By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 9, 2019
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- A new collection of creativity is covering the walls at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta.
This week, the Turner Center for the Arts kicked off its 'Spring into Arts' exhibit, now more than three decades in the making.
The arts center, along with the City of Valdosta, continues to make it a priority to grow the arts.
The 'Spring into Arts' exhibit is an extension of those efforts. Organizers said it's a way to highlight local and regional artists.
Each piece now hanging on the walls at the center is a part of the South Georgia story.
"It's the artists and the art enthusiasts that makes this industry thrive in our area and across our region," said Sementha Mathews, Executive Director of the Turner Center for the Arts. "Here in Georgia, the governor touts that it's a $62 billion industry, and we're proud in the City of Valdosta, particularly at the Center for the Arts, that we have a huge part in that."
Valdosta native Ethan Abbott is one of the artists featured in 'Spring into Arts.' He said starting his career as an artist in the Azalea City wasn't always an easy road, getting his start at local restaurants.
"I was there at Boardwalk, and literally I'm applying there for a job for the third time, and he's like, 'look, you're not going to get it. Just see that restaurant over there? You have really good art, go apply to be his artist.' And I was like wait a minute, that's a good idea," Abbott said.
Abbott now has pieces on display inside several local businesses around downtown and Valdosta. He said this kind of community support is why the industry has grown over the last few years, and continues to do so.
"It's people supporting people, that's the kind of small town love and big time support we got," Abbott said.
The growing trend of local art in South Georgia is one Abbott hopes never slows down.
'Spring into Arts' is open now at the Turner Center for the Arts. All the pieces will be on display through June 5. The exhibit is free and open to the public.