MARIETTA, Ga. (March 26, 2011) – The Earl Smith Strand Theatre will open its doors for another exciting season of showcasing local artists. The second floor event room and gallery will feature a different exhibit each month, including work by artists Merrilyn Eastham, Dick Yarbrough, Linda Flournoy, Claire Dunaway, Frank Buckner, David Swann, and Dianne Isakson. Both Merrilyn Eastham and Dick Yarbrough will be showcasing their work in public for the first time, perhaps surprising colleagues and friends who had no idea about their artistic talents!

“Each year, we look forward to showcasing the work of local artists at The Strand,” said Earl Reece, executive director at The Strand. “When Theresa Jenkins, the Executive Director of the Marietta Welcome Center, formed a First Friday Art Walk committee and asked me to be a part of it, I agreed enthusiastically. Since our first year, this program has continued to grow into a highly anticipated showcase of the visual arts. Cobb County has a strong arts community, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

The Strand gallery is open during events and Monday through Thursday during box office hours, free of charge. The opening night of each gallery is concurrent with Art Walk, a free self-guided tour of the Marietta Square’s eclectic art scene. Here is more information on each of The Strand’s featured artists:

Merrilyn Eastham. April 1 – April 30. Marietta native Merrilyn Eastham uses watercolor as a medium to paint vibrant landscapes, floral subjects, and even some architectural scenes. She graduated from Wesleyan College with a double major in religion and music and went on to earn a Master of Arts in Religion at Boston University. As a young woman, Eastham also used the piano as an artistic medium, teaching upwards of sixty students. The one-woman show of her work at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre is the first time her work has been publicly displayed. The opening night of the gallery will fall on the first Friday of the month in conjunction with Art Walk, April 1 from 5-9 p.m.

David Swann. May 6-29. Self-taught artist and commercial designer, photographer, and writer living and working in Atlanta, Georgia and Pari, Italy, David Swann has shown work throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. His unique conceptual art pieces and photo-illustrations have appeared in magazines, ads, brochures, and other publications world-wide; and his fine art works-on-paper and mixed-media works-on-canvas are in several private collections. His focus for The Strand’s gallery show will be works of neo-surrealism. A selection of his work can be viewed at www.dswann.com. The opening night of the gallery will fall on the first Friday of the month in conjunction with Art Walk, May 6 from 5-9 p.m.

Frank Buckner. June 3-26. A Georgia native, Frank Buckner began drawing and sketching at an early age. But his love of painting grew from a trip to the mountains and his wife’s gift to him of brushes and paints. Today, his work continues to evolve, but color is still what intrigues the self-taught artist. Frank’s art consists of a mix of bold colors and compelling shapes and can be found in private and corporate collections throughout the country. The artist credits his wife of 42 years, and his “favorite collector” for inspiring him to cultivate his passion. The opening night of the gallery will fall on the first Friday of the month in conjunction with Art Walk, June 3rd from 5-9 p.m.

Dick Yarbrough. July 1-31. Four years ago, Dick Yarbrough discovered a new love of painting through the encouragement of a neighbor, artist Bootsie Callaham, and gifted art instructor Kristopher Meadows of Marietta. After retiring as vice president of BellSouth Corporation and then as a managing director of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Dick Yarbrough began a third career as a syndicated newspaper columnist with no shortage of strong opinions. His personality shows through in his art; his paintings feature strong brushstrokes and a confident composition. The opening night of the gallery will fall on the first Friday of the month in conjunction with Art Walk, July 1 from 5-9 p.m.

Linda Flournoy. August 5-28. The award-winning artist Linda Flournoy is a native of Oklahoma and was educated at Oklahoma State University with a Fine Arts major. In recent years, she has traveled a new direction with her art and has focused on painting marshes she photographed in St. Simons Island and South Africa, as well as Italian landscapes. Her medium of choice is oil on canvas. The opening night of the gallery will fall on the first Friday of the month in conjunction with Art Walk, August 5 from 5-9 p.m.

Claire Dunaway. September 2 – October 1. Marietta native artist and teacher Claire Dunaway has drawn inspiration from her travels, as well as family, canine camaraderie, faith, history, the great outdoors, and 800 elementary school students. With a B.A. in Fine Arts from Presbyterian College and an M.A.E.D. from the University of Phoenix, Claire works in charcoal, pastels, encaustic, and paint, sometimes venturing into photography, sculpture with ceramics, and printmaking. To learn more, visit www.ClaireDunaway.com, which features art, links to Facebook, and links to Etsy, which features jewelry and hand-printed clothing by Claire. The opening night of the gallery will fall on the first Friday of the month in conjunction with Art Walk, September 2 from 5-9 p.m.

Dianne Isakson. October 7-31. Self-taught watercolorist Dianne Isakson has taken advantage of the fine art instruction available at community art centers and workshops. Isakson’s art has been displayed at the Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts in Tallula, Ga., Theatre in the Square and Frameworks Gallery in Marietta, Ga., and Burton Gallery in Clarkesville, Ga. The opening night of the gallery will fall on the first Friday of the month in conjunction with Art Walk, October 7 from 5-9 p.m.

Art Walk
Art Walk is a free self-guided tour of the Marietta Square’s eclectic art scene. Galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants, and boutiques host artists within their businesses from 5 to 9 PM on the first Friday of every month through October, rain or shine. Look for an official Art Walk banner in the window to identify the participating venues. Choose your own route, or begin at Art Walk’s Headquarters at “Artist’s Alley,” the warehouse space at DuPre’s Antique Market located at 17 Whitlock Ave (next door to Theatre in the Square). Participants will receive a map with the locations of participating venues, and will get them stamped at each location. For more information about Marietta’s First Friday Art Walk, visit www.artwalkmarietta.com/.

The Strand
The historic Earl Smith Strand Theatre is a multi-use performing arts and events facility. The theatre is governed by the Friends of The Strand, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and depends on the financial support of private and corporate donors. It is The Strand’s mission to serve the community with cultural entertainment for a diverse audience and to promote economic health in the City of Marietta and Cobb County. For more information or tickets, visit www.EarlSmithStrand.org or the Box Office at 770-293-0080 or 117 North Park Square, Marietta, 30060. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM; 1 PM to 4 PM; and two hours before the show.

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