unspecifiedBy Martha Nodar

The Callanwolde Fine Arts Center kicks off the 16th season of its Jazz on the Lawn Concert Series starting in June and running through early August.

It all started in the summer of 2001, when a small group of volunteers wearing “Jazz Cat” buttons welcomed the very first group of patrons coming to the mansion’s gardens for an outdoor concert. Gwen Hughes was among those artists performing in the original series.

Leading this year’s line-up is Virginia Schenck on June 10, followed by Joe Gransden on June 24, Joey Sommerville on July 8, Diane Durrett on July 22, and closing on Aug. 5, with Bob Baldwin.

Influenced by Louis Armstrong, Durrett said she sings from her soul and enjoys performing in a natural setting watching the patrons having a picnic and sitting on the lawn.

“Callanwolde is a very special place with a beautiful atmosphere,” she said. “It removes you from the day-to-day grind. It puts you in another place, in another time.”

Folks may also want to check out the mansion’s art gallery on the second floor where local artists display their work.

Nancy VanDevender of Buckhead will be showing her mixed media collection titled “Red Roux Gumbo,” from June 30 to Sept. 10.

Beholden to her southern roots, VanDevender’s pieces are an art-inspired culinary tribute to family traditions that are passed on from generation to generation. A respite to a hurried world, she said her collection suggests the art of slowing down in the spirit of fellowship to hold “more intimate conversations at the table.”

“Callanwolde’s beautiful home-like atmosphere is a very appropriate setting for this exhibit,” she said.

For more information, visit callanwolde.org.

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.