • 706-353-3343 • athenscine.com

More than just an indie movie theater, Ciné is also a venue for visual art. The exhibit space runs down the main entrance and is curated through a partnership with ATHICA. 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.

Aurum Studios

125 E. Clayton St. • 706-546-8826 • aurumstudios.com

With multiple in-house jewelers, Aurum specializes in custom jewelry. The shop also offers pottery, painting, woodwork and metalwork, the majority of which was made by local artists. Aurum plans to reopen under new ownership during the summer of 2022. 

The Classic Center

300 N. Thomas St. • 706-208-0900 • classiccenter.com

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 • getcurious.com/get-artistic

Launched in June 2018, Creature Comforts’ Get Artistic initiative aims to fund and promote art in its many forms: visual art, performance, music and writing. In addition to exhibitions curated by Madeline Bates Blankenship, the brewery hosts artist talks, craft workshops, art parties and other enrichment opportunities for the community.

The Dodd Galleries

270 River Road • 706-542-1511 • art.uga.edu/galleries

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. 

Flicker Theatre and Bar 

263 W. Washington St. • 706-546-0039 • flickertheatreandbar.com

In addition to a jam-packed calendar of concerts, film screenings and trivia nights, Flicker showcases a different local artist along its iconic orange wall every month. Upcoming highlights include Mark Dalling, Seth Martin, Bernadine Sears and Spencer Lusk.

Georgia Museum of Art

90 Carlton St. • 706-542-4662 • georgiamuseum.org

Georgia’s official art museum, located on UGA’s East Campus, houses a large permanent collection of paintings, prints, decorative arts, sculpture and more. This season’s diverse lineup includes “Kristin Leachman: Longleaf Lines,” “Jane Manus, Undaunted,” “Reckonings and Reconstructions: Southern Photography from the Do Good Fund” and “Object Lessons in American Art.” Admission is free, as are almost all of its many events: gallery tours, lectures, films, workshops for teens and family activities. The museum will celebrate its 75th anniversary with associated programming running February through November. 

Hotel Indigo Athens 

500 College Ave. • 706-546-0430 • indigoathens.com

Curated by Lilly McEachern, ArtWall@Hotel Indigo presents quarterly rotating shows of small scale works with thematic focuses. Located outdoors and viewable 24/7, GlassCube@Hotel Indigo is a literal glass cube housing creative installations. The hotel also features a handful of local artists such as Mark Steinmetz, Brittany Lauback, Alex Murawski and Rebecca Kreisler in its permanent collection. 

Indie South

470 Hawthorne Ave. • 706-850-0644 • theindiesouth.com

After establishing itself as one of the largest handmade markets in the Southeast, Indie South opened a brick-and-mortar boutique full of artisan, handcrafted and vintage goods, rare plants, crystals and more. The space, which also houses its own screen printing studio, now stocks several popular artists including David Hale and Chris Hubbard. In between huge biannual craft fairs, Indie South hosts creative classes and pop-up markets.

The K.A. Artist Shop

127 N. Jackson St. • 706-850-1224 • kaartist.com

A one-stop shop for all artist supply needs, K.A. hosts occasional group exhibitions that are typically hung in eclectic salon-style arrangements. The shop also offers photography services and workshops for all ages.

Lyndon House Arts Center

211 Hoyt St. • 706-613-3623 • accgov.com/lyndonhouse

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. This year’s programming spotlights painter and photographer Margo Newmark Rosenbaum, ceramicists Mark Johnson and Zuzka Vaclavik, and students attending local schools.

Madison-Morgan Cultural Center

434 S. Main St., Madison • 706-342-4743 • mmcc-arts.org

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. Permanent exhibitions include a 1895 schoolroom, a gallery of original furnishings from the Arts and Crafts Period, a museum of Piedmont history and a series of portraits by George Andrews aka “The Dot Man.”

Milan Art Store

1687 S. Lumpkin St. • 706-395-6333 • milanartstore.com

Located in the heart of Five Points, this new family-run shop operates as the storefront and gallery space for the Milan Art Institute. In addition to all sorts of professional art supplies, the shop intends to offer demos, classes, events and other opportunities to experience art.

Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF)

34 School St., Watkinsville • 706-769-4565 • ocaf.com

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. 

Porcelain and Decorative Arts Museum

2450 S. Milledge Ave. • 706-542-1244 

Located at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, the Porcelain and Decorative Arts Museum opened in 2021 to showcase the personal collection of Deen Day Sanders. The state-of-the-art facility blends conservation, botanicals, art and history.

The Quiet Gallery 

2025 Baxter St. • 706-613-3650 • athenslibrary.org

Nestled on the second floor of the Athens-Clarke County Library, the Quiet Gallery is a comfortable reading room with rotating exhibitions celebrating established local artists. 

Tif Sigfrid

393 N. Finley St. •  info@tifsigfrids.com • tifsigfrids.com

Owner Tif Sigfrids first relocated her gallery from Los Angeles to downtown Athens, then moved further out to Comer, and is now back in Athens as well as New York City. Exhibitions primarily showcase the works of professional contemporary artists. 

tiny ATH gallery

174 Cleveland Ave. • tinyathgallery@gmail.com • tinyathgallery.com

Athens’ smallest physical gallery space packs a punch with high-quality pop-up exhibitions that rotate each month. Limited-capacity opening receptions are typically held on Sunday afternoons, and private appointments can be reserved by email. The gallery is also open for Third Thursday. Upcoming artists include Keith P. Rein, Valley StipeMaas, Peter Loose and Andrea Wellnitz. 

UGA Special Collections Libraries

300 S. Hull St. • 706-542-7123 • libs.uga.edu/scl

The galleries feature items from the Hargrett, Russell and Brown Archives. Historical pieces include photographs, manuscripts, maps and memorabilia.

Public Art Projects to Check Out 

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. 

Art Shelters

Serving transit riders while also injecting creativity into the built environment, many of Athens-Clarke County Transit’s bus shelters double as public art. The program produced 11 art shelters between two phases in 2005 and 2011 as a partnership between ACC Transit and the Athens Area Arts Council called “You, Me and the Bus.” Under the guidance of the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission, ACC Transit added a new round of 13 art shelters and an additional 20 artist-designed laser cut shelters in 2020. Look out for Joni Younkins-Herzog’s giant pillbug on Lexington Road and Richard Herzog’s larger-than-life gingko leaves on North Avenue.

Athens Creative Directory

Organized by the Athens-Clarke County Economic Development Department and CREATE Athens (a division of Envision Athens), the Athens Creative Directory serves as a hub for finding and interacting with creatives working in a variety of disciplines. Visit athenscreatives.directory to search through profiles. 

Athens Mural Alley

Located downtown in between Clayton and Washington streets near Classic City Cycling, the new Athens Mural Alley activates an otherwise overlooked alley into a walk-through art experience. Artists include John Ahee, Tayler Ayers, Luka Carter, Maria Elias, Elinor Saragoussi Phillips, Tori Watson and Beaux Xavier. The series joins Taylor Shaw’s “ATHENS Mural,” which resembles a vintage “Greetings from…” postcard and celebrates the Classic City as a musical mecca. Part of the Athens Music Walk of Fame, the mural depicts a collage of local music references embedded into the block letters: Pylon, Widespread Panic, The B-52’s and more. 

Cobbham Triangle Park 

Occupying the slice of land nestled between Prince Avenue, Cobb and Harris streets, the Cobbham Triangle Park is a neighborhood gathering spot accentuated by public art. Highlights include an entranceway designed by St. Udio, a mosaic sitting wall called “Flow” by Krysia Ara, a towering sculpture called “Spirit of Inspiration” by Harold Rittenberry, a new “Venus Flower of Love” sculpture by Steve Sweetser and granite sculptures by Stan Mullins for games of chess and ping pong.

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, Ashley Crain, Megan Reeves, Lilli Sams and Dan Smith. 

Hope

Located downtown on the exterior walls of Epiphany Athens and The Rook & Pawn, David Hale’s mural, “Hope,” depicts barn swallows—a symbol of rebirth and hope—flying across a prismatic, rainbow-colored sky. “Hope” celebrated the 25th anniversary of the AthFest Music and Arts Festival, and replaced “BirdSong,” Hale’s mural of 20 species of native songbirds that was commissioned by AthFest Educates to commemorate the festival’s 20th anniversary. 

Hot Corner: An Athens Legacy

Located at the corner of Lumpkin and Washington streets, “Hot Corner: An Athens Legacy” 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 17 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, Morton Theatre, Epiphany, Creature Comforts, Musician’s Warehouse, Ciné, Chamber of Commerce, Post Office, Last Resort, Ted’s Most Best and others. 

Rainbow Forest 

Visible from Martin Luther King Parkway on the North Oconee River Greenway, “Rainbow Forest” is a new public art installation by Los Angeles-based designer Andrew Kovacs, who worked alongside local artist assistants Eli Saragoussi and Patrick Sprague. Supported by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission and unveiled in August 2021, the outdoor installation consists of a grid of 36 brightly colored columns. 

Sculptures and Murals 

Athens’ most recognizable sculptures are a series of giant bulldogs painted in colorful designs. To check out more sculptures, visit Steve Sweetser’s kinetic “Tree of Oneta” near the historic Southern Mill complex or Abbot Pattison’s infamous “Iron Horse” on Athens Highway in Watkinsville. Popular murals include Eleanor Davis’ at home.made, Dave Jenkins’ at Last Resort Grill, Anthony Wislar at Creature Comforts Brewery, Jamie Calkin at Flowerland and Michael Ross on Hawthorne Avenue. athensculturalaffairs.org

Art Classes  

ARTini’s Art Studio, Gallery & Lounge  337 Prince Ave.  • 706-353-8530 • artinisartlounge.com  

Learn to paint while enjoying an adult beverage.   

Community  260 N. Jackson St. • 706-316-2067 • shopcommunityathens.com  

Garment-making in beginner and intermediate sewing courses.  

Good Dirt  485 Macon Hwy. • 706-355-3161 • gooddirt.net  

Pottery classes for all ages in a variety of techniques.

Indie South

470 Hawthorne Ave. • 706-850-0644 • theindiesouth.com

Artist-led workshops in subjects such as soap making, Tarot and dyeing.

The K.A. Artist Shop  127 N. Jackson St. • 706-850-1224 • kaartist.com  

Photo-room rentals, workshops and art supplies.  

Lyndon House Arts Center  211 Hoyt St. • 706-613-3623 • accgov.com/lyndonhouse  

Adult and youth classes in diverse media, plus an open studio membership program.  

Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF)  34 School St., Watkinsville • 706-769-4565 • ocaf.com  

A wide variety of art and craftwork programs.  

The Pearl Girls  548 Hawthorne Ave. • 706-850-5296 • thepearlgirls.com  

Classes in pearl-stringing and wire-wrapping.  

Revival Yarns  585 Barber St., Unit D • 706-850-1354 • revivalyarnsathens.com  

Knit and crochet classes.

Winterville Community Center  371 N. Church St., Winterville • 706-742-0823 • wintervillecenter.com

Oil painting, botanical sketching and more.