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Helen opens Sights & Sounds art exhibit
Work such as this one by painter Mary Ellen Rand, and by potter Nannette Johnson, will be featured in an upcoming show at the Helen Arts & Heritage Center.

Helen Arts & Heritage Center’s upcoming show “Sights and Sounds of Summer” features work by painter Mary Ellen Rand and potter Nannette Johnson and starts with a reception at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 19.

Rand, a landscape architect, was formally trained in the arts at Georgia State University. Her art for the “Sights and Sounds of Summer” exhibit features a collection of works in oils providing a vibrant, whimsical portrayal of nature.

“My oils are impressionistic realism with strong color emphasis,” said Rand. “Through color and light, I work to express the inspiration that comes to me from simply looking closely at the marvelous visions to be found all around me in each day.”

The second featured artist, Nannette Johnson, began making her whimsical pottery nine years ago.

The Batesville resident started down several artistic paths, but nothing clicked until she got her hands into clay.

Her cheery wares reflect the South and Central American and Caribbean folk art that she enjoys in her travel. Johnson said she sees parallels between the native art she loves and Appalachian folk themes, colors and execution. It’s what she calls “honest art.”

That childlike honesty shows up in all her work, whether animals, funny face mugs, homey teapots or her monochrome “Playground” series that depicts children and animals sharing fun in a topsy-turvy world.

The show will run through Sept. 15.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information on the Helen Arts & Heritage Center located at 25 Chattahoochee St., Helen, call 706-878-3933, or visit