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Newell Scholar exhibition boasts student’s projects, community partnerships

Leon Johnson

The Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Distinguished Scholar Leon Johnson will conclude his time at Georgia College with an exhibition at Andalusia Friday, May 2 at 6 p.m.

For graduate student Rebecca Milby, this exhibition is the final highlight to her semester-long journey in Johnson’s class.

“People from all different backgrounds and businesses have found such unity in working with Leon, and it has been so amazing to see the fruition of those new connections,” said Milby.” I have just enjoyed seeing people combine their passions and interests into something so unique.”

At the exhibition, Milby will present a field guide of her great-grandfather developed into a handmade book she created during the course.

“Leon encouraged us to find a triangulation somewhere in our lives that we would like to explore. I took that literally and focused on the bank, church and cannery in my hometown of Meansville, Ga., which happen to form a perfect triangle of land. What connected them all together, was H.G. Langford, my great-grandfather,” said Milby “At different times in his life he was president of the Bank of Meansville, co-owner of the former Langford and Taylor Cannery and a deacon at Meansville Baptist Church for 70 years. I really loved being able to learn more about such a well-loved and respected man that I had never met.”

Finding the information for her book involved her whole family, including her 89-year-old grandmother, who actually attended Georgia College during WWII with Flannery O’Connor.

“She was able to share stories of what it was like growing up in Meansville and working in the cannery, which was fascinating,” said Milby. “I never would have thought to talk to her about such things before this class. I’m grateful for that now.”

The exhibit will feature Milby and other student’s work and is free and open to the public.

Pieces on display include student work from his seminar class and a display of creative work initiated with a range of community partners and the Georgia College Department of Art.

The exhibition “Taken Aback: The Uncanny” will also include installations, film screenings and a poetry reading by Francis Barber direct from Detroit.

“The presentation represents the culmination of wonderful student work from my seminar ‘Taken Aback,’ including their hand-bound journals, the fruits of a range of community collaborations and the final event in the rich collaboration with Elizabeth Wylie and Andalusia,” said Johnson.

Chef Jonathan Kung from Hong Kong will again be in residence, along with Georgia College Executive Chef Leslie “Theo” Gumbs, who both will be providing food for the evening.

For more information, contact the Department of Art at 478-445-4572.

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