On Friday, Feb. 1, the Harbin Clinic Gallery at Makervillage will open with the eclectic designs of the region’s most recognized artists, Howard Finster.

Everyone is invited to celebrate the official unveiling and inaugural exhibit starting at 7 p.m. at Makervillage located at 252 N. 5th Ave. in downtown Rome. The free event will have live music by the Barbaric Yawps as well as a cash bar.

The exhibit will also feature photos of the garden, and unique paintings of the garden by Donnie Davis.  Both signed and unsigned original prints by Howard Finster will be available for purchase.

Exhibiting Finster’s Legacy
Finster was an American artist and Baptist minister from Summerville, Georgia. His inspiration from God led him to spread the gospel through the design of Paradise Garden, a folk art sculpture garden with over 46,000 pieces of art.

Discovered in the 1970s, Finster was commissioned to design album covers for Talking Heads and R.E.M., which gained him world-wide recognition.

“It’s thrilling that Howard Finster’s work is going to be on display at the Harbin Clinic Gallery,” says Tina Cox, executive director of the Paradise Garden Foundation. “This is a great central location for so many to come and view it, and we hope it will inspire people to come visit Paradise Garden in Summerville.”

Healthy Expressions
Susan Gilbert Harvey, a longtime local artist and member of the Harbin Clinic family will speak at the event about the importance of art for health. Research shows that creativity has an impact on personal health, public health, and on the stress level of those who provide healthcare.

A study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine (a branch of the National Institute of Health) shows that experiencing art either as an observer or a creator can enhance mood and other psychological areas, as well as having a positive impact on physical health. Creative activities help reduce stress and depression and can serve as a vehicle for alleviating the symptoms of chronic diseases.

“Creativity is important for an integrative approach to improving health,” says Matthew Mumber, MD, a doctor in Harbin Clinic’s Radiation Oncology department. “The same can be said for healthcare providers; being able to tap into our creativity has positive impacts on the care we provide our patients.”

Creating Healthy Partnerships
Makervillage is a co-work space located in Rome with the intent to nurture creative ideas, interactions and businesses in Northwest Georgia.

Future exhibits are already in the works and the space will also be available for creative performances and musical events.

“I started this organization to nurture ideas in all forms,” says Tricia Steele, Founder and Executive Director of Makervillage. “This unique partnership with Harbin Clinic helps us advance that mission and explore new ways to inspire creativity in our community.”

In addition to serving as weekday co-work, the gallery and adjacent meeting space is available for use by the public on an hourly basis.

The Harbin Clinic Gallery exhibit will be up throughout February and March and the public can visit on Fridays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m starting Feb.8. The exhibit includes work and prints by Finster, as well as a collection of Coke bottles created by numerous area artists commemorating some of Finster’s most famous designs, and his love of painting painted Coke bottle cutouts.

Following the exhibit in Rome, the bottles will be placed around Finster’s home of downtown Summerville.

The artists whose Coke bottles will be featured at the Finster exhibit include:

Chris Allison (Mt. Airy, GA)
Kip Ramey (Comer, GA)
Charlie Dingler (Clayton, GA)
Peter Loose (Hull, GA)
Kristen Ramsey (Smyrna, GA),
Becky Altman (Chickamauga, GA)
Eric Legge (Dillard, GA)
Fawn DeRosia (Thomaston, GA)
Donnie Davis (Summerville, GA)