From preschoolers who unabashedly state they want to be artists when they grow up, to senior citizens taking classes to hone skills that have lain dormant for decades, Woodstock’s art climate is favorable.
The same is true throughout the county. While we often think of artists as being painters only, we should remember that others who put into practice their many talents are artists as well.
When I watch Analisa Guay deftly molding glass beads, or Gay Grooms depicting a comedic nun, or Donna Rotruck leading three classes of fifth-graders through a rendition of a new song, or Ann Litrel adding a final brushstroke to her latest project, I realize that I’m watching true “artists at work.”
It seems only natural that this dynamic and creative segment of society should be given an opportunity to participate together in the celebration of the Centennial of the Woodstock Depot.
That is why Preservation Woodstock is sponsoring “Down By The Station,” an art exhibit featuring paintings and other renderings of the depot.
Woodstock’s primary landmark has long been a favorite subject for painters and photographers.
Architecture buffs love the sharp lines and the added element of the tracks and cross ties.
Early photos show the loading platform in what was possibly its original form. The north wall, now partially obscured by a caboose, was open for a few years, and the volunteer fire department’s only fire engine was parked inside.
It didn’t lend much to the aesthetics, but it is a part of the depot’s history that cannot be overlooked.
For those artists among you searching for a special depot setting, perhaps there’s a photo in that shoebox on the top shelf in the guest room closet, or a newspaper clipping from that decade when Girl Scouts decorated a Christmas tree on the loading platform and threw the light switch on a chilly December evening to kick off Woodstock’s Christmas season.
You might do a pen-and-ink sketch detailing passengers in the waiting room or at the ticket window. (Use your imagination since photos of the interior seem to have disappeared … or never existed.)
A watercolor of the conductor loading mail onto a cart to be taken across the street to the post office would define life in Woodstock during the first half of the 20th century. And today’s Woodstock citizens could identify with a scene depicting families climbing aboard a locomotive powered by an old-fashioned steam engine, probably to travel to Marietta or Atlanta to shop, or to Canton for a dental appointment or on government business.
A picture comes to mind of men loading bales of cotton onto freight cars, and of traveling “drummers” stepping off the train with their bags of merchandise to show to prospective merchants.
The depot’s history is not limited to those years when it was a combination freight/passenger station. During more recent history, it has served as a community center and as a special events venue.
There have been weddings and receptions, birthday parties, craft shows, book signings and library book sales. And, of course, commercial businesses, namely restaurants.
What a busy place, then and now, and what an important part of Woodstock’s history.
In addition to art work, the display cases in the library have been reserved for items related to the depot’s history, and for needlework or other items too small for hanging.
There are many Woodstock citizens, including residents of the railroad’s Section Houses north of town, whose families had connections to the railroad.
Ideally, souvenir tickets or other memorabilia can be found and displayed. Contact info is listed below for those of you who may wish to share your items.
All local artists and artisans are invited to submit art work including paintings, sculpture, photography, needlework, woodcraft and other craft forms.
Entry forms are available at Woodstock Public Library (site of the exhibit), and at Woodstock Visitors Center at Dean’s Store.
Artists and craftsmen should register before the Aug. 29 deadline. The exhibit, to be held in the meeting room of the Woodstock Public Library, will open on Tuesday, Sept. 4, and will close on Monday, Oct. 22.
For more information, call or email exhibit director, Pat Bull, at (404) 723-9700, firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also email a request for an artist application from Kyle Bennett, email@example.com.
An added note: The Nov. 17 Main Street Sessions program will feature storytellers and depot memories. More about that later.
Juanita Hughes is Woodstock’s official historian and former director of the Woodstock Public Library.