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Culture notes: New owner fires up plans for MudFire ceramics studio, gallery; Earth Day concert; honors for Atlanta artists, administrator

New owner fires up plans for MudFire ceramics studio, gallery
MudFire Clayworks & Gallery, the Decatur ceramics studio and showplace, has a new owner with plans for new programs and enhancements.

Deanna Ranlett has acquired a controlling interest in MudFire, founded in 2002 in Brookhaven by ceramic artists Luba Sharapan and Erik Haagensen. Ranlett also is owner of Atlanta Clay, a supply house serving ceramic artists.

MudFire is at 175 Laredo Drive in Decatur, near Your DeKalb Farmers Market and is considered part of Avondale Estates’ Rail Arts District. Changes under way or upcoming include:

  • Adding a ceramic tools and supply boutique
  • More ticketed workshops held in a dedicated workshop space
  • Frequent special-topic clinics
  • Increased local focus in the gallery, which represents nationally acclaimed potters as well as emerging Southeastern artists, showing functional and sculptural pottery
  • Addition of a full-time artist residency program
  • Expanded online presence
  • Creation of an organic garden

Ranlett said her main goal is “to strengthen and advance the clay community in Georgia and beyond. … We seek to bring in new clay enthusiasts to the center and serve as an educational resource to the public.”

Meanwhile, MudFire’s active exhibition schedule rolls on. On view through May 4 is “Fur and Feathers,” an invitational group show of what the gallery describes as “nature- and un-natural-inspired sculptural and functional pottery.”

More on MudFire:, 404-377-8033. 


Celebrating Earth Day with songs, poems
Covenant Presbyterian Church in Buckhead will host a special Earth Day concert in its sanctuary at 4 p.m. April 21. The vocal artists will be Just Voices, an a cappella chamber chorus, and Pandora, a women’s chorus. The groups will perform a family-friendly selection of classical works by Brahms, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Maurice Ravel, along with poetry, including works by Ogden Nash, celebrating the majesty of the Earth’s flora and fauna.

In an Earth Day gesture, audience members are encouraged to bring neckties to donate to Ties that Matter, an Atlanta-based nonprofit ( that helps women in Haiti form craft-co-ops to create and sell bags, dolls and pillows from recycled ties.

Tickets, $10, $5 students and seniors, may be purchased at the door. The church is at 2461 Peachtree Road, Atlanta.


City of Atlanta recognizes emerging artists
Five Atlantans will be honored with 2013 Emerging Artist Awards in an Atlanta City Hall ceremony on  April 15  by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs.

Corey Bradberry (theater award), In Kyoung Chun (visual arts), Takara Clark (media arts), Johnny Drago (literary arts) and Angela Harris (dance) each will receive a $1,500 grant.

The awards were established to acknowledge and promote Atlanta talent, typically 35 or younger and with less than five years of experience, who are making an impact on the cultural life of the city.

Atlanta Opera official selected for fellowship

Bert Huffman, the Atlanta Opera’s development director, has been selected as one of 13 participants in Opera America’s 2013 Leadership Intensive. The program seeks to provide emerging opera administrators with the skills and contacts needed to advance their careers and to contribute to the strengthening of opera companies across the country.

Huffman and other honorees will meet for the first time in May during Opera Conference 2013 in Vancouver. That will be followed by a week-long workshop in July in New York City, where they will get access to decision-makers inside and outside the opera field. Participants in the Leadership Intensive, supported by American Express, pay no registration fees and receive a subsidy for travel and accommodations.


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