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Join former Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Sally Bethea for a evening of stories from 20 years of keeping watch over Georgia's most important river. Bethea will tell some of her favorite stories from her years of riverkeeping, read excerpts from her book, Keeping the Chattahoochee, and answer questions about Georgia's river protection movement that now includes nine riverkeeper organizations in the state. The evening is sponsored by Coosa River Basin Initiative and Georgia River Network.

Sally Sierer Bethea was one of the first women in America to become a “riverkeeper”—a vocal defender of a specific waterway who holds polluters accountable. In Keeping the Chattahoochee, she tells stories that range from joyous and funny to frustrating—even alarming—to illustrate what it takes to save an endangered river. Her tales are triggered by the regular walks she takes through a forest to the Chattahoochee over the course of a year, finding solace and kinship in nature.

"Sally Bethea's book is a marvel. She interweaves close observations of the life of the river and forests with political history. Her stories are always inspiring." - David George Haskell, author of Sounds Wild and Broken and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Sally Bethea is the retired founding director of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization established in 1994 whose mission is to protect and restore the Chattahoochee River, its tributaries and watershed. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Georgia Tech, and an honorary doctorate from LaGrange College—as well as more than forty years of experience in environmental issues and nonprofit management.

This is a FREE event and open to the public. The gallery has a bar serving beer, wine, and non alcoholic refreshments.

PARKING can be found across the street at Truist Bank

Matthew Fowler

Kingfisher Art Co., 7 East 2nd Ave., Rome

“Some people are good at separating themselves from their art,” says Matthew Fowler, “but I’ve never been able to do that. I live and breathe these songs every single day.”

Written over the course of the past several years, The Grief We Gave Our Mother, Fowler’s stunning label debut, is indeed a profoundly personal work of self-discovery and introspection, but more than that, it’s an ode to growing up and chasing dreams. The songs here radiate all the joy and wonder and heartbreak and confusion of young adulthood, wrestling with love and loss in the face of ambition and independence, and the arrangements are captivatingly complex to match, layering dynamic guitars, breathy woodwinds, and lush harmonies into a transcendent soundscape that blurs the lines between traditional roots music and experimental chamber folk. Fowler’s vocal delivery, meanwhile, is raw and direct, hinting at everything from Damien Rice and Glen Hansard to Ray LaMontagne and Ben Howard in its mix of gritty grandeur and vulnerable intimacy. The result is a record that’s at once bold and timid, hopeful and anxious, jaded and naïve, an honest, revelatory collection all about putting one foot in front of the other and forging a life of purpose, passion, and meaning.

“This record is the sound of me finding myself and my place in the world,” Fowler reflects. “It’s about real moments and real stories and real people.”

Born and raised in Florida, Fowler fell in love with music at an early age: at 14, he was already writing and recording his own original material in his parents’ kitchen, and the week he turned 19, he released his debut collection, a stripped-down batch of live performances aptly titled Beginning. Critics were quick to take notice, with American Songwriter praising Fowler’s “earnest, strummy songcraft” and The Bluegrass Situation proclaiming that his “assured, velvety vocals are rivaled only by the intimacy of his lyrics.” Two years later, Fowler headed to Gainesville to begin work on a follow-up, but instead of a three-week trip, as planned, the journey turned into a multi-year odyssey in which he learned to produce and engineer records and began managing a live music venue.

“Living in Gainesville, the album became this thing that I was eternally working towards, but never working on,” says Fowler. “With my job at the venue, I was coordinating all of these great shows and meeting all of these songwriters I really admired, but I was basically just facilitating other people’s dreams. Eventually, I got tired of showing up to work every day and watching somebody else do what I wanted to be doing with my life.”

So Fowler took the skills and insight he’d honed in Gainesville and booked a Hail Mary, open-ended tour with longtime friends and collaborators Tana and Addy Prado joining him on harmonies and woodwinds. Over the course of a year and a half, the trio played roughly 100 shows, fine-tuning all of the twists and turns in Fowler’s elegant, emotionally charged tunes and landing support slots along the way with the likes of Richard Thompson, Damien Jurado, Angel Olsen, and The Weepies.

The gallery has a BAR and will be serving beer, wine, and non-alcoholic refreshments.

PARKING is available across the street at Truist Bank.

DOORS 7pm, SHOWTIME 8pm $10adv/ $15 dos

$10 advance/ $15 day of show