The Board of Directors of the Calhoun Gordon Arts Council is proud to announce the selection of Miranda Bentley as the new Executive Director of the Harris Arts Center. Miranda is a Gordon County native and a graduate of Christian Heritage School. Her extended family, parents Cawood Cornelius, Larissa and John Boston, sister Camellia Cornelius, as well as husband Andrew’s parents, Faye and Ron Bentley, are all involved in the life of Gordon County. Miranda and Andrew have two children, Josephine, 3, and James, 5 months.  She recalls as a child taking dance lessons from LaRae Pennel at the Arts Center as well as attending Theatre Camp and Art Camp with her sister. In fact, one of Camellia’s paintings from Art Camp hangs on her office wall!

In her senior year at UGA, she conceptualized and executed a dream to start a business called Cotton & Twine, a women’s boutique. Almost a decade later, Cotton & Twine is a thriving fixture in downtown Calhoun. Running a boutique has allowed Miranda to connect with the pulse of the community and grow close to the people of Gordon County.  As the new Executive Director at the Harris Arts Center her greatest goal in this position is to continue the work that other strong, accomplished women, including Joanne Owens, Marci Porter, Toni Molleson and Jennifer Dudley have done.  Bringing national awareness to the unique artistic history of this town and implementing new and exciting artistic ventures within the community are among the things Miranda hopes to accomplish in this new role. She expresses these goals this way:

“Calhoun is on the rise and our history, and future in the arts are both very bright. People have a perception of the South but Calhoun really defies those perceptions and actually breaks down barriers when it comes to what we can accomplish in America. For instance, Roland Hayes was the first black American opera singer and was touring the world singing his music in a time when that was unheard of and he is from right here in Calhoun. At one point he was the highest earning singer in America.  Calhoun has produced a true legend and he won’t be the last if we can come together as a town and show the world what we have to offer. The next legend could be among us now and it’s our duty to nurture talent and the arts in general and that is what I plan to do as Executive Director at the Harris Arts Center.”

The Board of Directors invites the community to meet and welcome Miranda at a reception in her honor on Thursday, August 19, 5-7PM in the Community Room on the second floor of the Harris Arts Center. But Miranda’s coming on board is not the only cause for celebration- after being almost entirely closed for over a year due to COVID-19, we have begun opening up and are now planning a full schedule of events. So far, Acoustic Café, Toddler Friday, Art Camp and Theatre Camp have been enthusiastically received.  At the beginning of the pandemic, the staff, members of the Board, and other volunteers, prepared a photo collage expressing their desire to be Together Again as soon as possible. Well, we are TOGETHER AGAIN and will celebrate that as well on August 19!  Posters with details about upcoming events, information on membership and volunteer opportunities, and tickets to performances will be available.  Light refreshments will be served. The Galleries will be open with the Visual Arts Guild’s current exhibit, as will the Art Market. Whether you are a regular visitor to this home of the arts in Gordon County, or checking us out to see what’s going on, we welcome you!