"On the Bus" is one of the more than two dozen color pencil pieces by Brunswick artist Gene Threats that are on exhibit at the Albany Area Arts Council in his show, "People, Place, Faith and Community." The gallery at 215 N. Jackson St. is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays.
ALBANY, Ga. — After earning an art degree in college, Gene Threats, of Brunswick, found a different career path. A serious health issue interrupted that, but it also resulted in his return to his love for art.
Born in Butler and raised in Brunswick, the 53-year-old Threats’ show at the Albany Area Arts Council began Feb. 4 and an opening reception was conducted Thursday.
His exhibit, “People, Place, Faith and Community,” features more than two dozen of his vibrant and colorful works in color pencil, strong expressions of religion and family in African-American life and culture.
Threats, who majored in printmaking, etchings and serigraphs, found his way back to his current medium of color pencil when he was diagnosed with kidney failure in 1996. During his treatment, he could not pursue printmaking because of the fumes and toxins involved. As he endured up to four hours of dialysis treatment a day, he rediscovered color pencils.
“I remembered taking a color pencil class in college,” Threats said. “I would sit and draw during treatments.”
Today, Threats, who is on staff at the College of Coastal Georgia, is fully recovered following a May 2000 kidney transplant. He received the call for his new kidney on Mother’s Day weekend that year, an especially significant time for Threats, since he credits his mother, who passed away last year, for her continued support and encouragement of his artistic pursuits.
Threats is one of a select few from outside the Southwest Georgia region to be featured in a show at the Albany Area Arts Council.
“We try to represent the Southwest Georgia community in the art we exhibit,” said Carol Hetzler, Arts Council executive director. “Typically, around 80 percent of the artists we show are local.”
Threats did have an area connection, however, with Clare Pearson, of Colquitt County, a fellow art student from his days at Valdosta State College (now Valdosta State University) in the early 1980s. Pearson, a watercolor artist, mentioned Threats to Hetzler last year during her show at the Arts Council gallery.
“She told me about Gene, and I knew that his subject would be perfect for Black History Month,” said Hetzler. “As a community arts center, one of our goals is to expose people to different types of art, so I try to mix up different mediums as well, and we had not showed color pencil since I have been here.”
Threats’ artwork has been featured in solo exhibitions, publications and on tour throughout Georgia. He has won several best in show awards for his work, including two pieces that are featured in the current exhibit. He is also an accomplished photographer.
The exhibit runs through Feb. 28 at the Albany Area Arts Council at 215 N. Jackson Street. The gallery is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays.