Hambidge Center provides creative outlet for artists

The Mountain Traveler - Summer 2018

Spanning 600 beautiful acres of Rabun County is the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, where each year, artists come from across the country and the world to let their artistic juices flow.

The Hambidge Center’s main role is that of a residency program for artists to develop and express their creative voices, drawing inspiration from the natural beauty and seclusion of the camp, located in Rabun Gap.

The Hambidge Center’s residency program opens in mid-February and closes in mid-to late-December, through the month of January.

In that time, artists of all varieties stay for two to eight weeks in one of the center’s nine remote cabins.

Many types of artists have participated in the residency program over the years. Past artists have specialized in all sorts of arts, such as visual arts like painting, ceramics, photography, sculpture, printmaking, conceptual art and woodworking; design fields like architecture, interior design, industrial design and graphic design; forms of literature including fiction, poetry, journalism, playwriting, literary nonfiction; disciplines of music such as composition, theory and performance; and much more.

The center does more than offer an impressive artist residency program. It also hosts a number of art festivals throughout the year.

The Great ARTdoors Festival, held in the fall, grants the public full access to the artist retreat, and allows them to see the works of the artist residencies and many other talented artists.

The Hambidge Center Great Folk Art Parade, held last year from July to September, is a revival to showcase folk artist work in and around Rabun County.

Created in 1934 by Mary Hambidge — who established the artist enclave and sustainable farm — the Hambidge Center was one of the first artist communities in the country.

Early on, Hambidge, along with local women, worked together to create exceptional weavings that would one day be featured in many exhibits including the Smithsonian and MOMA.

Over the years, the scope of the center broadened, and Hambidge began inviting artists for extended stays. After her death in 1973, the Center evolved into the formal and competitive residency program open to creative individuals from all walks of life it is today.

This story comes from our free publication, Mountain Traveler magazine

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