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Artists’ Row – Downtown Augusta

Guest Blog Submission by Lori Cogan, Bristol, VA

I am an artist at heart. If I could quit my marketing job tomorrow, I’d grow out my gray hair, put it in a bun on top of my head, don a smock, and turn my home office into a studio. Ah, well, that will have to wait another decade or so. In the meantime, I enjoy the artistic endeavors of others. And if it’s really good, I just revel in it.

Such was the case when I ventured through Artist’s Row shops and studios in downtown Augusta last week. 

Artists’ Row was started in 1994 as part of Augusta’s revitalization project in the historic buildings along Broad Street. According to their website, www.augustaartistsrow, Galleries, working art studios, specialty shops, restaurants and coffee houses have flourished in the beautiful historic district. There are close to a dozen shops that are part of this destination shopping experience.

 

A couple truly stood out for me. A quiet walk through Gallery on the Row admiring the original jewelry, paintings and handcrafts turned into a party when we got to the display of Margaret Ann Smith’s work. My colleague Melissa and I literally started jumping up and down clapping at what hung on the wall before us. It was a riot of color—and the style was part Dali, part Escher, part Van Gough—yet all Margaret Ann Smith. What was most delightful was that her artwork depicted historic, architectural and happy scenes all around Augusta. The gallery manager was happy to tell us all about the artist, which gave us a deeper appreciation for the work. Our favorite was titled, “Round Midnight at the Clock, ” but we loved them all. We promptly bought a set of all the images printed on note cards.

I also enjoyed every moment I spent in Art on Broad, especially talking with owner. It’s evident she loves her artists and their work brings her daily joy. She gushed right along with me about some of the pieces I was admiring out loud. And I could tell she wasn’t just being polite.

There were little pieces of art easy to buy—great tiny finds—like button rings for $2 and beautifully textured clay magnets 3 for $12. When I picked a couple of rings as fun gifts to bring home to friends, the owner insisted on boxing and bagging them beautifully with tissue as if they cost 20 times as much.

On the other end of the investment scale were gorgeous painted canvases, unique copper bricks covered with graphics and inspirational messages, whimsical colorful pottery…and so much more. There were items priced in-between, as well, of course. Melissa purchased a beeswax honey pot candleholder for her mother. A quirky clock insisted I take it home. It now hangs in my office, a reminder that someday it will hang in my own art studio. And that makes me smile.

 

I highly recommend a trip to Artist’s Row. It’s just the right place to find something that will make you smile. And when you do…take it home. It will be time and money so very well spent.

Artists’ Row
Broad Street – Downtown Augusta, Georgia
http://www.augustaartistsrow.com/

 

My ‘Holiday’ Saturday in Downtown Augusta

It was another beautiful Saturday in Augusta, so I decided to phone a friend and see if she wanted to head to Downtown Augusta with me for the  bi-monthly Saturday market. She said yes, so off we went!

The Augusta Common was filled with several unique local vendors. There were homemade baked goods by Lily’s Bakery & Cafe located in Evans, handmade pottery made right here in Augusta by Tire City Potters, an array of salads such as cucumber salad and pasta salads prepared by Paulette’s Best Foods Inc. in Waynesboro, several handmade jewelry and apparel booths and stunning college, golf and historic Augusta art painted by Scott McPherson & Associates Art Distributors.

The event was fun for adults and children alike. There were several activities especially for the little ones, such as, a clown who could make balloon animals and writing and mailing letters to Santa. My friend’s daughter had just as much fun as we did!

This Saturday in Downtown Augusta was filled with so much excitement, because this particular day there was also the Miss Augusta Fantasy Parade and the Christmas Light Up Spectacular. The parade featured many friendly faces that everyone in the Augusta area knows and loves and our area school bands. Immediately following the parade there were even more family fun activities and entertainment in the Augusta Commons.

An excellent conclusion to this fabulous Saturday was the lighting of Downtown Augusta by Mayor Deke Copenhaver once the sun went down.  It was a great time had by all who were in attendance

Antiques and Flea Markets in Augusta

I have lived in the Augusta area for the majority of my life and have just recently discovered some of our secret shopping treasures!  A couple of months ago, on a slow Sunday afternoon my husband decided to check out the Riverfront Antique Mall. What a treat!  As far as antique malls go, this place is ranked pretty high in my book. It is located indoors, which means you can enjoy it year-round, even during a hot and humid southern summer.  There are all sorts of different vendors, so the antique mall is organized by vendors. Most vendors have one ‘booth’ but some are large enough for two or three.  The best part is the variety.  You can find almost anything inside, from vintage clothes and handbags to books, music and furniture.  I am a collector of carnival glass and have been able to add to my collection with several different great finds here, like his blue compote. It works great as a fruit bowl, too!

We also found a booth with all sorts of Masters souvenirs and Augusta memorabilia. Since these items are only available once a year during the tournament, you can find them in antique stores around town.

The Riverfront Antique Mall even has a little cafe inside serving sandwiches and snacks.  This was a treat for me, since we ended up spending almost 3 hours here on our first visit!

One of my other favorite spots to visit is the Barnyard Flea Market in South Augusta. They have everything under the sun, from produce and plants to antiques and car parts.

The Barnyard is an open air market and also has several different spots for snacks too, in case you get the munchies while you’re wandering around on the search for a bargain. I’m usually on the lookout for another piece of carnival glass, but last time we were out there I found some lovely little tomato plants for my garden, for only $1 each.  You never can tell what you might find just around the corner!

French Market Grille and Shopping in Augusta

Just wanted to write a quick note about a lovely lunch today in Augusta. I went to the French Market Grille in Surrey Center. This is a great place for a Cajun meal. I did not sit at the raw bar today. I ordered the She Crab Soup and the Jambalaya. Fantastic! Not too heavy but a three course meal – including salad. Very filling and relaxing – as you can guess no kids today although this is a kid-friendly restaurant. Of course, they offered the famous peanut butter pie for dessert but knew that would put me over the edge and a nap would be required. And there was no napping, since I was heading next door to do a little shopping next. Talbots, the Toy Box, and the Estate Jewelry Center were all on my list. Julie at the Toy Box always has the best gifts for my boys and Joel at the Estate Jewelry Center always has the best gifts for me!

Augusta Pride Parade & Festival

I had the opportunity to witness a first in Augusta!  I attended the first Augusta Pride Parade and Festival.  It was a celebration of diversity and equality among everyone living in the surrounding area.  It started out with a great, fun parade down Broad street.  The crowd was lively and the floats and dressed up cars and trucks were a sight to see.  Afterwards, everyone moved to the Augusta Common where vendors were selling food, jewelry, clothing and Pride t-shirts.  There were activities for children as well.

I left the event around 1:30 to go cool off and be back in time for the main event.  Grammy Award Winning Disco Diva Thelma Houston!  Thelma just turned 67 and she still has it.  She turned it out with her rendition of some of the great musical groups of the past.  Ms. Thelma ended it with her most famous song “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and I must say I was really impressed with her singing and her moves. 

The final touch for the evening – there was a rainbow in the sky!  All in all, despite the heat this was one of the best first time events I’ve been to in a long time and I can’t wait for next year! 

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