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August 2007

Indigo Girls

The Indigo Girls are the poets of folk rock music. Their timeless, truth-telling lyrics and consummate musicianship have made them icons for a generation of music lovers. Not content to rest on their laurels, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray perform hits in the GPB studios from their critically acclaimed latest album, "Despite Our Differences." And for those of us who have loved them for a long time, they thrill us with anthems like "Go" and "Closer to Fine."

The Indigo Girls grew up right here in Atlanta. They met while attending Laurel Ridge Elementary School in Decatur. Combining their unique styles of singing and playing, Sailiers and Ray have enjoyed a 20-year career. Their performing is second only to their activism. They strive to improve the environment along with a myriad of social issues that concern them, such as nuclear energy and queer issues. To learn more about their causes or their music, visit their website.

Jazz/Classical Keyboard Competition at Georgia Tech

A piano competition at an engineering school? Why not! For the past nine years Georgia Tech alumnus Richard Guthman has sponsored a national keyboard competition in honor of his musical wife Margaret.

Because the Guthmans love both jazz and classical music, the competition is one of the few in the nation that includes both categories for high school and college students. State of the Arts visited the competition this year and discovered a dazzling array of talent among the competitors, including four young virtuosos right here in Georgia. Visit their website to learn more about the competition and their music school.

Paper Artist Larry Thomas

Somebody I attended a workshop with called them book works, art works in book form. And that kind of works for me. – Larry B. Thomas

Every artist finds the medium that best expresses their ideas, and Larry Thomas's hands led him to artist's books. It's a genre that's unfamiliar to many people, but Thomas is one of its masters. He crafts pop-ups, accordions, scrolls – books of every shape and construction you can imagine – and populates them with collages, created from old books, fliers, posters – any paper ephemera that catch his eye. His books amuse and disturb his viewers with humor and irony. They demand attention and interaction in a way that most art forms do not. And they reflect the quirky personality of this retired print professor. Larry Thomas is one of a kind – and so are his books.

Larry Thomas was recently featured at the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum. To see more of the Museum’s works, visit their website.

A New Look at Author Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor is considered by many to be one of America's greatest writers. A native of Savannah who lived nearly all her adult life in Milledgeville, O'Connor developed lupus when she was 25 and died from the disease at age 39. In her brief life she wrote two novels and some of the finest short stories ever penned by an American writer.

A devout Catholic, O'Connor’s fiction is filled with violence and grotesque characters, creating a mystique around O'Connor which remains to this day. So when 274 letters written by O'Connor to a fan were unsealed after 20 years in May 2007, both critics and the public eagerly sought to learn more about the enigmatic writer from Georgia. In this segment State of the Arts takes a new look at Flannery O'Connor. To learn more about O’Connor and her work, visit Andalusia Farm's website.

Art Appraisal at the Georgia Museum of Art

Everybody knows about the popularity of PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow,” so the Georgia Museum of Art decided to bring the concept closer to home. Folks from the Athens area were invited to bring their antique treasures and works of fine art to the museum, where top-of-the-line appraisers from the international firm Bonhams and Butterfields promised to take a look at them.

A lot of people showed up, including kids bearing original Salvador Dali prints and a grandmother-grandson duo sporting a Russian painting which may be the find of the year. Visit the Georgia Museum of Art for more information on their current exhibit and happenings at their website.

Jack Leigh: An Appreciation

Born in 1948, Jack Leigh began his work in photography after finishing his studies at the University of Georgia in 1972. From the beginning of his career, he desired to record the people, places and lifestyles of the South, his native region. In 1993, he became widely known after his haunting photograph of Silvia Shaw's Bird Girl appeared on the cover of John Berendt's bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Over 56 years, Leigh authored five books dedicated to the images of the South, such as Oystering: A Way of Life and The Land I’m Bound To. State of the Arts remembers Leigh, who died of colon cancer in May 2004. To see more of Leigh’s work, visit his website.