In 2016, Stratford Academy decided to host an event that would give our community an opportunity to quite simply “Celebrate the Arts”. In planning, the school realized that this must be accomplished by lifting up and recognizing the organizations in Middle Georgia which were already providing leadership in the art world. Community partnerships were formed with the Macon Arts Alliance, Mercer University, Museum of Arts and Sciences, and Wesleyan College, for a week-long event focused on the visual arts. The idea was to bring these local leaders in our art community to one event which would promote each of these organizations contributions to the arts and expose participants to new artists, experiences, and opportunities for learning.

The inaugural event received overwhelming rave reviews and positive publicity in the community. In 2017, Stratford hosted the second annual Celebrating ART with growing success. The second event was held in partnership with the One City Arts Festival hosted by Macon Arts Alliance and other arts organizations in Middle Georgia.

· Hundreds of visitors came through the Gallery 6010 and Stratford Connections exhibits during the week which featured hundreds of pieces of original art by 50 artists from across the country. Over 80 pieces of original artwork were sold during the event.

· Nearly 200 guests enjoyed the expertise and services of our three visiting experts – Hot Glass Academy, Broadway.com caricature artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson and art appraiser Rod Hardy.

· Nearly 100 people were in attendance at the two lectures – “Artistically Speaking” featuring art appraiser Rod Hardy and the ADAC-sponsored breakfast featuring the program “At Home with Art” presented by architect and Macon native William H. Harrison.

· There were 21 businesses and individuals who sponsored this event through gifts and in-kind donations. This is in addition to our four community partners and six media partners.

· Nearly 120 volunteers helped with the Celebrating ART events.

Scheduled for weekend of October 17-21, Celebrating ART 2018 will bring more of what everyone loved in previous years as well as more interesting new events and artists. That means more experiences with visiting artists-in-residences, more speakers and lectures, more new artists and their works along with previous favorites, as well as some new and exciting opportunities for all ages.