Old Plantations Revealing Their Secrets During Arts Organization Fundraiser

Oct 2, 2017

There’s a new organization promoting the arts in our area. It’s headquartered in Thomasville, but it’s also reaching out to neighboring communities in Florida.

Historic postcard depicting the main house of Thomasville's Boxhall Plantation
Credit Peggy Hovas

Appropriately – because we’re talking about South Georgia and North Florida - the organization is called “Pines and Palms”. And let’s get one thing straight about its founder Sandi Shaw right off the bat…she is a HUGE fan of her adopted hometown of Thomasville.

“I mean our downtown is fantastic!” she exclaimed excitedly. “It has great restaurants; unbelievably good restaurants. And we also have these little boutique shops that are clever. It’s astounding! And when I bring my friends in from out-of-state they say, “Really? This beautiful place?!’ And I say, ‘Yeah. It is.’”

Six years ago, Shaw, who had set up a painting studio in Thomasville, formed a local artists’ co-op. That has since morphed into the Pines and Palms organization.

“What we’ve had in Thomasville now are spectacular programs for children (such as) music, and one of the things that we haven’t been paying attention to but are going to do this with the new organization is to make sure that adults have opportunities to enrich their lives by participating in art,” she explained.

To foster that participation, and incidentally raise some money for the organization, is this week’s “Plantation Trace en Plein Air” event.

“It’s going to bring in 20 professional artists to paint plantations and our beautiful surroundings and sell some of their work and that will raise money for Pines and Palms.”

Working from real life scenes, Shaw said the artists, regardless of their personal style of painting, will still incorporate the essential ambiance of the area into their creations.

“There definitely is this sort of style which is quail and bird dogs and the pine trees and the plantations. It is a lovely style! And these artists will capture some of that, but also some of the downtown, some of the rural areas, it will really be something memorable for people to see.”

And people will be able to watch the artists as they work. But Shaw insisted a huge attraction is the rare chance for people to see some of South Georgia’s so-called “secret” plantations: the Boxhall, Mayhaw and Milestone properties have been closed off to the public for years.

“You get to go onto plantations that are private. And it seems to be in this area that a lot of people know about plantations, they wonder what they are, but the opportunity to get on the plantations so you can, on a beautiful October day walk around and see how beautiful and see how the people with these kinds of private preserves run their lives. See the old buildings; some of them have farm houses and horses and chickens and things like that. All of those things, just for a moment, will be opened up for people to see.”

Shaw explained there’s one big reason this is happening.

“The plantation people are opening their homes and their property because they want to support art in the Thomasville, Tallahassee and Valdosta area.”

It all takes place this Wednesday through Sunday (October 4-8) “We hope people will come out and see the combination of the plantations, the beauty, and painting and get excited about it.”

Check out the Plantation Trace en Plein Air event and other upcoming happenings at: www.pinesandpalms.org