MGA Art Festival 2017 Schedule

MGA Art Festival 2017 kicks off on March 27th, 2017 with a screening of the documentary film featuring this year’s headlining artist, Dan Keplinger.


  • The Academy Award-winning film that features KeplingerKing Gimp, will be screened at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 27, in room 140 of the Arts Complex Theatre on the Macon Campus and at 5:30 p.m., Monday, March 27, in room 130 of Dillard Auditorium on the Cochran Campus. The documentary, a portrait of the artist who must use a paintbrush attached to his head due to his cerebral palsy,  won the 2000 Academy Award for Best Short Subject. In 2001, the company then known as Cingular featured Keplinger in an inspirational commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.


Here is the complete list of Arts Festival events, all of which are free and open to the public:


Monday, March 27th

  • King Gimpscreenings, 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 27, in room 140 of the Arts Complex, Middle Georgia State Macon Campus, and 5:30 p.m., Monday, March 27, room 130, Dillard Auditorium, Middle Georgia State Cochran Campus.

King Gimp follows the life of artist Dan Keplinger of Towson, Md., who has cerebral palsy. King Gimp is a 1999 documentary that was awarded the 2000 Academy Award for Best Short Subject Documentary and 2000 Peabody Award. The film follows the life of artist Dan Keplinger of Towson, Md., who has cerebral palsy. Keplinger was 13 when the filmmakers met him as part of their federally funded documentary projects on mainstreaming children with disabilities. The cerebral palsy means Keplinger has little control over the muscles of his arms, legs or mouth. He uses a paintbrush attached to his head to paint. He could neither speak nor dress himself when the filmmakers met him. As described in an article in the Baltimore Sun,”They recorded Keplinger’s move from a state school for disabled children into Parkville High School. They filmed him moving from his mother’s home into his first apartment. His first art show, his friendship with a young woman hired to help him with homework, his senior prom and his tears at his college graduation — all were captured on film. King Gimp was the name neighbors gave him as a child because his house was on the top of a hill and he liked to roll down it in his wheelchair. A fighting spirit, he calls himself.”


Tuesday, March 28th

  • Poetry reading by Anya Silver, 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, Arts Complex Theater, Middle Georgia State Macon Campus.

Silver is the author of three books of poetry, The Ninety-Third Name of God,  I Watched You Disappear, and From Nothing, all published by the Louisiana State University Press. Her work has been published in many literary magazines, including Image, The Harvard Review, The Georgia Review, Five Points, Crazyhorse, New Ohio Review, Witness, The Christian Century, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, Shenandoah, and many others.  Her work is included in Best American Poetry 2016. Her poems have been featured on Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac,” in Ted Kooser’s syndicated column, “American Life in Poetry,” as an Academy of American Poets’ poem of the day, and on“Poetry Daily.”  Her poems have been anthologized in several books. She was named Georgia Author of the Year/Poetry for 2015 and currently teaches at Mercer University. She shares her life with her husband, son and cockapoo. Since 2004, she has been living and thriving with inflammatory breast cancer.


Wednesday, March 29th

  • The Golden Lecture with Phil Garrett, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, room 236,  Arts Complex, Middle Georgia State Macon Campus.

The Golden lecture/demo is a two-hour free educational presentation that touches on QoR Watercolor Sets and information about how the different types of pigments, different viscosities and types of paints, grounds and color mixing can interact. Various gels and mediums are demonstrated. You will learn how to extend paint to save money, and how to mix paints with gels to create unique textural surfaces. Learn how to use different products to make surfaces for watercolors, graphite, charcoal, colored pencil, oil and soft pastels. Techniques for the use of iridescent and metallic paints will be shown. The lecture covers the lightfastness of pigments, proper acrylic priming techniques, digital mixed media applications, correct varnishing tips and health and safety concerns.


  • “Improvisation in Film-Making” lecture by Lauren Cater, assistant professor of Film Production at MGA, 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, room 140, Arts Complex, Middle Georgia State Macon Campus.

Lauren Cater received her Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Studies and Production from the University of North Texas. She has worked as a filmmaker for nine years and has been featured in various film festivals and conferences. Lauren Cater works in both fiction and non-fiction with topics focusing on southern small towns, LGBTQA community, mental health, myths, and recreating reality through cinematic time and space.


Thursday, March 30th

  • Book-binding demo/interactive art class with Amy Pirkle, 4 p.m. Thursday, March 30, room 236 A, Arts Complex, Middle Georgia State Macon Campus.

Pirkle has taught at the University of Alabama since2006.  At Penland School of Crafts in 2011, Pirkle taught a course combining etching and letterpress printing techniques. In 2010 she served as Penland’s Master Printer in Residence. She assisted master printers at Pace Editions in New York in the summers of 2010 through 2013 and presented talks on book arts topics at Mercer University, Penland, Spring Hill College, SAMLA and SECAC. Her work was published recently in 500 Handmade Books: Volume 2. She regularly exhibits her prints and handmade books in regional, national and international exhibitions and her work is in numerous national collections including UCLA’s Art Library; Swarthmore College Library Special Collections;Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago; Yale University’s Faber Birren Collection of Books on Color; Rhode Island School of Design’s Library Special Collections and The Millard Sheets Library of Otis College of Art and Design.


Monday, April 3rd

  • Paint to the Music – 5:30 p.m. fusion class, Alderman Hall, Middle Georgia State Cochran Campus

Experience painting to live music in this fusion class where art and music come together. Miguel Castro and others will play impromptu while students paint in Alderman Hall on the Cochran campus. Professor Simmons will be instructing this class. Only 25 seats are available so show up early! First come, first served. Class begins at 5:30 p.m.


  • Dan Keplinger will discuss his art at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 3, Peacock Gallery, Russell Hall, Middle Georgia State Cochran Campus. 

Keplinger is an artist who must use a paintbrush attached to his head due to his cerebral palsy. He was the subject of a documentary that won the 2000 Academy Award for Best Short Subject.  In 2001, the company then known as Cingular featured Keplinger in an inspirational commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. Keplinger’s art will be displayed at Peacock Gallery through Friday, April 7. Keplinger’s website is at


Wednesday, April 5th

  • Artist, Dan Keplinger, will be in the Macon art studio (room – ARTS 236) 1:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. presenting his techniques and working on a pochoir print that is open for the public to observe in this interactive studio day. Open Studio – Arts Complex, Middle Georgia State Macon Campus  

This interactive studio day is open for everyone to observe watching the inspirational Keplinger present the process of pochoir printmaking and experience how the renown artist brings a piece of art to life. MGA art students will also be in the studio assisting him during the day. Hope you can join us and experience the motivating artistry that Keplinger radiates to all!


For more information about MGA’s Arts Festival events, contact Dr. Sara Hughes or Professor D.L. Simmons. Campus maps and directions are at The Arts Festival is sponsored by MGA’s Office of Student Life and hosted by the Media, Culture & the Arts department.