By Hailea Boykin

Fresh and Funky

Graphic designer, artist and speaker, Jason Craig has certainly left his mark on Augusta area businesses. Craig began his journey with a focus on fine art but turned to graphic design as a way of consistent income. “A lot of people were hiring graphic designers at the time,” mentions Craig.

After working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for screen and large format printers, alt-weekly newspapers and advertising agencies, he decided to take a leap into the world of independent design in 2019.

Per Craig’s specialty, he created his own logo and website and was able to begin working with some Augusta businesses. Soul City Pizza, Sheehan’s Irish Pub, Villa Europa, the new Soca Vegan Kitchen and River Watch Brewery all turned to Craig for his talent and artistic range in graphic design. His biggest project as an independent designer was for the Atlanta United FC soccer club June 2022 season calendar (pictured top right on pg. 18).

While independent design work itself can be tricky, Craig knows that the competition can sometimes be fierce. “I look at myself as a company without employees rather than an employee without a company,” he says. “There’s so much noise that I need to position myself at a different place than other companies.” And Craig’s wide variety of style defintely places him in a different spot than most.

With many local clients comes many different expectations, wants and needs, and he views each project on its own merit. “If people have a great experience with you, they’ll go and tell others about it,” says Craig. “Being able to help people and companies achieve their goals while achieving my own is really rewarding.”

Find Craig and his design work on Instagram @jasonthe29th or

(Photos courtesy of Jason Craig, Chris Thelen and Kaique Rocha/Pexels


Ponies in the Plaza

Augusta National Golf Club and Jim Hudson Automotive Group made donations of $1 million each to Augusta Technical College for the development of a new automotive service training center.

In recent months, Augusta Technical College has met and worked with local automotive entities regarding the training needs throughout the region. The college’s flagship location for extensive automotive training will be built in the Laney Walker neighborhood and will focus in the areas of electrical/hybrid technology, heavy and light duty diesel, auto body and collusion repair, motorsports technology, and a host of other emerging technologies in the automotive industry. The college also looks to expand into OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) training programs with manufacturers such as Toyota, GM, Honda/Acura, just to name a few. Uniquely, the college seeks to incroporate new programming that not only teaches the technician level curriculum, but also the business side of running a car dealership to include management of service, parts, sales and finance departments.

“Cars have always been in my blood and this partnership with Augusta Technical College will allow young men and women the opportunity to be educated and trained in the automotive world. Our company was built on three pillars: our employees, our customers and the community. My main objective with this donation is to strengthen our community and for us to see a lasting impact on the future,” stated Jim Hudson, Founder of Jim Hudson Automotive Group.

The new facility will quadruple Augusta Technical College’s current training footprint to meet the rising demand for automotive technicians and professionals in the area. Once operational, the center will offer 16 certification programs to approximately 1,270 students annually as the region’s leading automotive training center. Augusta National’s donation will allow the center to open later this year.

“The launch of this training program will prepare a quality workforce for readily available jobs here in Augusta,” said Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley. “This contribution reflects our commitment to promoting opportunities for residents and families in the Laney Walker community and across the City of Augusta. I commend Augusta Technical College and President Dr. Jermaine Whirl for identifying the need for this exciting program that will have a meaningful impact on economic and workforce development in the area.”

The donation to Augusta Technical College represents Augusta National’s latest effort to support ongoing development in the Harrisburg and Laney Walker community.

To register for admission to the Friday and Saturday night events, visit

(Photo by Pixabay on Pexels)


Celebrate Art in Augusta

From September 16–18 local artists and makers will “paint the town,” displaying their precise craftsmanship at the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival. This spectacular gathering of artists, musicians, makers and those who appreciate their craft will continue all through the weekend with food vendors, snacks, drinks and five stages with non-stop live performances!

For tickets, visit

(Photo courtesy of


Taking Up Residence

The Westobou Artist in Residence Program aims to inspire creativity through artistic expression and community advancement. The program provides free studio space for emerging or mid-career Augusta-based visual artists for one year at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art (GHIA). Artists receive a stipend for research, tools and supplies to build a body of work for an exhibition at Westobou Gallery. In collaboration with the GHIA, the artist in residence also teaches a workshop series to community members.

Devin Lovett is the current Westobou artist in residence. Lovett’s work portrays mostly stark forms combined with loose brushstrokes to create a chiseled effect, evoking a sense of macabre or melancholy. But he also has experimental works that are thought provoking, and on occasion, unintentionally political. His exhibition will be at the Westobou Gallery in February 2023.

(Photos above from left to right: Atone, Bronze Age, St. Jude; Portriat photo: Devin Lovett)

Playin’ the Blues

Despite losing his eyesight during childhood, William Samuel McTier, better known as Blind Willie McTell,  would go on to become one of the most accomplished lyrical storytellers and guitarists in blues history.

Born in 1901 just outside of Thomson, Ga., McTell traveled the East Coast with his 12-string guitar becoming famous for his fluid, syncopated fingerstyle guitar technique, common among many exponents of Piedmont blues. Not many of McTell’s songs ever gained mainstream popularity, however, his influence on the blues as well as other music genres is evident.

In 1981, McTell was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1990. Two of his most well-known songs, “Statesboro Blues” and “Broke Down Engine Blues,” have been recorded by artists such as the Allman Brothers and Taj Mahal.

Every year, the city of Thomson hosts The Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival to pay tribute to their native son. The festival has been selected as a Top 20 Events by the Southeast Tourism Society and will be held on September 24 in Thomson.

For tickets, visit

(Photo courtesy of


Ed Turner & Number 9

It’s the end of an era. Ed Turner & Number 9 will bid their audiences farewell this month as they hold their final concerts at the Imperial Theatre. For 17 years, the band has entertained local audiences at the Imperial Theatre with their rendition of music by The Beatles. The final shows will be held August 12 and 13 at the Imperial Theatre. It’s likely tickets will be sold out before this issue hits stands, but just in case, visit for tickets.

Thanks for the memories Ed Turner & Number 9!

(Photo courtesy of Ed Turner on Facebook)

Vinyl for the Soul

Right off a broad street is a blast back into the past. Grantski Records has old, used, new and some hard-to-find vinyl records within their wooden crates. Among the other shelves and racks you can find CD’s, cassette tapes, turntables and components for a kickin’ entertainment center.

With new releases and the occasional exclusive vinyl, the stock at Grantski Records is always changing. Keep a look out on Instagram, @grantskirecords, for their next Record Store Day event with sale items and exclusive inventory!

To peruse the online inventory, visit

(Photo by Hailea Boykin)

Empowering Kids

The Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America (BRCA) Foundation has brought their own superhero to life with the help of Augusta magazine’s Art Director, Michael Rushbrook. Phoenix Powers® is a hero focused on teaching important fire safety to kids, parents, caregivers and teachers in a fun and interactive way. Working directly with the BRCA, Rushbrook brought to life Phoenix Powers®’s origin story with the first edition of the book.

In this second edition of the Phoenix Powers® coloring and activity book, Phoenix introduces us to her friend Taka, a dog who was badly burned when his family’s house caught fire. Together Taka and Phoenix help us recognize fire danger and plan an escape route in case of an emergency. The second edition of the book can be found at any BRCA or online at

(Cover illustration by Michael Rushbrook; Photo of Taka courtesy of BRCA)

Mo’ Movies

As the fall weather makes it way to Georgia  you might consider spending some cooler evenings at The Big MO drive-in theater. Originally opened as The Monetta Drive-In in 1951, the family business closed in 1986 and reopened as The Big MO in 1999.

Now through November, The Big MO plays first-run double features every weekend on three movie screens. Drive in and tune-in on the radio station to hear the movie audio. If you’re hungry, Big MO concessions has burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, chili dogs and chicken sandwiches, along with all the traditional moviegoer snacks! On Tuesdays, the theater announces the lineup for the week. You can find the announcements on their Facebook page, Monetta Drive-In Theatre “The Big MO,” or their website,

Photos courtesy of

Performing Theater for All

Most Augustans know of the Broadway-caliber, award-winning musicals that the The Augusta Players present at the historic Imperial Theatre in downtown Augusta. After 77 consecutive seasons, the organization is most excited about the future which includes dozens of other programs.

Camp Wonderland for young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder is a summer arts camp specifically designed for those on the spectrum and Building Character Summer Theatre Camps introduces performing theatre to young people.

Their ARTreach Theatre brings approximately 12,000 students to the Imperial Theatre each year to attend shows that are designed to support their classroom curriculum. The Augusta Jr. Players is a company of young performers between the ages of six and 19 who create their own professional productions. With special events and a vital online presence, The Augusta Players continues to be one of the cornerstones of Augusta’s performing arts community. 

For more information, visit

(Photos courtesy of Augusta Players)

An Artistic Legacy

The historic white house at the corner of 5th and Telfair streets with ornamental pillars and picturesque windows, now known as the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, was originally the residence of Nicholas Ware. Ware was Augusta’s mayor from 1819–1821 and served in the U.S. Senate after Freeman Walker stepped down in 1821.

Built in 1818, the elegant structure was the home of Ware and his wife until his passing in 1824. After the property was sold by Ware’s widow, it became the residence to many other locals including the William C. Sibley family.

In 1936, the extravagant Federal style home was purchased by Mrs. Olivia Antoinette Helm Herbert. Herbert studied art in Italy and became known for her floral renderings which placed her among the wealthy and elite. She renovated the home for the Augusta Art Club in memory of her daughter, Gertrude Herbert Dunn, who had recently passed away. A year later in 1937, Herbert transformed the property into the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art (GHIA) as a permanent memorial to her daughter that would allow others to expand their artistic horizons. 

The GHIA has been teaching visual arts for more than 80 years as the only nonprofit independent art school in the Savannah River Region. Classes, ranging from beginner to advanced levels, are small so that every student has a personalized and thoughtful experience. From studio classes to after-school education programming and exhibition collaborations with higher education institutions and secondary schools, GHIA teaches technical visual arts skills that allow artists to explore their creativity. Today, the structure that once served as a home for many families is now a beacon for students who want to train, hone and expand their art skills.

Appears in the August/September 2022 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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