A young boy takes in some of the art on display during the President's Summer Art Series reception.
A young boy takes in some of the art on display during the President's Summer Art Series reception.

Local artists exhibit unique works in Brenau’s seventh annual President’s Summer Art Series

Jun. 14, 2018
Kristen Bowman

For the seventh consecutive year, Brenau University Galleries presents the President’s Summer Art Series, featuring the works of regional artists selected by Brenau President Ed Schrader. The opening reception for the exhibition was held in the Sellars Gallery of the Simmons Visual Arts Center Thursday, June 7.

From left to right: Brenau Assistant Gallery Director Allison Lauricella, Erin McIntosh, Rachel Landers Sisk, Sara Oakley, Lyndrid Patterson, Brenau President Ed Schrader and Brenau Gallery Director Nichole Rawlings pose for a photo during the President's Summer Art Series reception on June 7 in the Sellers Gallery. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

From left to right: Brenau Assistant Gallery Director Allison Lauricella, Erin McIntosh, Rachel Landers Sisk, Sara Oakley, Lyndrid Patterson, Brenau President Ed Schrader and Brenau Gallery Director Nichole Rawlings pose for a photo during the President’s Summer Art Series reception on June 7 in the Sellers Gallery. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Since 2012, Schrader has invited four to five artists from Gainesville and nearby communities to display their artwork each summer. The exhibition runs through July 12 and showcases the work of local artists Sara Oakley, Rachel Landers Sisk, Erin McIntosh and Lyndrid Patterson.

“The President’s Summer Arts Series is a wonderful opportunity each year to showcase local artists who have a connection to Brenau and our community,” said Nichole Rawlings, Brenau’s gallery director. “Each artist shares works representative of their overall artistic endeavors, and it is always a pleasure to see Sellars Gallery full of vibrant and engaging pieces. This year, there is an incredible synergy in the space between the works of our four artists.”

Oakley is the founder of Art Colony Georgia — an organization that provides a group studio for local artists as well as art classes and soon a collective gallery — and is also an alumna instructor for the Brenau University Learning and Leisure Institute. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, native has traveled all over the country and Puerto Rico and spent 15 years in Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2015, she moved to Georgia to be closer to her daughter and her family, before founding the Art Colony in 2017.

Erin McIntosh chats with friends near some of her artword during a reception for the 2018 President's Summer Art Series in the Sellers Gallery at Brenau University.

Erin McIntosh chats with friends near some of her artword during a reception for the 2018 President’s Summer Art Series in the Sellers Gallery at Brenau University.

“Art is absolutely consuming,” Oakley said. “It is possible to earn a living as an artist, if you don’t mind working 60-plus hours a week. The creative living can be done, if you do everything that comes your way and don’t say no.”

Sisk is a fourth-generation Gainesville resident, and her great-grandparents helped establish what became the Quinlan Visual Arts Center in the 1960s. She earned a BFA from the University of Georgia in 2006, with a concentration in scientific illustration. She is the vice president of Global Tree Preservation, a tree-care service in Northeast Georgia that she co-owns with her husband. She also volunteers with The Redbud Project, a nonprofit which aims to protect and raise awareness about the benefits of native plant species in Hall County.

“Art encourages diversity and new ways of thinking and problem solving,” she said. “That’s why it is so important to have art education and a community who encourages and values art.”

McIntosh, born in Delaware, Ohio, moved to Georgia in 1992 with her family. She earned BFA and MFA degrees in studio art and a BFA in art education from the University of Georgia. She teaches color theory, drawing, painting and 2D design at the University of North Georgia, where she has been for eight years. Her paintings depict playful interpretations of microorganisms, stemming from an art project she completed in collaboration with two microbiology professors at the University of North Georgia.

“All the discoveries that have been made, all that we understand about ourselves and the biological world, I think there is creativity in that pursuit,” said McIntosh.

Patterson has been a teacher for over 20 years and currently teaches art and English in grades 6-8 at Da Vinci Academy in Gainesville. Working mainly in oils and watercolors, her abstract pieces are poetic musings inspired by the diverse Georgia landscapes, flowers, plants and nature in general. She earned a BFA from Bob Jones University in 1984 and a MFA from Georgia State University in 1987. She has studied under renowned Southern artists Carl Blair, Emery Bopp and Medford Johnston.

“Art is my refuge,” she said. “It is work, but it is something I look forward to. It is a hiding place for me, my escape from the world, like a little cove I can walk down to that is just mine.”

The President’s Summer Art Series is on display in the Simmons Visual Arts Center at 200 Boulevard on Brenau’s Gainesville campus. For more information, call 770-534-6263 or visit galleries.brenau.edu.

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6299 or +1-800-252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6100 or +1-800-252-5119 ext. 6100