Art Exhibit, Silent Auction to Benefit Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home

(Jan. 29, 2014) Dr. Beth Howells, associate professor of English and director of the Writing Program at Armstrong, and Armstrong English instructor Bill Dawers recently joined forces to organize “Southern Discomfort 2014: Art Inspired by Flannery O'Connor,” a group exhibition and silent auction that will benefit the The Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home in Savannah.

A silent auction and artist reception, which is free and open to the public, will take place Friday, January 31 from 6-9 p.m. at ThincSavannah, located at 35 Barnard Street, third floor. The event will feature original art by more than 25 local artists. Preview hours for “Southern Discomfort 2014” will be held January 27-31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We invite members of the Armstrong community to attend and to help support a local literary landmark,” said Howells. “Flannery O'Connor is a key figure in American literature and has deep roots right here in Savannah.”

“Southern Discomfort” showcases art inspired by Savannah native and National Book Award winner Flannery O'Connor, one of the South's greatest authors. Proceeds from the show will benefit local artists as well as programming and outreach at the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home, a literary treasure nestled in the heart of Savannah's Landmark National Historic District.

The exhibit, which serves as a follow-up to a successful 2012 art show at 1704Lincoln, includes top local artists like Marcus Kenney, Betsy Cain, Katherine Sandoz, Christine Sajecki, Todd Schroeder and Meryl Truett. A wide range of media will be on display, from oil paintings and hand-made drawings to experimental photography and mixed media work.

Each of the participating artists was given a copy of The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor to serve as a source of creative inspiration. There were no restrictions on the size, theme or materials of the work submitted, allowing the artists to offer original, unedited perspectives on Flannery O'Connor.

“We've been extremely impressed by the range of styles and by the creativity of this year's submissions,” said Dawers. “'Southern Discomfort 2014' promises to be a strong exhibit for a great cause.”

Dawers is past president of the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home Foundation. Howells serves as the secretary of the non-profit organization's board of directors.

Armstrong's English faculty played an important role in saving Flannery O'Connor's birthplace, helping purchase the home in 1989 and establishing the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home Foundation as a 501 3(C) nonprofit organization.

Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia on March 25, 1925 and is the author of the acclaimed novels Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away, as well as 32 short stories and numerous essays. Perhaps best known as a pioneering Southern gothic author who often wrote about morally flawed characters, O'Connor remains an important voice in American literature. She received the National Book Award for Fiction posthumously in 1972 for The Collected Stories of Flannery O'Connor.

For additional information about “Southern Discomfort 2014,” please call 912.233.6014 or visit online.