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Wesleyan Artist Market 2024: Students Bree Hill and Esther Cooper

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The Wesleyan Artist Market takes place in Peachtree Corners on April 26-27, 2024

Join us as we dive into the creative worlds of Esther Cooper and Bree Hill, two young student artists showing at this year’s Wesleyan Artist Market with their unique talents and passions. From Esther’s tasty cake pops to Bree’s emotionally charged artwork, we explore the stories behind their inspiration, dedication, and drive to showcase their creativity. Listen in as we discuss the power of self-expression and passion in the world of art and baking. Tune in for a dose of inspiration and creativity that will leave you eager to explore your own artistic talents and passions. Hosted by Rico Figliolini

Resources:
Wesleyan Artists’ Market Website: https://www.artistmarket.wesleyanschool.org/
Bree’s Instagram: @bubblycreationsbybreehill

Timestamp:
00:00:00 – Introduction
00:01:37 – Expanding Artistic Horizons at Wesleyan Market
00:03:38 – Discovering Passion and Mediums in Art Creation
00:05:13 – Expressing Emotions Through Art and Beyond
00:10:53 – Preparing for the Artist Market at Wesleyan
00:13:24 – Finding Inspiration Through Music and Fantasy Books
00:16:01 – Dreams of Opening a Family-Friendly Bakery
00:17:42 – Interviewing a Creative Baker and Graphic Designer
00:19:43 – The Art of Evolving a Painting
00:21:45 – Baking Creations for Holidays and Parties
00:24:08 – Bree’s Artistic Process and Finding Joy in Sculptures
00:26:37 – Art Commissions and Wesleyan Artist Market Update
00:28:20 – Closing Thoughts

Podcast Transcript

Transcript:

Rico Figliolini 0:00:01

Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini, host of Peachtree Corners Life here in the city of Peachtree Corners, Gwinnett County. I have a couple of great guests with me today. They are student artists at the upcoming Wesleyan Artist Market. But before I introduce them quickly, let me just say thank you to EV Remodeling, Inc. Who is a sponsor of not only this podcast, but the publications that we do, including Peachtree Corners magazine and Southwest Gwinnett magazine. So I want to thank them for being a strong sponsor, a community member as well. And if you want to find out more about EV remodeling Inc. Just go to their website, which is easy, evremodelinginc.com. So thank you for that. Our guest today is on the left. Depending on how you’re viewing this, Esther Cooper from 7th grade. Say hi, Esther.

Esther Cooper 0:00:48

Hi.

Rico Figliolini 0:00:49

And Bree Hill from 10th grade. Hey Bree.

Bree Hill 0:00:52

Hey.

Rico Figliolini 0:00:53

Both from Wesleyan school. And for one, she’s going to be at the Wesleyan Artist Market the second time, I believe. And for another, this is her first time. So let’s start with Esther Cooper, who’s interested in culinary arts. So, Esther, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Esther Cooper 0:01:13

Well, like you said, my name is Esther and I really enjoy baking and I’m going to be selling probably mostly cake pops at the artist market. So I’ve been working on kind of perfecting that technique for a while, so I think they’ll be pretty good.

Rico Figliolini 0:01:30

Cool. Bree Hill, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Bree Hill 0:01:35

My name is Bree Hill. This is my second year in the Wesleyan Artist Market. I have experience in different things with watercolor, acrylic paint, oil paint, and even mixed media and pottery. I’ve done animals in different subjects.

Rico Figliolini 0:01:53

Excellent. So last year, if I remember correctly from what I’ve read, you participated and submitted ceramic and clay sculptures last year.

Bree Hill 0:02:01

Yes.

Rico Figliolini 0:02:02

Cool. And this year you’re going to do something a bit different, right? Using different medium. You want to tell us a little bit about why you chose that medium to introduce this year?

Bree Hill 0:02:12

So I did a little bit of acrylic paint last year. I was more focusing on ceramics because I did different animals like elephants and dogs, swans, that sort. But I have the most experience at acrylic paint and I wanted to expand the things that I did. Like I’ve done graphite self portraits so far. I will use acrylic with cars, flower bouquets. I wanted to show people something that I’ve been doing for a long time.

Rico Figliolini 0:02:47

Okay, cool. Artists can do whatever they please as long as it inspires right, Esther, let’s talk a little bit about what you’re doing. The type of art themes that inspire you best, what inspires you. What do you look at when you’re thinking of culinary arts and deciding what to make or bake?

Esther Cooper 0:03:06

Well, I would say that I’m not going to lie. I actually do draw a little bit of inspiration from baking shows. That’s actually how I kind of got started with baking. Like, I saw these baking shows and I was like, wait, this is so cool. So I kind of picked up baking. So I get inspired by that. I get inspired by Pinterest.

Rico Figliolini 0:03:29

So you’re on Pinterest also building a board.

Esther Cooper 0:03:32

Not really building a board.

Rico Figliolini 0:03:34

I just scrolling through.

Esther Cooper 0:03:36

Yeah.

Rico Figliolini 0:03:38

All right, that’s fine. You have to discover your passion and your inspiration in a lot of different places. Right. When you’re creating your treats, your sweets, is there particular ingredient, favorite ingredients you have that you like.

Esther Cooper 0:03:59

I mean. Can’t go wrong with?

Rico Figliolini 0:04:00

No, no. Can’t go wrong there. Probably sugar too, I would imagine, but, yeah, for sure. All right, cool. Bree on yours, shifting from sculpture to painting, obviously you’ve used different mediums along the way. How do you explore what you want to do in oil painting or watercolors? Do you decide what medium you want? Depending on what inspires you, depending on the picture you’re doing, how does that work?

Bree Hill 0:04:27

It depends on what I’m painting. So normally, if it’s like a plant nature of some sort, I will use watercolor for different depths because I like layering. If it’s normally a person, I would either use pencil or acrylic paint and more. If it can turn into three d, I would effectively use clay.

Rico Figliolini 0:04:51

Got you. There was a part where I think you mentioned about expressing yourself without judgment. You mentioned that to be able to share time, creating art helps to communicate something that you feel or that you want to express that can’t be expressed in words. Is that something that you continue to strive to? How do you see yourself doing that?

Bree Hill 0:05:16

I have a really hard time explaining and reiterating myself in different ways, so I chose to do it through art. I like to choose an emotion and draw what I think that emotion would look like, what that person would look like in that emotion, or in that moment.

Rico Figliolini 0:05:35

All right, well, let me bring up one of your pieces. Actually, bear with me a second. We pop that out. Put that there. That’s one of your pieces, I believe, right? Yes. So when you drew that, when that came to you, when you inspired to do that, what are you trying to.

Bree Hill 0:05:55

Share here I was trying to show I chose a pretty complicated emotion because I feel like not a lot of people can put it into words. And this one was grief, where it’s slowly, each day, you wake up thinking about it, and you’re slowly getting tired. You’re getting exhausted of it. So she’s kind of laying there limp almost. And you always have a friend. You reach out to something, vent happens. So those are birds representing each thing. It’s not a finished artwork, but definitely in the middle of it.

Rico Figliolini 0:06:30

Gotcha. Okay, cool. Come back here now. So it mean. And that was the medium used. It was pencil.

Bree Hill 0:06:40

Yes, sir.

Rico Figliolini 0:06:43

Esther, we’ll come back to you for a little bit. When you’re doing desserts, baking, you’re in the kitchen, I’m assuming, right. And you’re doing your stuff, I’m assuming. You start almost off with the recipe. Right. But do you ever deviate from that recipe? Do you ever do something a little different, add a little bit more, a little less? What do you do?

Esther Cooper 0:07:06

Well, sometimes I do eyeball things. Not too much, because baking is kind of a science, but I think it’s definitely decorating, where I get very spontaneous, like, I’ll pull out all the sprinkles or the different ways to decorate a cake up.

Rico Figliolini 0:07:29

All right, that’s cool. And you were saying you find inspiration from tv shows in Pinterest. I’m assuming that life, any artist, when you go to a place that exhibits art or, like, a bakery, do you find things that, as you’re looking through, do you find inspiration there? Do you even buy the stuff to taste it and see how it came out and what you can do with that?

Esther Cooper 0:07:54

Much to my parents dismay, yes. They take me to a bakery, and I’m like, mom, I got to learn how to make that.

Rico Figliolini 0:08:05

That’s funny. True. Sweet tooth could do it, I guess. So when you’re finding, I guess, in your art is one thing, I guess, when you know the artist, maybe. But also, are there any particular bakers that you’re aware of or tv or personalities that you like?

Esther Cooper 0:08:25

There’s this guy named Jacques Torres who’s on this show called nailed it. I don’t think. I always thought he was pretty cool. He was always very good. Had a very good expertise in his field, which I think is pretty cool.

Rico Figliolini 0:08:42

It’s good to have someone to look up to, to emulate a little bit. Bree, on your everyday life, walking through school, walking home, or however, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. I don’t know. Do you do other things besides art. Like, are you into sports?

Bree Hill 0:09:04

I am a volleyball player.

Rico Figliolini 0:09:06

You’re what? Softball?

Bree Hill 0:09:08

A volleyball player.

Rico Figliolini 0:09:09

Oh, volleyball player. Okay, cool. So are you on the team then, or is this intramurals?

Bree Hill 0:09:15

This is year round volleyball, so it’s club.

Rico Figliolini 0:09:18

Oh, club volleyball. Okay. So when you’re out there and doing athletic work, do you find inspiration in what you’re doing there? Do you look at people and look at them as inspiration for maybe the next drawing or the next scene that you life?

Bree Hill 0:09:36

Definitely. And not just volleyball as well? If I travel anywhere, I will always have, like, a mini pocket watercolor to draw whatever scenes in front of me to kind of capture the moment, because I feel like it represents everything better than a picture because it’s how you saw the moment. It’s like how you read what was happening rather than it just being, oh, here’s a picture of what I saw.

Rico Figliolini 0:10:01

Right. The way you feel, I guess. So. I’m imagining you’re carrying a book and some watercolors with you.

Bree Hill 0:10:10

Definitely.

Rico Figliolini 0:10:11

Okay, so no digital stuff for you, or do you use an iPad too sometimes or one of those.

Bree Hill 0:10:19

Not really an iPad. No.

Rico Figliolini 0:10:21

Okay, so you’re not into Photoshop or using brushes on any of that procreate or anything?

Bree Hill 0:10:28

So I take my own pictures for my artwork. So the one you just showed up is actually a picture of me. I photographed it, and then I had to Photoshop some things with lighting and stuff. Then I drew it.

Rico Figliolini 0:10:41

Oh, wow. Excellent.

Bree Hill 0:10:44

It’s a long process.

Rico Figliolini 0:10:48

No, that’s good. You got to start somewhere, and using yourself as a subject is even better. You know what to do with yourself, right? That’s cool. So have you put together all your artwork yet for wham. For this year, or are you still working on stuff?

Bree Hill 0:11:06

Definitely still working. I have my inventory log done, and I have all the materials for it. But actually doing it is where it’s kind of a slow process, but definitely more than half are completed.

Rico Figliolini 0:11:19

All right, cool. Now, a little different for Esther, I bet, because it’s not like you can work on yours in advance unless you’re going to freeze it. So what’s the game plan for you? Are you going to be doing well.

Esther Cooper 0:11:32

We were talking about taking discretionary day, the day before the artist market, so I could just bake.

Rico Figliolini 0:11:39

I don’t wait. Discretionary days are those days you’re allowed to take off?

Esther Cooper 0:11:45

Yes, sir. You only get. Is it two, Bree?

Bree Hill 0:11:49

It’s two.

Rico Figliolini 0:11:51

You are invested in your art. I can tell. Putting those days off into that, that’s good. So you’re going to be working away in the kitchen, I’m assuming, getting things ready?

Esther Cooper 0:12:04

Yes, sir.

Rico Figliolini 0:12:05

All right, cool. What other interests do you have? I obviously, Bree does volleyball and sports. What interests do you have?

Esther Cooper 0:12:17

I played trumpet. I was in the Wesleyan marching band this fall. I participated in basketball this winter, and I have in the past participated in musicals, and I plan to try out again next year. It’s just this year, I want to do the artist market this year.

Rico Figliolini 0:12:38

Okay. All right, cool. Interesting. The Wesleyan student always is multifaceted, that’s for sure. So many different things are going on. I think I interviewed someone that had. She was doing club sport, school sport, and she had other things going on. It’s just like, I don’t even know how many hours in the day you have to do that. So when you’re finding inspiration, is there a special place or music you like to listen to? Other one can go.

Esther Cooper 0:13:07

Well, I just like to walk around my backyard a lot. It’s a fairly big backyard. I just walk around and kind of think about all sorts of things. But I definitely draw a lot of inspiration because it has kind of a forest area, so there’s a lot around me and a lot to draw inspiration from.

Rico Figliolini 0:13:30

So you’re not listening to anything. You’re just listening to nature and just walking around the backyard like that. Now, Bree, you’re laughing, but what about you? Where do you draw your inspiration from music, or where do you do that?

Bree Hill 0:13:44

So I actually have over 40 playlists of different emotions and things, and they all have, like, a description of a scenario or something. I’m an avid reader of fantasy, so I’m quite literally always thinking of something new and something that isn’t really realistic.

Rico Figliolini 0:14:06

Okay. No, I’m not surprised then. Okay. When you were talking about emotion and drawing that out, that almost makes sense. That segues a little bit into one of my other questions. So you like to read? Sounds like fantasy novels. YA novels, I’m assuming. Do you have a few favorites that you would recommend?

Bree Hill 0:14:26

Probably the caraval series and the Lunar Chronicles are most likely my and angel fall. Those are my three favorite series in fantasy.

Rico Figliolini 0:14:39

Ya and playlists. Any particular artists on them that you’d like to share?

Bree Hill 0:14:46

Beyonce. I have, like, 30. I mainly listen to r and B. We’ll keep that as flat ground because artists.

Rico Figliolini 0:15:02

That’s cool. Okay, Esther, what about you? Are there any books or types of books or titles that you like that you would share?

Esther Cooper 0:15:12

I also do love to read. I’m kind of basic in some of my favorites. Like, I love the Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson series, but there’s this really good book that I read in this kind of group, and it was called Echo. So if any of y’all are looking for book suggestions, I would really recommend it because it’s very good. But it’s probably one of my favorite books.

Rico Figliolini 0:15:35

Actually. The Harry Potter. Have you heard that Warner Brothers is actually going to do a tv series now of the Harry Potter books, redoing the books into a tv? They are, yeah, ten episodes per book. It’s going to take them forever to get this done, but, yeah, they’re coming back. And JK Rowling is apparently all for it. I just heard that the other day. My kids grew up on it. I used to read it to them when they were younger until they got old enough to read it, because that’s how long, right. But, yeah, it’s a cool books. So what about playlists, then, Esther? What do you like listening to?

Esther Cooper 0:16:14

I like to listen to classical music a lot, but I really listen to pretty much all genres.

Rico Figliolini 0:16:21

Okay. That’s good. Eclectic. It’s good to be able to listen to different songs and different music. As far as we talked about inspiration a little bit and stuff. But let’s talk a little bit about. Let’s go back to Esther. I know that one of your dreams, apparently, is to have your own bakery. You’re still a young person, so who knows what may happen and transpire over time. But when you think of your dream bakery, what would you want in that dream bakery?

Bree Hill 0:16:54

Baked goods, probably. I don’t know. I’ve always really loved children, like, really young children. So I’d want it to be a place where parents could come with their young children and just kind of have a good time. Kind of be like a cozy little spot. I don’t know, like a family friendly place.

Rico Figliolini 0:17:19

Definitely. No, I can say that, yeah, that sounds good. When you travel, you’re in 7th grade, but have you gone anywhere to other cities that you may have stopped at a bakery or that might have inspired you in some way like that?

Esther Cooper 0:17:38

I do live by some very good bakeries. There’s some nearby. They can get very creative, which is something that obviously is very necessary for this sort of thing.

Rico Figliolini 0:17:55

Did you ever think of maybe seeing if you could get part time job working? I’m not necessarily, like, at a chocolatier or anything like that, but, yeah, that could be something you could do, I guess it’s funny because are you familiar with Peterbrook chocolatier?

Esther Cooper 0:18:12

Yes.

Rico Figliolini 0:18:12

In the Forum okay. Yes. Jeff, who manages the place, is very interesting person. He has summer camps usually, but he also hires high school kids to work for him when they want to work, I guess. And they’ll do anything in chocolate. It’s just totally amazing. And the things they come up with, I don’t even know how they do them. Bree on to you when you’re doing your artwork.

Bree Hill 0:18:38

I do layouts. I do magazine layouts. I do graphic design work like that. I’m not an illustrator or artist by far, but I do layouts and stuff. And sometimes when I get into something, I almost feel like I’m doing clay. I start with clay, and I’m molding it into a shape. And that 72 page magazine is getting molded right on the screen as I’m putting it together without a mockup, almost, which is not the way you should do these things, but this is the way I do it.

Rico Figliolini 0:19:14

Right. Do you find yourself doing things and you’re like, that’s not the way I should be doing it, but let me try it anyway. Let me see how it works.

Bree Hill 0:19:23

Definitely. This is where the phrase abstract and mixed media come into play, where you really don’t. You’ll start out with the plan. You’ll never stick with the plan. I rarely ever stick with the plan unless it’s a self portrait. The painting that you actually pulled up was not supposed to have birds. I was not supposed to be floating. There were not supposed to be ropes. But it felt whenever you feel like it needs something or you want something else into it, obviously you add it, but then it’s kind of like a domino effect, then you’ll want something else to go with that, and it kind of just keeps going.

Rico Figliolini 0:20:00

Right. All right, so let me throw this one up here. Hold on a second. That’s another one you did?

Bree Hill 0:20:09

Yes.

Rico Figliolini 0:20:09

You want to describe that a little bit to us?

Bree Hill 0:20:13

I think of this, like, as you’re in a sunroom, you’re kind of calm laying down flat on your back. Or even if you were like, if it was like a meadow and you were just laying on your back in the grass, tall grass with little dandelions around you, and the sun just reflects so many different shadows. And I like to not always do black and white. I really do like different colors in everything. I do, actually, most of my pieces, probably. You’ll find every single color in it, besides pencil, obviously, but I definitely felt this one as, like, a serene moment.

Rico Figliolini 0:20:54

It looks very serene. Let’s go with. There’s a couple of pictures I want to bring up of Esther’s. Try this one. Actually, let’s do both of these. I’m going to bring up three of them to tell us a little bit about these. What are they? And tell us what you want to show with that.

Esther Cooper 0:21:23

Well, I think the one with the m and Ms on it, that one was for. We were having a Christmas party for my basketball team, and I signed up to bring dessert, and I don’t know, I saw it on Pinterest or somewhere, and it kind of just looked like. It kind of looks like a barrel full of eminem. And I just thought that was a really fun concept. It was very fun.

Rico Figliolini 0:21:51

And those are kit kats on the outside, I guess.

Esther Cooper 0:21:54

Yes, sir. But another thing that you don’t see inside is that when you cut into the cake, it’s a red, green, and white in, like, a checkerboard pattern. So that was very fun.

Rico Figliolini 0:22:06

Cool. Yeah, that was complicated. I’m sure it’s set up like that. Right? What about the chocolate pops? If I’m looking at that correctly.

Esther Cooper 0:22:17

I made a fatal mistake when I started baking, and I told all my friends that I started baking, so they were all like, please bring in cake pops. So it feels like every other weekend I’m making cake pops to bring in for my friends. I think this one was probably, I made cake pops for my math class. I think this is probably those cake pops. I don’t remember.

Rico Figliolini 0:22:41

And this one.

Esther Cooper 0:22:43

That one, that one’s not looking so great. But I really liked the design. It was actually a cake I saw in a cookbook.

Rico Figliolini 0:22:53

Okay. You got a little patriotic, I think, on this one.

Esther Cooper 0:22:58

Oh, that one was really fun. That one was for 4th of July. You can’t tell. It was a s’mores dip. So there was Hershey’s chocolate bars under there. And then you would take graham cracker crackers and dip it in, and it was pretty good.

Rico Figliolini 0:23:16

That’s cool. That’s what you want. You want to be able to get creative and get it going like that. There’s definitely a lot of butter in that, I bet. Let’s go to brie. And we want to. This behaves. That’s the sculpture you did, I think, Bree, right?

Bree Hill 0:23:39

Yes.

Rico Figliolini 0:23:40

And tell me a little bit about the sculptures.

Bree Hill 0:23:46

So these are polar bears. The animals that I did, I was actually experimenting with different glazes. So the dogs that I did were almost oreo. They were light brown, dark brown, cream, and white all swirled into each other. And this one, I wanted to try different textures. And this is actually a different type of clay that leaves a really hoarse. It’s a gritty clay, a different texture, and it has little black dots in it. And it reminded me of a polar bear. And so this was one of the ones that I made with smooth fun.

Rico Figliolini 0:24:27

Cool. Was this at the Wesleyan artist market as well at some point or not?

Bree Hill 0:24:31

Yes. I did this with my elephant, swans and dogs. I had did my elephant, which actually took around a week and a half because I drew every individual aged line in the nose, the legs, the body.

Rico Figliolini 0:24:54

So let me ask you something. When something like that sells and goes off with someone, do you, like, cry a little bit? Is that like my baby’s left?

Bree Hill 0:25:08

I like to think more on the positive side. Like, someone else gets to experience my art. If someone else came into their house or wherever it’s being placed, it gives someone else another emotion, which is kind of life. The sense of spreading whatever I was doing in that moment. And I was actually having fun creating different animals. And I was really happy that someone liked it enough to one buy it, but also have in their home to show it.

Rico Figliolini 0:25:39

Sure. Sure. That makes sense. Esther has a different way of people enjoying hers than literally eat it and it disappears. So how do you feel about that? One stays a while and one is a momentary delight. Yeah, that must be. If I skipped anything. Is there anything, Bree, that you would like to share that we didn’t cover or that your experience that you’d like to share?

Bree Hill 0:26:18

I started something new this year. I do commissions in every medium, so I could also do animals. I’m doing self portraits of any picture. You would just send me a picture via email or phone. I would draw it or paint it. And that’s something new that I’m offering this year at the Wesleyan artist market.

Rico Figliolini 0:26:39

Wow. Okay. Very good. And, Esther, what about you? Anything that I’ve not touched upon that you’d like to share?

Esther Cooper 0:26:48

Not really.

Rico Figliolini 0:26:50

Okay, that’s fine. It’s all good. We have been speaking to Esther and Bree. From all you’ve been through the programs, I’m assuming, like, Bree, you’ve been through some of the art programs and stuff. And Esther, you’ve been through. Does Wesleyan have bakery, baking, cooking, any classes? Like. No. Right. It’s all academic. Academic and sports and science, of course. Cool. So if people want to follow you on social media to watch you, to see your work, or would they visit, is there anything you want to share that way? I don’t know if yours are private accounts or if you have an Instagram that’s open to the public.

Bree Hill 0:27:38

I have an Instagram. It’s called Bubbly Creations by Bree Hill. And obviously I’ll be at the Wesleyan artist market. Those are ways you could reach me.

Rico Figliolini 0:27:51

Cool. Esther, anything on your end other than being at the artist market?

Esther Cooper 0:27:55

No.

Rico Figliolini 0:27:59

Well, I’m having a great time talking to you, learning a little bit about your art and your passions. It’s always good to go through this. Every year we do this with a set of students just before the Wesleyan artist market. So it’s always fun to see different kids, different grades, doing different mediums and how they approach things. So I want to say thank you for sharing with us.

Bree Hill 0:28:22

Thank you for having us.

Rico Figliolini 0:28:24

Sure.

Esther Cooper 0:28:24

Thank you.

Rico Figliolini 0:28:25

Thank you. So hang in there for a minute. I’m just going to sign off. Say thank you again to EV Remodeling, Inc. For being a sponsor of this program, along with other things that we do. You can check them out at evremodellinginc.com. They’re based here, Peachtree Corners. Great family. Eli is a great guy. Check them out. They do great work. So feel free and also check us out at livinginpeachtreecorners.com. And our magazine, the upcoming issue of April, May, will have coverage of three Wesleyan artists, adult artists that will be at the show. And you can find out more information from us there. And certainly you can search the Wesleyan artist market and find out about all the great artists that will be there in April. So thanks again. Appreciate it.

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Arts & Literature

Local Students Show Off Their Artistic Creations

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Courtney Escorza, Colleen Nikopour, Laura Hwang, Jennifer Jackson, Norcross. Laura ELizabeth Martin, Payton Hirschmann, Paul Duke HS

From May 11 through May 18, the Norcross Gallery & Studios kicked off a fantastic exhibition, Reflections at Rectory, which showcased the works of 36 rising stars: AP and IB art students from our local high schools.

The opening reception celebrated their creativity and dedication. Gallery director Anne Hall presented a dozen awards generously sponsored by the community, a testament to the local support for these young artists.

One prestigious award, the Terri Enfield Memorial Award, holds special significance. 

Established by Terri’s daughters, it recognizes not just artistic excellence, but also leadership, work ethic and the spirit of collaboration. Last year’s winner, Aidan Ventimiglia, even played a part in selecting this year’s recipient Jasmine Rodriguez

Reflections at Rectory

Congratulations to all the student artists.

Students in the second annual Reflections at the Rectory exhibit

Norcross High School:

  • Gustavo Benumea-Sanchez
  • Maycol Cruz Padilla 
  • Dorie Liu
  • Harlet Martinez Castro
  • Paulina Santana
  • Gisela Rojas Medina
  • Clare Fass 
  • Ava Netherton
  • Ubaldo Diaz
  • Katia Navas-Juarez
  • Mariah Ingram 
  • Arisdelcy Juan
  • Max Kaiser
  • Dani Olaechea
  • Christina Bonacci 
  • Diana Ortiz Ventura 
  • Katie Yerbabuena-Padierna 

Paul Duke High School:

  • Adamu Abdul-Latif 
  • Salma Noor Alabdouni 
  • Samrin Zaman
  • Camryn Vinson 
  • Liz Damian
  • Cecelia Berenguer
  • Jasmine Rodriguez
  • Angelina Bae 
  • Dahyana Perez
  • Jonah Swerdlow
  • Kyra Allicock
  • Anni Brown 
  • Kaleb Fields 
  • Destiny Jones
  • Gabriela Leal-Argueta
  • Madisyn Mathis 
  • Ashley McDonough 
  • Ahtziri Pinones
  • Alondra Valiente-Torres

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Arts & Literature

Book, TV and Podcast Recommendations for this Summer

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Beat the heat this Summer with a good book, show or podcast. This year, Peachtree Corners Magazine received over 30 recommendations from more than a dozen city residents. There is something for everyone on this list, so let’s dive in.

Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics
by Terry Golway  

This 400-page book offers readers a comprehensive and insightful exploration of one of the most influential political machines in American history. It provides valuable lessons and perspectives on the intersection of politics, power and society.

Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War
Stream on Netflix

This nine-part series offers viewers a thought-provoking exploration of one of the most consequential periods in modern history. It provides deep insights into the complexities of nuclear politics and the enduring legacy of the Cold War.

Fareed Zakaria GPS  
Listen on CNN Audio

This podcast comprehensively examines foreign affairs. It enhances a listener’s global awareness, fosters critical thinking and sheds light on complex issues shaping our world today.

Brian Johnson, City Manager for Peachtree Corners

Empowering Nurses Through Self-care: Unleashing Your Potential and Thriving in the Nursing Profession
by Audrey Boyce

Audrey Boyce offers a practical guide to help nurses find balance and fulfillment in their personal lives and professions. With a comprehensive overview of self-care strategies, this book is essential for nurses looking to recharge, reduce stress and increase job satisfaction.

The Go-Giver, Expanded Edition: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann

The Go-Giver tells the story of Joe, an ambitious young man striving for success. Through Joe’s journey, this book imparts powerful lessons about the significance of giving, collaboration and building meaningful relationships in achieving success.

Special Ops: Lioness
Stream on Paramount+

The protagonist, Joe, attempts to balance her personal and professional life as the tip of the CIA’s spear in the war on terror. The Lioness Program enlists Cruz to operate undercover alongside Joe among the power brokers of State terrorism.

Money and Wealth
Listen on Apple Podcasts

In Money and Wealth, John Hope Bryant provides valuable insights into financial literacy and wealth-building strategies. With a clear and accessible approach, Bryant aims to empower listeners with practical knowledge to achieve financial stability and success.

Bobby Cobb, CEO of Cobb Global Outreach Inc.

1984 
by George Orwell

The new audio drama of George Orwell’s 1984 on Audible is nothing short of phenomenal. With a full cast of film stars and sound effects in stereo, you’ll feel like you’re actually in Oceania, being watched by Big Brother.

Jill Tew, local author of the forthcoming young adult dystopian novel The Dividing Sky

Enter Ghost 
by Isabella Hammad 

I recently read this and loved the writing. The author plays around with formatting between narrating the story and switching to the format of a play to show the dynamics between characters.

Ruwa Romman, Georgia State Representative

Seeing Eye Girl
by Beverly Armento

Beverly Armento’s account of her life in Seeing Eye Girl is truly remarkable. I was captivated by her story of resilience, strength and, ultimately, forgiveness. 

Erin Griffin, Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence Co-President

Never Enough: When Achievement Pressure Becomes Toxic – And What We Can Do About It
by Jennifer B. Wallace

This book presents research on how to raise healthy, joyful achievers in a hyper-competitive world. The author was a guest speaker at Greater Atlanta Christian’s (GAC) Parent Partnership Series this year, and we heard about the importance of children knowing that their intrinsic self-worth is not contingent solely upon external achievements. 

The Anxious Generation
by Jonathan Haidt

Discover the root causes behind the epidemic of today’s teen mental illness. With compelling data, Jonathan Haidt unveils the decline of play-based childhood and offers practical solutions for a healthier, more fulfilling upbringing. We have asked GAC faculty to add this to their personal summer reading list.

Dr. Scott Harsh, President of Greater Atlanta Christian School

Glad You’re Here
by Craig Cooper and Walker Hayes

Glad You’re Here tells the true, redemptive story of country music singer Walker Hayes and his unlikely friendship with pastor Craig Cooper. In alternating chapters, each individual shares their unique perspective on pivotal moments in their friendship, and the book reminded me to prioritize the patient and persistent cultivation of community.

Ann Cousins, Communications Director and Wesleyan School

The Boredom Experiment
Listen on Apple Podcasts

The Boredom Experiment, hosted by Jeremy and Ashley Parsons, is a short, heartfelt podcast series that documents and explores the effect of removing digital distractions and social media from their family’s lives for a year. 

Over eight episodes, they share their experiences and insights into how this experiment impacts their creativity, relationships and overall well-being. The Parson’s storytelling thoughtfully weaves together interviews, music and their musings in such a creative, personal way that makes it an absolute delight to listen to. 

The 1000 Hours Outside Podcast
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Youtube 

Digital Minimalism 
by Cal Newport 

Digital Minimalism advocates for a thoughtful and intentional approach to technology use. Newport argues that constant connectivity and digital distractions hinder productivity and well-being and encourages individuals to choose tools and habits that align with their values and long-term goals. In a digitally crowded world, this book was a needed reminder to be intentional with my time and strategic with how I use technology. 

Natalie Dettman, Creative Director at Wesleyan School

Sideline C.E.O.
by Marty Smith

While on this surface this book offers great wisdom from some of the most successful coaches of our time, it also provides a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of many people we admire. 

From learning about Greg Sankey figuring out how to lead the SEC through Covid as he sat on his front porch to Mack Brown processing through how to lead his football team through racial tensions at UNC, you realize that these men [and women] are normal human beings that face the same difficult choices as the rest of us. 

Not to mention, Marty Smith captures the lives and insight of these coaches in a fun, compelling way!

Practicing the Way
by John Mark Comer

New Kid
by Jerry Craft

Where Do We Go from Here
by Martin Luther King Jr.

Joseph Antonio, Middle School Principal at Wesleyan School

West with Giraffes
by Linda Rutledge

This is lightly based on a true story. It is the story of moving giraffes who survived a hurricane, were rescued in the Atlantic, and were carried cross-country to the San Diego Zoo. It is well-written, and the character development is fantastic. 

Crossing the country with two giraffes during the Depression created excitement in all the small struggling areas. The joy of those who had never dreamed of seeing a giraffe in real life will bring joy to anyone reading this book.

Housewives of True Crime
Listen on Apple Podcasts and Youtube

Moms and Mysteries
Listen on Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify 

Southern Fried Crime
Listen on Apple Podcasts and Youtube

Wiser than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Listen wherever you get your podcasts

Nancy Minor, The Nancy Minor Team

The Women 
by Kristen Hannah. 

A great read about the Army nurses in Vietnam. 

Laurie Rogers, The Nancy Minor Team

In The Woods
by Tana French

This book is a real page-turner. The author is a gifted writer, so even though it is a crime thriller, it reads like a novel. There are six books in the series, and I have read all of them.

Casefiles
Listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify

This is a true crime podcast that has been around for several years. The stories are detailed and very interesting and cases are examined from all over the world. 

Shameka Allen, MBA, MA, CEO of Good Samaritan Health Centers of Gwinnett

Over the Edge of the World
by Laurence Bergreen

Over the Edge of the World is a captivating account of Magellan’s expedition around the world. We all know Magellan’s name but few of us know the rich details behind the adventure and how it unfolded. I was inspired by the courage and bravery of those who took part in the great Age of Exploration.

Arrested Development
Stream on Netflix

This is easily one of our favorite shows. My wife, Meredith, and I have watched and re-watched it so many times and still find it so hilariously funny. The show blends clever writing with quirky characters and intricate, running gags. There’s always money in the Banana Stand!

Dr. Death
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Wondery

This gripping true-crime podcast explores the shocking story of a dangerous surgeon. It’s a must-listen for its compelling narrative, deep investigative journalism and critical insights into medical malpractice and systemic failures. The podcast has since been made into a limited streaming TV series.

Scott Hilton, Georgia State Representative

Sleep Wrecked Kids
by Sharon Moore

This book explains how inadequate sleep affects children’s growth, development and learning. This is a great guide to creating better sleep routines. 

Healthy Sleep Happy Kid
by Meghna Dassani

This quick, easy read offers valuable insights into how sleep impacts a child’s health. It provides practical tips for improving your child’s sleep environment and habits and is a go-to resource for parents aiming to enhance their child’s sleep and overall wellness.

I can’t overstate the importance of good sleep habits for the overall well-being of your child and the entire household. Quality sleep is the foundation for happy, healthy kids and stress-free parents, setting the stage for the best possible summer with your family.

Dr. Gia Grannum, Board Certified Pediatric Dentist of Agape Pediatric Dentistry

The Measure
by Nikki Erlick

I recommend The Measure by Nikki Erlick, which is about to come out in paperback! It’s a great pick for summer reading or a book club!

Poured Over, the Barnes & Noble Podcast
Stream on the Barnes & Noble website and Apple Podcasts

Check out the Poured Over podcast for interviews with your favorite authors, book recommendations for your TBR pile and more.

Amanda Couch, Assistant Manager at Barnes & Noble at The Forum

Want even more recommendations? Check out last year’s list here.

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Arts & Literature

8 Theatrical Performances Coming to the Peachtree Corners Area

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Discover local theatrical performances: mystery, musicals, comedies, and Shakespeare in the Park. Support the arts with every ticket.
Photo by cottonbro studio

Mean Girls: High School Version
Thursday-Friday, April 11-12
Thursday and Friday, 6 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m.
Paul Duke STEM High School
5850 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Norcross
Tickets: Adults, $12; students, $10 and children (ages 5 and under), $5

Adapted from Tina Fey’s hit 2004 film, the Mean Girls musical has been nominated for a staggering 12 Tony Awards. Now, Paul Duke STEM brings the high school version of the show to life.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased here.

The Curse of the Hopeless Diamond
Thursday, April 18. 6:30 p.m.
Anna Balkan Jewelry and Gifts
51 S. Peachtree St., Norcross
Ticket: $25, includes snacks and one glass of wine

The audience-participation murder mystery is a fundraiser for Lionheart Theatre’s summer theatre camp for kids and teens; it’s being hosted by Anna Balkan and 45 South Coffee House.

About the show: Reginald and Daphne Potter are touring extensively, along with their world-famous Potter Diamond, in the company of four detectives. It’s well-known that the Potter Diamond is beautiful…and cursed!

Purchase tickets here.

Anastasia
Thursday-Sunday, April 25-28
Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.
Valor Christian Academy
4755 Kimball Bridge Rd., Alpharetta
Tickets: $20 per person

About the show: Presented by CYT Atlanta, the show spans from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing con man and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family.

Click here to learn more.

Little Shop of Horrors
Thursday-Sunday, April 25-28
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.
Norcross High School
5300 Spalding Dr., Norcross
norcrosshigh.org, nhs-drama.com, 770-448-3674
Tickets: $10

About the show: A horror comedy rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors centers around a florist shop worker who raises a carnivorous plant that eats humans.

Secure your spot.

Seussical
Thursday-Saturday, May 2-4
Wesleyan School Powell Theatre
5405 Spalding Dr., Peachtree Corners
wesleyanschool.org, 770-448-7640

About the show: The fantastical, magical musical is based on the children’s stories of Dr. Seuss.

Discover more here.

Breaking Legs
May 3-19
Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 18 and Sunday matinees, 2 p.m.
Lionheart Theatre Company
10 College St., Norcross
lionhearttheatre.org, 678-938-8518
Tickets: Adults, $18; students and seniors, $16

About the show: In this madcap comedy, an Italian restaurant is owned by a successful mobster and managed by his beautiful unmarried daughter. When the daughter’s former college professor asks for financial backing for a play he’s written about a murder, the three main Mafiosi are intrigued with the idea of producing a play. The daughter becomes enamored of the playwright who discovers, through the ‘accidental’ death of a lesser thug, that his backers are gangsters.

Find tickets here.

Finding Nemo JR
Friday-Sunday, May 10-12
Greater Atlanta Christian School King’s Gate Theatre
1575 Indian Trail Rd., Norcross
greateratlantachristian.org, 770-243-2000

About the show: The hour-long musical adaptation of the Pixar film features Marlin, a nervous clownfish who lives with his adventurous child, Nemo, in the Great Barrier Reef. When Nemo is carried off to Sydney, Marlin must overcome his fears and travel across the ocean to find him.

Learn more here.

Much Ado About Nothing
Saturday-Sunday, May 11-12
Saturday, 2 and 5 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.
Simpsonwood Park
411 Jones Bridge Circle, Peachtree Corners
crewofpatches.org

About the show: Contemporary Classics Theatre presents Shakespeare’s romantic comedy May 11-26 at Simpsonwood Park in Peachtree Corners, Christ Church Episcopal in Norcross and Autrey Mill Nature Preserve in John’s Creek. Director Susanna Wilson’s version of the play is set in Italy during a 21st century film festival. Love at first sight, jealousy and confusion, an illegitimate sibling, mixed-up lovers, three weddings and a funeral fill this amusing look at love, betrayal and acceptance. Performances will be outside for a “Shakespeare in the Park” experience. Audience members should bring blankets and lawn chairs as no seating is provided. Shows run approximately 100 minutes with no intermission. 

Click here for more information.

Want more event happening in and around Peachtree Corners?

Check out our recent article: 25+ Free Events Happening at Peachtree Corners Library in April and May

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