Foulk wants to help make memories

Published 11:09 am Friday, May 25, 2012

NEW FIREHOUSE DIRECTOR, SHARON FOULK, professes a love for the courtyard at The Firehouse Center and Gallery.

Sharon Foulk, the new director for the Firehouse Center and Gallery, is very excited about her position and she holds almost a reverence for the historic building in which she works.

“The courtyard and the building itself are such treasures,” she said. “It helps give our community a unique identity. There is no other building like it in this part of the world.”

She is also excited about the multiple purposes the building and the Decatur County Council for the Arts serve. Asked what she liked best about the job, she replied, “I love what our mission statement says, ‘To improve the quality of life in the community through the arts.’ We have something here for everyone in the community.

Email newsletter signup

“Our exhibits reach out to the established art lovers, but we also enjoy working with those who give art instruction to youth by collaborating with the school system and those who are home schooled. We bring things to the community that you wouldn’t see otherwise.”

For instance, a showing in the gallery is scheduled this fall by the Georgians with Disabilities Traveling Art Exhibit. It originated in north Georgia and is touring the state.

Portions of the building are also rented out to the public for marriage and birth celebrations, father-daughter dances and other  happy events.

“People make their memories here,” Foulk said.

In addition to being the home of the Arts Council, it also houses the River Writers meetings and has been contacted by a group interested in starting a camera club.

Foulk said coming into the job of running the Firehouse — an organization with so many varied aspects — was like jumping into a swiftly moving stream.

“You find there is a lot to learn,” she said.

She expressed her appreciation for all those who have helped her learn and get the job done successfully, especially the board members, all of whom are volunteers and busy, dedicated people throughout the community.

Foulk brings a varied background to the position. She holds a master’s degree in art from Georgia State University and has her own pottery studio at her home in Brinson, where she has resided since 1980. She has served as the Brinson City Clerk, worked as a librarian assistant at the Decatur County-Gilbert H. Gragg Library and has taught art at Bainbridge College. She is a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, the River Writers, the Art Guild and the Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society.

Since taking the reins in February, Foulk has started a blog and email newsletter about the Firehouse in an effort to interact with the community better. She hopes to get some feedback about what the community would like to see.

Another goal she has is to develop an organized group from the many volunteers that serve, giving them a chance to come together and receive recognition for their work. An industrious group of these volunteers recently painted and redecorated the restroom and kitchen areas, thus improving the facilities for rental.