I started working at the Averitt Center for the Arts in 2017 and became box office manager in 2018. I have also served as assistant to the gallery coordinator since 2019. Currently, I am transitioning out of my role as box office manager and into that of communications officer. Until recently, my “office” has been located on the first floor of our main location, the old Bank of Statesboro. As you walk through the red doors, you enter a room that serves as the box office, Main Gallery, and front reception area of the Averitt Center.
Over these last several years, I have sold countless tickets and made many friends from the front desk. I have also been allowed to grace the Jan Brown Anderson Stage of our beloved Emma Kelly Theater for a few theatrical and musical performances. I can tell you that, for me, the magic of our little corner of East Main Street has never faded. With all of that said, I would like to share with you about the exciting events we have coming up to close out our 19th performance/gallery season.
First up, through March 3, we will be displaying our exhibition, Voices, in the Main Gallery. This exhibit will showcase the talent of local BIPOC artists Gabriel Diaz, D’Antre Harris, Johnesia Lucas and Nancey Price. As I am writing this, our gallery team is in the middle of hanging this exhibition. It is such an exciting time for all involved, as the artists carefully deliver and unveil their artwork. Our wonderful gallery coordinator and Visual Arts director Kimberly Riner is busy curating the space, finding the perfect placement for each piece. When she is done, our facility coordinator Clint Tootle will apply the finishing touch by adjusting the lighting so that everything is beautifully lit. There is a lot of work and thought that goes into bringing each of these exhibits to life!
We typically change out our Main Gallery artwork every two months. So, we will have two more gallery exhibitions this season. Lisa D. Watson’s exhibit will open March 9. Watson is a gardener and environmentalist who uses recycled materials as her artistic medium. We will close out the 2022/23 gallery season with an exhibit of Michael Laban’s work. His show will open May 11. Our Main Gallery at 33 E. Main St. is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is sponsored by Burney Marsh and John Tucker, Bill and Virginia Ann Franklin Waters, Lawrence and Kathleen Smith, Drs. Patrick and Theresa Novotny, the Statesboro Regional Art Association and Frazier’s Flowers. All our galleries are free to the public.
Next up, we have several musical concerts for you to mark on your calendars. On February 3 at 7:30 p.m., Dr. Michael Braz will bring us Timeless Classics & Popular Standards. Braz is one of our Averitt Center Legends of the Arts, alongside Emma Kelly and Blind Willy McTell, among other great local artists. Braz is not only a wonderful pianist, but he is also a mesmerizing performer. During one segment of this concert, he will do his “request roulette,” in which the audience gets to choose the songs. Tickets are just $20.
On March 4 at 7:30 p.m., Chi-Town Transit Authority will deliver their reproduction of the Chicago concert experience. This eight-piece tribute band is sure to take you on a stroll down memory lane. We have had a lot of fun over the past few years bringing in several tribute bands that sound and look just like the real thing. It’s a way for our small community to have what would normally be an expensive, big city experience. The Chi-Town Transit Authority concert is sponsored by Broucek & Colson, Attorneys at Law. Tickets are just $30.
We will host our final ONE Series performance of the season on March 10 at 7:30 p.m. For those of you who are not familiar, ONE is a concert series highlighting one gifted local individual at a time. During this show, the audience shares 90 minutes with an established artist of the community, via guest-host interviews, family members and, of course, performing. This installment will feature an interview with and concert from guitarist/vocalist Dr. Dan Larkin. Side note: In his spare time, Larkin is a philosophy professor at Georgia Southern. The ONE Series is sponsored by Brinson, Williams & Groomes Insurance. Tickets are just $20.
Speaking of our ONE Series, last season we featured Braz in the series. We had so much fun that we decided to invite him back this year! The same thing happened with Chris Mitchell. And not only is Mitchell returning, but he’s bringing his old band, Wallace Green, with him on March 25 at 7:30 p.m. You heard right. The local 90s band consisting of Mitchell, Brian Hendrix and Larry Summerlin is back together in 2023 for their Hometown Reunion Tour. Tickets are just $30.
Last up, we have two selections from our beloved community theater to round out the season. On Feb. 23-26, our talented troupe will bring you Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka.” Thursday through Friday shows are at 7 p.m. Sunday matinee is at 3 p.m. This musical follows the mysterious, charismatic candy maker as he tries to select his successor from among five children with big personalities. The show will be directed by Averitt Center newcomer Annika Simpson. Simpson is a graduate of Georgia Southern and is no stranger to the stage. She has worked in our box office since last July and has recently been promoted to administrative assistant. As you can see, we are so lucky to have so many multi-talented people on our staff and in our community. We cannot wait to see how her direction brings this story to life. “Willy Wonka” is sponsored by Georgia Technologies. Tickets are just $25.
The final play we will bring to you is “Bright Star.” One of your favorites, Brandi Harvey, will direct this bluegrass musical, written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. The dates for this show will be April 20-23. If you’re interested in taking the stage yourself, be on the lookout for audition dates for this show; we will be casting it soon.
The Averitt Center Main Gallery and the Emma Kelly Theater are both located at 33 East Main Street. For tickets or questions call our main line at 912-212-2787 and speak to one of our dynamic front desk duo, Cody Thomas and Annika Simpson. Or visit our website at averittcenterforthearts.org.