Drummer Boy … and Girl

Come join the Jasper Rhythm and Flute circle from 6:00 to 7:00 Tuesday, December 9th,  at the Sharptop Arts Center.  As usual, instruments will be provided, kids are welcome, and there is no charge!

Holly, Jolly Good Times

Holly, Jolly Good Arts and Culture

This December will host holly and jolly good times in Jasper and all of Pickens County as we celebrate the Season, the change of seasons, and conclusion of 2014!

Community Celebrations

  • During December visit the Pickens County Library to enjoy the many beautiful and unique trees decorated by local businesses and organizations that will be on display. While you are there, take your left over holiday cards and participate in a holiday card exchange – for each one you leave take a new one.  For more information please contact the Pickens County Library at 706-692-5411.
  • Dec 6 The 8th Annual Night of Lights sponsored by the Jasper Merchants Association. The theme is ‘Old Fashioned Jasper Christmas’. The celebration will include Parade of Lights making its way from North to South Main. Other events include: A visit and sit down with Santa Claus, local choirs, marketplace of food and craft vendors, a special Lighting of the Tree ceremony and more. Starts at 3pm, Lighting of Christmas Tree 5:45 pm. Parade at 6pm
  • Dec 11-12th 8th Annual Live Nativity & Festival of Lights at Wildwood Christian Academy. Drive through the campus and enjoy Wildwood’s Christmas Gift to the Community featuring Live Nativity, Festival of Lights, enchanting Christmas trees, Santa’s Village, Carolers and much more. Donations will support Sheriff’s Foundation of Pickens County 6-8pm
  • Dec 6 Big Canoe inaugural Winter Ball at the Clubhouse at Lake Sconti. Limited to 170 people and reservations are required. Cost $65 per person. Contact Becca Weck to reserve your spot or for additional information,bweck@bigcanoepoa.org. 6pm
  • Dec 31 Party Local! New Year’s Eve Downtown Jasper – DJ, Dancing, Photo Booth, Vendors, Fireworks & More! Bring in 2015 in Downtown Jasper, GA
  • Dec 31 Rocco’s New Year’s Eve with Live Music by Roadhouse starts 8pm

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Finding the Light


‘A Celebration of Light’

Make plans to attend the performance by the youth of Creative and Performing Arts Academy for the holidays on December 13th at 3:00pm.

From Director, Lexi Klupchak:

“As the holidays approach this year it seems that humanity is shrouded in a dark spector of extreme illness, racism, poverty and war. That is why you should come join a really amazing group of kids from Jasper, GA on December 13th at 3PM. Over the course of just a few classes these kids have discussed the state of the world and created a show that reminds us to look for the pockets of Light that still exist and that connect us all, across the world. To bring some light, laughter and warmth into your holiday season, please come join these remarkable kids for their show: Celebrations of Light.”

‘A Celebration of Light’ by the Creative and Performing Arts Academy, will be held at Tater Patch Players Theater.  Admission is donations at the door to Creative and Performing Arts Academy.

Fall Rambling

Late fall has the Appalachian Mountains and Georgia foothills shimmering with leaves full of rich color and that wonderful crisp air. Load up the car, choose those favorite tunes, and set the GPS.   Join a select band of eclectic artists, art advocates, and local businesses and discover rambling and the creative spirit in all of us.

Chameleon Logo

The North Georgia Art Ramble is a free, self-guidedStudio and Gallery Tour“.  Visit individual working artist’s studios and local galleries on December 6 and 7, 2014.

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Celebrate Wine in Pickens

Sharptop vineyards 007-3 (1)

Pickens Arts and Cultural Alliance will host an evening of wine tasting, light hors d’oeuvers and music by The Orange Walls at Sharp Mountain Vineyards on Thursday, Oct. 30 from 6 to 8 pm. The event is open to the public. No reservations are required.

Sharp Mountain Vineyards are owned by Ron and Jody Rathgeb and is known for its handcrafting of fine wines in the old-world fashion. The vineyards proudly produce eleven varieties of the regions finest wines. Free tours will be given early during the event.

Everyone attending will receive free entry into the raffle for a Regionally Themed Gift Basket by PACA – including many handcrafted items from Pickens County. (Must be present to win) Wine tasting is $5.00 per person. You must be 21 years or older to have wine.

The Meet the Artist Events by PACA began in 2013 as part of the groups efforts to spotlight Pickens County artists of all forms, including culinary and natural culture. Sharp Mountain Vineyards was selected as the Fall 2014 Artist of the Quarter because of their excellence and passion for their art of winemaking. Past Artists of the Quarter are Mark Walker (visual), Tater Patch Players (theater), and Old Talking Rock Schoolhouse Musuem (history).

Join us for fabulous views, wonderful wine, and meet the owners of the vineyard. The event is held at 110 Rathgeb Trail in Jasper. For more information, email PACAGeorgia@gmail.com.

Octoberrrrrr eventssssss

There’s a whole month of hauntingly great entertainment ahead… Light a big candle and peer into the arts and culture in Pickens County, and you’ll gain the power to shoot down zombies.


Click below for a full listing of delightfully spooky and not-so-spooky events.  (And be sure to sign up for the PACA Monthly Events Newsletter so you won’t miss out on what is happening in Pickens County!)
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Travel the North Georgia Farm Trail

By Christopher Barker, Smoke Signals

Growing opportunities to entertain the senses, especially taste, are bringing more traffic to the North Georgia Farm Trail in 2014.

Farmer Dick Mills
Anyone wanting fresh produce can find plenty at a variety of stops along the North Georgia Farm Trail. Photo by Joyce Dumas

Agritourism travelers exploring the areas around the Highway 515/76 corridor between Jasper and Hiawassee can hear music at festivals and wineries, touch alpaca fibers, see historic places and handmade creations and, of course, smell and taste food and drink worthy of a farm trail.

The North Georgia Farm Trail along the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway began consolidating information about the area’s customer-pick farms, orchards, wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, farmers markets, heritage sites, bed-and-breakfasts and other places to stay and more in 2013. A printed guide available in the state’s welcome centers, local chambers of commerce, military bases, tourism offices, lodging rental offices, participating trail locations and elsewhere now guides the public along the trail route, presenting options for places to visit.

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Voices from the Community

The Pickens Arts and Cultural Alliance (PACA), a non-profit group organized to support and encourage arts and cultural groups in Pickens County, heard reports from local groups, elected new board members and presented a review of 2013 activities at its annual meeting February 19th.

For the first time, PACA used video reporting to capture the reports from attendees.  Before and after the meeting, PCMS 8th graders Will Denney and Jordan Merrell were interviewing and recording the statements from individual artists, community arts/history/cultural group representatives, and businesses in the arts here in Pickens County.  A few groups were asked to report during the meeting including Tater Patch Players (Janet Vardaman), Sharptop Arts Association (Michal Block), Jasper Muse/Creative and Performing Arts Academy/Casual Classics (Crystal Merrell), Kaluna Community at Whitestone (Meghan Cole), and Old Talking Rock Schoolhouse (Gloria Beaudet).  The reports included a brief description on the past year and plans for the coming year. Individual reports with additional information can be found here.

PACA was excited to present the new PACA Board Member nominees to the membership.  The nominees were Pat Jewell (several art endeavors and Tater Patch Players publicist), Kevin Boyle (PCMS and PHS Band), Kim Komenda (artist and Jasper Art Gallery owner), and Cliff Brooks (Pulitzer and Georgia Author of the Year nominee, promoter of southern art/literature/ music).  Two current board members, Ashley Bridges and Amelia McIntrye, were up for reelection to the board.  All were unanimously approved by the membership on hand.  Other current board members included outgoing President Lisa Schnellinger, President-elect Crystal Merrell, Vice President-elect Janet Vardaman, Secretary-elect Heather Poole, Treasurer Larry Wilson, Angela Reinhardt, Mike Davis, and Becky Denny.

Rhonda Lindsey and Vered Kleinberger were recognized for their work on the newPACA Events Poster by poster coordinator Crystal Merrell.  These ladies have produced two posters to date, the first in the Fall with local artist Mark Walker’s drawing as the featured art and the second in the Winter with Tater Patch Players featured in a photo by Donna Gaddis Photography.  The poster list events happening in Pickens County for the quarter as well as display the featured artist’s work.  Sponsors working with PACA for this project are KnowPickens.com and Royston, LLC.  For more information on the PACA Events Poster and Featured Artist, visit the PACAGeorgia.org website.  The next PACA Events Poster will be distributed for the months May-July.

Immediately after the meeting adjourned, a Collaboration Workshop was held in which participants were randomly assigned to groups of 4.  The groups were given instructions and 15 minutes to come up with a collaboration idea for their team and the organizations they each represented.  As there was no real commitment being made in the workshop exercise, the groups could get as imaginative as they liked.  Groups were instructed to come up with a Fantasy Collaboration, a possible Real Collaboration, or both.  Ideas included flashmobs, community concerts, repairing the fireplace in the old log cabin on Main Street, and a variety of events with many different artists and groups collaborating.

PACA Collab 2

The Best Fantasy Mash Up Collaboration team winner included Larry Wilson (PACA Board Member and local potter), Dr. Ardsley Ames (Big Canoe Writers Group and Sassafrass), Kristen Rosenthal (co-owner of Wolfscratch Farms), and Rhonda Lindsey (Dandefinds and PACA Events Poster committee).  Their idea was for an event titled “Tiptoe Through the Tomatoes” to be held at local Wolfscratch Farm with local music and artists having displays throughout the gardens.  Attendees would be invited to wear formal attire but to have farm boots for footwear.  (Although this won the best Fantasy Collaboration, it was a popular idea for a possible real event!)

PACA collab 1

Best Idea for Collaboration team winner was composed of Vered Kleinberger (Keep Pickens Beautiful President, Edible Jasper, Educational Excursions), Janet Vardaman (Tater Patch Players President, Friends of the Library), Mary Ellen Johnson (Sassafrass Literary and Sharptop Arts member), and Jim Francis (Big Canoe Artists Group).  This group presented an idea to market local arts and culture through a video sponsored by PACA that features pictures of individuals and groups in the Pickens.  The video would be shown on local, regional, and local lodging channels.  This popular idea was the clear winner as it benefits everyone, although all the ‘real’ collaboration ideas were excellent.

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