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Enlightening Bites presents Pope’s Museum’s Lasting Legacy for Georgia

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October

04

12 - 1pm

Most people are unaware that one of the nation's oldest extant folk art museums is located in south Georgia. They are also unaware this site was created by a woman. Laura Pope Forester (1873-1953), the woman who shaped the Popes Museum, is a nationally significant American self-taught artist. She is notable not only for creating a large folk art environment of high artistic quality around her rural residence and store, but also as one of the few female artists to do so in the twentieth century. According to records kept by Mrs Pope, it was a tourist destination for people from all 50 states and every continent except Antarctica. Currently there is a 100 foot WWII memorial that is 15 feet tall and includes busts of such people as General Eisenhower and the Queen of England. On the west side there is a life size replica of a WWI nurse that also is a dedication to local men who did not make it home from the Great War. Inside the home are murals created by Mrs. Forester painted directly on the walls. Perhaps the most inspiring artwork is an entire balcony room made from sewing machines which the artist created to demonstrate the worth of a woman was more than 12 hours behind Georgia's prolific textile mills. When it closed in 1973, it went through of series of owners. Unfortunately, the ravages of time, neglect and abuse took a strong toll on the famous site. Yet through community support and the vision of the new owners it is experiencing a renaissance. The home and historic gardens are undergoing rehabilitation, and some of the artwork is being returned piece by piece. Also, the home and property are currently under review by the Georgia Department of Historic Preservation for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places in the categories of art, recreation and leisure and women's history. Speaking on behalf of the Pope Museum is Michelle Dean, Executive Director and Founder of Pope’s Museum Preservation, Inc.

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