Augusta, GA, is located on the eastern border of the state, separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River. In recent years, the city has experienced a cultural revival, resulting in many new ways to expose your children to the arts. One such example is the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, located on Telfair Street in downtown Augusta. Opened in 1937 and housed in Ware’s Folly, which is listed on the National Register for Historic Places, the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, now offers art classes for students of all ages as well as art exhibitions.
A newer-to-the-scene art gallery is Westobou Gallery, located on Broad Street in downtown Augusta. This gallery predominantly features contemporary and experimental artists, but with a rotating schedule of local up-and-comers and nationally-known artists, you’re certain to find something to peek your child’s interest. Westobou also hosts a yearly week-long arts festival, happening each fall at various venues around Augusta. Some of the events – such as the Chamber Music Series – are free and during the day, making them a great way to expose your child to different types of music.
Two other places in Augusta offer hands-on exposure to pottery – Tire City Potters and Artsy Me (Artsy Me has a second location in Evans.). At both places, your child can paint a piece of pottery before it is fired in a kiln. Tire City Potters is also a functioning pottery studio, so your child may get to watch the pottery wheel in action and witness the creation of a pottery piece first-hand.
In additional to the visual arts, there are multiple places in Augusta to expose your children to the performing arts, including Bell Auditorium, Imperial Theater, Miller Theater, and the Maxwell Theater at Augusta University. Bell Auditorium typically hosts nationally known musicians and performances, such as Broadway on Tour or Disney on Ice. Miller Theater has a unique place in Augusta history. It originally opened in 1940 and hosted a variety of performers and musical acts for more than 40 years, until its closing in the mid-1980s. After years of fundraising and renovation, the theater reopened in spring 2018, ready to introduce a new generation to the wonder of the live arts.
In addition to Westobou, Augusta also hosts another yearly arts festival known as Arts in the Heart. This weekend-long event introduces its attendees to a variety of artistic elements, including art for purchase from local-area artists, a variety of musical performances, and a huge array of international cuisine. The festival includes a kids area, with kid-oriented activities, such as face painting and hula-hoop juggling. Mark your calendar for September, and be sure to buy your tickets in advance from a local Augusta business to save on admission.
And don’t forget your local library or bookstore. The Book Tavern in downtown Augusta hosts a weekly storytime, featuring a book, songs and a craft in keeping with the theme of the book. Most libraries in Augusta host weekly storytimes, special events – such as children’s theater performances, and reading clubs.