A couple’s 50th wedding anniversary is viewed as their golden anniversary and, with this year representing 50 years that Buckhead has been home to the Chastain Arts Center, the relationship has truly been a “golden” one for both parties.

This is how Karen Lowe, manager of the center for the last seven years, viewed the relationship that has existed for five decades.

Although the actual 50th birthday celebration event occurred in August, the center, which is run through the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, is conducting numerous activities related to that celebration throughout the remainder of this year.

Lowe credits the success of the center to her team of four administrators and a group of instructors who, she said, has built student interest and attendance in these programs.

“Together, we have created programs that interest, inspire and enlighten people to take part in them,” she said.

The center is on land that is part of 47.97 acres Frank Peck purchased in 1911 of land along Roswell Road to the north of Powers Ferry Road for $8,550. At that time the land abutted two county convict camps: one housing men, the other women.

The men’s stockade, accessed by Powers Ferry Road, was close to Peck’s property. Much of the county land – 1,000 acres in all – was farmland used to grow cabbages to feed all of the prisoners in Fulton County. In addition, it was home to two county almshouses – which later became the Galloway School and the Chastain Arts Center.

Following the official birthday celebration, the center is continuing what Lowe called its “second edition” of the celebration with such activities as a juried show of displayed student artistic works and a 50th anniversary video.

The show, which started Aug. 11 and ends Dec. 31, gave prizes for the student artwork, includes the Best of Show winner and two honorable mentions.

In addition, the film, which is being showed continuously through the remainder of the year, has highlighted the center’s successful programs and activities.

“We have many great and brilliant instructors who continue to teach here and inspire those taking their classes,” Lowe said.

Debra Lynn Gold, who has been an instructor at the center for 33 years and teaches jewelry and medal working, also known as medal-smithing, said she has seen a lot of changes at the center in more than three decades.

“However one thing that has not changed is the spirit of unity and the sense of community, which remains steadfast and consistent,” she said.

Gold said her classes, which run for 10 weeks and meet three hours weekly, are small, from six to eight individuals in a group, which she said is good because it allows more individual student-teacher instruction.

“The center has brought to this community shared common goals with the students being supportive of one another as we learn new things together,” she said. “Our students acquire new skills and the ability to express themselves in a creative way, but not in a high-pressure environment.”

For more information on the center, visit www.ocaatlanta.com/chastain.


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