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Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker Calls Peachtree Corners Home

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Kevin & Jaclyn Allison at the 2022 Emmys. (Photos courtesy of the Allison family)

Unlikely bond between a Braves player and Mets fan earns local filmmaker an Emmy.

As the 20-year anniversary of 9/11 approached last year, Kevin Allison and Bally Sports South/Southeast Braves knew the best way to mark the solemn occasion was to look back on the singular importance one baseball game made toward the first steps of healing. When the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets took to the field for the first sporting event after the September 11 attacks, it was about much more than winning or losing.

The 7½ minute short documentary, More Than A Game — Braves at Mets — 9/11 Remembrance, recently won a Southeast Regional Emmy Award from the Southeast chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Peachtree Corners resident Kevin Allison edited and produced the film, along with chief photographer Gregg Therieau.

Healing through sports

“During the pandemic in 2020, there were a lot of discussions about missing sports and how sports help in the healing process,” said Kevin. “We were doing a lot of historical content at the beginning of the pandemic. A lot of former players — Chipper Jones, Brian Jordan, Tom Glavine, a lot of those guys — would refer back to their time during September 11 and how sports helped people process the tragedy.”

Knowing that a year later was going to be the 20th anniversary of those tragic events, Kevin began doing a lot of research, looking at old photos and raw footage from the Braves versus Mets game that took place just 10 days after the historic terrorist attacks. He kept coming across photos of Brian Jordan with a Mets family whose hero father/husband had perished during the World Trade Center attacks.

With one iconic image of Jordan embracing the overcome-with-emotion widow, Carol Gies, Kevin knew he had found the storytelling connection he needed.

“Come to find out, they had stayed in touch a little bit through the years,” said Kevin. “During the making of the feature, we actually reconnected the two of them as well.” Gies remembers the night and the painful memories surrounding those early post-9/11 days, but credits Jordan with helping her family tremendously by coming over and saying the kind words that he did.

Connecting stories to the human element

Piecing together a story and finding the personal connection is what Kevin seems to enjoy most about his work. From the time he began filming interviews for the feature film to editing those 7½ minutes took about a month of work. Before beginning interviews, from the time research began, was closer to a year.

Most Braves fans will remember a Mets homerun sealed the game for the home team that night. Most fans also accept that Mets win as how the game needed to end.

When asked about his approach to documentary filmmaking, Kevin stated, “For me, it has always been: what’s the connection and how do I connect the storytelling to get the human element? Especially when it comes to sports, you can be fans of the team, but how do you find the human interest for an individual?”

Kevin’s wife, Jaclyn Allison, is often the first audience to judge that emotional connection. As Director Marketing, Communications and Events at Partnership Gwinnett, Jaclyn understands the subtleties of good communication and, for her job, how to create events that will draw on an individual’s or group’s desire to engage.

Jaclyn’s work with Partnership Gwinnett

Partnership Gwinnett is a public/private initiative designed to drive “economic prosperity by attracting, expanding and retaining quality businesses; aligning and developing diverse talent; and contributing to the exceptional quality of life in Gwinnett County.”

“We have three different goal areas,” explained Jaclyn. “We focus on business development, recruiting and retaining business in our community, talent development — so we work with the university and school systems to build up our talent pool, and then our community development — working a lot with entrepreneur development and small business culture.

Within our goal one, business development, we focus on five target sectors: manufacturing, supply chain, technology solutions, health sciences and services and then corporate and professional services. Anything that falls within those sectors we focus on and work with our community to bring here.”

Jaclyn works on a number of events that target those sectors. She’s currently working to bring The State of Technology Summit to Peachtree Corners November 10 at Atlanta Tech Park. It will bring together keynotes and speakers to talk about trends and best practices in the technology sector.

She’s also very proud of her husband’s work and was the first to share that his latest Emmy is not his first. In fact, this is his eighth Southeast Regional Emmy Award.

Kevin’s dream career and life

It all comes from an honest place. Kevin Allison has been a huge sports fan his whole life and he readily admits he just enjoys TV. Combining those passions into a career is the dream.
For “More Than A Game – Braves at Mets – 9/11 Remembrance,” he took a lot of care. “For something that impacted so many people, even if it was 20 years ago — and out of respect for Carol who was still willing to tell this story 20 years later — for me the goal was what’s the most respectful way to tell this story,” Kevin stated.

Kevin was proud and happy this film was recognized, not so much for the personal accolades, but because of the story and the people involved. “I work with Brian Jordan every day and he is one of the best people to work with and one of the kindest people in this community,” said Kevin. Being able to share Carol and Brian’s story meant being able to recognize two of many special individuals who made a difference in those very challenging days post 9/11.

Allison Family

Introducing you to Kevin and Jaclyn would not be complete without sharing that their Peachtree Corners family is currently a busy one, with three young children ages one, three and four. The little ones haven’t been to see the Braves play yet, but it’s inevitable. We anticipate you’ll also be seeing each of those young ones on the ballfields in and around Peachtree Corners soon.

Allow yourself seven and a half minutes, grab a tissue and be inspired by More Than A Game – Braves at Mets – 9/11 Remembrance.

Kevin Allison’s 9 Emmy Awards

■ 2022, Southeast Regional Emmy Award: Outstanding Achievement, Sports Story — News, More Than A Game — Braves at Mets — 9/11 Remembrance | Bally Sports South/Southeast (formerly Fox Sports South/Southeast)
■ 2021, Southeast Regional Emmy Award: Outstanding Achievement, Sports Program — Live — Series, Community Heroes Week | Fox Sports South/Southeast
■ 2016, Southeast Regional Emmy Award: Outstanding Achievement, Documentary: Topical — Driven: Michael Waltrip Racing — Life in the Pits | Fox Sports South/Southeast
■ 2014, Southeast Regional Emmy Award: Outstanding Achievement, Television News and Program Specialty Excellence Category: Sports Program Series — DRIVEN: THE CHIPPER JONES STORY | Fox Sports South/Southeast
■ 2013, Southeast Regional Emmy Award: Outstanding Achievement, Television News and Program Specialty Excellence Category: Sports Program Series — DRIVEN: Tougher. Faster. Stronger. The 2013 Bobcats Draft | Fox Sports South/Southeast
■ 2013, College Sports Media Award: Outstanding Achievement, Regional/Local Networks: Program Series — Under The Lights: Southern Miss Baseball | Fox Sports South/Southeast
■ 2013, Southeast Regional Emmy Award: Outstanding Achievement, Television News and Program Specialty Excellence Category: Sports Program Series — Under the Lights: Southern Miss Baseball | Fox Sports South/Southeast
■ 2009, Southeast Regional Emmy Award: Outstanding Achievement, Television Programming Excellence Category: Interview/Discussion — In My Own Words: Charles Barkley | Fox Sports South/Southeast
■ 2007, Southeast Regional Emmy Award: Outstanding Achievement, Television News & Program Specialty Excellence Category: Sports News Program — University of Tennessee Hoops Preview | Fox Sports South/Southeast

Karen Huppertz is a freelance journalist, content writer and passionate volunteer with the International Dyslexia Association. She has worked with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for the past 10 years primarily covering city and county government action. Her endlessly inquisitive nature about a wide range of topics, desire to understand the big picture and an impassioned aspiration to provide accurate facts shape her work. Originally from South Carolina, Karen has lived in Gwinnett for nearly 30 years. She is happily married and mother to two great young adults. Her professional career includes a marketing and advertising background while her volunteer career has focused on dyslexia, a learning difference making it challenging for about 10-20% of the population to learn to read. She is proud to have played a small part in Georgia’s recent legislation calling for teacher training in how to recognize and help dyslexic students. When not posting images from her nearby garden on social media or writing to meet a deadline, she can be found advocating to make literacy available to everyone.

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Wesleyan School Senior Selected for 2023 AP Art and Design Exhibit

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Wesleyan School senior Elizabeth Tian is one of 50 students whose artwork was selected for inclusion in the 2023 AP Art and Design Exhibit. This is an online exhibit that shows exemplary AP art portfolios selected from over 74,000 entries.

This year’s exhibit features student artwork showcasing a diverse range of student ideas, styles of artmaking, materials used and conceptual as well as physical processes involved with making works of art.

“Inclusion in this exhibit is highly selective and proves Elizabeth’s brilliance in concept and technique,” said Meagan Brooker, assistant director of fine arts and art teacher.

The exhibit will feature Tian’s portfolio alongside a profile.

“Elizabeth is a tremendous student that works so hard and puts much thought into design. I am thankful for Ms. Brooker’s dedication, guidance, encouragement and critical thinking that allows her to equip her students to grow in their artistic ability,” shares Joe Koch, high school principal.

To learn more about the school, visit www.wesleyanschool.org.

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Arts & Literature

High Museum of Art Presents Exhibition of 19th-Century Black Potter from the American South

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Coming this spring, from Feb. 16 – May 12, 2024, the High Museum of Art will be the only Southeast venue for “Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina.” 

The exhibition features nearly 60 ceramic objects created by enslaved African Americans in Edgefield, South Carolina, in the decades before the Civil War. 

These 19th-century vessels demonstrate the lived experiences, artistic agency and material knowledge of those who created them.

The works include monumental storage jars by the literate potter and poet Dave (later recorded as David Drake, ca. 1800-1870) as well as examples of utilitarian wares and face vessels by unrecorded makers. 

“Hear Me Now” will also include work by contemporary Black artists who have responded to or whose practice connects with the Edgefield story, including Theaster Gates, Simone Leigh and Woody De Othello

The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

“We are honored to present this exhibition, which recognizes the innovation of Edgefield potters—a practice all the more remarkable given that their work was created under the most inhumane conditions of enslavement,” said Rand Suffolk, director of the High.

“It’s an important story, one that not only dovetails with the High’s longstanding recognition and display of Edgefield pottery but one that should also resonate with our regional audiences.” 

In the early 1800s, white settlers established potteries in the Old Edgefield district, a rural area on the western edge of South Carolina, to take advantage of its natural clays. 

Hundreds of enslaved adults and children were forced to work in the potteries, bearing responsibility for the craft, from mining and preparing clay to throwing vast quantities of wares and decorating and glazing the vessels. 

By the 1840s, they were producing tens of thousands of vessels each year. The stoneware they made supported the region’s expanding population and was intrinsically linked to the lucrative plantation economy. 

The history of slavery is widely understood in terms of agriculture, but these wares tell the story of what historians call “industrial slavery,” where the knowledge, experience and skill of enslaved people were essential to the success of the enterprise.

White enslavers and factory owners often marked the wares with their names, therefore claiming the expertise of the enslaved as their own. Only some of the enslaved makers have been identified so far, and more than 100 of their names are highlighted in the exhibition. 

One identified maker included in the exhibition is Edgefield’s best-known artist, Dave, later recorded as David Drake, who boldly signed, dated and incised verses on many of his jars.

“Hear Me Now” features many of Dave’s monumental masterpieces, along with a video featuring Dave’s newly discovered descendants Pauline Baker, Priscilla Carolina, Daisy Whitner and John Williams, in which they reflect on his work and their family connections.

Among the other exhibition highlights are 19 face vessels or jugs, which served as powerful spiritual objects and were likely made by the Edgefield potters for their own use.

Their emergence in the region roughly coincides with the 1858 arrival in Georgia of the slave ship The Wanderer, which illegally transported more than 400 captive Africans to the United States.

More than 100 of those individuals were sent to Edgefield, where they were put to work in the potteries. Growing evidence suggests that their arrival brought African-inspired art traditions, religion and culture to the area. 

The face vessels resemble nkisi, ritual objects that were important in West-Central African religious practices to facilitate communication between the living and the dead.

“Hear Me Now” examines the continuing legacy of Edgefield with works that respond to and amplify Edgefield’s story.

“Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina” will be presented in the Special Exhibition Galleries on the Second Level of the High’s Stent Family Wing.

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Beatrix Potter Exhibition Coming to the High Museum This Fall

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This October, the High Museum of Art will present “Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature.” The interactive exhibition encourages visitors of all ages to explore the places and animals that inspired Potter’s popular stories, such as “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” 

More than 125 personal objects will be displayed, including sketches, watercolors, rarely seen letters, coded diaries, commercial merchandise, paintings and experimental books. The exhibition will also examine Potter’s life as a businessperson, natural scientist, farmer and conservationist. 

The exhibition is organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum and is the latest in the High’s series celebrating children’s book art and authors. 

“The High is committed to serving family audiences and connecting them to the power of children’s book art, which can inspire creativity, engender empathy and teach important life lessons,” said Rand Suffolk, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director. “We are delighted to share the wonderful illustrations and stories from Potter’s famous tales with our youngest visitors and explore the author’s life story, which was marked by a love of learning and dedication to preserving nature for future generations.” 

Beatrix Potter (British, 1866–1943), Appley Dapply going to the cupboard, 1891, watercolor on paper, Victoria and Albert Museum, given by the Linder Collection, LC.29.A.1. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, courtesy of Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd. and the Linder Collection.

Born in London, Helen Beatrix Potter was passionate about animals and the natural world from an early age. This passion sparked her career as a world famous author and illustrator. Her interest in nature also influenced other aspects of her life, leading to significant achievements in art and science.

“Drawn to Nature” connects elements of her creative practice, from building characters and observing nature to telling stories and conserving the environment. 

“Beatrix Potter’s singularly creative life offers insights for all ages. This exhibition, part of the High’s longstanding dedication to families and intergenerational learning, is designed to welcome everyone to ask what it means to see with imagination and care for our world, together,” said Andrew Westover, exhibition curator and the High’s Eleanor McDonald Storza director of education. 

The first section of the exhibition focuses on how Potter developed the characters that inspired her most famous stories, including “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” “The Tale of Benjamin Bunny” and “The Tale of Jemima Puddle Duck.” 

Beatrix Potter (British, 1866–1943), Drawings of a bridge scene and hares at play, 1876, watercolor and pencil on paper in stitched book, Victoria and Albert Museum, Linder Bequest, BP.741. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, courtesy of Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd.

She modeled her characters on animals familiar to her, and her stories were informed by careful observations of nature. “Drawn to Nature” will include many of her original character sketches and more insight into how she built richly imagined worlds. 

The exhibit also explores Potter’s scientific observations and will feature a cabinet of curiosities alongside her realistic nature drawings.

“Drawn to Nature” will reveal Potter’s abilities as a storyteller, illustrator and entrepreneur. From her mid-20s, Potter translated her close observation of animals and nature into detailed pictorial storytelling. 

She also sold holiday cards featuring her drawings and designs. These letters and illustrations became the basis for her stories, and in 1902, she signed a publishing deal.

Another section of the exhibition features sketches and finished artworks from her books, including “The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin” and “The Tale of Benjamin Bunny.” This section will feature a dedicated reading space to sit and enjoy Potter’s children’s books. 

In the exhibition’s final section, watercolors, personal items and drawings will demonstrate Potter’s love for England’s Lake District and her work to conserve its landscape and local farming culture. 

Beatrix Potter (British, 1866–1943), Drawing of a walled garden, Ees Wyke (previously named Lakefield), Sawrey, ca. 1900, watercolor and pen and ink on paper, Victoria and Albert Museum, Linder Bequest, BP.238. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, courtesy of Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd.

Following her permanent move there, she recognized how much locals and visitors treasured the region. When she saw modern development threatening what made it unique, she used her privilege and position to help protect the area. 

She built up flocks of Herdwick sheep, which were in danger of dying out, and ensured the landscape would be protected forever by England’s National Trust. Upon her death in 1943, she left the charity thousands of acres of her own land and 14 working farms. 

“Above and beyond the delight that Potter’s book characters and illustrations bring to our lives, her creativity as a businessperson, scientist and conservationist can inspire all audiences,” said Westover. “It’s a privilege to share her stories and invite everyone to rediscover a beloved author and her enduring legacy.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Alliance Theatre at The Woodruff Arts Center will present “Into the Burrow: A Peter Rabbit Tale,” a musical written by Mark Valdez and inspired by Potter’s stories. 

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