);
Connect with us

Arts & Literature

The History of the Peachtree Corners Area and the City that Grew from it

Published

on

The Nesbits, the Medlocks, and the Neelys were part of the rich history of the Peachtree Corners area, along with other well-known families, native American Indians and European settlers that came here. Author Carole Townsend talks about her new book – The History of an Innovative and Remarkable City.

Rico Figliolini hosts a talk with Townsend about her two-year journey in researching and writing the book that lays out this area’s history from 1770 to 2020. Listen in to hear Carole’s experience writing the book and get a sneak peek of all of the incredible history Carole and her team have dug up.

Resources:
City Website: https://www.peachtreecornersga.gov/home
Carole’s Website: http://caroletownsend.com

“In the overall scheme of history, we’re very new. So to see a family with such a love and reverence and respect for their ancestors. For their history, for a true work ethic, a dedication to family, and a deep love of education. Which to me defines the way the American dream came about for so many here.”

Carole Townsend

Timestamp, where to find it in the talk:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:29] – About Carole and the Book
[00:04:26] – Picking the Right Stories
[00:08:04] – Original Settlers
[00:11:35] – Important Families
[00:15:21] – Book Release
[00:16:15] – Honeycut Inn
[00:20:59] – Neeley Farms
[00:26:12] – About Pinckneyville
[00:28:11] – Paul Duke and Rise of Technology
[00:32:26] – Carole’s Experience with the Book
[00:38:09] – Closing

Rico: [00:00:30] Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini host of Peachtree Corners Life. I appreciate
you guys joining me. We have a special guest tonight and we’ll get to her shortly and the subject
matter that we’re going to be talking about. But before that, I just want to introduce our sponsor,
not only an advertiser in Peachtree Corners Magazine, but a supporter of the family of podcasts
that we do. And that’s Hargray Fiber. They’re a company that is big in the Southeast. They’re a
cable company that provides fast internet connection and business solutions. Not only for small
businesses, but for enterprise size businesses. So check them out. They’re not the cable guy.
They are really in their community that they are in. They’re involved with the communities that
they work in. So HargrayFiber.com. Visit them and thank them. So let’s get to our guest. Our
guest here tonight is, let’s bring her on, Carole. Let’s get you up here with me. Hi, how are you?
Carole: [00:01:28] Good. How are you?
Rico: [00:01:29] Good. So Carol is an author, journalist. I’m plugging as I engineer now so bear
with me everyone. But Carole’s an author and journalist, she’s a native of Atlanta, lived 30 years
here in Gwinnett County. And she’s had, she has about six books under her belt and an award
winning book called “Blood in the Soil”, which is about the 78 shooting of Larry Flint and his
attorney in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Check out that book too. But the book that we’re going to be
talking about tonight actually is a different book. Maybe there’s some history there and there’s
some, some stuff going on there as well. But the book itself that we’re going to be talking about
is the history of an innovative and remarkable city. The city of Peachtree Corners. Two years in
the making, reaching back to 1777 and up to 2020 and dealing with a lot of history, a lot of
families. Some places that, some families that people know already. Certainly if not, know of the
families they know of the street names of those families. So tell us Carole a little bit, let’s get
right into it. Let’s, you know, tell us a little bit about, you know, what did it take and how did you
actually come to this part of writing this book two years ago?
Carole: [00:02:40] Oh my goodness. I was honored to have a Judy Putnam, the city’s
communications director come to me. And she was aware of the fact that I was an author and a
longtime journalist in the area. And she had come to me with a passion of hers, which was
preserving the history of the city of Peachtree Corners. And as anybody who is familiar with
Gwinnett County, certainly who grew up in or around Gwinnett County knows, development here
skyrocketed. It just exploded. Really, I want to say in the late seventies, eighties, and has
continued as we all see. And that’s been a wonderful thing for this area. For the business
community and for residents. The downside to that, as we all know, those of us who love history
know. So much is lost to progress. And progress is certainly not a bad thing, but I think, and
Judy is certainly of the opinion that we must know where we came from in order for where we’re
going to matter to mean as much as it can. And so she was passionate about preserving the
rich history of the Peachtree Corners city and the surrounding, the area that surrounded it
before Peachtree Corners was actually formed as a city. So she came to me with this project
and I love research. All of my books involve a great deal of research. So I was thrilled and I of
course jumped at the opportunity. And here we are a few years later. It’s been an amazing
journey and process.Rico: [00:04:26] I’m sure. So many people are involved in a book like this right? I mean you
have dozens of people you have to interview not only the interview process, but then the writing
process, what goes into it? You know what, I mean I’m sure all the research you did could
probably fill several volumes of books. But you had to really fine tune where you were going with
this right? You had to pick the right families that you felt had a good enough story to be able to
carry a book like this a bit right?
Carole: [00:04:52] Right. Exactly. The city itself is, we just had this conversation, nine, ten years
old. And as we had laughed and said a book, a history book with nine or ten years of history is
going to be more of a brochure than it is a book. So we said really the history of any area
reaches far back into its roots. So we said, let’s just go back and take a look as far back as we
can find historical factual data about Western Gwinnett County. Which of course is where
Peachtree Corners sits. So we did. We are back in Creek and Cherokee and habitation and
early settlers. And as is so true when the research really hits that sweet spot. The history is
fascinating. The stories are fascinating.
Rico: [00:05:44] Not only that. I think it also feeds into the stories that would come later, right?
Kids during the fifties and sixties, seventies growing up in this area that would find arrowheads
in certain places and stuff. You know, I mean, yeah. And walk, and even like, for example, the
the old broken bridge that’s no longer there that crossed that Chattahoochee, you know, when
that was built. And then even later when it became Brust and Toking bridge, the kids were still
jumping off that bridge into the river.
Carole: [00:06:12] I mean, this will really I guess date myself, but as a teenager, you know my
friends and I would go and we always went up to Jones bridge. And you did. You know, you
shimmied up and jumped off. Our parents would not have been happy to know that, but that’s
just those kinds of a rite of passage if you grew up in this area.
Rico: [00:06:31] And we were talking a little bit before we started recording about and I know
from friends that, Gwinnett County a long time ago was a place that when you were a kid, I think
it was during maybe the fifties and sixties. And you thought you had to cross Gwinnett County
and you were like 18 years old, you had your driver’s license. Your parents would say, go
around the County don’t you dare go through that gap.
Carole: [00:06:52] Right? They did. That was a rule in our household and there were seven of
us children. So they weren’t kidding. I was the next to the youngest. So they had it down to a
science by then. But yes, we as kids, you know, growing up around here, you always wanted to
go to Lake Gwinear, for one reason or another. And if you live in DeKalb County, you must go
through Gwinnett County to get to Hall County. And we were required to drive around Gwinnett
because of, you know, it yeah. A lot of the history of the County is not a secret. There were
some wild and wooly things that took place here because Gwinnett was so, it was sparsely
populated. It was country. I think that’s being generous. It was sparsely populated. People
called it the wild, wild West. Let’s put it that way. I don’t know why they called it West because
it’s, there’s nothing West about it, but it’s just kind of the way things were done in GwinnettCounty for a long time. Just bizarre, unusual things happened here. I mean the County is
peppered with really interesting, fascinating events that took place.
Rico: [00:08:04] And isn’t it interesting how we’ve come up to a point where we are a smart city
now on the edge of doing things that other cities are not doing. So it’s grown. So let’s dig deep a
little bit into the history of this area before Peachtree Corners. Obviously Native Americans
inhabited this area as well as other European settlers. But what drew them here? I know the
Chattahoochee river was probably a big draw, but tell us a little bit about what you think and
what you found that drew settlers here, kept natives here.
Carole: [00:08:35] Certainly the river, my goodness. For native Americans this was, the
Chattahoochee river was the lifeblood of the area. So from North Georgia as the river flows
down really to the Southern most part of the state. And then West a little bit that’s, the banks of
the river are where the early, early Native Americans settled. And as the Europeans started
making their way into the new world and then pushing their way South, they brought with them
diseases that wiped out a great number of the Native Americans simply because they just had
not ever been exposed to them. So then we had tiny, tiny gatherings and tribes and groups of
people who migrated along the banks of the Chattahoochee came together South of Gwinnett
County. But I think it was, if my memory serves me correctly, 16 different groups of native
Americans came together. And they formed the Creek nation eventually. And it was largely
Creek that then settled here in the area that we now know is Gwinnett County. There were
Cherokee, but really the Chattahoochee served as a dividing line for the two nations. And so
sometimes there were skirmishes over, a little territoriality and who’s encroaching on whose
territory, but typically the Chattahoochee served as a dividing line between the two nations.
Rico: [00:10:12] And then American, I say American, they became American later, I guess.
European settlers came and they inhabited and became residents of this area. How, you know,
there were families, obviously the, you know, when we look at Holcomb bridge road, we look at
Nesbit ferry, we’d look at Medlock bridge road. These are just not names just pulled out of a hat
or even of recent history. They go back a long ways. What of what families, if you will, were the
earliest settlers to this area?
Carole: [00:10:45] I can tell you the absolute earliest family were the Medlocks. And I can say
that with certainty because Isha Medlock, who was the first recorded Medlock in the area was a
squatter on land that would, the federal government had set aside strictly for Native Americans.
And he just decided that he wanted to settle on some of those lands and he did. So Isha
Medlock was the first, certainly the first Peachtree Corners family. Although the Medlocks, as we
know, goodness, they’re in Atlanta, they’re let’s see up around in Forsyth County and in North of
that even. But in this area, Isha Medlock came 1777. Settled in Western Gwinnett in what is now
Peachtree Corners.
Rico: [00:11:35] Now, and we should let people know that that’s one of the two families that you
highlight in the book.Carole: [00:11:40] Yes, that’s true. So I picked the Medlocks for obvious reasons. They are so,
their name is so well known in the area for very good reasons. And they were the first family to
settle. The other family that I chose, if you want me to, am I jumping ahead to share that? Okay.
The other family is the Nesbit family. And I chose this family, of course there are many important
families that settled the area, but the Nesbit family the Perry Nesbit family struck me as another
group that really needed to be part of the story. Because the patriarch well, and the matriarch of
that family were born into slavery. They were born before, well before the civil war ended in fact,
the grand patriarch, they actually called the gentlemen Perry P. Nesbit. The family refers to him
as grand. He was also born into slavery and was emancipated at age nine. But he became a
prominent landowner in Pinckneyville, Peachtree Corners. And that was highly unusual. I mean,
I think we all know that. You know, from that time period in our history, it was very unusual for
someone who had been born into slavery to become a well-known, a prominent landowner. And
that was done strictly through work ethic and a love of education. And it was a story that had to
be told.
Rico: [00:13:13] And that’s amazing to me. I mean, African American in the South, South of the
Mason Dixon and with the things that went on down here for a long period of time. Now, you
know, obviously there may have been pockets where everything was fine, maybe. But overall
the South was not a friendly place, always to African-Americans and certainly to business
owners. Unless you had a pocket of, you know, a town that was African-American, let’s say. Or
a pocket area like that. So you know, I can appreciate the history that goes there because there
was probably a lot of struggles there as well to a degree, right? So again, can you tell us a little
bit more about what you found out about the Nesbit family?
Carole: [00:13:53] Well, I can tell you that it’s very gratifying for me to see in every single family
member with whom I spoke from that family, the deep pride and the continued love for
education. The knowledge of their own family history and the history of the area. That struck
me, you don’t, you really don’t see that that often anymore. In my experience, you don’t. We are
in the overall scheme of things, new. Georgia is new. Gwinnett County is new, in the overall
scheme of history. We’re very new. So to see a family with such a love and reverence and
respect for their ancestors. For their history, for the way a true work ethic, a dedication to family,
and a deep love of education. Which to me defines the way the American dream came about for
so many here. But that’s, it’s held dear by every single family member, whether they’re young
today, or you know I spoke with people in their nineties. They all share that same thing. So I
have a lot of respect for that. And I really enjoyed and felt privileged to share their stories and
experiences in this book.
Rico: [00:15:21] For those that may be joining this live simulcasts or maybe later, as it’s on
demand, we are speaking to Carole Townsend, author and journalist. And author of the new
book that will be coming out, when about? When is that? When is the book coming out?
Carole: [00:15:36] This spring, that’s, I’m comfortable saying this spring. We are, I hope nobody
kills me. We’re probably looking at April release. Those are our hopes. COVID has affected somany things. So we are in the final phase of production of the book, which is of course the
printing.
Rico: [00:15:56] So, okay. That’s good. We’re past the proofing part. So that’s always good. And
anyone that knows about proofread knows that proofread is an adventure all by itself.
Grammarly does not work.
Carole: [00:16:14] Not for everything.
Rico: [00:16:15] No. Nope, nope, nope. So the History of Innovative and Remarkable Cities, the
name of the book, will now be coming out this spring, we’ll say. But there’s other things within
the book. We talked about the Medlock family and the Nesbits, you know, obviously you learned
also a lot about the railroad, the agriculture, stagecoach, post office, the militias, the Honeycutt
inn. Can you me? Cause that was like one thing that sort of stuck out. Can you tell us a little bit
why that’s?
Carole: [00:16:40] So when Pinckneyville was first really a gathering of families. So we’re talking
late 17 hundreds. An interesting thing that I learned, I guess I knew this, but it was kind of
solidified for me in this research. So when the settlers trickled South and then they came to
Georgia. And there were many draws. Once they found out about the gold, that was in North
Georgia. That was a big draw. And the Chattahoochee was perfect climate for growing certain
crops, corn front and center. They love, the corn loves the humidity, the red clay soil. So here
are these people come in first trickled in, and then, you know, the populations in these little
centers grew. Well Pinckneyville was a gathering of families and individuals. The first to be built,
typically in these little towns was a saloon. The more things change, the more they stay the
same. But you know, revenue. It was a big revenue generator.
Rico: [00:17:47] The saloons were also hotels maybe?
Carole: [00:17:50] Well, there was a saloon that was adjacent to the Honeycutt inn, and in fact,
some accounts say it was inside the inn. Some say it was adjacent. More accounts that I’ve
read, say that it was actually adjacent to the Honeycutt inn. So you had your saloon then
typically the church. And then in Pinckneyville’s case came the Honeycutt inn, built by of course
the Honeycutt families. So it was hand hewn board, nails that were, nails and wooden pegs that
were hand fashioned. Mr. Honeycutt was a blacksmith by trade. And they tell me, so we know
where oh, the nursery is it Benson?
Rico: [00:18:33] Yes.
Carole: [00:18:34] Okay. Bentley? The nursery. I apologize. I can flip through my working copy
here, but you don’t want to wait for me to do that. Bentley’s nursery, I believe. So there’s a
storage place right next to the nursery. Is that ringing a bell? Public storage or something like
that? So they tell me that still, if you go back on the site where the public storage place is, and
you dig around a little bit, you’re going to find some of these hand fashioned nails and woodenbeams that made up a part of the Honeycutt inn. So the inn was a stagecoach stop. So that is
an indication that Pinckneyville was on the map already way before you know, some accounts
by date, by you know, noting the gathering of people here is second oldest. It wasn’t actually a
city, but it’s been around for a long time. So the Honeycutt inn was a stagecoach stop. One of
the interesting things and I’ll have to stop myself. I don’t want to give all the interesting stuff
away. But so it was built when, you know, this was still very raw and unsettled land as far as the
English European settlers knew. So and being right here at the river, the Cherokee and the
Creek would get into these skirmishes every now and then. You know, you’re on my side, you’re
on your side and some would try to take a little bit of land on one side of the Chattahoochee,
and then there would be retaliation. So in the porch in the front porch of the Honeycutt inn was
built a big trap door so that people could hide. You know, people staying in the inn or the guy
driving the stage coach or whoever needed to take refuge could hide under the inn. Open that
trap door and hide under the porch, just in case one of these skirmishes broke out you know.
And you’re in the line of fire. A long way to go about telling that story.
Rico: [00:20:37] Little details like that though right.
Carole: [00:20:39] Yeah. I’m going to find, I’m embarrassed. I’m going to find this family’s name.
Because I don’t want to, but you can go ahead and ask me another question. The nursery, it’s
the Bentleys.
Rico: [00:20:53] I think it’s the Bentleys. Yeah, that is.
Carole: [00:20:55] I am so sorry. It was one of those senior moments. Forgive me.
Rico: [00:20:59] I think you’re correct. It is the Bentleys. But let’s move on a little bit. We could
go to, we could talk about Neeley farm. Because Frank Neeley was an interesting personality
also, right? Cutting edge agricultural practices. And how he dealt with his farm workers. And of
course there’s the big house. And the clubhouse now at Neeley farm. So tell us a little bit about
that.
Carole: [00:21:20] Right. Well, Neeley himself, I mean my goodness, I’m sure books have been
written about him. He’s certainly memorialized down at Georgia tech. He and his wife, both.
Georgia tech graduated engineer. Goodness gracious his list of accomplishments. He was on
the board of Rich’s department store, the federal reserve. His list of accomplishments is a mile
long. And again, if I looked it up, I could be more specific. But the man was just a powerhouse.
He was, I had the pleasure of speaking with his granddaughter and she said he was just, he
was very intense, but he was so bright. It was almost as though he couldn’t contain it. He
constantly had to be involved in something that was bigger than life. And he certainly was. He
bought land out in what is now Peachtree Corners, is what we know as the subdivision Neeley
farm, to build a getaway. A weekend retreat for his family, because his work in the city of Atlanta
was very intense and very demanding. And so he built this farm, it was a dairy farm. He also
raised pigs on the farm, but they weren’t just any cows and any pigs. They were exceptional
Guernseys and Holstein cows. He worked with the university of Georgia on actually trying tocross breed the two. Because one, and I’m probably going to get this backwards. One of the
cows was known for the high fat content of the milk and the other was known for just the overall
nutritional value of the milk, I believe. But anyway, he was trying to crossbreed those two to see
if he could come up with this super product of the milk. And the pigs, even the pigs were not
normal. They were called Tamworths and they could forage on their own. They could go out
into, because there was a lot of the property was wooded. They could just go on their own, out
into the woods and forage and feed themselves basically. But there was an unusual looking
reddish hair on the pigs. And anyway, so he did just over the top. But he worked with UGA
because he had seen so many farms, especially in Georgia with rutted you know, the Georgia
clay and the rain runoff and the ruts that you see in the dirt. And he didn’t want that. So they had
said you need to do two things. You terrace your fields, which he did, and you get cows to
fertilize the earth, which he also did. So it was a working dairy farm. But it was also. I’m sorry?
Rico: [00:24:04] Up until when actually? Was that up until like, the sixties, I guess, as a working
farm?
Carole: [00:24:10] I don’t know that it was as recent as the sixties, I want to say probably fifties,
yeah. And I would have to verify the dates, but probably the fifties. But as was true of so many
of the farms they not only produced what, some say a dairy farm, it wasn’t just milk and it wasn’t
just the pigs. It was, there were gardens that are vegetable gardens and the families, there were
seven families that lived on the farm and worked the farm. Interestingly enough, some of the
Nesbit descendants that are featured in the book worked Neeley’s farm, Frank Neeley’s farm.
And they knew a great deal about what their jobs were. But they would have huge gardens. So
canning, preserving, and eventually freezing became part of their collective knowledge. And, but
that was true of pretty much every farm, you know, that you would find during that time period. It
was, they were self-sufficient.
Rico: [00:25:10] So even Frank Neeley wanted to get away from all the city stress. He decided
that farms stress was okay I guess.
Carole: [00:25:17] He came down here and started some country stress. And in fact, his wife
would fuss at him about that, according to Neeley’s granddaughter Ms. Eve Hoffman. Who so
graciously spent a good deal of time with me. She and her brother Nathan spent a lot of time
with me recollecting their years growing up. Because there Mr. Neeley built their mother, his
daughter, a house, which is known, I think still commonly as the Dean house. That was where
they grew up with their mother. And so their stories were just…
Rico: [00:25:52] Now they’re still living? Are they still living in Neeley farm?
Carole: [00:25:55] Ms. Hoffman is. She does. She doesn’t live in the subdivision. She lives on a
piece of the proper, part of the property that did belong to her grandfather.
Rico: [00:26:07] Right. So lots of history here. We even had a militia post at one point, right?Carole: [00:26:12] Militia post 406. Pinckneyville yes. So all of these things, plus the fact that
there was a post office in Pinckneyville really spoke to the importance of the settlement of
Pinckneyville. Which of course evolved into Peachtree Corners.
Rico: [00:26:29] And interestingly enough. I mean, through Gwinnett County, from the little I
know about the history, a lot of the train stations you know, like across Duluth, Sugarhill maybe,
even at Buford. That the trains would run through those towns and there were train stops, right?
And now, you know, those downtown areas during the, I guess the eighties and nineties, you
know, tried to come back also. Because at one point there were train stops, even in Norcross. I
mean, train runs through it, the train stop itself, the Depot is now a restaurant or it was a
restaurant. But so seeing that Pinckneyville stagecoach stop and all these other things near
where the trains were running through, but they were still a place of traffic, if you will. It’s an
interesting thing that this is where we’re coming out of, right?
Carole: [00:27:20] Right. And in truth, when the railroad came through and it was, it went
through Norcross. People who were business owners in the Pinckneyville area, Western
Gwinnett County, of course all went toward or to Norcross because that was the fastest
transportation. That was the latest and greatest you could get to Atlanta in no time and get back.
So the Western Gwinnett County area was certainly agricultural at first of course. Then
businesses started to open and thrive. And then the railroad came through and then it went
back largely agricultural for a long time. And I will say that was certainly the fifties and sixties. It
was still very rural.
Rico: [00:28:11] And then we come up to, you know. I know because of the magazine, because
of the podcasts I’ve done over the last three years, we’ve talked a lot about Technology Park,
Paul Duke. All that development that came after, technology, a lot of the major companies that
have been here that still continue to grow here. They’re all high-tech companies. But before the
technology and maybe after the farming, what did we see? Was there anything, you know,
between that? Between the farming part and the high tech part of the seventies later, I guess.
Carole: [00:28:44] I want to say once, you know, Western Gwinnett County stayed very rural.
There wasn’t even much infrastructure here in the early sixties. Or I say here, in Peachtree
Corners, in Western Gwinnett County. Even, you know, as recent as the early sixties. Which is
shocking, you know, if you see Gwinnett County today, you can’t imagine a square inch that’s
not fully developed. I think when Paul Duke, this young bright engineer that came out of
Georgia tech saw that when Georgia tech engineers graduated, their bags were already packed
to go elsewhere. They were leaving Georgia, we all knew that for a fact. There was nothing for
them to do here or very little. And he wanted to change that. He and his wife lived in Atlanta. But
he had, he worked for LB Foster for a while in his early career. And part of his job with them was
to acquire properties on which to build their facilities and as a result of those responsibilities, he
ended up in Western Gwinnett County. And he immediately dubbed it God’s country. He thought
it was the most beautiful place he had ever seen. And that’s when he got the idea to build this
cutting edge technology campus, or business campus, with a focus on technology to attract
those engineers. He wanted to build this beautiful campus. He wanted to build, surround it withneighborhoods that would appeal to engineers and jobs of that caliber, I guess. You know, for
lack of a better word. He wanted to build a community that would attract and keep engineers. So
he began amassing the land to do that. And as we all know, I mean, gosh, I’ve lived here
forever. I remember when technology park was developed. And you know when businesses
started moving in we thought, and I remember my parents saying who on earth is going to
locate a business way out there in the sticks. Who’s going to make that drive. And of course,
you know, we see the answer to that. It was hugely successful.
Rico: [00:30:59] It certainly, and it’s evolved, right? And it’s interesting how Georgia tech grads,
if you will, from Georgia tech, UGA, have all helped the development of this whole area. How
technology back then Hayes Modem, companies that people are not familiar with today. Unless
they’re old enough to remember dialing into AOL you know. Or even laser printers. I mean, they
were developed here as well, right? So those are just some of the technology and now we’re
moving into the smart city, right? The cutting edge, innovative city of tomorrow, hopefully one
day. Because things do change, right? We’re an urban area. We’re not that far. Maybe we were
not too long ago. And I think part of, I think when the Olympics came in 96, that even
accelerated part of what was developing here, right? Cause it drove a lot of technology, a lot of
business growth. I remember coming here in 95. If you were a sales person back then you didn’t
need to know how to sell. You needed to get through the door to be able to sell. Anyone could
sell. It was amazing. You know, of course there was the shakeout later, you know, and stuff in
2008 later and things. But you know, we continued to grow, right? So this history is still unfolding
in front of us. Do you have any takeaways? Any favorite parts of the book that you want to share
with us?
Carole: [00:32:26] I will say that talking with members of both of the families that are spotlighted
in the book was, that was an experience. It’s a once in a lifetime thing to hear history being
really narrated for you. I mean, the people with whom I spoke, I spoke with a 101 year old
gentlemen, a member of the Nesbitt family who worked on Frank Neeley’s farm. Sharp as a
tack, wonderful memory. Told me some stories that just, I don’t know, just listening to him tell the
stories puts you there. You know a hundred years ago and you can smell the dirt and you can,
you could see the pride he took in his work. That to me is really where, you know, your
research is, you’re not talking at people anymore. You are there in it. And it’s my sincere hope
that readers feel the same way when they read some of those accounts that we share in the
book. It’s just you know, waiting even five years. And this is, I really am getting around to
answering your question. My takeaway from this book is the fact that Peachtree Corners is
undisputedly the crown jewel of Gwinnett County. I mean, with what’s going on there now, the
vision. And everything it took to take technology park, which was state-of-the-art in the late
sixties and seventies, and really it had become kind of a dinosaur. You know, when Peachtree
Corners became a city, city leaders were presented with that really more as a problem than a
solution for the city. The American dream today is not what it was in the late sixties and
seventies. Millennials, you know, the workforce now, they don’t want the big house and the two
cars in the driveway and the 2.2 kids, and they don’t want that. They want smaller, more efficient
housing. They want walkability, they want and the careers are different. I mean, Paul Duke, I’m
not sure as visionary as he was. I’m not sure even he could have understood where technologywas going to go by this time. So technology park has been re-imagined. And, you know, we’ve
got the Curiosity Lab, which is just, it’s an example for the world, not just for the nation, but for
the world. So you’ve got this city that puts so much stock in progress and technology and being
cutting edge paying homage to its history. Because the people in the city who made the decision
to move forward with this book knew that if we didn’t get all this on paper, so to speak, it would
be gone. And the stories that the people shared with me for this book would be nothing but
myths and urban legends and lost. Just lost with the last breath of some of these family
members. So I have such respect. This was not an easy project. But it’s something that is so
worthwhile and now we’ve got it documented. And you know, maybe in another fifty to a
hundred years, somebody will be brave enough to come along and add to it. And I’m sure that
Peachtree Corners will have amazing things to add to it. So I just, innovative and remarkable
certainly describes the city, but for them to reach back into their past and give it this much effort
I think is truly remarkable.
Rico: [00:35:59] I agree and things are still unfolding. COVID-19 has really continued to change
the way the city has to adapt even further, right? Because of people staying home, because of a
year of pandemic. How does traffic change, dwellings, how people live and stuff. So ever
evolving, history needs to be put down on paper though, or on a recorded device or on digital
device, right? To be able to keep that history archived. So I’m glad that the city did this, that you
were able to do this. I know it’s a two year struggle of getting this and being able to put
everything down in a book. It’s not easy. So I respect your abilities to be able to get it done.
Carole: [00:36:47] Thank you. It was certainly a team effort.
Rico: [00:36:49] I’m sure.
Carole: [00:36:50] And I will say too, we see so many city history books popping up here and
there. This book is truly organic. We didn’t run down to the state archives and, you know, pull all
the pictures we could from Western Gwinnett County and put captions and call it a book. We
went to the families and these are family photos. Some are 10 types that we’ve got in this book.
When I dunno, are we out of time? I have a cute story to share. So there’s a lady named Jane
Garner who was a member of the Medlock family. And she, my goodness, she was 94 when she
and I first started talking for the purposes of writing this book. And she shared with me hundreds
of family photos as the Nesbit’s did. But she had pulled out a few 10 types. And there were two,
I think that we were actually able to use in the book and some were really good photos. But she
and her siblings had some of the 10 types were photos of infant babies. She and her siblings
had drawn glasses and mustaches on the babies. Just like all kids do with some family photos
and you get in trouble for it. But I thought, you know, the more things change again, the more
they stay the same. I just, I thought it was so funny that they had done that.
Rico: [00:38:09] Yeah, kids are kids. No matter what. I’m sure if they had the Sharpies back then
really done a job. So, listen this has been a great conversation though. I can’t wait to see the
book. I’m going to be getting my copy. Hopefully it’s sometime this spring when it comes out. I
know it’s at the printers. So we’ve been together here with Carole Townsend, author, journalistthe person that tackled along with a team of people, but she’s the point person on this, the book,
the History of an Innovative and Remarkable City. The history going from 1777 to 2020. The two
year struggle of putting that history on paper and I’m sure you have even recordings of
interviews I bet. Which would be interesting to hear even. But yeah, so it’s been a good
interview. I appreciate you spending the time with me doing this and thank you. And everyone
else, that’s listening to this, go to the city website. But you’ll know that the book will be out
because we’re going to let you know. Plus Peachtree Corners Magazine with the April-May
edition I believe, we’re going to have an excerpt from the book. So look for that. And we’ll have
more information about when that book’s available and pre-sales. If you want to be able to
purchase a copy of it as well. So, but thank you, Carole. I appreciate you being with us.
Carole: [00:39:36] Thank you, this was fun. Thank you. I’m so excited to be able to talk about it.
Rico: [00:39:42] Yeah. So am I, I mean, this was great. Love it. Thank you, Carole Goodnight

Continue Reading

Arts & Literature

WAM! The Wesleyan Artist Market Goes Virtual in 2021- Carla Gignilliat Spotlight

Published

on

Artist Carla Gignilliat paints lovely landscapes with a golden touch. (Photos courtesy of Carla Gignilliat)

Giving precedence to health and safety, the Wesleyan Artist Market is adhering to COVID-19 protocols.

But instead of having to cancel like last year when the pandemic took the world by surprise, this year they’ve had the marvelous idea of using technology to allow a contactless experience.

In the season’s spirit of renewal and rebirth, I present to you the Wesleyan Artist Market, reimagined.

We won’t be deprived of the fine arts, wares and jewelry we’ve all come to look forward to each spring, and 82 professional artists will be able to share their works while bolstering Wesleyan’s admirable art program. Win! Win! Win!

Mark your calendars for April 22 – 29. The show is being hosted by Shopify and will go live to the public at 4pm on the 22nd. Go to wesleyan-artist-market-2021.myshopify.com and enjoy the show!

Carla Gignilliat

A successful career change

After a 12-year stint as a speech-language pathologist, Iowa transplant Carla Gignilliat became a stay-at-home-mom for five years after her son was born. She and her husband also welcomed their daughter during that time.

Peaceful Retreat by Carla Gignilliat, 48”x 36”.

Having fostered a love of art since childhood and continuing to dabble in art classes and festivals all her life, she decided to take a giant leap four years ago. When the guest bedroom art studio didn’t work out, Gignilliat began to rent a space at Urban Art Collective in Chamblee.

Rent a studio and the artistry will come

“My husband thought this would be a hobby. If I was going to have a space however, I wanted to sell my artwork so I could be self-sufficient,” Gignilliat said. At the same time, she secretly wondered, ‘What right do I have spending money to rent an art studio? I’ve never consistently produced art!’

Gignilliat started posting on Instagram and Facebook. Art walks hosted by the studio led to her connection with ACP Home Interiors in Highlands, North Carolina, a quality home furnishing and accessories store that carries her paintings.

“Every year I’ve grown. Here I am four years later. I’ve moved into a bigger studio. I officially have my own business, Carla Gignilliat LLC. It’s a dream come true,” Gignilliat beamed.

WAM

Gignilliat has participated in the Wesleyan Artist Market previously. “I thought it was a wonderfully well-run market from the moment I walked in the door, to loading my artwork at the end,” she shared.

“They cater to the artists. A room is set up with food and coffee all day. There were people who could watch your artwork if you needed a break. I was very impressed.”

Commissions

If a piece is commissioned during WAM, the school will receive a portion of the sale towards their fundraiser.

Sometimes a particular location, size or color scheme is requested. According to Gignilliat, recreating her own paintings is the most difficult thing. “There are magical moments that happen when you paint, happy accidents. They can’t be reproduced,” Gignilliat elaborated.

A recent commission was of someone’s house in Indiana, reflected on a lake. “I love when people provide photos. It gives me direction on their vision,” she said. “I always ask for their input because they might see something I don’t.”

Why acrylics?

Gignilliat paints with acrylic, charcoal and gold leaf. She showed me some of her gold dusted ferns underway.

“As a mom with a limited amount of time at the studio, I love the fact that I can paint fast and it dries quickly,” she said. “I also love that you can mix it with water to make it drip or mix it with other mediums like pencil and charcoal. I like the versatility, speed and the look of it. That’s exciting to me.”

Inspiration

As a novice, Gignilliat drew inspiration from photographs. Highlands, North Carolina is her favorite location. She’d sketch out paintings while looking at her cell phone pictures. “We have a vacation home in Scaly Mountain, just outside of Highlands,” she said. “That’s where I find a lot of peace and beauty.”

Her recent works have not involved any photos, however. She painted a golden canoe one day and the next thing she knew, four of them sold.

“Now that I’ve gotten in the groove and have some techniques under my belt, it’s easier to make up scenes in my head or look briefly at a picture and decide how I’m going to put it on canvas,” Gignilliat explained.

Size up

A 5’ x 6’ commission completed recently has been Gignilliat’s largest yet. Transporting the canvas required a U-Haul. Her favorite size to paint is 36” x 48”. She said she finds the larger canvases force her to be a little looser and covering more space allows for a little more je ne sais quoi to happen.

She also confided that it can be intimidating to paint small pieces. Something about taking out the tiny brushes causes her to feel confined in a little space. Yet Gignilliat “forces herself” to create smaller pieces, providing a variety of price ranges for her customers.

“I work on a handful of smalls at once. I might tape up six pieces of paper or put up four canvases at the same time,” Gignilliat said. “Working in between them helps me stay more spontaneous.”

Painting style

Gignilliat said that when she first started, she was all over the place painting figures, landscapes, abstracts. “I was concerned about what I was going to be known for,” she explained. “I had to specialize in something, and it evolved into painting landscapes. I love being outside. When I was younger, I used to go horseback riding. I’ve always been intrigued by nature.”

She said she’s a prolific painter, and she likes to use gold leaf or gold dust to make certain aspects of the paintings pop. Describing her style, Gignilliat said, “There’s always a subject matter. I would say it’s an impressionist style that teeters on the edge of realistic and a little bit of abstraction. I try to be a little loose and add abstract elements to my work.”

An artist’s advice

Gignilliat suggested that everyone should follow their passions even if it’s only a part-time thing. “Take a chance. You never know,” she advised. “When you’re doing something you really love, it doesn’t feel like work. The business can come to you because you put it out there. You have to share it with the world if you want it to grow.”

Purchase art by Carla Gignilliat

Anyone interested in viewing Gignilliat’s work is invited to contact her and arrange to meet in her studio. Visit her website, carlagignilliatart.com or Instagram, @carlagignilliatart. Her work is also for sale at ACP Home Interiors, acphomeinteriors.com.

Continue Reading

Arts & Literature

WAM! The Wesleyan Artist Market Goes Virtual in 2021- Julian Tablada Spotlight

Published

on

Artist Julian Tablada loves to capture memories on his travels. Photo courtesy of Julian Tablada.

Giving precedence to health and safety, the Wesleyan Artist Market is adhering to COVID-19 protocols.

But instead of having to cancel like last year when the pandemic took the world by surprise, this year they’ve had the marvelous idea of using technology to allow a contactless experience.

In the season’s spirit of renewal and rebirth, I present to you the Wesleyan Artist Market, reimagined.

We won’t be deprived of the fine arts, wares and jewelry we’ve all come to look forward to each spring, and 82 professional artists will be able to share their works while bolstering Wesleyan’s admirable art program. Win! Win! Win!

Mark your calendars for April 22 – 29. The show is being hosted by Shopify and will go live to the public at 4pm on the 22nd. Go to wesleyan-artist-market-2021.myshopify.com and enjoy the show!

Julian Tablada

Wanderlust

Does your journal look like anything like this? Neither does mine!

Sketches of Chora, Ios, pen and ink with watercolor from Julian Tablada’s sailing journal.

Whose does, you ask? These are pages from retired architect Julian Tablada’s travel journal. “I’ve always had the habit of carrying a journal to sketch as I experience new places. That’s how I understand the journey, nature and the built environment,” Tablada said.

Whether for work or pleasure, Tablada travels with his journal and his watercolor box on a quest to capture new surroundings.

Up for the watercolor challenge

Tablada selected his mediums of choice — pen, ink and watercolor paint — because he likes how they are easily transportable, and they allow him to capture his environs quickly during his voyages. In stark contrast to the precision and control required in designing architecture, he likes the fact that using watercolor requires a certain abandon to the will of the paint.

Jekyll Sands, watercolor by Julian Tablada.

“Watercolor paint can be quite difficult. It’s a challenge. It has a very dynamic quality; in some ways it wants to do its own thing,” Tablada said. “It allows for spontaneity which is harder to get with other mediums.”

A sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind –Webb Chiles

A passion for seafaring has Tablada teaching sailing lessons at the lake and naturally being drawn to coastal locations around the world: The Virgin Islands, the Caribbean, Italy, Greece. One of his favorite places to paint is the low country.

Liberty, pen, ink and watercolor by Julian Tablada.

“Years ago, I fell in love with coastal South Carolina and Georgia marsh scenes,” the artist revealed.

Behind him during our Zoom interview, I could see some of his current work underway — paintings of the Gulf Coast. Tablada captures the simplistic landscape beautifully.

“A coastal, maritime topic is what I’m focusing on now,” Tablada said. “When we’re at a beach or a harbor, the kids and my wife know to watch me. I may be walking and sketching at the same time. I get a lot of things down very quickly using whatever is available. It might be a sketch of sea water or wine from lunch,” Tablada recounted.

Some of his paintings are a combination of memories, so they’re not specific. But most of them are of a particular scene or place.

A symbiotic back and forth

While a background in architecture allows Tablada to instinctively understand proportions and space, there is unquestionably a shift from left brain to right brain activity as he transitions from architect to artist. Tablada describes it as a symbiotic back and forth.

“I’m not classically trained at all. I’ve always drawn, my mother painted. I have sketched, painted and played with art as a hobby. Going into architecture, it was a talent that helped me. I’ve always kept that artistic side to myself as something that I do for my own enjoyment. Now I can focus my time on being a full-time artist,” Tablada beamed.

Tools of the trade

French 140-pound watercolor paper is Tablada’s preference. He likes the cold press as it provides a little texture and pebbling. “When you look at a watercolor, you might see pools of dark paint or skimps where there isn’t paint, a technique to bring out highlights. The textured paper allows that to happen,” Tablada explained.

As for paints, Tablada enjoys Winsor & Newton. “They go back centuries; they’re professional grade watercolors, liquid in a tube. I like the brilliance of the color and the ease of using them. They come in small tubes that are easy to travel with,” he noted.

Growing pains

Having worked for years in a small 7” x 9” notebook, creating larger paintings is proving to be task. “It’s really easy to paint in the notebook,” Tablada said. “I’ve been working this past year to go larger. I’ve experimented going double the size. When you scale up to 24” x 30”, your technique has to change to get the same effect,” Tablada shared.

Going bigger is proving to be a task. Small pieces can be completed in as little as 3 to 10 minutes. Capturing that same fluidity and rapidity in his larger work can be evasive.

Purchase Julian Tablada watercolors

“I’m thrilled and it is an honor when someone shares the love of the subject matter and likes my work enough that they want to purchase it and bring into their office or their home,” Tablada revealed.

You may find his works on display in Alpharetta, at Wild Hope Gallery on Holcomb Bridge Road. Be sure to look him up during the Wesleyan Artist Market.

Also find him at julianwatercolors.com and on Instagram, @JulianWatercolors.

Continue Reading

Arts & Literature

How the Wesleyan Artist Market Converted to a Virtual Market for 2021

Published

on

The Wesleyan Artist’s Market has been a celebration of local and national art and community creativity. With all of the changes of this past year, the volunteers and leaders of this event are innovating with how to continue to put on a great show in a virtual way. Join Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini on this very exciting episode of the Capitalist Sage as they sit down with the many wonderful organizers of this event.

Resources:
Website: https://artistmarket.wesleyanschool.org

Timestamp / Where to find it in the podcast:

[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:23] – About Kirsten, Nadine, Gina, and Megan
[00:06:13] – Transforming the Market to Virtual
[00:08:42] – The Live Market Experience
[00:10:46] – Choosing an Online Platform
[00:15:52] – Benefits of Online Art
[00:21:47] – Sharing Art Online
[00:25:40] – Artists Being Seen
[00:30:09] – Shipping Logistics
[00:32:29] – Importance of Getting Involved
[00:38:28] – Closing

“We always talked about how do we increase our foot traffic? For years, we kept trying to figure out, what are the logistics to figure out where people are coming from and how can we expand?And so now, one of the benefits hopefully is that we will supersede Georgia from patrons, ideally. Similar to how our artists come from all over the country.”

Podcast Transcript:

Karl: [00:00:30] Today we’re going to, on the Capitalist Sage podcast, we’re going to talk about
how a local artist’s market is going virtual in Peachtree Corners. Today’s guests we’re going to
have Kirsten Scott, volunteer coordinator at the Wesleyan Artist’s Market. Nadine Aram,
principal designer of NAK design and volunteer coordinator of the Wesleyan artist market. Gina
Solomon, volunteer coordinator with the Wesleyan artist’s market. And Megan Brooker artist
and art educator, and the assistant director of fine arts at Wesleyan school and faculty advisor to
the Wesleyan artist’s market. Welcome to the Capitalist Sage podcast. We’re here to bring you
advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business and your
community in general. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld business advisors, and my co-host is
Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets, digital marketing, and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners
magazine. Rico, how are you doing today?
Rico: [00:01:28] It’s beautiful outside, I’m doing fine, thank you.
Karl: [00:01:31] It sure is. Spring is here for sure. Why don’t you introduce our sponsor before
we get started?
Rico: [00:01:38] Sure. We’re fortunate to have Hargray Fiber as a sponsor of these podcasts,
both Capitalist Sage, and the other podcasts that we do. Peachtree Corners Life and such. They
are a company here based in the Southeast, actually based in Georgia, that handles IT and
internet connectivity for companies throughout the Southeast. Small and large enterprise sized
businesses. Go check them out. They have products and information that you can use as a
small business or enterprise sized business that can make your internet connection faster and
better and provide the tools that you need to make your business work. So check them out at
Hargray.com/business and that’s our sponsor. Thank you, Hargray.
Karl: [00:02:23] We’re so glad to have Hargray as our sponsor, and a great business in the
community, helping us through all our technology needs for business and for residential in the
Peachtree Corners and greater Atlanta area. Today’s guests are going to help us understand
how the Wesleyan artist’s market has pivoted and made a shift over the past year to be able to
bring us a virtual experience of the auction. The dates of the Wesleyan artist’s market this year
is going to be April 22nd through the 29th. And please go online and check out their webpage,
all their social media to help spread the word about attending it in this new and exciting way. Our
guests today, Kirsten Scott, Nadine Aram, Gina Solomon, and Megan Brooker is going to talk to
us a little bit about their experience in pulling this together and how they helped the feature of
the artists and improve the experience in some way for people that are going to attend. Why
don’t I let them introduce themselves a little bit, starting with Kirsten, would you give a
introduction?
Kirsten: [00:03:30] Hey I’m Kirsten Scott. I am a resident here of Peachtree Corners and my two
children attend Wesleyan. I am a retired real estate attorney and turned homemaker with a side
gig flipping houses. And my real heart is for service which is a family character trait that was
passed along. And I’ve truly enjoyed being a part of the Wesleyan arts Alliance and the artists
market and many other service opportunities that are presented throughout the community, so.Karl: [00:04:05] Nadine?
Nadine: [00:04:07] Yes, I’m Nadine Aram. Also a resident of Peachtree Corners. We are very
lucky to have our two older children attend Wesleyan and in the past few years, we’ve been very
active with the artists market and the arts Alliance. By trade I’m an architect and designer. After
a couple of years in the corporate world, I started my own design firm doing more residential
work. So it’s been wonderful being able to work within the community. Harking a little bit how the
market functions too, a very open community event. So it’s been a wonderful experience and we
look forward to being able to talk about it today.
Karl: [00:04:42] Thank you. How about you, Gina?
Gina: [00:04:45] Hey, I am Gina Solomon, and I am a former resident of Peachtree Corners after
many years. And currently live in Berkeley Lake. I have a commercial banking and corporate
finance and treasury background. But like Kirsten and these other ladies are drawn to the
service side and have been a full-time volunteer for a couple of organizations over the years.
But I’ve spent a lot of time at Perimeter school and then Wesleyan school, the Wesleyan arts
Alliance. And then several other organizations as again, as a full-time volunteer. And this is my
ninth year associated with the Wesleyan artists market. It’s been an exciting and obviously very
interesting year.
Karl: [00:05:33] Fabulous. And Megan, why don’t you introduce yourself.
Megan: [00:05:37] Sure. I’m Megan Brooker. I teach high school art here at Wesleyan, and this
is my 14th year here, which is crazy. And I’m the assistant director of fine arts. So the lead for
visual arts, K-12 at this school. I’ve been involved with the artist’s market since my first year
here, which is, it’s been really awesome to see how much it has grown with leadership like these
ladies that are here with us, from the Arts Alliance. To see how much they pour into the school
and pour into the market is inspiring. So we’re very thankful for the Arts Alliance and the artists
market and all that it has to offer us.
Karl: [00:06:13] Well, after the past year, I know folks are so excited to get back to normal and
do things that, that we’ve done for many years. Gina, why don’t I start with you and just talk a
little bit about, some of the things that you’ve been able to do to help transform the live
experience of the artist’s market to virtual?
Gina: [00:06:34] Okay. Planning for the Wesleyan artist’s market is really almost an all year
around process. So when we finished the show at the end of April, we go into wrap up mode in
May, and then we start pre-planning over the summer. So it was this past summer where we
had to make the decision and work with the school on our plans for the 2020 show. And it
became fairly apparent that there were so many uncertainties associated with COVID that we
had a tough decision to make. Which was either go ahead and plan for a live show at the risk
that it might be canceled again, not have a show, or pivot to virtual. And because we feel likethis is the artist’s market is such an important tradition, not only for our school and our
immediate community, but our extended community and also for the artists. We made the
decision that we in fact would go virtual. It was unchartered territory for us, and there were
certainly, there has not been a roadmap. It was a big decision, but we felt like we had to put one
step in front of the other and go ahead and start making plans. So we announced that we were
going virtual in September and we were very fortunate early on to secure the support of many of
our longstanding partners and kind sponsors, such as the Peachtree Corners Magazine, the city
of Peachtree corners, Atlanta homes and lifestyle magazine, Imagine advertising and
publishing, Stirrup Media. These key partners, as well as Wesleyan school to help us deliver the
market going forward. So the first key thing for us was, the most important thing was to make
sure the artists were on board. And then secondly, to build a platform, an e-commerce platform
or secure any contract with an e-commerce platform to set this up virtually.
Karl: [00:08:42] If I could ask a question for those that may be new to Peachtree Corners, can
you quickly describe what the experience was like when it was live? And then we could talk a
little bit of what it’s going to be like when it’s virtual?
Gina: [00:08:54] Sure. The live event is an absolute highlight of our calendar year. It’s the
largest community building event at the school. The campus is open. Everybody is invited to
attend. Admission is free. We set up the show, the live show in Powell excuse me, in Powell and
Nancy gymnasium, which is a two floor expansive gym. And we have typically about a hundred
artists, professional and student artists combined on two floors over a three-day period. The
setup takes about internally, about a week for us to get it physically set up. The artists come in
wednesday before the show and then they pack up and leave Saturday night after the show. It’s
like having an enormous party for about four straight days. There’s a ton of energy. Nothing can
replace our live show. But ironically, over the years we have contemplated perhaps having a
virtual component to our live show. So while we did not choose this fate that ultimately we
ended up going fully virtual, this has given us the opportunity to pursue it and hopefully build
something that future generations of marketers at Wesleyan can use in a live show. When the
participating artists do set up booths at our live show, so you’ll see the individual booth set up
with all of their artwork displayed and the artists are actually present at the show which is
unique. Not all shows have the artists for the entire time, but we do feature all the artists.
Karl: [00:10:46] Oh fabulous. If I could ask Kirsten, when building out the experience in a virtual
world, can you talk about some of the things you had to consider and choices and platforms to
be able to do that?
Kirsten: [00:11:01] We did, we had to at the live market, we had entertainment and speakers
and we had to figure out how to bring some of that warmth to a virtual platform. And we did a lot
of research and we were guided with some other events that have happened that had a lot of
content. And they really advised us that we needed to be specific about our content and not
overdo it so as to distract the shoppers from the art. Which is really where we want everybody to
be engrossed is feeling like they get the opportunity to see the art that they typically would see
live and in person. And so we created some platforms and our presenting sponsor AH and Lmagazine provided us with a great opening night video where we’re going to cover the art of
collecting and excuse me. And that is a great conversation between art collectors and designers
and artists, where they can express a really great insight on how to go about collecting art
yourself personally. And that’s our opening night. We’ll also of course always have opening
remarks from Chris Cleveland head of school. And he’s always very excited and supportive of
our market. And I think he gets very excited about being able to kick it off and start it. We will
have that as well. A couple of other platform things that we’ll have will be a featured reel with
highlighting our Wesleyan fine arts program. In the past, we’ve had different variants of the
students be able to come in and the chorus be able to sing or the play members be able to
perform a small part of the upcoming play for the spring. And so this year will just be a highlight
reel focusing on those students and all their accomplishments they’ve been able to do this year.
And it’s a very unique environment. The teachers have been amazing, from a parent
perspective on really encouraging these kids to keep their artistic motivation going. And that’s,
we want to highlight that as well. And then we’ll have another little tidbit from one of our other
sponsors called Choo Choo Charcuterie. And she is, they’re going to perform or host a how to
put a charcuterie board together and some of the insight and the neat things that we’re all
seeing nowadays and supporting their local business. And finally, we’ll have a date night. Our
great sponsor Grace 17-20 is helping us create a unique menu for our Monet and Merlot date
night. And we’re hoping that guests will go and pick up a little something to eat and a little glass
of wine when they get home and enjoy shopping online with their spouse or their children. We
have the student artists as well, so we really want to encourage everybody to be thorough on
the site and take their time. We have a whole week to shop. It’s really great, yeah.
Rico: [00:14:01] Sounds exciting. So let me ask you, let me ask you this. When you, and I know
part of the process you ladies were going through at the very beginning, trying to find the right
platform and stuff. What was, what were like some of the key ingredients or features that you
liked about deciding where you are right now on the platform you’re using? And what are those
key features that someone else might be able to look at? It’s like, alright, that’s cool. I want to be
able to do the same thing. Even if it’s not an artist market could be something else. So if you
could share that with us.
Gina: [00:14:38] Okay. And y’all please jump in as well. There are some great, there are some
great e-commerce platforms out there. We ultimately did choose Shopify. And simply we did
want a very established name that there would have, there would be great recognition, not only
from the artist’s standpoint, but also from our buyers. And we liked the ability to customize the
program a little bit. It’s not as simple as simply setting up a store on your e-commerce platform.
Effectively we are the mall owner and we have the individuals store set up within our mall. So
it’s an extra layer and that has meant bringing in some different apps and working with a lot of
different people from different parts of the world to put this together, different time zones. And so
it’s definitely again, been an extremely interesting process. We did like the breadth and depth
and scale of Shopify and their ability to work with us to customize some things.
Karl: [00:15:52] What are the things that Shopify, for folks that don’t know it’s an online
e-commerce platform that a lot of people it’s one of the most known and well used. But whatcomes with that is trust. People know what that is and are comfortable and have used it, so
they’re familiar with it. But it changes the approach when you think about art and buying art. And
Nadine, I’d love to explore with you a little bit about how does someone like me who’s used to
going and looking at things, art to buy. How do I approach that virtually? How would you advise
shoppers and people participating in the Wesleyan event approach shopping for art this way?
Nadine: [00:16:36] Yeah, of course. Look, there’s no doubt that 2020 put a different spin on
things in life for everybody. Virtually everyone knows, everyone’s gone online to some capacity.
You even see big museums, like natural history museum, doing these virtual tours. Conventions
going to virtual booths. We’re coming in on that front as well and trying to the biggest impact
here. One of the biggest hallmark features of the Wesleyan artist’s market is the fact that it’s
always been a market for everybody. We’ve had all price points, all sizes of work, all types of
techniques, all types of skills. So that’s been a big factor for us to make sure that we drive
home. And I think when you approach trying to purchase artwork online you have to come to a
little bit, come to terms of you have to approach it a little bit more clearly. Because like Gina
said, nothing will replace an in-person experience. So you, so instead of being able to touch and
feel things you have to think through a little bit more logically. So typically, we always tell people
that when you come to the market, something will speak to you. You’ll find something that pulls
you in and just having an original piece of artwork at your home is really a special thing. And in
that vein, we always have a wide breadth of patrons, right? So we have people that come with
their own designers trying to fill in spaces for their homes or their offices, all the way to people
coming in to do personal shopping for themselves or little gifts for mother’s day, which is
typically about a month after the artist’s market. But there’s about four main tips I think, is a good
approach to when you try to purchase artwork online. And the first one is defining your intent,
right? So you come to the market with ideas in your mind. Is it for you? Is it a gift for someone?
Are you looking for some small filler pieces or a large piece to fill a large space? Knowing what
you’re wanting to come to the market with is important. The other aspect is understanding the
space, right? So again, is it a large piece? A small one? Bright colors, dark colors. Does your
space have high ceilings? Would it be more impactful for smaller pieces or the idea of a
triptych? So two to three pieces coming together. Horizontal, vertical, floral, landscape, abstract,
animals. We have the whole breadth of that, which has been a wonderful key feature of the
market. So we cover all types of genres, which is really a big benefit for people that come to our
store, to our market virtually, not store. The next one I would say is researching artists lists. So
visiting our website is a really big help that way, you know and can anticipate the artists that you
feel like you have a connection with. Whether it’s a technique, whether you like water color,
maybe you notice that you really do love oils. Maybe you do love a sort of whimsical piece that
artists put together. So being able to take a look at taking a look at our website and scoping out
our social media, because we’re doing daily, almost daily and weekly postings of all of our
artists. And we have a wonderful feature that’s called behind the scenes. And so you’ll have
artists speak about how they create the work. Images or videos of them creating the work. So
that’s another sort of draw to be able to replace that in-person experience. So that the patron
has a connection with the artist, which is also really important. And then the last one, I think,
which is really important too, is ask questions, right? When you find that artist or you find that
piece of artwork that you really do like, don’t be shy and reach out to the artist, email,sometimes they put a phone number. Giving them a call, maybe asking them for advice,
knowing your space and your height and your color scheme. No one would know better than the
artwork than the artists themselves. And then if there’s something that you’d like from a specific
artist, but it’s not the right color or it’s not the right size, our artists are typically always open for
commissions. Which is a wonderful piece too, because then you really have something
extremely unique for you and your space and asking questions and being descriptive is
wonderful. So it’s a different approach. But it’s definitely an approach where it’s happening
globally. Big name museums are doing it. The MOMA’s doing it. Like I said, natural history
museums are doing it.
Now we’re doing it here in Peachtree Corners.
Rico: [00:20:43] You know the good part. Also, like you said, you can communicate directly with
the artists as well. So if I was looking at a three dimensional piece, a sculpture or a plate, I could
probably ask them, can you shoot me a video? Walk around, then give me a 360 of what that
looks like in real life and show me scale.
Nadine: [00:21:00] Right, absolutely.
Gina: [00:21:03] And not to interrupt, but one other thing too, the capability of the site, the artists
will be submitting. Many of them will submit multiple images per piece of artwork. And they’ll
show you what it would look like hanging on a wall, or for example, sitting on a coffee table and
then you’ll have the ability to zoom in on the artwork. So you can see brush strokes, you can
see texture. It’s really, buying art online has become a standard. And we’re actually pretty
excited about the potential here. So we are seeing good things from pure shows and heard a
good thing. So our expectation is that it will be successful.
Karl: [00:21:47] One of the benefits that I’ve seen on these virtual art shows is the ability to
share with other people. That’s harder when it was in person. I walked in, I like it, but I have a
cousin in another city or somewhere else that’s not there. Virtually during your social media
posts, is it easy for people to share that with people in their network, friends and family? This
might be a good fit for them.
Nadine: [00:22:16] Yeah, absolutely. Especially on social media, it’s an easy thing to do where
you can repost or you can resend it to message to someone, Facebook and Instagram, for sure.
But even the week of the market, being able to just copy and paste that link directly to an artist I
think is even more impactful. We always talked about how do we increase our foot traffic? For
years, we kept trying to figure out what are the logistics to figure out where people are coming
from and how can we expand? And so now, one of the benefits hopefully is that we will
supersede Georgia from patrons, ideally. Similar to how our artists come from all over the
country.
Rico: [00:22:52] Now, we did a podcast recently with the Atlanta Jewish film festival. They did
everything virtual film festival. Whereas before they were stuck just in the Metro area and within
a few theaters. Now they were opened up almost to the world. Although I got to say that someof the videos, some of the films can only be geo located and screened. So Georgia limited too
or let’s say US. But they were able to expand the amount of people participating, not only the
films, I think showing, but also the participation of people showing up to watch those films. So is
that the same feeling you’re getting when you went out for artists, are you finding there are
more? You’re open to a wider range of artists because it’s virtual versus them having to show up
and set up?
Gina: [00:23:36] Absolutely.
Rico: [00:23:38] That is the best part of that? Isn’t it?
Gina: [00:23:41] Well it’s been, again, it’s been really exciting. We have artists coming from New
Orleans, we have Colorado. We have places where normally they would not be traveling this far
from. We do have obviously still a strong mix from the Southeast. But we can tell from the
people that are following us on social media and the groves on those accounts. As well as the
applicants for the show that this was, it was a broader net basically.
Rico: [00:24:11] And it’ll probably be great to see the actual statistics during the Showtime to
see where your visitors are coming from. And where the purchases are actually coming from.
That would be nominal to see that part of it, as a business person looking at this, right?
Kirsten: [00:24:25] I think one of the added benefits of going virtual is that, and one of the
reasons that I think that we would like to keep this component part of the market is because of
the reach we have been able to attract and jury artists and have them be part of the show that
they normally would not be able to do because of either distance or time constraints with a live
show. And so the virtual really allows us to have a broader reach. And like you said, we’re real
excited about seeing those statistics come in, so.
Nadine: [00:25:01] Yeah, I will just add onto that, in the past the way we’ve tried to help artists
that can’t be in our market in person is we’ve always tried to do a curated section. But now I feel
with this, we all collectively feel with this sort of virtual market that now the whole market is even
more curated. You really did vet the process of getting and achieving high quality artists with
wonderful work, great ethics, as best as a price point as we can. That’s the biggest benefit
right? To doing it. It is literally a one-stop shop for all types of artwork. And jewelry. Don’t forget
jewelry.
Karl: [00:25:40] I’d be curious on getting an artist perspective, Megan. This new world and
getting from an artist perspective, how do you see that changing how artists can get their work
seen? And are there any tips and advice you’d have on people using this new platform to
feature their art?
Megan: [00:26:02] Yeah, it is. It’s actually really exciting to see how the potential of what is going
to actually happen, moving from live to virtual. Because the beauty of the live show is the
interaction you have with the client. And Nadine mentioned the intent, like I feel that from theartist perspective, when the intentions match and what you’re looking for match. In that, what
the artist poured into it is what the client is looking for. It’s easy to communicate when you’re
live, right? When you are in person. And when somebody stands in front of your booth, this is
my favorite part of the artist’s market. Besides the big party, as Gina mentioned. Is that, is they
stand in front of your artwork and when they have an emotional reaction, it’s a beautiful thing.
So I will miss that live, but I’m hoping that and my goal as an artist of the market is to be able to
portray that and to explain that and make sure my intention comes across virtually. So whether
that be through captions or in marketing, and making sure that. Because I feel like this is a huge
piece of reaching your clientele that your work is created for. And so I think it’s interesting too. It
is a different, it’s almost employing a different level of marketing as an artist. Because as
several of you mentioned getting different angles of the artwork to make sure that everybody
can understand what it looks like on the wall, but also details of what it looks like close up and
what it might look like in different scenarios. Could you couple it with other artwork or what does
it look like on your shelf? So having the different variety to approach the, as much as the live
scenarios you can get virtually is super important. Sharing your intention and making sure your
purpose of your artwork is known. Because some may come in just wanting something that
matches their decor, but then there’s many others who want something that they do interact
emotionally with. But I do find that no matter which way, what we’re looking for as a client,
people want to know our story. And so I’m thankful for the platform like Shopify and all the art
clients is doing to help us to create that story on this web page so that it is shown through social
media and through our individual pages.
Karl: [00:28:21] I know in the past year, I don’t know if you’ve all had the same feeling because
of us having to isolate more. I’m seeing more expression of people’s feelings and passions
online. They’re reacting to things. If it’s an image, if it’s a story you’re seeing that. And I think
more people have become comfortable using that medium to communicate that. That’s one of
the things I’m excited about is in this forum, most times you don’t get to interact with the artists
in many cases. But I could see the opportunity through what you’ve created in this virtual
experience, the ability to have before interactions with the artists and the art and respond during
the artist’s market experience and potentially after. We’ve mentioned commissioned work, or I
follow your work now and get an exposure for those artists, that’s harder to do in just a purely
in-person event. After you leave the event, you may not see or can’t stay connected as easily.
So I think the time has come for this merging of the two and you’re able to leap frog into that.
Probably we were all forced to. But I think your idea of keeping elements of that as we bring
back the live experience next year, my fingers are crossed, next year live and in virtual. Are
there things that I want to ask a practical question of, when someone comes and makes a
purchase, there’s actually the buying part. And then there is the, how do I get the art, whether
it’s three-dimensional art and so on. Can you speak a little bit about how would that happen
during the event this year?
Gina: [00:30:06] Sure. Kirsten. Do you want to take that or?
Kirsten: [00:30:09] Sure. Yes. So the plan right now, because it’s all virtual is that we would,
each of the artists are setting up their own shipping portion of the market. And so with that, theywill be responsible for making sure that the art is packaged correctly. And with everything going
virtual or online for the past year, they have gotten a lot of experience on how to properly
package art and have it shipped out correctly. There is the option that with just our professional
artists, that again, communicating that if you’re local and there’s an opportunity to do a local
drop-off or a handoff. That is a relationship and a contact that you, that the artist and the patron
can foster and make happen so that the shipping costs aren’t added on for something that’s
local. And we’re hoping that maybe we’ll get an opportunity to actually host the artist on campus,
but that’s just, that’s Wesleyan’s decision. And we honor that decision and it’s would be, it’s up in
the air right now. As far as hopefully doing a on-site handoff opportunity where patrons could
come and meet some of the artists and actually pick up their pieces on campus. It would be
great to be able to bring folks back on campus. But like I said, Wesleyan is in charge of that and
they have done an amazing job of keeping our students on campus. And that’s their priority and
we honor that. So yeah.
Karl: [00:31:41] Would you want to add anything on that?
Gina: [00:31:43] As far as the delivery is concerned, when we were at, we were advised by a lot
of the consultants on this, that when we have a hundred different points of where the items are
going to be shipped from. And so whoever can, whoever controls the inventory really needs to
manage that process. And that’s the artists. We don’t have or control the inventory. So they,
once the sale is completed, then the individual artists will reach out to their buyers and they will
obviously secure whether the item is going to get mailed or whether it’s going to get picked up at
the artist’s studio or whether there’s going to be a meeting place. They will make sure that the
art is delivered one way or the other.
Karl: [00:32:29] I’ve got a question, if I could throw out to each one of you to respond to. If there
was one thing you wanted people that are planning on attending or people that have attended in
the past or especially people that have never attended. If there was one thing you’d want them
to know about the Wesleyan artist’s market that should drive them to want to attend or
participate or how they can get involved. What would that be? Nadine you mind if I start with
you?
Nadine: [00:32:54] Sure.
Karl: [00:32:57] Take your time. I know that it was a big question.
Nadine: [00:33:00] Yeah. There’s a lot of there’s a lot of thoughts going through my head, I think
right off the top. I’ll just say, I think participating in any capacity as a patron with the artist’s
market is a wonderful benefit to our students. And I don’t just say our students in the time that
they’re here K through 12, right? Because there are a lot of extremely talented children, really
they’re young adults by the time they graduate. But that will go out into this world and will do
some fabulous things. And I think they are able to do so because they’re catapulted by our
wonderful fine arts program of which the Wesleyan artist’s market is the biggest, it is their
biggest benefactor. So I think ultimately it does come full circle, right? Because we do havesome alums that are coming back and participating as artists in this market. And so the bigger
feedback loop is the fact that yes, you are gaining a wonderful and unique piece of artwork.
Students who have a huge love of fine arts continue on and have all the facilities that they can
have so that they can do the best performance that they can do, be it 2D or acting or music. And
I think that’s the biggest driver for us. And it’s been every year, to be honest with you has been
okay, how do we increase our bottom line? How do we increase our profit? Because at the end
of the day, it’s not going to our pockets, it’s going to help our children and the other students.
And I think that’s the, for me, that’s what drives me to keep going and what I hope other people
and patrons would consider.
Karl: [00:34:37] Fabulous. Megan, what do you think would be something that folks should think
about in supporting this in ways they can?
Megan: [00:34:46] Yeah, I actually was. I echo everything Nadine just said. That was the same
sentiments I was thinking. And I would add to that, that you can buy art anywhere, pretty much
any store. You can go to any local store and find something to hang on your wall to match your
couch. But this offers the unique opportunity to give back and to create a story that goes full
circle with the school, that is helping local artists, that is supporting local. But more than that it’s
creating so much hope in life. And just, I guess I’ll just say a story again, that is so much more
meaningful. That you could see every day, or use every day with jewelry, that’s so much more
impactful to your daily life.
Kirsten?
Kirsten: [00:35:30] Gosh, ladies y’all have done an amazing job of covering it. It truly is. It is the
story. I love that Megan. Where I look around at the pieces that I’ve purchased over the years
and every time I see them, there’s a story. There’s something behind it. There’s an experience.
And I know that like Nadine said and Megan said, that experience goes further than just myself
and my joy that I get from the art itself. But it passes on to all these children that go through and
experience, the amazing program of fine arts at Wesleyan. And we just want to continue to
support that and grow that aspect because it is critical for education and for expression. And
we’ve seen, like you said earlier, a great deal of people expressing themselves in ways that we
just never thought we would ever see. And we’re all getting to share it. I love the part of the
community about the fine arts. It is a community event and we’re expanding our community by
being virtual. And I love that. Because expanding your community as you can go years without
seeing somebody and then you’ll come across somebody in 10 years and go, gosh I remember
when I met you at the Wesleyan artist market or something to that effect. And so that’s exciting.
And the last component would be supporting our artists. With losing last year’s market we really
had a very big heart in making sure that we could do anything we could to help support the local
artists. And now our reach has gotten further and we know the importance and the value of the
artist. And so we wanted to continue to make sure that happened.
Karl: [00:37:17] Gina, would you add anything to what everyone has said?Gina: [00:37:22] The main thing I would say is the artist’s market for me, has always been so
much more than an event. It’s truly an experience. And I’m so impacted by not only the art, but
by the artists themselves. And in a really, it’s been a tough year for a lot of people on a lot of
different fronts. And this is as much about inspiration and offering some hope and a little bit of
escape. And also just it’s, I always find it so educational. So there are so many different
benefits beyond just, finding that particular piece. It’s really just the whole experience and it’s
and all are invited. Again, it’s our favorite part of this event is that we do get to open up the
doors and hopefully share the great art, beyond the Wesleyan campus. We’d just love for, to
continue to hopefully inspire through this event.
Karl: [00:38:28] Well, I know Rico probably feels the same as I do, and I want to thank you each.
Gina, Nadine, Kirsten, Megan. Not only for being a guest today and talking about the Wesleyan
art market, but for your time in volunteering and pulling this together. It’s been a tough year and
figuring out a way to bring this to the community here in Peachtree corners and beyond. I want
to thank you personally for all you’re doing. And for all the artists that are participating and for all
the people that people don’t see behind the scenes, I know there’s IT folks and technology folks
and logistics folks that help make this happen. And I really want to see the community come out
and support this more than ever. If you can’t get there those days, you could do it on your couch
at home and explore some of the art during that. So thank you for your service and for all that
you’re doing for the community and for Wesleyan and for artists in general.
Gina: [00:39:27] Our pleasure. And let me add, we did extend the show from three days to a full
week. So that hopefully allows everybody a great window to take a look and join the site.
Karl: [00:39:41] So can you remind me of the dates and how can people learn more?
Gina: [00:39:46] The dates are April 22nd through 29th. If you’re a sponsor, there is a preview
starting April 20th through the 22nd and it’s not too late to sponsor. So go to our website at
ArtistsMarket.WesleyanSchool.org. You can also check us out on social media, on Instagram,
Facebook, and Twitter. And those accounts are listed on our website.
Karl: [00:40:13] Thank you very much for your time today and for sharing all the hard work
you’ve done and I’m excited to go. I got to visit it when it was live. I’m excited to go visit it now
that it’s virtual and next year I’ll even be excited to doing a little bit of both. So thank you for all
that you’re doing.
Kirsten: [00:40:33] Thank you.
Karl: [00:40:35] I’m Karl Barham with Transworld business advisors. And Rico and I have
enjoyed getting to learn more of the many organizations, businesses, schools in the community,
and putting on the Capitalist Sage to bring you just what people are doing to innovate and to
help other people get ideas of how they can keep going and overcome challenges. Whether it’s
in their business or in their organizations that they support. For me our business advisors at
Transworld Business Advisors, we help consult business owners. We help them figure out howto get into business when they’re ready, how to get out of business and sell when they’re ready
and how to grow their business in between. And I can be reached at
www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. And Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you
have going on and how people can reach you if they’d like to.
Rico: [00:41:26] Sure. So I publish Peachtree Corners Magazine as a lot of people know.
Started that out two years ago and we’re working on our next issue. So if you’re interested in the
artist’s market, one of the big features we have is we’re highlighting three of the artists in that
issue. That’ll be coming out the beginning of April. We’re also highlighting four student artists. In
fact, we’re doing another podcast later today. We’re recording with two student artists that’ll be
on Peachtree Corners Life. So that’s cool. It’s getting to know a lot of what’s going on and being
able to put that word out for Wesleyan artist market. Magazine has, is going to be the biggest
issue yet. I think we’re going to be 80 pages this issue. We’re going to be covering a lot of
different things. If you’re into tennis, USTA, recovering that we’re covering the new multi-use
ordinances the city has passed. That’s going to deal with development over the next decade in
this city and what that means with regard to multi-use when it comes to apartments, condos,
retail, office space. Things are changing. COVID has done all that to us. So we’re evolving.
Traffic has changed. The way people are living has changed. So the city has to contend with
that and that’s what they’re doing. So we’re, hopefully we can explain some of that. There’s a
bunch of other things in there. I also own Mighty Rockets. I do digital marketing, content
creation, and handle social media for several different companies. So if you’re looking to get
involved or you need to expand your presence online. Whether it’s product videos or content,
just reach out to me. You can go to MightyRockets.com or you could check my name on
LinkedIn. There aren’t too many Figliolinis out there. So you’ll be able to find me if you put
Atlanta. But this has been fun. I love talking about this. I’ve been involved with you ladies for, I
don’t know how many months now it’s been going back. Six, seven months maybe? Longer
actually. Yeah, actually before Nadine’s…
Nadine: [00:43:21] So it’s been almost two years.
Rico: [00:43:22] Yes. It’s been good to see this whole process evolve and to see how it’s
developed from the beginning. So I’m just excited. I can’t wait to participate.
Gina: [00:43:33] Thank you again.
Karl: [00:43:36] Thank you. And also, I just want to recognize Megan, thank you and for all the
teachers out there that have been helping take care of our children. So we really do honor you
and thank you and bless you for all that you and other teachers are doing. So thank you for that.
Megan: [00:43:51] Art therapy is a real thing, so.
Karl: [00:43:52] It is. Thank you for joining the Capitalist Sage Podcast today. Look forward for
future episodes. We’ll continue to bring you advice from leaders in the business and in thecommunity and talk about how they could improve that and help improve the community in
general. Have a great day, everyone

Continue Reading

Read the Digital Edition

Subscribe

Peachtree Corners Life

Capitalist Sage

Topics and Categories

Recent Posts

Authors

Trending

Copyright © 2020 Mighty Rockets LLC, powered by WordPress.

Get Weekly Updates!

Get Weekly Updates!

Don't miss out on the latest news, updates, and stories about Peachtree Corners.

Check out our podcasts: Peachtree Corners Life, Capitalist Sage and the Ed Hour

You have Successfully Subscribed!