Written by Scott Foxx
A pathway of pristine red bricks now paves the unused lane between the downtown buildings of the Georgia Southern University Business Incubator and Fabrication Lab located next door to CAKE bakery. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, there is a purpose in the pavement. Stroll to the end of the lane and you reach the past home of the Statesboro Youth Ballet, now housed at the Center for Performing Arts located at 41 West Main Street.
Set to open soon in the vacated space, is the Roxie Remley Center for Fine Arts. The brick paved walkway links what has been dubbed an “entrepreneurial zone,” part of the larger vision of the Georgia Southern College of Business. The Roxie Remley Center rounds out the vision by providing space for the study of the visual arts in addition to the Fabrication Lab, a facility with a 3-D printer, and a small business incubator.
An Indiana native, Roxie Remley has been a fixture in Statesboro’s art community for years, having taught art at Georgia Southern from 1950-1976. A model of service, Ms. Remley attained the rank of Captain during World War II, in the Women’s Army Corps earning her master’s degree in art at the prestigious Pratt Institute.
Throughout her life, Ms. Remley has been a prolific artist, producing signature collections of painting, collage and drawing, completing her 20th solo exhibition, “Edge of 90,” at the age of 90.
Volunteering with numerous civic organizations, such as the Statesboro Civic Garden Club, The Bulloch County Historical Society and Statesboro First United Methodist Church, Ms. Remley shows no signs of slowing down.
In 2011, her life of artistic excellence was recognized by the Averitt Center for the Arts as she became the fourth inductee into the Legends of the Arts beside such venerable luminaries as Emma Kelly, Michael Braz, Blind Willie McTell, and Betty Foy Sanders. Naming the visual arts center after her was not only fitting, but the perfect choice.
Under the direction of Mrs. Kim Riner, a ceramicist and MFA graduate of Georgia Southern, the two--story Roxie Remley Center for Fine Arts is divided between 2-D and the 3-D arts. On the first floor are two instructional areas; one is a spacious ceramics room where the study of clay, (glazing, wheel throwing and hand building), takes place.
Next to the ceramics area is a space for the study of drawing and painting, equipped with easels and model stands for the study of still life and figure drawing. Both rooms are equipped with ventilation and hazardous material disposal, making the building both functional and ecologically responsible.
Upstairs the door to the second floor opens to a modern, freshly designed common area surrounded by eight private studios. Chain-link doors into the studios promote a community atmosphere of collaboration, while satisfying privacy and underscoring the industrial design, suggesting that this is not a place to relax, but to engage in the serious work of art making. In these spaces, all of which are already rented, artists of various disciplines will produce their work for the gallery, art fairs or online markets. Affordable studio space is always a challenge for emerging artists, so the benefit of reasonably priced, well equipped studios, along with the collaboration of multi-disciplinary peers in the shared space, is sure to be of great benefit to the area’s aspiring artist community.
The Averitt Center for the Arts has been growing rapidly as part of its Creative Growth Capital Campaign. Funding is being obtained through private donations from local individuals and businesses, with the goal of creating a downtown arts campus serving the broadest array of arts disciplines in state- of-the-art-facilities, taught by top notch professional instructors.
Spurring economic development in the historic downtown area has always been a large part of the Averitt’s efforts, and the renovation of the Roxie Remley Center for Fine Arts is another phase of that plan. Through creative adaptation and re-use, structures with old character and timeless appeal are enjoying new life. The increased traffic of patrons and customers will inspire others in the region to take advantage of the Entrepreneur Zone to bring new businesses and services to the community.
The Roxie Remley Center for the Fine Arts will be welcoming visitors on September 9th & 10th with a ribbon-cutting and gala scheduled for the evening of Friday, September 9th. An Art Market featuring working artists is scheduled for September 10th, where the public is invited to meet the artists and become a patron of the Averitt Center.
Editor’s Note: For further information on the Roxie Remley Center for Fine Arts or to enroll in visual arts classes, please contact Kim Riner at the Averitt Center by calling 912-212-2787 or visit their website at www.averittcenterforthearts.org to sign-up for classes.