MIDDLE GEORGIA COLLEGE BIG READ PROGRAM KICKOFF
By: Tricia Purser Release Date:04/26/2012
(Cochran, GA) – Middle Georgia College recently kicked off its Big Read program with an Opening Ceremony followed by a Reception and Awards Ceremony for the World in Conflict Juried Exhibition in Peacock Gallery in Russell Hall. Dr. Crystal O’Leary- Davidson, the MGC Humanities Division Chair, welcomed students, faculty, and community members, including Cochran Mayor Pro Tem Willie Basby and Bleckley County Commissioner Robert Brockman, to the event.
The National Endowment for the Arts selected MGC to host a Big Read project in Bleckley County in April 2012. According to the NEA, the Big Read is “an initiative…designed to restore reading to the center of American culture” by funding and sponsoring community activities related to a work of literature. The Middle Georgia College Big Read Grant Committee selected Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried partly due to the long history of military service among community members, the strong connection with Warner Robins Air Force Base, and its message of the importance of stories, said Dr. O’Leary Davidson. “O’Brien, in telling his stories, makes a plea for books themselves and the importance of stories for both the writer remembering and the reader experiencing literature and reflecting on her or his own life,” she said. “We hope that while attending some of the many Big Read events we have scheduled that community members will read O’Brien’s book, think about, and talk to others about it.”
After the Big Read Opening Ceremony, the MGC Art Department and the Big Read Committee honored the winners of the World in Conflict Juried Art Exhibition. Connie Redd won Best of Show for “The News at 4 a.m.” and Jessica Eanes won Honorable Mention for “This Won’t Hurt a Bit.”In their work, the participating artists were asked to consider the many aspects of the “World in Conflict” theme, from their own experiences to the ways conflict has affected local, national, and world events in the past and present.
The show was judged by Jonathan Dye, the Director of Communications at Macon Arts Alliance, Skip Ward, an Assistant Professor of Art at Macon State College, and Charlie Agnew, an Associate Professor of Art at MGC. Agnew, who is also the Director of Peacock Gallery, said “The judges had a tough decision on what to include in the exhibition as well as ultimately deciding what was Best of Show. However, in the end, Connie Redd’s ‘The News at 4 a.m.’ emerged as the clear choice to best represent the ‘World in Conflict’ theme. I want to thank all the artists who participated to make this a great show and all the judges and committee members who worked hard to make this event a success.”
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. For more information on the Big Read program, visit thebigreadcochran.wordpress.com.