BOLD BUTTERFLY. This chalk art is by Eve Kirkland of Cairo.
A pair of Grady County artists were winners in a special chalk art project in Thomasville recently. The city’s West Jackson corridor, locally known as the Creative District, is undergoing a dual metamorphosis. As the Streetscape Project heads into its fifth month, it has been greeted with big, bright, beautiful bugs in the form of murals, chalk art and an exhibition at Thomasville Center for the Arts Downtown.
A colony of creatives invaded the nooks and crannies of the Creative District as part of BUGOUT, a public art event presented by Hurst Boiler, Ashley HOMESTORE, Astro Pest Control and the City of Thomasville in partnership with Thomasville Center for the Arts. The art has created quite a buzz with its Sept. 6 debut, and will run until Sept. 27.
BUGOUT is a multifaceted public art event involving over 25 artists, ages 16-70, who came from all over the Red Hills, Atlanta, and even Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Creative District was hopping on Sept. 6 as 22 artists completed the chalk art competition along The Ritz Amphitheater’s sidewalk; their subject matter was endangered bugs. Alongside them, four professional sidewalk chalk artists from Atlanta chalked all day as part of a live chalk art experience at TCA Downtown.
The winners of the chalk art competition were crowned that evening with cash prizes – Samantha McCoy, 27, from Tallahassee, FL won Best of Show; Caroline Manuel, 24, from Tallahassee won Most Creative; Nicholas Farrell, 38, from Whigham, won Best Use of Color, and Eve Kirkland, 17, from Cairo won People’s Choice.
Darlene Crosby Taylor, TCA’s Public Art and Exhibition Director, shares the event’s buggy theme “explores traditional bug collections with an artistic twist. Between the murals, chalk art, and exhibition, there really is something for everyone – for both youth and adults.” She continues to say, “We aim to thrill, inspire and educate, and simultaneously drive tourism to the Creative District while it is under construction. It doesn’t ‘bug’ us that the streets are closed, and we hope this event stimulates foot traffic for all the awesome retailers on West Jackson Street.”
In addition to the chalk squares, TCA resident artist Ron Thomson’s vibrant “Flutterby” mural project is on full display at the UnVacant Lot, alongside a firefly mural by Tallahassee artist Charlie Hart, known for his work featured in Thomasville’s local boutique The Hare and The Hart.
Inside, TCA Downtown has two bug-themed exhibitions crawling up its walls. Bob Sober, widely known as the “bug guy” from Tulsa, Oklahoma, has his work on display and available for purchase. This former architect’s photographs of bugs are life-sized and are bright and bold. He discovered a bug’s beauty under a microscope and turned his findings into spectacular works of art. Alongside Bob’s beetles, TCA launched the first of hopefully many senior solo exhibitions, highlighting a local high school senior’s work of art. Winston Cornish, a senior at the Scholar’s Academy, has his insects on display, as well. His body of work is a mixture of pointillism and watercolors.