New Historical Exhibit!
The Possum Suppers that started during the political campaign of Gov. William Yates Atkinson and continued in Newnan through the mid 20th century are celebrated with a special exhibition just opened early July 2017 upstairs at McRitchie-Hollis.
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Would you believe Newnan was once home to a “Possum Eaters’ Convention?” It’s true!
Beginning in 1894, prominent politicians from all over the state would gather in Newnan, a few months prior to the official Democratic convention, to determine the slate of officials (including the governor, Supreme Court, and other high-ranking members) before a single vote was ever cast. Over plates of delectable home-grown possum and sweet ‘taters, back-room deals would be made as they merrily discussed agenda items such as “Our Friends, the Lawyers” and “Responsibilities of Citizenship.”
It was at the Virginia House hotel on the Newnan square that Newnan’s own William Yates Atkinson was “appointed” governor by those gathered, and thus Georgia’s first “possum governor” went on to serve a successful two terms. Several other “possum governors” followed, anointed at these famed Possum Suppers, and eventually even the president-elect, William Howard Taft, had to get in on the act, making a special trip to Atlanta to feast on a Coweta County whole possum for good luck in his administration.
(The affair was covered in all the national newspapers, leading to the creation of ‘Billy Possum” as a follow-up to Theodore Roosevelt’s ultra-successful “Teddy Bear” craze. Both the new “Billy Possum” toy and the new administration did not fare well, however.)
A group of local fellows formed a civic club in 1912 specifically to keep the local possum-eating tradition alive — and they did, carrying it well into the mid-20th century, with local officials such as Sheriff Lamar Potts, County Commissioner Johnny Brown and many others getting in on the act.
Come to the McRitchie-Hollis Museum to see one of the original invitations, and sit down with us at the dinner table for some good ol’ possum and ‘taters! (Special thanks to the McKoon family for use of period photographs.)
CONTINUING THIS SUMMER: Let Dinett Hok take you to the beach with her unique exhibition of driftwood-themed mixed-media original artworks. Open daily at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 74 Jackson St.
Summer art show at McRitchie-Hollis features work of Dinett Hok
Come see what’s new at the museum!
The driftwood-inspired art of Newnan resident Dinett Hok is featured in a summer solo exhibition at Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s McRitchie-Hollis Museum through Aug. 25.
An opening reception is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, June 24. Please come and meet the artist!
Hok was born in Aguadulce, a very small town in the Republic of Panama. As a young girl, drawing was her favorite pastime. She began formal art studies at the age of 17 at the University of Panama and paid her college tuition through freelance artwork and graphic designs.
She had the fortune of meeting renowned Panamanian artist Manuel Chong Neto through one of her college professors. His work continues to influence her creativity and passion. After graduating from the University of Panama with a BA in Graphic Art, Hok worked as a commercial graphic artist for two different clothing companies.
Upon moving to the United States, Hok embarked on a six-year endeavor to promote and teach art to elementary school students in Newnan. She believed that her students could learn and apply advanced systems for art techniques on a variety of mediums at a very young age if the correct approach was used. Many of her students won awards at local, state and national level competitions.
Hok’s journey as a professional artist continued to expand as she took on the leadership role of Area X chairman for the Florida Artists Group. FLAG is one of longest standing non-profit art organizations in Florida.
Hok says of her art: “Nature itself is the purest form of art in my opinion. I try to capture this beauty in my works of art and share it with the world. My artwork thrives on the love I have for trees and the abundant textures in nature. Whether it is the peacefulness of a welcoming beach or the thought provoking concepts of an abstract, nature can capture us in many ways. I love to create mixed media artwork with heavy textures and rich colors that not only captures the world from my perspective, but also incorporates elements of nature in the actual artwork.
“The driftwood itself represents the flexibility of nature that can adapt no matter the setting. In some cases, it is not nature who adapts, but every other concept that adapts and bends their will to Mother Nature. On top of the intriguing organic shapes of the driftwood I use metals – copper, silver, brass, bronze and 24K gold to preserve and highlight these marvelous natures giving beauty. I try my best to capture a small piece of nature’s beauty and share my perception with every viewer. With my abstracts, I hope that these perceptions may be as abundant and diverse as nature itself. The freedom of creativity, expression, and experiences with other great artists fuel my desire to create and share art.”
Hok creates artwork with a unique style and passion. Her work has received acclaim both nationally and internationally in the United States, Paris, Rome, Venice, Beijing, as well as other venues in Europe. Hok will be receiving her latest award entitled “Diego Velazquez” in Lecce Italy, July 3 2017 by Italia In Arte Nel Mondo. This award is given for “High Recognition to Personalities in the World of Art, Science and Culture.”
It is the freedom of creativity and expression and experiences with some great artists that continues to fuel her desire to create and share art. Hoksays she has always been enchanted by the beauty of nature, people and places and continues paint where she currently resides in Newnan.
Dinett Hok, husband Michael Hok and son Ian Hok run their family-owned business, The DH Gallery of International Artists (DHGIA). DHGIA has participated in some of the best and most prestigious art fairs in New York, Miami and other venues, Dinett said. DHGIA will be participating in two events Aqua Art Miami and Spectrum Miami during the Art Basel week in Miami Florida during December 2017.
Hok’s work is also part of the 2017 Newnan-Coweta Art Association show June 8-28 at the Donald W. Nixon Centre for Performing and Visual Arts in Newnan.
For more about Dinett Hok’s work go to her website, fineart-dinetthok.com or check at her Facebook page.
Newnan-Coweta Historical Society has its headquarters at McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 74 Jackson St., Newnan, GA 30263. The museum features rotating exhibitions on historic topics related to the Newnan-Coweta County and West Georgia region, as well as architecture and decorative arts. In the museum’s upstairs galleries currently is an exhibition of ladies hats from the extensive collection donated by State Rep. Lynn Smith with styles that span five decades.
Ms. Hok’s work will be displayed in the downstairs rooms where NCHS is currently showing a collection of 1930s furnishings recently donated by Taylor Glover and family.
NCHS is also preparing for its July antique appraisal fundraiser Trash OR Treasure, which will be held at the Newnan Historic Train Depot July 15. Items may be submitted for appraisal in advance by July 1 for a $25 ticket per item, no limit on the number of items. For information call the NCHS/ McRitchie-Hollis Museum offices at 770-251-0207.
There is ample public parking behind the McRitchie-Hollis Museum with a driveway entrance off Clark Street. Also keep up with NCHS events on Facebook!
New exhbition of 1930s furnishings on view
Throughout McRitchie-Hollis Museum is a recently-acquired collection of 1930s furnishings from a grand home in Florida. The furnishings that went on display in March 2017 are a gift of Taylor Glover and family.
- 45 Years, 45 Objects. As we celebrate the anniversary of Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s founding, we plan a special exhibition of objects that reflect Coweta County’s history … 45 Years, 45 Objects. The exhibition will open in October in the upstairs rooms. If you have an idea for a special object that should be included, call the McRitchie-Hollis Museum office at 770-251-0207.
- Coming in early 2018 will be an exhibition on the Howard Warner School that opened May 6, 2017 as a new community center on Savannah Street. The facility served Newnan’s Aftrican-American community and later housed offices for the Coweta County Board of Education.
For more information stop by McRitchie-Hollis at 74 Jackson Street or call us at 770-251-0207. We keep our web site here at www.newnancowetahistoricalsociety updated, as well as regular posts on our Facebook page.