Community Q&A with Joanna Fazio of the Chick-fil A Connect Half Marathon

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We are starting our “Community Q&A” series on the blog this week. This series will include information on local artists, restaurants, businesses, events, and more. It’s a great way to get to know Athens, see what our city has to offer, and get connected to the community. If you’d like be featured on our blog simply fill out our Athens Spotlight Form, attach your images, and submit.

This week Joanna Fazio will be featured and provide some great information on the upcoming Chick-fil-A Connect Half Marathon on April 5th. Registration is available here.

Full NameJoanna Fazio

Instagram/Twitter Handle: @cfahalf

Website: http://www.cfahalf.com

Email Address: joanna@connectevents.net

Describe what you do for your audience: Connect Race is a dynamic road race that includes a 5K, 10K and 1 Mile Family Fun Run (and now half marathon!). In our Connect Race model, we partner with churches and non-profits to execute marketing, sponsor relationships and smooth event operations to create the best possible experience for participants. We’ve raced all over the Southeast, from Amelia Island, Fla. to St. Peters, Mo. With every race we put on, we give back to a cause that has made profound impact on that city. For Athens, it’s Habitat for Humanity!

Tell us about your history: Check out this page for more of our history!

Tell us about the importance of your work: The first-ever Chick-fil-A Half will connect families and the Athens community through a memorable, fun race. Runners from all over the Southeast are “running home” to Athens to help build the 80th Athens Habitat for Humanity home, just by participating! We’re uniting many families to give quality of life to one family in Athens.

Tell us why you live in Athens: After attending and graduating from UGA, I made the choice to stay in Athens to work for Connect Ministries. The choice was easy – who doesn’t like strolling along the downtown streets looking at Christmas lights, fighting the game day crowds to get the best seat in Stegeman, or going to Mama’s Boy for their famous Mill Town Breakfast Plate?!

Describe your favorite things about the city of Athens: The community, the friendships, and the food.

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Community Spotlight: Wilmot Greene of The Georgia Theatre

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On the sidewalk downtown. Through the speakers of a coffee shop. In a venue filled with people.

We have all experienced Athens’ music in some way, no matter what the location. The Georgia Theatre is an undeniable fixture of our town that has hosted not only our own local musicians, but also artists who hail from far beyond the Georgia borders. Music, as we all know, is an integral part of the Athens community, and the Georgia Theatre has supported and sustained one of the largest industries in Athens. This is why My Athens is honored to be showcasing our photo exhibit during the month of April at The Georgia Theatre. Wil Greene is the man behind the legendary space who has been an Athenian and major contributor to the local music industry for several years.

Born in Gainesville, Georgia, Wil says that he was raised by music enthusiasts and was fostered to appreciate the art as well as perform himself. Music played a major part in his upbringing and contributed to who he is today.

“We had a jukebox growing up and my mother would take us to Turtles Records every Friday. My sisters and I would get two 45s each every week. I was always really into music as a listener from as long as I can remember.  Neither of my parents were necessarily musicians, but there was always music around…My mother was voted ‘best dancer’ in high school and loved to remind us of that fact. I was involved in musical theatre and playing and writing songs in my band.”

Both of his parents and older sisters attended the University of Georgia, so it was only natural that he would attend.

 “I was coming over here going to parties while still in high school. I saw bands like the Squalls, Flat Duo Jets, Widespread Panic, BBQ Killers, and Allgood…I was in a band at the time and we played REM covers and whatnot, so I don’t think I ever really considered going anywhere else but Athens after high school.”

His band played at the Georgia Theatre several times in college and he became friends with the owners. After having been a frequent attendee, he decided to purchase the theatre in 2004. Since then, the public has looked forward to a wide variety of shows, ranging from their favorites to experiencing music that they have never heard before.

“I’d say one thing I’m particularly proud of is how diverse both our artists and audiences are. I really enjoy stretching the boundaries of genres that will sell tickets.  We take some pretty wild risks sometimes, but Athens is diverse and I’m generally pleasantly surprised at the turnout for all kinds of music.”

The theatre has been a local gathering place for Athenians since 1889, first as a YMCA, a movie theater and then as a music venue. In every form, it has always been at the center of the Athens Community. As Wil points out, each of the theatre’s various purposes has been, “for people to come together. So, I’d imagine that a huge percent of Athenians born in the past 150 years or so probably came inside this building at some point in their lives, and most of them were having a good time hanging out with their friends.”

For Wil Greene, the Georgia Theatre is a wonderful connecting point for all Athenians. It is a place that creates community, creativity, and memories. As he so aptly puts, “It may sound ridiculous, but someone has the time of their life in here every night.  That’s pretty amazing.” Wil and the theatre are part of what creates my Athens, so check out the venue’s calendar and experience the music and community.

Check out the Georgia Theatre’s website for upcoming shows and events. You can also connect with them on Facebook. Tickets to our My Athens events at the Georgia Theatre are available for purchase here.

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Photos by Ella Ferguson. Written by Zelda Speight.

My Athens Spotlight Series

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Since the creation of My Athens we have been on a journey to celebrate this city and highlight the places and spaces that make it unique and cause people to fall in love with Athens.

For us, My Athens is about the people who make Athens such an incredible place. We hope to celebrate these individuals by sharing what they do with the rest of the community.

Today, we are excited to launch our My Athens blog, starting with a series that highlights the people behind our beloved local businesses, restaurants, artists, and nonprofits. These are the people that help make Athens thrive and make our community better, but who aren’t always acknowledged or known by the community.

We can’t wait to share these local stories with all of the Athens community. We hope that this blog will help celebrate Athens with words in the same way the #my_athens hashtag has celebrated our city with photographs.

What business or person are you interested in learning more about through this series? Let us know and we can make it happen!

 

Jamie Calkin

Jamie was born in Michigan, raised in Harrisburg, PA, and lived in North Carolina for 5 years where Jamie taught high school and completed a masters degree. A few years back, Jamie and his wife, Katie, came to Athens, Georgia. He taught at Oglethorpe County High School and earned a doctorate at UGA in Science Education. His dissertation was focused on using the visual arts to learn science in elementary school. He is currently a part-time assistant professor at UGA. Painting began to creep into my ‘real job,’ as a research tool and as an alternative method of teaching/learning. Painting has also become an important part of his travels. His trips to Central Mexico and the Salmon River in Idaho illustrate that.

He started drawing and painting in 1996 while he was a graduate student in North Carolina. Since then, he has taken numerous drawing and watercolor classes, mainly from the Georgia Center and the Lyndon House Arts Center.

He started selling his paintings at Athfest in 2000. The artisan market at Athfest and the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation’s Southworks and Holiday Markets are his favorite annual art shows. He does commissions for individuals and businesses and regularly support non-profits through art auction donations. He has over 20 different prints for sale around town. He can often be seen painting downtown or on campus and driving through Athens in my art van.

He and his wife, Katie, have two wonderful daughters named Violet and Ruby. Much of his days are spent playing with and taking care of my daughters as a work at home dad. They live on the eastside of Athens in Green Acres Neighborhood and have a studio in their home where they hold an annual Christmas open house along with neighbor artist, John Ahee.