In this episode of the South Georgia Insider Podcast, we're talking to Sementha Mathews, executive director of the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta.
In painting a broad stroke description of what the arts represent, Mathews says, "Art is an expression of humanity, creative skills, and imagination and so much more."
A regional hub for the arts, the Turner Center's formal mission is to provide art programs and events focused on art education, cultural enrichment, and entertainment.
The center's popular summer classes, taught by professional artists and trained educators, are designed to enrich a child's creative talents. Throughout the year, the TCA offers various classes for children, including a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.
"We want our kids to be imaginative and dream," Mathews says. "It helps them in their learning process. To ask questions and be inquisitive. Art also makes them more observant."
Art education enhances problem-solving skills, boosts self-esteem, and reduces stress. "Whether it's beautiful to anyone else or not," she says. "It's the experience that helps you reduce stress. There is something about creating…using all the elements of your body that thrown into the process."
Featuring seven galleries, the Turner Center rotates exhibits every six to eight weeks. Currently on display is the annual Spring Into Art exhibit featuring more than 320 original pieces created by regional artists.
Admission into the galleries is free and open 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
"Nothing is more satisfying than going into the Turner Center and walking through the seven galleries filled with local and regional art, sometimes it's national and even international art," Mathews says.
From Broadway-style shows to local musicians performing in the new Art Park, the TCA provides various live entertainment options.
The annual Presenter Series, which was canceled during 2020, is coming back for the 2021-2022 season, with the full schedule expected to be announced in June.
"It brings a different type of art that we don't get to see very much here," Mathews says. "Professional performing arts, a little bit of music and dancing. It's captivating, beautiful, and something you can't see unless you fly to New York or a bigger city to get that type of experience."
The public is invited to relax and listen to local and regional bands perform during the monthly Music in the Art Park concerts, which take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the second Friday of the month from March to November. The event also includes a variety of food trucks.
Expanding its facilities footprint, the TCA is going from three to five buildings, with the addition of a children's art museum and glassblowing studio.
Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.
Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921
South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.