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Artists unite to share art, host events, network
Lyndsey Gerow
At its June 24 meeting, the Rincon City Council presented Lindsey Gerow with commemorative plaque for Effingham Artists’ contribution to the community. Pictured from left are Lindsey Gerow and Rincon City Manager Jonathan Lynn. (Photo by Barbara Augsdorfer/Effingham Herald.)

By Gail Parsons, for the Effingham Herald

Tired of having to travel to Savannah or Statesboro for arts programming, artist and South Effingham High School art teacher Lindsey Gerow, started the Effingham Artists group.

“I would have to travel to workshops or classes or exhibits or just to see a play or a nice movie,” she said. “I'd have to tell my friends and my family and my students to do the same. With workshops and classes for students being held in the afternoons, it's too time-prohibitive for them to drive all the way into Savannah for private lessons. The need is so great I and I can't fill that need after teaching all day and with a family of my own.”

Building a community of professional artists in Effingham County opens the door to networking and brings visibility and arts opportunities closer to home.

“I really just wanted to build that community and support each other artistically,” Gerow said.

A community arts organization like this one has a multi-faceted approach. The benefits reach well beyond the scope of individual artists.

“There's the personal benefit, there is the family benefit, and then there's the economic and social benefit,” she said.

On the personal benefit, there's the chance for self-expression, creativity, and increased cognitive ability and self-esteem.

“There's a chance for socialization and placemaking at the personal level,” Gerow said. “That's with any age group. The family benefit of community arts programming would be again, placemaking, having a space to commune that is not work or school or church, it would be a space separate from the home, where they can build community.

“They can build friendships, they can collaborate. They can enrich their lives through learning about other cultures, through learning about other means of thinking,” Gerow added.

They can also give back to the community through public art initiatives, which is one of Gerow's plans with projects like beautification of the ballpark, walking trails, and playgrounds.

Public art can shape the feeling of a place and the way people interact with the community. It brings diverse groups together.

“If we have a performing arts center or if we have a rec center, it could be that place where we could all come together as a community and experience different things,” she said. “In the economic sense, not only does the art sector bring in money, as far as entertainment dollars, fees for classes, events, and after-school lessons.”

It can also increase the number of jobs available and in some cases, people who move here or stay here have a reason to be here that's not just for work or home, she said.

“They’ll have a social reason and communal reason to be here and a reason to choose our place over anywhere else,” she said. “I know a lot of people that do move to the area because the school system is so great, but then you have to go into another town for anything else.”

Step by Step

The first steps Gerow is taking to create a vibrant arts community is to host social gatherings and meetups to start building the networking opportunities for professional artists.

“Phase two is starting to host classes that would be for anybody interested in the arts, not just professionals,” Gerow said. “Those would include after-school programs and camps.”

Effingham Artists logo
Effingham Artists has partnered with the Effingham Community Orchestra and is making plans to exhibit art with them as they play. The groups are exploring the option of an Arts in the Park at one of the golf courses or an Evening with the Arts fundraiser that could benefit both programs.

There are also plans for art shows and exhibits in donated space and Gerow plans to participate in the Springfield Downtown Development Authority’s First Friday events.

Eventually, Gerow would like to see Effingham Artists be a solid standalone Art Association that supports its members, and the creation of an Effingham or Rincon Arts Council.

“I really hope that we can influence policymaking and future planning in the city,” she said. “When the Rincon Recreation Complex is built, I’d like to see it include a Fine Arts Center with classrooms for activities that are taught by professional artists. I really think this is just the beginning. I have full faith in that.”

For now, she is looking for board members and partners, including business partners that have space to host an exhibit.

“We can curate shows specific to a business,” she said. “Let's say, for example, you have a dentist's office and you want artwork specifically about dental work or the mouth or landscapes, we can curate specifically to that location, and have a call for art, for our members to create artwork for that space.”

Before applying for 501(c)3 status, she wants to have a seven-member board seated. Anyone interested in being a charter board member can visit the website at to fill out an application; and for more information, visit the group’s Facebook page.

“It asked a slew of questions about community connections, level of expertise, levels of interest, and really what the individual would bring to our association,” she said. “We really want to have a diverse group of directors so that we can have as many perspectives as possible”

People can also visit the website to learn more about the levels of membership and planned events.

[Gail Parsons is a freelance writer residing in Rincon.]