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There are plenty of ways to describe The Bowen Center for the Arts. Its classes make it a place to develop and fine-tune artistic skills, it’s a creative outlet, serving adults and children all year long with educational opportunities and interactive events, and it’s an inspiring gallery in which to see and often experience talent from our area. There is one unifying and distinguishing factor, though, and that is its vital role in the community.
Its limited hours last year left a void in downtown Dawsonville, and proved its importance to the community; now, as they revive their events calendar, classroom schedule and gallery showings, it’s once again a place for people to gather, interact and support one another. It’s truly a community connected – through art – once again.
Connected to make something beautiful, much like the intricate patterns on display at the most anticipated event of the year, the annual Quilt Show. The show is put on by the Heart in Hand Quilt Guild, a nonprofit group that meets at the Bowen for its monthly workshops and more. They provide daily docents during the Quilt Show who take visitors on a tour, expound their knowledge of certain techniques or styles, answer questions and, as any good quilter would, share fond memories that connect the patrons to the art.
“The Bowen co-hosts the show with the Heart in Hand Quilt Guild who provides funding through their gracious gift of a raffle quilt they provide,” said Greenwood. “All three galleries will be filled with incredible workmanship for the fall showing and we appreciate this Guild for their hard work and efforts during this reflective time. We hope visitors enjoy this annual display for years to come. They always leave with a smile on their face.”
This year’s event, entitled, “Cold Days-Warm Hearts” is free to attend and features nearly 80 quilts to peruse and admire. In addition, the challenge quilt exhibit, “Winter Wonderland,” will spotlight smaller quilts in the lower gallery. After a year apart, it’s quite literally heartwarming to celebrate something so cozy.
“We hope the Quilt Guild understands what a tremendous impact their art means, and how far their efforts reach out especially in these reflective times,” said Greenwood. “Members hail from Dawson, Hall, Lumpkin, Pickens, and Forsyth counties. This year, the entire quilt guild kicked in and provided their time and efforts to produce the raffle quilt that they donate to the Bowen to give back.”
This year’s raffle quilt is called “Arctic Nights” and features coveted Kaffe Fassett fabric. Tickets are only $1 per ticket or $5 for six, and are available at the Bowen or online. The drawing is held on December 14, and all proceeds go to The Bowen Center for the Arts.
In addition to quilts, upcoming events include fundraisers such as The Artful Cork Wine Tasting at Cold Creek Farm in October, featuring a dinner with friends, and both silent and live auctions. The Wreath Making Brunch in November includes a luncheon hosted by interior designer and Bowen Center for the Arts board member Tracey Smith, who will provide a fun demo with holiday wreaths, allowing everyone to take home their own creation. The Festival of Trees kicks off the Holiday Season with a display of trees decorated by artists groups such as Spruill Art Center Glass Department, local decorators, civic organizations and local businesses, just to name a few. Upcoming classes include journaling, leather making, mosaics and more.
2022 promises continued revelry with patrons able to experience the North Georgia Model Aviators, see a one-man show by former AJC photographer, Tom Reed, and attend a workshop by world famous watercolorist, Tony Couch.
Such an incredible line-up post-pandemic is largely in thanks to Greenwood, the Bowen’s director since 2015. Her passion comes honestly, as she grew up in a large artistic family, and eventually used her creative talent to help teachers of all grade levels in their classrooms. Throughout her life she studied all kinds of art, joined every art club and took additional classes wherever she landed. Joining The Bowen is what officially made art her career.
“I first heard of the Bowen position offered while out vending my artistic wares in 2013 by the former director, Marcia Chelf,” said Greenwood. “In two days, I was on staff, and I became the official director in 2014 and have been here ever since. I have too much fun creating interesting art exhibits as well as museum-quality and educational displays. It's incredibly easy to grab from all the resources here.”
Greenwood handles the annual calendar of shows, classes, fundraisers, and events as well as administrative and digital requirements for all of the art pieces. She spearheads marketing for the museum's activities and offerings, installs the arts shows in the Bowen’s three galleries and hosts opening receptions, classes and concerts.
“Most of what the arts center provides its community wouldn’t be possible without its namesake, the Bowen family,” said Greenwood. “They’ve not only contributed immensely to start, renovate, fund and continue funding when needed, but they’re also to thank for the renewed support after the pandemic. Because this non-profit serves as a community art center, they’ve thrown another lifeline to this community through their renewed support. They buoyed our nonprofit corporation so we could resume normal hours and activities after a difficult year for everyone.”
The art center is also supported by its Board of Directors as well as an Advisory Board of past board members and strategic community officials. It’s also hugely supported by the incredible surrounding community, and has been for 20 years. Since 2000, individuals and organizations such as the Rotary of Dawson County, the Dawson County Board of Education, Dawson Woman's Club, the Lion's Club, and more have helped in continuous restoration, improvements and financial support. It’s truly a community working to keep its community thriving.
“The Bowen prides itself on being one of a kind in Georgia,” added Greenwood. “It contributes to every facet of this community with its beautiful and historical building which was granted the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation 2001 Preservation Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation. This center creates a wonderful setting for exhibits and extravagant events of all kinds, and continues to be the talk of North Georgia with creative venues for the Arts. Plus, all of our exhibits are free and open to the public, which – I think – is what community is all about.”
Gallery Hours have returned to Tuesday thru Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday noon to 4 p.m. The Bowen Center for the Arts is located between Lanier Tech and Dawson Junior High just north of the Historic Dawsonville Square.
EVENTS AT THE BOWEN
August 3 through September 17
Georgia Watercolor Society Members Exhibition
GWS Demo & Opening Awards Reception
Brunch and Bouquets
Leather making w Tom Slavicek
September 15, October 13
Jill Haack Journaling Class
September 16 & 17
Jill Haack Watercolor Class
September 24 through October 20
Annual Quilt Show
Annual Quilt Show Reception
Mosaics with Maria
Dawson Chorale concert - The Beatles
October 7 & 8
Jill Haack Oil Painting Class
Artful Cork Wine Tasting at Cold Creek Farm
October 29 through December 15
Juried Art Exhibit and Halloween Party Opening for Kids
Piano Concert with Georgia Musicale Group