When I was growing up in Kentucky I never thought I’d live here, in Georgia. Now, 40 years down the road, Atlanta is a great place to be. Atlanta, an island of culture if culture is to be had in the “South.” Funny thing is culture rules the state as much as timber, cotton and peanuts, and well outside Atlanta too. The discovery is surprising and illuminating.
In a stroke of amazing good fortune we made the acquaintance of Missy and Wes Cochran about 3 years ago, Missy and Wes of LaGrange. Together they own and operate the Cochran Gallery of Art in LaGrange. They have 4-6 shows a year… painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography. The gallery is a beautiful naturally lit space ideal for its use.
In addition to her considerable involvement managing the gallery Missy teaches mathematics, at the moment, and takes care of her horses and Wes. For the major part of Wes’s working life he has been a stone mason. From his work with stone it’s easy to see he was always in line with art. After all art begins with craft and elevates. At a crucial time in his life Wes came under the influence of a mentor who started him on the road to collecting. The result is this amassing of African American Art, many pieces of the best artists working in the last and present centuries. Wes and Missy’s collection and their knowledge of the artists may be unequaled, certainly in the south, more than likely the nation. It has been a delightful education to be in the midst of these wonderful works.
The last few days we stayed at their home in the pine forests of Georgia and let the cacophony fall away. Franca drew some and I did what I do. We also ate extremely well and read about art.
Besides getting to know Tommy, their neighbor, really an adopted family person, master innovator and construction hoss, we’ve been fortunate as well to meet several of their other friends and have learned to appreciate Floyd, their rooster, Mayzie… new dog with a typical puppy’s effervescent personality and Monkey, their cat who, when they’re away from the house, stays at a neighbor’s place because of trouble with, well, the rooster.
It’s always inspiring being around this family, being part of their daily life, being immersed in art. We’re grateful.
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