Sep. 20—VALDOSTA — Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts became a canvas transformed by the various pieces of art adorning its walls.
The center debuted three new exhibits Monday: "For the Love of Mud" which features pottery by Walter Hobbs, "Exploring South Georgia through My Lens," which features photography by Kenny Nobles and 2022 Juror's Choice Exhibit which features paintings by the Florida Artist Group.
Bill Shenton, curator for the Turner Center, said the exhibits spotlight South Georgia's "exemplary" artistic talents.
"They kind of came together for different reasons. But all the artists certainly met a threshold of excellence that we look for. and it's also just the availability typically, not always, but typically we book exhibits that are driving distance from us," he said.
Walter Hobbs is one of the local artists. Hobbs was an educator for the Lowndes County School System for more than 31 years, and during that time, he developed a ceramic studio in Valdosta in the 1970s, taught classes at the Turner Center's Hudson Building Studio and was later an artist-in-residence at the Turner Center and the Glynn Art Association.
"To speak a little bit more about Walter, he had a fall a couple of years ago and broke his wrist and he was all of a sudden unable to make pottery. He did over a year of physical therapy to kind of get back to where he could use his hands. and once he started making pottery, we proposed that he could show his creations at our next exhibit hoping that would give him some motivation to keep working and to create a whole new body of work. Walter has long been associated with the art center. He served on our board for years and he was our partner instructor for many, many years," Shenton said.
Kenny Nobles' work stood out to Turner Center board member Sally Turner Querin at the Fernandina Art Festival, and the center commissioned him to supply them with his art for his own exhibit.
Nobles is a nature and landscape photographer who grew up in Southeast Georgia. Most of his art centers around the lifestyles, hobbies and professions of Coastal Georgians. He said he wants his art to strike a peaceful chord with the observer, taking them back to a happier place in their lives.
"My goal as a photographer is to make the viewers feel as if they can step into the scene of the photograph or to reach out and touch the wildlife. Photographs record a place in time, and the importance of it may not be understood until later in time. Photography is a form of art and history. It has different meanings for each viewer," he said.
"My landscape locations are planned ahead of time and I will continue to return to that location until I get the photo that meets my expectations. Wildlife locations are planned ahead of time with high hopes that the birds, deer, etc., will show up. I especially enjoy using light, weather events, the rising and setting of the sun and moon in my landscape photos."
Unlike the first two, the third exhibit wasn't focused on one particular person but rather a group sof award-winning artists.
Since its creation in 1949, the Florida Artists Group has held an annual symposium and exhibition in a different Florida city. Due to the pandemic, the 72nd annual exhibition was held virtually in February.
When the Turner Center decided to showcase the group's work in a physical space, 64 artists from all parts of Florida entered work for consideration. From the field of entries, 25 works were selected for awards. In addition to winning prizes, 22 of the award recipients have been assembled for showing as part of the 2022 Juror's Choice Exhibit.
The review judge who made the award selections was Holly Koons, executive director of the new Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center at Christopher Newport University.
Various artists in the exhibit have previously displayed work in group shows or solo exhibits at the Turner Center.
The new exhibits garnered generally positive reviews from spectators. Valdosta resident Hanna Carroll was particularly fond of the detail and realism present in Nobles' work.
"Isn't it beautiful? The reflection in the water? It's almost like you could jump right into it if you didn't know any better," she said.
Lee Schert, The Garden Center's youth chairman, said she appreciated all three exhibits as different forms of art act as a vehicle to bring the community together despite any differences.
"To have Turner Center of the Arts share a vision of fun, of beauty, of culture, ... I believe that the humanities is the way to build bridges. The visual arts, the music, the theater, dance, all of it is a way for people of different walks of life to find common ground with each other," she said.
All exhibits will remain open and pieces will be up for sale in the galleries through Wednesday, Nov. 2.
For more information, call (229) 247-2787 or visit www.turnercenter.org.