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Sunday, Oct 24, 2021

Resident artists plan to bring community together with clay flowers

Clay flowers created by Macon residents
Clay flowers created by Macon residents

Art is a universal language. If you look at a painting, regardless of who created it, you can glean a meaning from it. Two resident artists at the East Macon Art Village are using sculpting to bring the citizens of Macon together.

Jeni and Forrest Gard are two of the first artists to live in the art village, and they have decided to use their talents for the betterment of the community.

“A big part of the Mill Hill project, the whole East Macon Arts Village, is to re-engage...reactivate the neighborhood,” said Kathy Nolan, marketing director for the Macon Arts Alliance.

The art village is located in a neighborhood, Mill Hill, that was mostly blighted, and the inhabitants struggled to access art. The village project was created to help revitalize the neighborhood and to help provide current residents with ways to artistically express themselves.The resident artists wanted to bring citizens of Macon into that process.

“The Macon Flowers Project is a social engagement project,” Nolan said. The main goal is to “invite those neighbors and people from all over Macon, and for those people to sit at a table together and create art and have conversations with people you might not ordinarily be sitting at the table with.”

The project is one of the ways that Jeni and Forrest Gard are helping people express themselves. They host classes where anyone is welcome to come and make a small ceramic flower. However, the art doesn’t stop there.

Nolan said that the Gard’s are planning on using all of the flowers created in the classes to build a community art piece that everyone will have contributed to. The art piece will most likely be installed near the Mill Hill Community Arts Center on Clinton Street as a part of the “arts park” the Arts Alliance is planning on building there.

Further down the path of this project, Nolan said that the Gard’s will determine what kind of installation they are going to create with the flowers, but no one will know what it is until they decide.

For more information on the on the Mill Hill revitalization project, visit



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