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Affrilachia series comes to North Georgia
Marie Cochran

DAHLONEGA — “Affrilachia in Words and Images,” a series examining the African-American experience in Appalachia, continues at North Georgia College & State University this fall with an art exhibit featuring Marie T. Cochran, who will be in Dahlonega throughout September working on her installation.

Cochran creates mixed-media pieces that are often grounded in community-based collaboration. She will be working at the Dahlonega Arts Council’s Olde Cannery during September and guests are welcome at the studio from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

A reception, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Olde Cannery.

A native of Toccoa, Cochran earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia and her master’s at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

She has received a post-graduate fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and has been a visiting art faculty member at schools in Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina.

She also has won many awards for her work and has exhibited across the country, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Cochran founded the Affrilachian Artist Project, which highlights the work of African-American artists from and inspired by the Appalachian region.

“Affrilachia is a place that is invisible on a map; yet it is manifest, through the rendering of the writer’s words on a page, the voice and sounds uttered by the musician and the creations wrought by the labor of an artist’s hands,” Cochran says on the project’s website. “In the end, each of us should have the power to determine what we are called and to proclaim where we are from.”

The “Affrilachia in Words and Images” exhibit runs Oct. 4-31 in the university’s Library Technology Center. The monthlong exhibition features Cochran’s installation and showcases photographs and historical research by students of North Georgia and North Georgia Technical College.

Cochran will present the keynote address “What is Affrilachia? Notes of a native daughter” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 at the center.

The series symposium, featuring Dr. Amalia Amaki, Audrey Davenport, Dr. Daren J. Waters and other speakers, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 in the Library Technology Center. Reservations are recommended for the free event and refreshments will be served at 10 a.m.

Additional displays, including a regional African American history display, can be viewed Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-7 p.m. at the Georgia Appalachian Studies Center on the university’s campus.

All events are free and open to the public.

North Georgia received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to fund “Affrilachia in Words and Images,” a collaboration by several university partners including the Library Technology Center, the Georgia Appalachian Studies Center, the Department of Visual Arts, the Visiting Writers Committee and the Office of Multicultural Services.

The term “Affrilachian” was coined in 1991 by Kentucky poet Frank X Walker, who visited the university last fall to kick off the series, to describe people of African descent from Appalachia. “Affrilachia in Words and Images” explores the diversity of the region, which encompasses 13 states from Georgia to New York.

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