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Quinlan to auction off pieces at Gala
View artwork Feb. 27; Gala auction set for March 1
“Olive Orchard and Cypresses” by Jill Schultz-McGannon will be featured in the Quinlan Visual Arts Center's annual Gala Art Auction on March 1. - photo by Andrew Akers

Each year, the Quinlan Visual Arts Center opens a new season of exhibitions with the Gala Art Auction, a signature event for the center and artist community in Northeast Georgia.

Now in its 36th year, the auction continues to feature the highest caliber of work by local, regional and national artists at the black-tie event.

Viewing the exhibition of artistic works up for auction will begin Feb. 27 with the gala closing out the week March 1 at the Quinlan on Green Street. The annual affair will feature live and silent auctions of the pieces, which will be juried by art appraiser Robert Morring.

Cumming resident and internationally recognized sculptor Gregory Johnson is the guest of honor for the gala, and one of his sculptures will be featured in the auction.

“When I first arrived in (North Georgia) I heard about the Quinlan,” Johnson said. “I’ve taught classes and exhibited there, and now I’m so very proud to be part of this gala.”

Johnson’s portfolio consists of nearly 1,000 commissioned works, but one of his most recent installments sits near the Quinlan at the corner of Green Street and E.E. Butler Parkway. The 2,200-pound Golden Tiger, now named “Lucile,” was a specially commissioned gift from North Carolina philanthropist Irwin “Ike” Belk. Johnson sculpted and brought the tiger to the Brenau University campus last fall.

He has works in nine different countries in three continents but stays true to his artist roots and most recently was featured in the Art Basel in Miami Beach with nearly 75,000 people in attendance.

“If I bring a smile to the viewer’s face, or a tear to their eye, enhance a solemn moment while visiting out war memorial, then I think in some small way I’ve made the planet a more beautiful place, touched a heart, and made a difference,” Johnson said.

He joins a number of other artists featured in the gala, which is sponsored by Willis Investment Council. Proceeds from the auction directly fund Quinlan programming, such as classes, exhibitions and community outreach.

The gala costs $125 per person. For ticketing or artist information, contact the Quinlan Visual Arts Center at 770-536-2575 or visit