The Lyndon House Arts Center is a staple of the Athens arts community. Located on Hoyt Street, the center is operated by Athens County Clarke Leisure Services as a “center of excellence for the benefit and cultural enrichment of young people and adults,” according to their Facebook page.
“Figure Ground”, “A Curation of Self-Image”, “Follow Like Friend” and “Chants / Chance” all opened on November 18th.
Lyndon House will also open a show, “Dignity and Without Barriers,” in December. This exhibition is curated by Maria Elias, who secured the post as part of Lyndon House’s BIPOC program, which supports minority curators who may not have an equal voice in the fine art world.
Didi Dunphy, the program and facilities supervisor at Lyndon House Arts Center, sat down with The Red & Black to discuss the new winter exhibits and Lyndon House’s mission.
The Red & Black: Can you tell me a bit about some of the exhibits?
Didi Dunphy: “Follow Like Friend” is in the South Gallery and features three artists, a sculptor and printmaker, a ceramist and a videographer. What they have in common is their investigation into the nature of social media. The way it could connect us, but also seemingly disconnect us. And this is organized by our in-house exhibition manager, Beth Sale, in the West gallery and they are two medium sized galleries. Upstairs is the “Self Image Curation”, which is hosted by Kendall Rogers. Kendall … was our Art Center Choice Award winner. She had submitted beautiful paintings for our jury to exhibit and we selected her for a solo show and we got to know her and she submitted an exhibition proposal. … [about] issues with voyeurism, beauty, self-effacement and other ideas about how we manage and maintain our Instagram accounts and Facebook pages. “Figure Ground” features figurative artwork by seven artists who all approach different content in their own works, but semantically examine the nature of positive and negative space in a composition, and then explain how the figure is found in the ground or landscape or background.
R&B: What about Chants / Chance, the exhibition with works by Athenian artist George Davidson?
DD: “Chants / Chance: Tincture, Totem et Charms” by George Davidson in the lobby window is an opportunity for us to show and present small sculptures as we do not have a lot of gallery space for this type of work. . And there are several stacked shelves and lighting inside this case. George Davidson is an artist who has worked and lived in Athens for many, many years. He is a musicologist. He’s a poet. He’s a saxophonist. He is a blues musician and author. Basically, as we see in this work, an amazing handyman. He is self-taught. This exhibition is a selection of his small assemblages and most of them are very whimsical or humorous that combine sound mixing materials that he collects over the years. He shapes them together into what might be considered strange toy-like sculptures. These are basically functional / non-functional toys and a wacky sculptural activity that has a nostalgic feeling the way a junk shop might be. I had been hoping to show his work for over 10 years and I don’t know why I got so lucky this time around, but I am delighted to have his work in the facility.
R&B: How does the exhibition proposal process work?
DD: We review it twice in April and September, and [the application is] just online under our Call for Artists tab. We have seven different studios and an open studio subscription. We have classes. We have a children’s wing, we have a historic decorative house. Our main mission is to defend visual artists and amplify their careers. We could post the opportunity for someone to submit a proposal for a show. This can be a group of artists submitting a proposal or a single person submitting a proposal. Proposals could be group exhibitions, individual exhibitions or event type exhibitions. Much of our programming –– past, present and future –– will feature the voices of those people whom we support in their professional pursuit as guest curator or exhibition director.
R&B: What is a day in the life of a supervisor like at Lyndon House?
DD: We have a lot of moving parts and luckily I have a great staff. I have eight staff who all have different job descriptions, from outreach and communication, to managing and curating exhibitions, to managing our arts education wing and our open studio director. . These are all people I rely on a lot to navigate through all of the opportunities that we present. I manage a budget and fundraise. I design programs, I implement programs. I meet the staff, I meet artists, I do a lot of studio tours and I visit other galleries. So there are a lot of moving parts and it’s very busy all the time, but I’ve always said my room is my job and my job is my room. Yes, I sit at a desk most of the day.
R&B: What does Lyndon House mean to you?
DD: I find it very important that our local government and our taxpayers see art as crucial to the enrichment of our existence here. Support for funding, construction, staffing and supporting artists and their careers is simply relevant and important to how we view a liveable community. I am really happy to inaugurate these efforts.