Moultrie Observer

Local News

November 26, 2012

Smithsonian exhibit to close Saturday

Thousands have seen 'New Harmonies,' officials say

MOULTRIE — Thousands of people have passed through the Colquitt County Arts Center’s doors since the opening of “New Harmonies: Celebratng America’s Roots Music” began Oct. 27.

“We’ve been very pleased with the turnout,” said Visual Arts Director Jane Simpson, who was instrumental in getting the national exhibit to stop in Moultrie.

“Jeff [Ophime, the Arts Center’s executive director,] said we had all these visitors from out of town Saturday,” Simpson said.

New Harmonies, part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main program, will end its Moultrie run Saturday, Dec. 1.

The exhibit traces the history of American music — from songs brought here by early settlers and those created by the Native Americans who were here before, through the creation of truly American forms like blues and bluegrass, to the continuing influence of immigrants today.

In connection with the Smithsonian exhibit, the Arts Center compiled a local exhibit as well, featuring Colquitt Countians who have achieved prominence in the musical field. Among them are Jimmy Bryant, a famous guitarist whose brother loaned several items; Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, a songwriting team who composed “Rocky Top” and several Everly Brothers hits; Curtis Gordon, an early rockabilly influence; and Stonewall Jackson, a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

“We had a lot of input,” Simpson said, “a lot of Moultrie people coming by, telling us stories.”

Another companion exhibit, “Rhythm and Roots: Southern Music Traditions,” has been housed at Beans and Strings, a coffee shop at 19 First St. S.E.

Eric Foster-Whiddon, owner of the shop and a private music teacher, said he can’t tell that he’s gotten any additional foot traffic because of the exhibit, but people who came by have commented on it a lot.

Rhythm and Roots features 12 graphic panels that show the history of music in the South, both sacred and secular, from all ethnicities.

“I think it fits the model of our store because we’re about music education,” Foster-Whiddon said.


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