Karla Redding-Andrews To Receive Macon Arts Alliance Cultural Award

We are thrilled to announce that Otis Redding Foundation executive director Karla Redding-Andrews will receive the Macon Arts Alliance’s Cultural Award at the organization’s annual meeting on Tuesday, October 25. Please see the press release below for more information and the entire list of winners, which also includes DREAM Academy Governing Board member, Betsy Fitzgerald.

2016 Macon Arts Alliance Cultural Awards and Annual Meeting

Macon, Georgia – Macon Arts Alliance cordially invites you to the Cultural Awards and Annual Meeting on Tuesday, October 25 beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Historic Douglass Theatre in Downtown Macon. The annual meeting will feature a short presentation about the accomplishments of the arts alliance over this past year and an overview of plans for the future.

Jeff Bruce, Joe Cullison, Betsy Fitzgerald, Karla Redding-Andrews, and Nutcracker of Middle Georgia will be honored with 2016 Cultural Awards. William Tony Long, Sr. will be honored as the Rosalyn Elkan Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The Cultural Awards are presented by Macon Arts Alliance to honor those citizens who have made significant contributions to the arts and cultural community. A reception will immediately follow the awards presentation with music provided by The Phillips Performing Arts Jazzy Jazz & Concert Band.

Jeff Bruce is currently the Director of Exhibitions at the Tubman African American Museum and a long time integral part of arts and culture in Middle Georgia. His dedication and expertise have helped establish the Tubman as a premiere cultural institution and resource in the region. Bruce founded One City Art Festival, serves on the Macon Public Art Commission, and assists Mill Hill: East Macon Arts Village through his involvement on the Artistic Advisory Committee, and has been a member of the Macon Film Festival Board of Directors since 2013 and a member of the Executive Committee since 2015.

For almost 15 years, Joe Cullison has been bringing renowned acoustic artists and music to Middle Georgia. Cullison’s concerts have been held in venues ranging from the Douglass Theater to the Juliette Opry House to intimate house gatherings. One of Cullison’s most significant contributions to the local music scene is the well-established tradition of the annual Celtic Christmas Concert, featuring guitar masters Robin Bullock and Steve Baughman. In a larger sense Cullison has been a brilliant educator and community builder by broadening musical horizons and bringing diverse people together for beautiful and masterful performances of the highest caliber.

Since moving to Macon, Betsy Fitzgerald has served as an active participant in the Central Georgia arts community as an administrator, performer, and volunteer. Fitzgerald performs regularly throughout the community as a soloist, chamber musician, and as a member of an orchestra. As an active teacher, Fitzgerald educates at Wesleyan College, through her private studio, and at the Otis Redding Singer and Songwriter Camp. Fitzgerald is a graduate of the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Fitzgerald is a founding member of the Friends of Macon Symphony, and currently serves on Morning Music Club Executive Committee, and the Dream Academy Board of Directors.

Karla Redding-Andrews is committed to keeping the legacy of Otis Redding alive, while continuing his dream of “Progress Through Education. Enlightenment Through Music.” Redding-Andrews currently serves as the executive director of the Otis Redding Foundation. Her lasting impact can be seen in the Otis Music Camp, the Otis Redding Center for Creative Arts, and the newly formed Dream Academy. Redding-Andrews earned a B.A. from Georgia Southern University in 1985. She is vice-chair of the Georgia Music Foundation board, which operates under the direction of the Governor of the State of Georgia, Nathan Deal. Redding-Andrews serves on the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Advisory Commission, appointed by Governor Deal, the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Board of Visitors, and the steering committee for Mill Hill: East Macon Arts Village. Redding-Andrews and husband Timothy have been married for 29 years and have two sons Justin and Jarred.

Nutcracker of Middle Georgia was founded 31 years ago with the goal of providing an annual high quality performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Under the vision and guidance of founding Artistic Director Jean Weaver, as well as the contributions of its working Board of Directors, the organization has profoundly impacted the growth of arts and culture in Middle Georgia. In 1991 a daytime school performance was added, and since then, over 18,000 third and fourth graders have attended The Nutcracker free of charge. The organization has grown from a $25,000 budget to an annual budget of over $150,000, all proceeds being invested in future productions. The most important contribution that Nutcracker of Middle Georgia has made over the years is encouraging an appreciation of classical ballet for the over 100,000 patrons and the more than 3,000 young dancers who have attended and participated in the production.

William Tony Long, Sr. is a Macon native, having graduated from Lanier Senior High School and Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts. Long has worked in the painting and construction industry since 1957. Currently he is the managing partner of A.T. Long & Son Painting Contractors, the family firm his father founded in 1935. The company has worked on notable preservation projects including the Grand Opera House (interior and exterior), the Cox Capitol Theatre, the Macon City Auditorium, Christ Episcopal Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Temple Beth Israel, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, Douglass Theatre, the Hay House and the Woodruff House. In addition to his general painting work, Mr. Long maintains a network of artists and craftsmen who are employed on restoration jobs calling for specialty finishes and decorative plaster repair or re-creation of original elements.

Several years ago, Mr. Long joined with other construction and architecture professionals to establish Mulberry Street Partners, LLC, a group specializing in the rehabilitation of vacant and derelict properties in downtown Macon. To date, they have accomplished the successful rehabilitation of ten buildings.

Long is fiercely dedicated to volunteerism and giving back to his hometown. An innovator at heart, Long can be attributed to the founding of several significant Middle Georgia organizations including Friends of Macon Music, Macon Film Festival, Capitol Theatre Board, Macon Heritage Foundation/Historic Macon Foundation, Vineville Neighborhood Association, Nutcracker of Middle Georgia, and the Community Children’s Theatre. Additional community and state involvement includes: Grand Opera Board of Directors, Macon-Bibb County Tourism Development Committee, Macon Chamber of Commerce, Macon Mayoral 1990 Plan Committee, Georgia Developmental Disabilities Committee, Government Reorganization Task Force, and Macon Jaycees.

About Macon Arts Alliance:
The mission of the Macon Arts Alliance is to foster and support the advancement of arts and culture in Central Georgia. We strive to be an innovative leader of a diverse and thriving arts community as well as a strategic partner in creating an open, inclusive, and vibrant place for artists, arts organizations, residents, businesses, and tourists. Macon Arts Alliance is the designated local arts agency of Macon-Bibb County. For more information about the Macon Arts Alliance, please visit www.maconartsalliance.org or call 478-743-6940. The Macon Arts Alliance is located in Historic Downtown Macon at 486 1st Street, Macon, Georgia 31201.

An Evening of Respect Wraps Up Celebrating 75 Years of Otis Redding with Packed House Tribute Concert

Otis Redding 75th Birthday Celebration

MACON, GEORGIA—September 12, 2016—An raucous crowd just shy of a sellout joined The Otis Redding Foundation Sunday evening at Macon’s historic City Auditorium in a grand finale for the weekend of events celebrating the King of Soul Otis Redding’s 75th birthday.

“The electricity that was in the room for not only the guests but amongst the artists was incredible,” said Redding’s daughter, Foundation Director Karla Redding-Andrews. “What a way to end the celebration, with such an all-star lineup.”

Music by the Otis Redding Foundation’s DREAM Choir, a reunion of the ‘​80s hit group The Reddings with Mark Lockett, Birmingham-based soul band St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Andra Day, internationally acclaimed violinist Robert McDuffie, ​Rolling Stones pianist Chuck Leavell, and Stax legends Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd and William Bell brought multiple standing ovations. The stars were not just on stage, however. Local Macon legend Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band attended the evening’s festivities, as did storied DJ Donnie Simpson.

Video greetings from Whoopi Goldberg, Randy Jackson, Lalah Hathaway, Charles Bradley, Allen Stone and Lionel Richie, along with remarks and a proclamation by U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop set the tone for an evening filled with deep respect, honor, and celebration for the late soul legend.

The DREAM Choir, made up of area students, next took the stage to sing “America the Beautiful,” “Amen” and “There is a Reason,” later returning with Andra Day to perform her hit “Rise Up.”

The Otis Redding Foundation honored Fred and Dinah Gretsch, longtime president and chief financial officer, respectively, of the Savannah-based Gretsch Company and Macon native McDuffie with its Award of RESPECT for their tireless dedication to education through music and the arts. After accepting his award with violin in hand, McDuffie joined Leavell onstage to perform a duet of Leavell’s instrumental “Southscape” to open the show.

The evening was filled with show-stopping performances that kept the audience dancing from St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ opener, “Ole Man Trouble,” to the closing number of the evening, Otis’ number-one hit single “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” delivered by all of the evening’s performers.

“It was a truly amazing evening and we thank the people of Macon-Bibb and from around the world who came to be a part of the celebration,” Redding-Andrews remarked.

The star-studded event, produced by Red Light Management and JAM, Inc. in association with the Otis Redding Foundation, paid tribute to Otis Redding’s music while carrying on his legacy of promoting education through music and art, which is the Foundation’s mission. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Otis Redding Foundation and DREAM Academy – Georgia’s first authentic state-wide arts-integrated public charter school, uniquely designed to educate and empower students to reach their full potential through the blending of music, the arts, and academics.


Local Media Contact:

Karla Redding-Andrews or Leila Regan-Porter                                     Terrell Sandefur

The Otis Redding Foundation                                                                      478-319-0243

478-742-5737                                                                                                     terrell@terrellsandefur.com



National Media Contact:

Rose Campbell



Georgia State Commission Approves Arts Charter School In Macon

DREAM Academy Approved by the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia

School Approved Unanimously at Wednesday’s Commission Meeting


DREAM Academy’s charter petition was unanimously approved Wednesday by the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC).

“On behalf of the DREAM Academy Board of Directors we are pleased that SCSC has exhibited belief and confidence in our program integrating music and arts in a community whose mark is just that—music and the arts. We look forward to creating this opportunity for the students and families in middle Georgia and beyond” said Karla Redding-Andrews.

Now that DREAM is approved, its Board of Directors and Support and Resource Team (DREAM Team) will begin pre-opening activities including student enrollment, initiation of facility acquisition or construction, leadership and staff hiring, and generating support through community and family partnerships. DREAM Academy will be a public charter school of choice and is proposed to open as a K-6 school in August 2017, and expand by a grade level each year until it reaches grade 12.

The guiding mission of DREAM Academy is to expand student access to structured, sustained, and effective education and programming paired with music, creative arts, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Founders and partners are led by the belief that this collaborative model can enhance the public education and community program opportunities in Middle Georgia by offering a unique learning environment embracing and integrating the arts, higher education, community, and industry partnerships.

A special press conference/town hall meeting with the express purpose of updating all interested parties— media, parents and community shareholders—on the approval and recent DREAM developments will be held at time and location to be announced in the coming weeks.

Updates and developments can be found on our website/social media regarding this exciting opportunity for students and families in Middle Georgia: www.dreamacademycharter.org