Plenty of thoughts come to mind when thinking of the Covington Square: a variety of shopping; good places to eat or meet for a drink; ice cream cones, fresh-banked cinnamon rolls or a gift basket of olive oil.
There are also many special events that occur on or around the Square. We just had thousands gather for the fireworks and activities for the Fourth of July. Other events throughout the year include car shows and tractor shows, special Thursdays and Fridays leading up to Christmas, as well as the Christmas parade and community bike rides.
The arts are another reason that many are drawn to the Square. Near the Square you will find the office of the Art Association of Newton County. For more than 30 years the arts association has supported and encouraged the arts in our community. It is your regional arts provider, serving eight counties and more than 50 schools. The executive offices are at 1106 Washington Street.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Buncie Hay Lanners, her staff, and the association’s board of directors, the arts association has impacted the community in many ways. Some of those ways are through the Oxford Singers, a youth choral group that practices at the First Presbyterian Church, a block off of the square; the Covington Regional Ballet, on Church Street; Newton County Young Strings and the Newton County Community Band.
The arts association presents concerts on the Square during evenings throughout the summer and lunchtime in the fall and spring, directly drawing arts patrons to the Square. There are two more evening concerts left for this summer, with the Blu Maxx Band, featuring classic rock of the 80s and 90s, on Aug 12 and Drive Time, a 10-piece show band, in September. Both start at 7:00 p.m. for two hours of great music. Bring your chair and enjoy the evening.
Along with music, the creative arts is also represented on the Square by two art galleries. The first was Southern Heartland Gallery, located at 1132 Monticello Street, on the corner of Monticello and Washington streets. It has been on the Square since 2004, serving Newton, Walton, Morgan, Jasper, Butts, Henry, Gwinnett, Rockdale, and DeKalb counties.
The mission of Southern Heartland Arts is to provide, encourage and support involvement in the visual arts. They do this through classes, workshops, and camps for all ages. They also sponsor scholarships for young people interest in careers in the visual arts. If you stop by the gallery you will find a variety of visual arts to be viewed or purchased. If you want more information about the workshops, classes, and camps offered by Southern Heartland Arts call them at 770-788-8799.
The other gallery on the Square is WildArt, located at the corner of Washington and Church streets. It has been open for 16 months, and features 21 local artist in a variety of mediums. Drop by and you will find ceramics, glass, metal art, artistic wood pieces, textile art, sculpture, as well as paintings, photography, and jewelry. You may just stumble onto that certain thing you need for your home or for a gift.
You may be interested in expressing yourself in art. One possibility is the “Just Paint” classes on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Over 2000 people have been a part of these classes in the past sixteen months. You can come alone, with friend, or as a group from where you work. Several local plants and offices have used the classes as team building experience. For more information call Ann Wildman at 404-4455-1594 or 6787-208-5722,
On the west side of the Square at 1118 Monticello Street you will find McKibben Music. Since the fall of 2007, Mack and his staff have offered lesson for a variety of instruments, including the guitar, piano, bass, violin, and drums. You can also sign up for vocal lessons. More than 250 students are involved every week. If they teach it how to play it, they can also sell you the instrument you need or repair it.
One musical gift that Mack gives Covington every year is the Christmas musical, “ O Come Y’all to Covington”. It is hosted by the First United Methodist Church, located a block off the Square. It will return in December for its seventh year.
I think you would agree that the Square is fast becoming a destination place for the arts. There are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved in art. See you at the Square.