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.
“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.
Wesleyan School Senior Selected for 2023 AP Art and Design Exhibit
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.
Beatrix Potter Exhibition Coming to the High Museum This Fall
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
Summer Reading Recommendations
A summer day spent lounging by the pool, relaxing at the beach or chilling on the deck at home is best enjoyed with a good book. We’ve gathered some suggestions for a summer read from friends and neighbors around Peachtree Corners.
Simply Lies by David Baldacci
I am addicted to his novels, and he is such an amazing person with a foundation that encourages kids to read.
— Lorri Christopher, City Council Post 5 / At Large
I love the We Are Legion series by Dennis E. Taylor. That is a series of four books that explore interesting concepts about survival in space. The details in the book really take the reader into the sci-fi realm. If you like to nerd out about space, this book is for you.
1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell are great reads. They demonstrate the importance of keeping the government in check as citizens. They are frightening at times because of how some of the book’s ideas are coming true today.
Another great read is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. This book is also frightening to read at times due to its predictions. It speaks on how the pursuit of pleasure can lead to a lack of humanity. It also shows the direction we, as a society, might be moving towards.
— Dane Scott, Dane Scott Racing
The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki
This is a feel-good read and is a great introduction into Historical Fiction for anyone who has been thinking about giving it a try. It’s based on the very true life of Marjorie Post and how she became one of the most powerful businesswomen, and one of the richest people, in America in the early 20th century.
Although there are certain to be some liberties taken throughout the book, TMLOMP still hits all the key moments and markers in Marjorie’s life that make her such a fascinating person. One of my top reads of 2023 so far!
— Lindsay Schwartz, Director of Marketing, Music Matters Productions
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Barbara Kingsolver eloquently details the importance of eating and shopping locally, especially for food in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She weaves the personal stories of her family with the health, economic and environmental realities of local agriculture. An engaging and informative read!
— Joe Twiner, Executive Director, Peachtree Farm
For Middle School readers, my favorite read of the year so far is The Midnight Children by Dan Gemeinhart. The Midnight Children tells the story of a lonely boy who finds himself in the middle of a mysterious situation.
What I love is how he is able to make brave choices and change his life for the better. It has adventure, humor and suspense — perfect for middle schoolers.
My favorite High School read of the year In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner. Two teens, both children of poverty and opioid culture make an impressive scientific discovery. Through a combination of luck and brilliance, they are offered a chance to escape their circumstances — but that means leaving family behind.
I love these two characters; they have to make adult decisions early in life. There are no obvious right answers here; real life is hard, but these two have a strength of character you will love.
— Bonnie Baker, Library Media Specialist, Greater Atlanta Christian
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
I first picked up Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece when I was 12 years old. There isn’t a better book on working with people! I now use its principles to help advocate for my organization’s work that benefits the poor around the world.
— James Flanagan, Executive Director, Catholic World Mission
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
…or any of the Anne Rice novels!
— James Chien, Chef, Eating Americana
Dragonfly by Leila Meacham
This is a WWII Historical novel with several male and female protagonists who have their own agendas for becoming involved in a spy operation. I am finding it hard to put down.
— Jennifer Howard, City of Peachtree Corners
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
I believe Towles’ best book is A Gentleman in Moscow. It’s an incredible story set in a luxury hotel in Moscow about a former Russian nobleman sentenced to live there after the Bolshevik Revolution.
As a starter to feasting on his three full-length novels, I recommend The Lincoln Highway. It’s a modern-day Odyssey that spans just 10 days in the summer of 1954 rather than the 10 years traveled by Ulysses.
Starting in a farm town almost in the geographical center of the U.S., a young man and his brother travel along the Lincoln Highway to retrieve his small inheritance stolen by a “friend” from his reform school. While not a short book, it flows quickly and has fascinating characters, action and plot twists.
— Steve Hughes, Chief Financial Officer, Skitter, Inc.
What Happened to Rachel Riley? by Claire Swinarski
This middle grade novel is about an eighth grader who uses social media posts, passed notes and other clues to find out why a formerly popular girl is now the pariah of her new school.
I loved this book because it was a fast-paced, fun and clever read. I’ve now given it to my 12-year-old daughter because I know she’ll love it and I think it’s important that she read it. The message is one I think girls need to hear and understand long before they reach high school.
Meant to Be by Emily Giffin
This is a delightful yet deep romance about a son of American royalty who falls in love with a beautiful girl who comes from a troubled past. The story centers on whether their relationship will survive the glare of the spotlight and the tragedy that seems to run in his family.
I loved this book, as inspired by the real-life story of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette, because I was able to experience both the intrigue and angst that comes with being an American celebrity, and I also enjoyed imagining what could’ve been, had their lives not ended so tragically.
— Shannon Balloon, Wesleyan Artist Market
Red Notice by Bill Browder
This book is an incredibly compelling and timely book that tells the true story of a hedge fund manager in Russia after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Bill Browder witnesses firsthand the corruption of a young Putin regime and ultimately becomes his number one enemy.
A financial caper, crime thriller and political crusade, Red Notice is an absolutely fantastic read that will inform you about events that led to modern day Russia.
— Scott Hilton, Georgia State House of Representatives
Perfectly Wounded by Mike Day
An excellent book about the service members who protect our country and suffer the consequences of doing so.
— Cliff Bramble, Bramble Realty
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill A Mockingbird is a book that nearly everyone reads at some point in school, and everyone should read it (at least twice). It’s based on a real trial from Harper Lee’s childhood. While the theme is based in the 1930s, some of the messages are still applicable today. I especially loved the symbolism of the mockingbird throughout the story.
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The perfect YA romance series for your summer reading list. Love triangles, competition and dystopia combined. Plus, it’s a five-book series that will keep your TBR [to be read] full all summer!
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
The book Confessions of a Shopaholic is a great read. While there is a movie, the book is very different. It’s an easy read, funny, romantic and well-written. And there’s a full series to follow!
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This book is one of my all-time favorites — amazingly written and brings tears to my eyes. The movie will also not disappoint; it’s completely book-accurate and just as amazing. A beautiful story, exceptionally written.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Heartless is a romantic and heartbreaking YA fantasy. Full of plot twists, this book will keep you guessing. It also includes some hidden lessons that can apply to real life. You’ll definitely want to read it again and again!
— Anastasia Lamas, Wesleyan School, Class of 2027
The BFG by Roald Dahl — for kids
This is one of my favorite books to read aloud. Roald Dahl’s magical way of telling a story is so engaging, and his made-up words are hilarious to try and pronounce.
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig — for adults
Haig has a wonderful way of putting emotions and feelings into words. I loved how the main character continued learning life lessons as he lived through so many historical eras.
— Lacey Unger, 3rd grade teacher, Simpson Elementary School
The Power of Full Engagement by Dr. Jim Loehr
Most people I know wish they could have more time in their day. Dr. Loehr and his work at the Human Performance Institute helps us instead get more day in our time.
The Power of Full Engagement teaches lessons learned from performance psychology and human performance that can help anyone from the c-suite to the street do more of their best work and live more of their best life, regardless of how much time or work they have. This should be required reading for life!
— Travis Dommert, talent professional and speaker, TravisDommert.com
10 Favorite Top Picks for Business Leaders
Suggested by Travis Dommert
- Essentialism: The disciplines pursuit of less by Greg McKeown — in a culture of more (and overwhelm), we need a new skill set: the disciplined pursuit of less, but better.
- Crucial Conversations by Joseph Grenny, Karry Peterson, et al — gold standard in skills training for anyone who needs to get along with other humans (That’s all of us!).
- Spark: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain by Dr. John Ratey — mind-blowing research that shows the impact movement and exercise has on our mental health.
- The 100X Leader by Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram — a powerful leadership book built on the idea of becoming a leader worth following who is 100% healthy and multiplies.
- The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson — terrific insights from successful salespeople from the Great Recession.
- Outliers: The story of success by Malcolm Gladwell — seminal book about extraordinary achievement.
- The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle — fascinating look at the science of skill-building and what it takes to become great at something.
- Never Finished by David Goggins — deep look into the mindset of Navy SEAL warrior David Goggins after he became famous.
- The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath — profound look into why we only remember a tiny fraction of our lives and how to make powerful memories.
- Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler — fun book about Sarah Blakely’s husband hiring a Navy SEAL to train him for a month; it’s nuts!
Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune
This is Carley’s newest book, and it is the perfect summer read. I fell in love with this author after reading her book Every Summer After last year and have been waiting for this one to come out. She did not disappoint!
This book captures the summer lake setting perfectly and I love the two timelines of each character as the story unfolds and the reader gets closer to figuring out what separated them to begin with.
— Clara Rooks, Marketing Communications Manager, Explore Gwinnett
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
In this complex young adult novel, two teenagers struggle with the many realities of becoming an adult, as well as the challenges they face from all who inhabit their lives. From stages of grief to the difficulties of forgiveness and the many layers of family sacrifice, Sabaa Tahir truly delivers a fresh take on American realities from an outsider’s perspective.
By looking directly at humanity through a multicolored lens, Tahir creates a reading experience that you’ll not soon forget.
— Judith Boneta, 8th Grade Language Arts teacher, Duluth Middle School
Picking a single book that shaped my life would be an impossible task. I have learned over time to enjoy the discovery of new and old titles to keep the adventures fresh.
- Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger is a fantasy series that follows a strong female lead who discovers she is not human.
- From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks is realistic fiction story about 12-year-old Zoe who receives a letter from her biological father who is in prison.
- Canyon’s Edge by Dusty Bowling is a novel in verse about a young girl’s struggle for survival after a climbing trip with her father goes terribly wrong.
- Front Desk by Kelly Yang takes place in the 90s and is based loosely on Kelly Yang’s experience growing up as an immigrant in America.
- Rescue by Jennifer Nielson is a World War II story of espionage and intrigue, as one girl races to save her father and aid the French resistance.
- Also, Alan Gratz, Marsha Skrypuck and Jennifer Nielson are all wonderful authors of historical fiction.
— Allison Anderson, Elementary Media Specialist, Greater Atlanta Christian School
Know Own Change by Josh Clemons and Hazen Stevens
Every year people talk about what makes us different: race, economics, nationality and even gender. The leaders of the “One Race” movement frames up a spiritually inspired path to reconciliation through Christ.
Know Own Change is a spiritual change management book that can have an impact individually on your walk with God and as a society if his followers stop sitting on the sidelines, asking and watching and instead start doing His work to change this world right here at home.
— Karl Barham, President, Transworld Business Advisors
The Effective Leader by Ronald E. Cottle
Someone gave this book to me, and it caught my attention because the author has over 60 years of leadership experience. During that time, any leader most likely would have gone through many different trials and challenges, and I’m interested in hearing about the wisdom he has gained.
Many leadership books have been written and a lot of them focus on business. This book goes beyond leadership in business and includes other key areas of life including marriage, family and finances.
— Phil Sadd, City Council Post 1 / District 1
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Reading is incredibly important, particularly in a world where mis- and dis-information spread like wildfire with just a simple tweet. Fahrenheit 451 is set in a dystopian world where reading is banned and social bonds between people have become almost nonexistent.
I read this when I was younger and it had a major impact on me to this day because its social commentary continues to be relevant as time goes on.
— Ruwa Romman, Georgia State Representative
This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhit
Outlive: The Art and Science of Longevity by Peter Attia
Younger Next Year for Women by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge
I’m predominately a non-fiction reader and I’m back in grad school studying Gerontology, so my selections may seem boring but could be of interest to readers who want to learn how to be pro-aging instead of anti-aging. After all, who doesn’t want to be a pro at aging?
These well-written, lay-person-friendly books comprise some of the latest research on how to live longer, healthier lives and prevent diseases commonly associated with aging.
Now for a shameless plug: one way to start living your best life is get moving, stay active and sign up for the Light Up The Corners Glow Run at The Forum on August 12th!
— Amy Massey, founder, Light Up The Corners
For science-fiction fans (or even those who may not think themselves fans), two of my all-time favorites are Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. These are both classics in the genre. Rama is particularly fun as a crew from Earth explore a huge unknown object that has approached our planet. Ender is a young man trained by the government to help fight a hostile alien force trying to take over the planet. Pure escapist fun!
A second suggestion for a book I enjoyed reading recently is Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s been on the best-seller list since it was published and is a compelling and very well-written story. Truthfully, it is not an easy read from an emotional standpoint. Just when you think that things can’t get any worse for Demon, they do. The characters are well-defined and the story provides insight into some of the real-world problems afflicting the Appalachian region.
— Dave Huffman, Peachtree Corners Festival
Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro is a great fiction novel about the impact of a lie; the book is told from multiple points of view and weaves back in forth in time.
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoors — Set in India, it’s a thriller that dives deep into the underworld of New Delhi’s crime syndicate. This will most certainly be seen on streaming platform before long!
Whatever Happened to Ruthy Ramirez? By Claire Jimeniz is a great beach book. Humor, mystery, drama all in one.
— Lisa Anders, Executive Director, Explore Gwinnett Tourism + Film
One of my favorites for light reading is G.A. McKevett’s Savannah Reid series. There are many books in this series and if you order on Kindle, the older books are free.
In the first book, Just Desserts, we meet the main character — blackbelt and gun-carrying Savannah living in a plush suburb of San Carmelita, California. She’s a voluptuous private investigator who was born in Georgia to a mama who dropped in to have babies and dropped out once the babies were born. All the kids are named after Georgia towns, and their sweet Grandmama is Savannah’s moral compass who raised all these kids.
Savannah is busy being a super solver of crimes while frying up the best-fried chicken ever. Walk into her kitchen anytime and she will have her brain at work on solving the latest murder as she whips up something sweet.
— Nancy Minor, Agent, The Nancy Minor Team
Exodus by Leon Uris
Exodus is one of the best-selling historical novels of all time and one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. It is not light reading and will take readers on a very emotional journey.
This novel goes well beyond what Hollywood portrays in the movie and does so with a much more accurate lens of the events it covers. It not only broadens the reader’s knowledge of history, but also deepens their understanding and background of current world events.
While Exodus sheds light on one of the greatest human tragedies, it also highlights hope and perseverance. I highly recommend it be on everyone’s book bucket list.
— Zhenia Kaplan
The Broker by John Grisham
The Broker is a suspense novel that weaves mystery, corruption and possible murder as you navigate through the legal system, the politics of pardons and the influence of the CIA. This page turner keeps you guessing who will win in the end. Perfect reading for the beach or sitting by the pool.
— Lisa Proctor, Sanford Rose Associates – Lake Lanier Islands
The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede
When the U.S. airspace was closed on 9-11, 38 passenger planes were forced to land in a small town in Canada on Newfoundland Island. The townspeople welcomed the weary travelers — over 6,500 people from all over the world — into their homes for four days. The acts of kindness, humanity and goodwill in this true story will touch your heart.
Imaginable by Jane McGonigal
The author is a future forecaster and game designer who works at the Institute for the Future in California. She led simulations in 2008 that predicted what would happen if there were a global outbreak of a respiratory virus with uncanny accuracy to what actually happened with COVID-19. That’s fascinating since many news stories claimed that COVID-19 was “unimaginable” or “unthinkable.”
These simulations can be used in your own life to imagine the future and you are able to “see” the future using the exercises she provides. When the future arrives, you feel prepared because you’ve already thought about what you would do if the “unimaginable” actually happened. Not only is it very interesting to read about the psychology and neuroscience being used to solve world problems, but there is a direct application to your own life.
— Tracey R. Rice, Tracey Rice Photography
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