By: Nick Seymour | Photography: David Barnes
Drilling holes in wood for three to four hours doesn’t sound like anybody’s typical weekend, especially when it’s not for profit, but for Ojaswa “Oj” Prasad, it’s a reality. Prasad, a junior biochemistry major from Johns Creek, makes two to three world maps made of different sized holes drilled into wood every weekend he goes home.
The sculptures are no small feat. They require hours of work and heaps of ingenuity from the design to the finished product. “So I can only make them at home at my parents’ place because I don’t have the tools here, and I’m pretty sure all my neighbors here would get annoyed if they constantly heard drilling, so I do it when I go home on the weekends,” Prasad says. He can’t go home every weekend, however, so there’s even less time to make each sculpture. That’s why the production has “protracted a bit.”
Prasad can only make about three or four at a time. “The first time I didn’t have a template board, so it took a bit longer,” Prasad says. “But I created a template board that’s about 32 inches by 48 inches. So I gridded it out, and I also had to have a projection for the population and landmass base.” The projection he used is called the Kavrayskiy VII projection, which is one of 60 ways in which cartographers have tried to flatten our spherical world onto a rectangle. It basically comes out as squares and is based on population relative to land mass and location. “I had to use that to figure out four different hole sizes.”
Making the maps is incredibly time-consuming and detailed work. Prasad has to buy special drill bits so that the wood doesn’t tear and so he doesn’t have to re-sand it all after he’s done. He buys his wood at Home Depot, but it doesn’t come in the right size, so he has to buy larger pieces and then cut them into thirds. Creating the actual holes takes the most time, though. “The holes take forever - at least three to four hours for the holes,” Prasad says. And since he has to make sure each hole is lined up exactly, he can’t use a work bench; he has to lean into every single hole he drills, causing his arm and shoulder to hurt. To counter this, he takes a break after he finishes each continent. “With the breaks, it’s doable.”
With the template Prasad has made, the work is considerably easier. By making the board, he has cut his work down from five hours per board to just three because it’s easier to see where the holes are and what sizes they need to be. “I have the template board and then I have two boards underneath. That makes it easier in terms of strain and whatnot, and then I have to sand down the wood. Sometimes I have to sand down the front because it does tear on the front and it needs to be smooth. I stain the front so it looks a bit nicer, and for that it needs to be a smooth surface. And then I add a trim to it, so it doesn’t look like plywood - it looks kind of fancy.”
Prasad gives a map its shadow-box effect by attaching four separate blocks of wood onto the back that hold the board off by four inches. Then he puts the wire across the top for hanging. As a bonus, he can add LED lights behind the board as well.
All of that is a lot of work for something that doesn’t make any profit for Prasad, but he’s not doing it for profit. He’s making and selling these sculptures to raise money for a second service trip with MEDLIFE (Medicine, Education and Development for Low-Income Families Everywhere). For his 2014 spring break, Prasad went with about 30 other UGA students to Peru. Each day they were there, they traveled one or two hours outside of Lima, where there are millions of people living in shacks. While there, they built an enormous staircase to help the people climb up and down an extremely steep hillside. They built a house for a single mother, and they set up a mobile clinic, which offered a variety of medical services from dentistry to gynecology.
And MEDLIFE wasn’t just “sticking a Band-Aid on it” like other volunteer organizations might. Even though the volunteers from UGA and other American universities have to leave after a week, there are permanent interns and doctors that stay in Peru to perform follow-ups on the patients. That’s what makes MEDLIFE different from other organizations and creates lasting and impactful change in the area.
Prasad’s experience at with MEDLIFE is by no means singular. “It’s inexplicable,” says Veronica Benedit, a senior biology major from Loganville and current Service Chair for MEDLIFE. “I’ve been to a handful of places, but this was the best kind of vacation for me, because you spend the day helping people with their lives, and then you have the evening to spend with friends seeing this beautiful country. And then the next day, you do it all over again. There was so much worth in a single day - it’s overwhelming.”
After the program was over, Prasad, Benedit and their fellow volunteers got an email that showed how many people they helped over the course of just one week. “We helped 2,860 people, but to me, that wasn’t enough,” Prasad says. He says that the best way that he could help those in need was to become a doctor so that he could stay there and give them all the time that they needed.
Prasad says that he wants to raise about $2,400 in revenue for his next trip, which would either be in Peru again or possibly in Ecuador. So far, he’s raised $600 selling his pieces to students for $100 each. He posted on various UGA Facebook groups in January saying that he was selling his sculptures, and he’s been working on them ever since.
By: Catherine Pierson | Photography: Laura Baker
Are you looking for a unique place to hang out with friends over the summer? Maybe you think the bar scene of downtown Athens has become overrated with a nasty smell of old Burnett’s shots scattered across the floor. The pool is always a fun atmosphere, but rain is a frequent occurrence throughout the summer, so why not try something new and creative?
ARTini’s is the place you want to be. Its location on West Broad Street allows you to continue to experience the popular nightlife of downtown Athens without the crowds. ARTini’s is exactly what it sounds like and a business that specializes in art and alcohol.
“It’s time to do something I love every day, and it’s time to use the gift I was given to give back,” says Kate Cook, ARTini’s owner/artist instructor. “It excites me to share art and bring it to everyone.”
ARTini’s is not just a business, but also a passion. Once you step inside, you will realize the hard work that Cook puts in for everyone to feel the same way as she does about art.
“I thought ARTini’s was a great combination of fun and chill with a side of cat[s],” says Ridley Griggs, a graduate student majoring in health policy and management from Cornelia.
ARTini’s is not just filled with paintbrushes, canvases and a lounge. Cats roam the place too. Penelope is one of the two cats that meet you at the door as you walk in. The cats are friendly and enjoy helping you paint, putting their little paws into the paint water. It is the perfect place to make some new furry friends.
The instructors are all very encouraging and take you step by step with every stroke and color of paint. The paint, brushes and canvases are all included in the cost. You don’t even have to clean up before leaving. The instructors use acrylic paint that dries very quickly, so you can take your painting home that same night. Then, when your beautiful painting is hanging on the wall, all of your friends will wonder, “How did you do that?” ARTini’s is a great place to show off your skills and abilities to everyone at home.
“I felt like I really did learn something,” says Sarah Ellen Williams, a junior biology major from Macon. “I would definitely go back and bring my mom because she would love it because it has her two favorite things: painting and wine.”
ARTini’s is great for when your parents and siblings make a visit. The atmosphere is better with a group because it is fun comparing each other’s paintings as the process goes along. People of all ages can enjoy painting and the process takes about two hours, which can then turn into a full night of fun. A girl’s night is definitely recommended at ARTini’s.
“If you’re looking for a chill place with cool beer and air conditioning, it’s the right place,” says Sami Netherton, a junior biology major from Alpharetta. “Plus, the free cups at the end were awesome for bringing to the pool.”
So next time you and your friends are bored or just looking for something new and fun to do, go check ARTini’s out, play with some adorable cats and even get a souvenir. Your time will not be wasted and you will be wondering why you hadn’t visited this place sooner.
By: Lauren Leising | Photos Contributed by: AthFest
What comes to mind when you think of Athens, Ga? The ever-expanding, bustling, beautiful city we call home is known for great food and drink, an incredibly diverse population, a tight-knit community and, of course, music. One of the most defining characteristics of Athens is its booming music and art scene. It it known for producing and hosting up-and-coming artists from around the country in its iconic venues, such as the 40 Watt Club and the Georgia Theatre. The profound emphasis on music and art is felt throughout the city and has given rise to concerts and festivals year-round, including the annual AthFest festival that takes place each June and draws the community together to celebrate after the school year has come to a close.
According to Jill Helme, the current AthFest Executive Director, “[AthFest] started 19 years ago as a small festival on the steps of the courthouse with a few hundred people in attendance,” and has since “grown to a multi-day festival that spans four blocks and welcomes over 30,000 people to the city of Athens.” The festival celebrates musical and artistic talent from people across the country and includes several days of live music, artist booths and a two-night Club Crawl around Athens.
AthFest is organized and put on by AthFest Educates, which is dedicated to supporting music and art education for youth in the Athens area and to encouraging students to pursue their creative passions. All proceeds from the festival go directly to providing schools and organizations, such as Barrow Elementary School and the Lyndon House Arts Center, with funding for arts programs for young students and children.
At Barrow Elementary School, Leslie Sokal-Berg was able to purchase new instruments for her students and says that the school is “able to completely transform what [they] offer [their] students.” At the Lyndon House Arts Center, Didi Dunphy, the program supervisor, says that the arts center is using their first grant from AthFest Educates to purchase the equipment needed for a stop-motion animation program for fourth- and fifth-graders and to expand their program offerings.
Each year the Lyndon House Arts Center organizes week-long summer camps for the youth of Athens and is dedicated to showcasing the talent of young artists and to showing students the joys of art. The value that AthFest Educates places on the arts resonates with both Sokal-Berg and Dunphy, who believe that the arts offer students opportunities to excel in life by seeing the beauty and possibilities in art.
“Kids that struggle with reading, math or general studies can find success in the arts,”Sokal-Berg says. Didi Dunphy believes that art “is integrated into life” and that creativity is necessary for success in the future. Studying the arts allows students to fully express themselves and take pride in the things they have made, and that is something to be valued.
When discussing AthFest, one cannot forget the outstanding and diverse range of musical performances featured on the festivals’ stages. The festival has played host to local, regional and national performers and has offered many up-and-coming bands the opportunity to gain traction and expand their fan base. One such band is Seven Handle Circus. Shawn Spencer, a member of the band, has performed in three AthFest celebrations and will be opening the festival on the main stage this year. He explained that he enjoys coming back to the festival because of the enthusiastic audience, diverse crowds and the overall “culture of it.”
Noah Adams, member of Dirty Bourbon River Show, will also be returning to the festival this year and says that he enjoys playing AthFest because “they host a great range of acts in a wonderful setting.” He says that one of the best things about the festival from the perspective of a performer is “looking out from the stage and not being able to tell where the crowd stops.”
Ryan Price, a junior at UGA, was standing in the crowd at last year’s festival and loved it. “There was a very diverse crowd,” Price says. “Everyone finds their place and enjoys themselves.” He agrees that the festival truly offers something for everyone and that “AthFest epitomizes the college and music scene [Athens] has. It is a true Classic City event.”
Whether you stay in Athens for summer or not, coming downtown for AthFest is truly worth it, and you will be sure to leave enthused and excited. By fusing the art, music and culture of Athens, AthFest makes the crowd come alive. The festival offers each person something that stirs them, makes their heart beat fast and brings them into community with those around them. With the intention of furthering music and art education for students, AthFest succeeds in bringing people together to celebrate and educates us all on how to have a good time.
By: Brittany Bowes| Illustrations: Orlando Pimentel
It’s Thursday night, and downtown Athens is buzzing with energy. As you round the corner, you see a line forming outside the Georgia Theatre and the name of the showcase musician lighting up the marquee. From REM to the B-52s, Athens has always been a stop for budding artists. Upon closer inspection, however, it is evident that the Athens music scene is more than what you see downtown.
The Hugh Hodgson School of Music is home to much of this talent. A rising national leader in music schools today, Hugh Hodgson offers state-of-the-art facilities to help students in their dreams of performance careers in the future. The Performing Arts Center draws world-class artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Music students make up a large number of the patrons who attend these performances. Recently, Jazz at Lincoln Center performed at the venue.
“It’s ridiculous to see them live,” says Lauren Floyd, a junior music performance major from Marietta. “We even got a chance to have a private session with their drummer, Wynton Marsalis.”
Although Floyd has attended her fair share of concerts at the Georgia Theatre, many of her favorite performances came from the Performing Arts Center.
“I have a wide range of favorite artists,” Floyd says. “That seems to be a common trend in the music school.”
Others seemed to share this opinion. Chris Delmas, a freshman from Fort Oglethorpe, said that he “really likes all genres of music because they all tie into each other. All music comes from the same place.”
A double-major in music performance and education, Delmas hopes to someday play trombone for a symphony or philharmonic orchestra or teach. With this wide variety of tastes, Delmas says he tries to take full advantage of all the Athens music scene has to offer. He often ventures to the 40 Watt Club and the Georgia Theatre to support his friend’s band. Decades after REM, Athens is still a hot spot for budding artists to discover, cultivate and pursue their passion in all genres of music.
In addition to being patrons of performances, the school of music gives students the opportunity to display their talents through their own performances. Music education major Lillie Smith, a sophomore from Thomasville, was given the opportunity to play the Battle Hymn during the Troy game this football season.
“The Battle Hymn is such a significant part of UGA football history, and it felt good to be a part of it,” Smith says.
She has played the trumpet for 10 years and hopes to someday teach music in a school. She also plays guitar, drawing inspiration from favorite artist Ed Sheeran.
So while the students of the school of music have a wide range of favorite artists, it is evident that they are all passionate about the same things – music and performance. Together they prove that the Athens music scene is more than just the venues downtown. In fact, talent can be found in every corner of campus, making the University of Georgia not only a venue for world-class artists to perform but a venue to produce world-class performers in the future.