Sun Slid Down by Mike Rooney
Sun Slid Down by Mike Rooney

By Patrick Dennis

I am an artist and I’ve been thinking…

My shockingly full grown daughter (further proof of potential breaches in the time/space continuum since I have not aged a day since her birth) said it best, “Sometimes it seems that life just creeps by and I get so bored I want to scream but just before I do, life speeds up so fast I can’t catch my breath.” And that pretty well summarizes my absence as a contributor to Atlanta INtown for the past few months, plus gives away the obvious that my daughter is not adopted. While I did manage to install 50 paintings at the Defoor Centre for a show of my work, beyond that I’m not certain what happened, but it definitely falls into the category of ‘not screaming bored but not able to catch my breath either,’ if there is such a category (which is unlikely since I make so much stuff up).

Rather than describe in peeling wallpaper slow motion detail everything I’ve observed, facilitated, exacerbated or bought during the last few months, join me on the road again looking forward, my favorite direction.

This summer I’m going to California again to see my old mom. Although she can’t feel her feet, she still manages to walk to the beach almost every day. When she sees someone she knows, she ditches her walker in the sand and pretends it was abandoned, then pretends to ‘discover’ it as she visits. No need to wonder where I got my sense of spontaneous invention. Before I go, I’m excited about a couple of great events. INtown’s own Collin Kelley is presenting a course on how artists should use social media on May 14 at the Decatur Gallery. Knowing Collin, his expertise and short fuse, I’m preparing for the virtual bitch slap now, and I mean that with love in my heart. Then on May 30-June 1, Binders Art is hosting a plein air painting course with Mike Rooney whose loose and colorful style combined with warm summer days is an inspiring combination.

As art festival season is ramping up this year, I think how fortunate we were to start the year off at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Kudos to newly appointed director and one-woman fireball Peggy Johnson for setting an ambitious agenda for this revitalized institution. The first annual art festival in January was a resounding success in every way, plus it gave me the opportunity to meet Dave Lasker, a refined local modern sculptor who has much more talent than just growing the perfect mustache. You’ll hear and see more about him later year in an extended interview.

In the spirit of discovery, there are two that have me scratching my head because they are both in Sandy Springs. That’s not to say the new city is a cultural wasteland but it’s just not the first place I’d think of in terms of aggressive public displays of art with affection. The Holocaust exhibit at the Anne Frank Museum while somber in theme offers a birds eye view of the atrocities in a way that is engaging, allowing the viewer to draw cultural parallels. Quite a feat to accomplish given the topic. Haven’t seen it? Go. Then go again. It’s even safe for kids. And since you’re practically in the neighborhood, drive a bit further to Abernathy Road. What you see will literally stop traffic, and not due to construction. The huge playable sculptures are being installed right by the road in a newly created ‘greenspace.’ In an admittedly strange location (it would more likely be found in Barcelona), this installation is a beacon of hope that we’ll see more art on public view on this scale. Visit And I thought the Spinning Rock at the corner of 10th and Piedmont in Midtown was exciting!

Clearly we are all back on the road to a great year of art.

Patrick Dennis is an artist, gallery owner and President of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces. Email him at

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.