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Americus-Sumter County Parks and Recreation Authority
Arts Resources

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In Americus and Sumter County, the climate is great the whole year round and the area offers a variety of arts activities to enjoy. This area offers a variety of cultural events year round second to none.

There are a number of cultural activities held throughout the year, promising ways of becoming involved to residents new and long-term. The Sumter Players began back in 1965 and their mission remains true to today - entertain, provide an outlet for talent, and make cultural contributions. The Players have had three homes in nearly 40 years - the former Carnegie Library on Jackson Street, the Merritt Building, and their current home at the former Rees Park School. The Sumter Players present at least one new production every three months for show fans of all ages. Newcomers are always welcome to audition or become a crew member. Memberships are available to the public. The Sumter Players has played a key role in the cultural development of Americus, offering entertainment that meets the audience's expectations.


The Rylander Theatre, which reopened in 1999 after half of a century, presents numerous plays, concerts, and other cultural shows; with a seating capacity of 600 on three floors, it has been referred to as a "mini Fox Theatre," equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. In its first year alone, nearly 50,000 people enjoyed shows staged there. Among the shows that have been presented are the 75th Birthday Gala Celebration of Former President Jimmy Carter. It's stage has been graced by such celebrities as Mickey Rooney and John Amos. The building underwent renovations for three years at a cost of four million dollars. Events include Broadway shows, musicals, plays, and recitals.

Georgia Southwestern's Fine Arts Department features the GSW Choir, Chamber Singers, and the Chamber Music Concert Series. The GSW Choir performs on campus on a regular basis and they travel throughout the state each year as well. The Chamber Singers present the "Madrigal Dinner" every November; this features a full banquet, complete with costumes, jesters, magicians, tumblers, storytellers, and music selections. The Chamber Music Concert shows are held at the university rotunda and feature a variety of ensembles including string quartets. Six performances are held every year. GSW offers a wide variety of cultural activities during an annual Springfest of the Fine Arts that runs six weeks.

The Fine Arts Department also offers instrumental groups and an annual musical for a full season of theatre. These shows are held throughout the year and all are open to the public.

The Americus-Sumter High School Singers Show Choir is another popular ensemble who have consistently earned critical acclaim and have performed nationwide in schools, civic club meetings, and on television. This group performs two shows annually at the Rylander Theatre.

In addition, many talented artists often will showcase their work either at galleries within Georgia Southwestern and at local shops. The Southwest Georgia Arts Council present art exhibit in the windows of downtown merchants. They also sponsor International Youth Art Month in March and co-sponsor a Festival of Fine Arts at GSW. Membership in the arts council is open to anyone.


The Dance Company has been open for over two decades. They offer classes in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pointe and acrobatics for children between the ages of 3 and 18.

The Americus/Sumter County Arts Council is also active. Arts of all types in the community are profiled in a weekly televised series on Georgia Southwestern television Channel 8 entitled "State of the Arts," providing a venue for information on the arts on a weekly basis to the community. The Council's mission is to improve quality of life by promoting visual, literary and performing arts in the community. The Council puts on the annual "Arts in the Park". Visual art exhibits that showcase the work of artists are presented at Lake Blackshear Regional Library's reading room. Arts classes are also offered on an ongoing basis.

In nearby Leslie, you will find the Georgia Rural Telephone Museum, which features forms of communication from past to present. There are numerous telephones on display, as well as antique cars, a country store, an antique operator switchboard and murals that display life in the South. Communication in all forms from smoke signals to fiber optics is showcased.


You may even enjoy walking around in downtown Americus. It's a blend of 1880s to 1920s, and you will find over 150 businesses in the twelve block downtown hub. Building renovations are planned in detail; while making sure that structures for adapted for modern use, great care is taken to retain the style and flavor of the original building. Events are often held in the downtown area in an effort to attract more people to shop and visit - not to mention that it is an award winning Main Street District.

There is also a walking tour of the business district, in addition to a driving tour of the immense historic residential areas. The Holiday Tour of Homes in December draws visitors who want a peek at the homes. There is also a Downtown Christmas Open House complete with horse-drawn carriage rides.



Also in downtown is the Windsor Hotel. Built in 1892, it was modeled after the hotels of 19th century Europe; the hotel underwent a renovation and was reopened in 1991. The lobby has carved golden oak and marble, and it's features include restored Victorian decor. It has received numerous awards. The Windsor is the perfect place for corporate retreats, meetings, conventions. Among the many guests who have stayed over the years are gangster John Dillinger and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. There are 53 guest rooms and suites, the Grand Dining Room, Floyd's Bar, and a number of meeting and banquet rooms. Special rates are available to groups.


If you go by the Windsor Hotel, be sure you drop by the Americus Welcome Center. Visitors can learn what there is to see in Americus and Sumter County. You can pick up maps or ask for directions. The staff will even be glad to assist you with overnight accommodations.

In the summertime, Jackson Street opens the outdoor Farmers Market, which brings farmers from all over Sumter County to sell their produce. The market is open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Better yet, the market opens as early as 6:00 a.m.!


Habitat For Humanity makes its headquarters in Americus. They are a non-profit, non-denominational Christian housing organization. Since the inception in 1976, they have built more than 100,000 houses in more than 89 countries, 50,000 alone in the United States. Habitat offers tours from Monday to Friday for both large and small groups.

The Global Village and Discovery Center showcases Habitat homes from 15 counties and offers visitors activities of all kinds such as brick and tile making. Visitors can also learn about the effects of poverty and the work of volunteers and sponsors and families around the world. In the future, visitors will be able to see homes from Europe and South America regions.

Americus is also home to Koinonia Partners, the birthplace of Habitat. It's a working community where the participants are committed to practicing peace and justice. You may tour the farm and museum, and a number of items such as chocolates and pecans are available for you to buy. The farm was started by Clarence Jordan back in 1942 and it covers 600 acres. It also offers homes for volunteers and full hookups for up to eight recreation vehicles.

One of the newest tourist features in the Americus area is the SAM Shortline Railroad. Named after the Savannah/Americus/Montgomery railroad, this passenger train is based at Lake Blackshear and makes stops in Cordele, Blackshear, DeSoto, Americus, Plains, and Archery, to allow passengers time for shopping and sightseeing. A ticket fee is charged.

Andersonville is nearby and home to a number of sights. The Andersonville Old Time Farm Area and Museum is a historic preservation of Andersonville. A seven-acre pioneer farm of the 1800s is maintained and there is a welcome center museum. The Drummer Boy Civil War Museum can be found on Church Street. It features artifacts from the Civil War. There are collections of letters, currency, music, weapons, art, tools, pottery, and more. There is also the Confederate Prisoners of War Museum, which presents programs on POW camps were soldiers were held. The original Civil War Prison site has been preserved, complete with the attempted escape tunnels.

Below are photos of the Andersonville area.





The park encompasses 500 acres and more than 150,000 visitors tour it each year. Inside, also, is Andersonville National Cemetary, where 13,000 Union prisoners of war who died at Andersonville are buried and where 5,000 veterans of the United States are also buried. It's open daily and admission is free. Twice a year, the Andersonville Civil War Village hosts historic fairs that attract numerous visitors.

In nearby Plains, you can visit the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site and the Plains High School Visitor Center and Museum, which feature artifacts pertaining to the history of Plains, as well as the story behind Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign and inauguration. The Plains Depot Museum is also available to visit and admission is free. Plains is also home to the annual Peanut Festival, held in September. During the festival, visitors can see the annual performance of "If These Sidewalks Could Talk," which was written locally. And don't forget to stop by the Georgia State Welcome Center, too! The center offers capsule views of everything to see in Plains.

Below are various pictures of Plains, Georgia



And there are numerous annual events - "Taste Of Sumter"; an annual Christmas parade; Plains Country Day, held in neighboring Plains; The Dogwood Antique Show, held every April in nearby Leslie; and The Antique Tractor Show, held every year in neighboring Desoto. A new annual event is the Southeast Electric Flight Festival, held in June. Model airplane enthusiasts converge at Hodge's Hobbies in Americus to exhibit their skills.

There is something for anyone and everyone in Americus and Sumter County, from young to young-at-heart! Check over our chart below for arts, leisure and travel resources in our area.



















Antiques-Dealers

Amazing Grace Elephant Company
128 Cotton Avenue
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 924-4343

Mary Baldwin
115 North Jackson Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 924-4409

Plains Inn and Antique Mall
106 Main Street
Plains, Georgia 31780
Phone: (229) 824-4517

Plains Trading Post
124 Main Street
Plains, Georgia 31780
Phone: (229) 824-5207

W. Malcolm Perry Antiques
Leslie, Georgia
Phone: (229) 874-5570

Windsor Gallery
119 Cotton Avenue
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 928-9700


Art Galleries, Dealers and Consultants

Art Et Cetera
108 North Jackson Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 924-0000

Windsor Gallery
119 Cotton Avenue
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 928-9700


Books (New)

Patience Books and Gifts
213 West Lamar Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 931-0760


Books (Used/Rare)

Well Read
127 North Jackson Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 928-5878


Collectibles

Southern Signatures
303 West Lamar Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 924-3324


Comic Books

Cellar Door
107 South Lee Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 924-2884


Dancing Instruction

Americus Dance Experience
147 Highway 27 East
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 928-4246

The Dance Company
1606 Highway 27 East
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 924-7664

Nancy Jones School of Dance
219 West Lamar Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 928-0106

The Studio of Performing Arts, Inc.
219 West Lamar Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 928-0106


Hobby and Model Shops

Free Time Hobbies
102 West Lamar Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 924-3490

Hodges Hobbies
428 Neil Hodges Road
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 924-9505


Music Instruction-Instrumental

Americus Dance Experience
147 Highway 27 East
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 928-4246


Musical Instruments - Dealers

Whole Note Music
117 West Forsyth Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 928-0090


Museums

Georgia Rural Telephone Museum
135 Bailey Avenue
Leslie, Georgia
Phone: (229) 874-4786


Theatres

Cinema 1 and 2
1604 East Forsyth Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 924-2991


Theatres-Stage

Rylander Theater
310 West Lamar Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 931-0001


Theatrical Managers and Producers

Sumter Players Inc
308 North Hampton Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 924-2645


Tourism Information

Americus Welcome Center
123 West Lamar Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Phone: (229) 928-6059

Andersonville Trail Association
101 West Church Street
Andersonville, Georgia
Phone: (229) 928-2303

Andersonville Welcome Center
114 Church Street
Andersonville, Georgia
Phone: (229) 924-2558




Website Design/Development: Kenny Harrill