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Folk art collection on display at the Averitt


June 30, 2017

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Described as “sometimes silly, sometimes scary, but always fascinating,” a portion of the Smith Callaway Banks Southern Folk Art Collection is currently on display at the Averitt Center for the Arts.

A native of Statesboro, Banks began his collection in the 1980s with the purchase of a face jug. The collection has since swelled to well over 1,000 pieces of art from Georgia, as well as the Carolinas, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas.

Banks, who died in 2010 after a lengthy illness, was president of City Dairy, and owner of Smith Banks Antiques. He was active in the Statesboro community, serving as a member and one-time chair of the Statesboro Regional Library Board of Directors, and as a leader of the Bulloch County Historical Society. He was also a curator and board member of the Georgia Southern Museum, and was official historian for the Bulloch County Historical Society and the Ogeechee Rifles Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

He donated his large and unique collection of Southern folk art to Georgia Southern University in 2007. The Fine Arts Department at the university named the Smith Callaway Banks Southern Folk Art Collection and Research Center in his honor.

The pieces in the collection are great examples of the folk art tradition that is such a part of Georgia’s history and culture. The Banks collection provides a foundation for Georgia Southern University faculty and student research projects, as well as opportunity for art education projects for area students, from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The current display will be in place through Sept. 9.


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