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Tannery Row Artist Colony

A group of artists started coming to Buford in 1984, taking advantage of its close proximity to AtlaBuford Artist Colony Logonta, enjoying its small town feel and benefitting from its affordable commercial and retail space. Studios began springing up first with A. R. Wood, Sandra Sumner, Ferdinand Rosa, Rozelle Morton-Bush, and Allen Bush. Other artists like Mary Pratt, Lee Bomhoff, Nancy Shaffer, David Kidd, Charlie Dingler, Irven Penn, Michael Dierdorf, Vic McCallum, Geoffrey Johnson, and Sarah Hatch, soon followed and an art movement had begun.As the reputation grew, more and more artists arrived, and downtown Buford was bustling with galleries, art shows, studio space, and boutiques. During this art explosion, people began referring to the “Artist Colony” that was growing in Buford. This brought many other art professionals and the interest soared. Since the beginning of the Colony, over 100 artists have worked in Buford, most occupying some form of studio space in the downtown historic district. Some of the artist worked only a short period here, whereas others like Mavis Stevens, Lynne McIntosh and Judith Surowiec, have been here since the humble beginnings. Leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Bob Bowden, Lantz Caldwell and Mark Alexander established the Contemporary International Museum of Art (CIMA), bringing Robert Rauschenberg, a world known artist to Buford.

Today, there are only two art galleries and a limited space reserved for artists’ studios in the central retail district where this movement once began. There is another transition occurring on Main street. Other businesses are finding the historic district, including several successful restaurants, and the retail mix is changing once again. As the competition for this limited space increased, the artists were forced to relocate in the immediate surrounding area.

A collective group of artists have moved to the complex of Tannery Row. This campus was originally constructed as a shoe factory by the Bona Allen Company. It is now home to a number of businesses, and a core group of artists that are referred to as the Tannery Row Artist Colony. Currently, there are 17 artists who work with paint, clay, wrought iron and other media on a daily basis. Everyone is welcome to see the artists at work and for more information, please visit the Tannery Row Artist Colony website.

Because of Buford’s connection to the many talented artists, it is only natural that we embrace this part of our culture and history and create a permanent location to document and exhibit works by our artists. The Museum of Buford is proud to expand our history museum to include a fine arts division entitled Buford Artists, Past and Present. It is our hope that this will serve as a catalyst in which together we can create a self-sufficient, fine arts museum in the relatively near future. With this announcement, there has been a swell of excitement, and an outpouring of gifts and donations of works from many of our artists and collectors alike. Volunteers are needed to further this cause, so please contact us for more information and to see how you can help.

William Bell

Name: Fantasy Landscape
Medium: Oil on Pressed Board
Circa: 1950
Size: 30″ x 30″

William Bell

Very little is known about one of the areas most prolific artists. William Bell was self-taught, and he primarily painted fantasy landscapes, usually complete with a mountain range and waterfall. He typically used a stained, yellow pine picture rail molding as a frame and in most cases would not sign his work. It is believed that he lived in the Flowery Branch area, and sold his paintings from the trunk of his car on a stretch of U.S. Route 23 (now commonly referred to as Buford Highway) between Flowery Branch and Buford. It has been reported that he would set up near the High Acres Mountain Guild where they sold mountain arts and crafts, including bags and rugs, and benefit from the added traffic interested in the arts. William Bell worked during the 1940’s – 1960’s and was able to make a living with his artwork.

Cecil Ramsey
Name: Landscape
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Circa: 1975
Size: 30″ x 24″
Cecil Ramsey was born in Atlanta in 1933, and moved to Buford at an early age where he quickly became a local icon.  He was seen all over town pulling a skate behind him which he referred affectionately to as his little bother. As a child, family members noticed that he was gifted in the area of drawing. Cecil was a self-taught artist that painted most any subject matter.  He was best known for painting the murals within the Shadburn Office Building which operated as a restaurant, The Tannery, during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  Cecil spoke of traveling to New York with a well know art promoter and producing work for a show there.  At present, we have not been able to substantiate this claim. Cecil died in 1996 without fanfare of circumstance.  His works are now being discovered, and recognition is being given to his talent and his legacy.
Earlier Known Buford Artists
William Bell Art

Name: Fantasy Landscape
Medium: Oil on Pressed Board
Year: Circa 1950
Size: 30″ x 15″

Jeff McKee
Harvey Moriarty
Ed Mosconti
Carol Nelms
Joyce Newman
Sandra Olds
Donna Patrick
Irven Penn
Jean Plumer
Mary Pratt
Dennis Prim
Alan Raben
Catherine (Katina) Pastis Radwanski
Allen Rodgers
Fred Rosa *
Holly Schaeffer
Mavis Stevens
Anita Stewart
Sandra Sumner *
Judith Surowiec
Margaret Von Keiser
Marlene Wilde
Eric Winney
A. R. “Randy” Wood *
Mike Yancey



* Founding members of the Buford Artist Colony

The Artists of the Colony

Jim Bell
Lee Bomhoff

Augustino Bossio
Juergen Buder
Allan Bush *
Rozelle Morton-Bush *
Tai In Combs
Charlie Dingler
Richard Fernandez
Michael Fredrick
Patricia Gill
Robert Griffith
R. Quill Griffith
Monica Hennisey
Judy Isaak
Geoffery Johnson
Jeff Kelling
David Kidd
Christy Kinard
Marina Koloeridi
Robert Kreyer
Anita Lentz
Annie Love
Nancy Mabry
Judy Malott
Steve McAfee
Vic McCallum
Barbara McGuire
Erin McIntosh
Lynn McIntosh

Zeus as a Centaur
Name: Zeus as a Centaur