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Everything Will Be OK at the Spruill Center for the Arts

By Christian Burney

The Spruill Center for the Arts was founded in 1975 in Dunwoody, Georgia. The non-profit was established to undertake the mission of fostering an understanding and appreciation for the visual arts. Today, the arts center serves nearly 5,000 students annually.

A variety of visual art courses are available for aspiring and seasoned artists alike. Courses offered include painting, photography, jewelry, ceramics, sculpture and more. "Our Ceramics and Jewelry Departments have the most students," says Clare Callahan, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator. "Our Ceramics Director estimates that students created about 17,000 pieces this year!"

In addition to regularly scheduled courses, Spruill Center for the Arts also provides dozens of what Callahan calls "Make-and-Take" classes, which are one-day workshops designed to introduce beginners to a new medium such as watercolor, beading, or even soap making.

Spruill Center for the Arts maintains strong community relations - not only thanks to well-taught courses, but also because of the sheer positivity that radiates from the center. In 2009, Atlanta artist Jason Kofke designed a sign for the center's Emerging Artists exhibit. The installation was intended to be temporary and consisted of black typeface hand-painted across a white backdrop that read, "Everything Will Be OK."

"The sign became an instant sensation within the community during the Recession but eventually deteriorated and was replaced," says Callahan. "However, the Gallery received dozens of calls and public outcry for the sign's return, so it was recreated with permanent material and remains today."

The sign is so popular, in fact, that compliments and warm thanks directed to the center are commonplace. Earlier this month, a woman shared a heartwarming story with Spruill Center for the Arts over its public Facebook page. "The day after her father died from cancer," recounts Callahan, "she said a silent prayer in the car for a 'sign' from above that her Dad was ok. When she looked up, she saw the 'Everything Will Be OK' sign. It gives you chills!"

"We had a lot of families take their Christmas card photos at the sign this year," Callahan continues. "It's guaranteed to put a smile on your face, even if you're sitting in traffic."

Spruill Center for the Art's sense of goodwill doesn't end there. The center has partnered with the United Way of Atlanta's Regional Commission on Homelessness for its Art for Vets campaign. The arts center hosted painting workshops free of charge, providing all the needed materials to attendees, and donated over 50 finished pieces to veterans moving into permanent housing. "It was incredibly inspiring to see painters of all ages and skill levels using their talents to say thank you," says Callahan. "The best part was having a previously homeless Veteran come and speak at the beginning of the workshop."

"I'm proud of our work," says Callahan. "In terms of our programming, variety of disciplines and quality of instructors, Spruill Arts is one of the best community art centers in the Southeast. The Spruill Gallery has a huge impact through exhibits and I love being around the unbridled creativity. I love seeing the joy of someone leaving a class feeling proud of their work."

The Spruill Gallery is located at 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road in Atlanta, GA. The Spruill Center for the Arts is located at 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road in Atlanta, GA.

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About The Author

Christian Burney will soon graduate with a BFA in writing from the Savannah College of...

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