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!)
Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

April showers us with food & fun

Jasper Farmer's Market is just one of the delicious highlights of April. Photo by KnowPickens.com

Jasper Farmer’s Market is just one of the delicious highlights of April. Photo by KnowPickens.com

Rainy April is a good time to appreciate the arts in Pickens – indoors and out! Farm markets are opening, there’s a Wine Highway weekend, Sharptop Arts Association’s got a new show, and other tastes of local culture are popping up everywhere.

As any chef will tell you, fresh ingredients are the key to good cooking. It works for enjoying the good life, too – fresh local culture inspires us. And we will get an earful and eyeful of new sounds and sights this month.

  • April is “Bring a Friend to the Market” month, and you’ll get a free dozen eggs on the FIRST Saturday just for bringing a non-family member with you to the Jasper Farmer’s Market, every Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to noon. Also try the Village Market at Marble Hill (near Big Canoe), 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday.
  • Whitestone Farm market (961 Old Whitestone Rd. E., Talking Rock) opens April 19 and they’ll host a “slow-down dinner” the following Saturday, April 26.
  • And what local meal would be complete without grease? “Grease,” the spring musical, that is. Pickens High School Theater Department presents this fun production of one of the most popular musicals ever. Tickets on sale now at the high school or at the door: April 3-5, 7 p.m.
  • For a completely different musical banquet, Anon offers unique arrangements of classical pieces for flute, viola and bassoon. They’ll be performing Monday April 14 at 7 p.m., as part of the Casual Classics series sponsored by Jasper Muse, Fellowship Presbyterian Church on Bent Tree Drive.
  • Speaking of truly local food, the Appalachian Beekeepers Association meets on Thursday, April 10 at 7 p.m. at the Pickens Senior Center.
  • Sample the delights of Georgia wines at Sharp Mountain Vineyard (and others in neighboring counties) during the Wine Highway Weekend, April 25-27.
  • Theater treat: For one weekend only, April 4-5 at 7:30 p.m. and April 6 at 2 p.m., Tater Patch Players brings us The Company Players’ presentation of Talley’s Folly by Lanford Wilson. This visiting production brings together a magical mix of playwriting, acting, and art.
  • The final reception in Sharptop Arts Association’s Youth Art Month is April 5 from 2 to 4 p.m., wrapping up the exhibit of high school students’ art. The gallery is open Thursday and Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PACA is pleased to be a sponsor of Youth Arts Month.
  • Feast for the eyes: Opening April 25 and continuing to May 16, Sharptop Arts Association will have a new show, “April Showers Bring Mountain Flowers.” The opening reception for artists and patrons is Friday April 25, 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Savor the delights of Tater Patch’s new production, “The Savannah Disputation” by Evan Smith, starting April 25 and running through May 4. This is a funny and provocative story about two Catholic sisters, polar opposites, living out their senior years together in Savannah, Georgia. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
  • More eye candy: Jasper Merchants Association hosts the monthly Cruise-In featuring classic cars, on Main Street in downtown Jasper, Saturday April 26, 2 to 6 p.m.
  • Drum Circle is a treat for the ears and the bone marrow. They’re meeting on April 8 – the second Tuesday of each month – at Sharptop Arts Association. Socializing at 5:30 p.m., drumming at 6 p.m. No need to have experience – or even a drum! Children welcome. It’s free.
  • If singing is your kind of vibe, try the Marble Valley Community Choir. Their practice is April 21, 7 p.m. at Creative and Performing Arts Academy, heading toward a May performance.
  • Sassafras Writers Group gives you a taste of writing in many flavors. They will meet at 7 p.m. on April 14 – the second Monday of each month – at Sharptop Arts Association. There’s a writing assignment each month and discussion of literary issues.

Did we miss anything …?

Please let us know about upcoming events! One simple online form – click here. If you need help with the form, there’s a video – click here – or written instructions – click here.

Many thanks to KnowPickens for collaboration on this events newsletter!

Expanding horizons, musically speaking

Anon Ensemble Casual Classics

Casual Classics Concert Series is bringing another engaging musical experience to Jasper with the April 14th performance of Anon Ensemble.  The free community concert will begin at 7:00pm at Fellowship Presbyterian Church on Bent Tree Drive.

Atlanta-based Anon Ensemble is a trio dedicated to expanding the horizons of chamber music. The unique instrumentation (flute, viola, bassoon) lends itself to many different styles of music. With only one existing work for this combination prior to the group’s formation, Anon has created imaginative new arrangements which are both exciting and accessible. The group commissioned composer Eva Kendrick to write their signature piece, Juntos, which means “together” in Spanish. Presenting chamber music in a
way that is fresh, modern, and relevant, Anon is committed to maintaining a broad worldview and incorporating music from different cultures into their performances, championing the work of living composers and seeking out interdisciplinary collaborations. They are also dedicated, both individually and as a group, to outreach and music education. An all female ensemble, Anon serves as mentors to young women through their performing and teaching, encouraging them to aim high.

The members of Anon have performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Sarah McLachlan, Transiberian Orchestra, and many others. Anon will serve as the Ensemble in Residence at the 2013 Atlanta Chamber Music Festival.  Visit www.anonensemble.com for more information.

The Casual Classics Concert Series is an ongoing project of Jasper Muse, Inc., a non-profit based in Pickens County.  The final concert to finish out this season will be The Border Collies with Celtic music on May 12th.



The best play you’ve never heard of…

Talley’s Folly: The best play you’ve never heard of…

Company players tally's follyl

For one weekend only, April 4-6, Tater Patch Players is proud to bring you The Company Players’ presentation of Talley’s Folly by Lanford Wilson. This visiting production brings together a magical mix of playwriting, acting, and art. The play itself is part of a trilogy that Wilson wrote, but stands alone as a beautiful story. It was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle award for 1980. That year, it was also a nominee for the Tony award for Best Play.

The acting talent is provided by two skilled members of The Company Players, who bring this show to you as a special treat. Hailey Fowler plays Sally Talley. Sally is a straight-laced young woman living in a very ordinary small town, Lebanon, MO. She is adored by a very unlikely suitor, the extroverted Matt Freidman of St. Louis. Matt is played by Gabriel Russo. Gabe has visited Tater Patch Players twice before, in the guise of Frank Sinatra, in dazzling supper club musical performances. He is, however, a talented and experienced actor and artist as well.

In the play, set in 1944, Matt has fallen completely in love with Sally the previous summer during a one-week courtship. He has promised, in daily letters, to come to her home on a certain date and propose marriage. The date of this proposal arrives, as does Matt. Sally has decided she and Matt are too different. He’s 42, Jewish and exuberant, bordering on goofy. She’s 31, Protestant and uptight, tending toward chilly. Their backgrounds are completely different, and each seems to be hiding a secret past. They’re  both broken souls and Continue reading

St. Pat’s event at Sharptop

St. Pats event at Sharptop

Sharptop Arts Association has launched a St. Patrick’s Day parade, to be held next Saturday, March 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Artists and groups: You can set up a booth at the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, to sells your goods or to promote Spring / Summer events and workshops.

Costume parade: Dress up in your best greens and compete for prizes!

A $10 fee benefits the Animal Shelter of Pickens County.

Click here for the registration form.

Franklin Pond returns


On Monday, February 24, 2014 at 7:00 PM, Franklin Pond String Quartet returns to the Casual Classics Concert Series.   This patron supported series brings world class musicians to Pickens for free concerts available to the public.

“The Franklin Pond String Quartet returns to amaze our patrons with their command of classical literature. All are members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and instructors in the Franklin Pond Summer Chamber Music program in Atlanta, a unique experience for exceptional young classical musicians. They will be joined by ASO principal flutist, Christina Smith.”

Casual Classics Concerts – Season 8
All Concerts are at Fellowship Presbyterian Church
389 Bent Tree Drive, Jasper GA 30143
Questions: 404-281-0790

Subscribe to us!

Enter your email address to get messages about new posts:

Our support is from


Jasper: Recent photos

Roy Tanck's Flickr Widget requires Flash Player 9 or better.

Photos from Flickr.com

On Facebook