"Bennett" at the Dunwoody Nature Center
See the gallery at the bottom of the page for a closeup view of the painted animals on the piano.
Artist: Kelly Thames Mauldin
Piano Donation Made possible by The Vales Family
Location: Dunwoody Nature Center
Find and play Bennett along Wildcat Creek, across from the Meadow.
The Dunwoody Nature Center reached out to us about hosting a piano and took us on a tour. There were so many amazing possibilities, but we couldn't be happier with where Bennett was ultimately placed -- overlooking the newly renovated Wildcat Creek. Not many pianists get the chance to play in such a serene and idyllic setting, and for amateurs, it's a phenomenal introduction to the magic of a piano.
“We are thrilled and honored to have a Play Me Again Piano as a centerpiece of our Wildcat Creek Restoration project,” said Alan Mothner, Executive Director of the Dunwoody Nature Center. “As we strive to serve as the soul of the community, elements such as this beautiful piano will let the public know that everyone has a home in the park."
We hoped the Spruill Center for the Arts would want to work with us to paint the piano and we're so pleased that they did. Kelly Thames Mauldin was the first artist to submit a design and no one needed see another one. The Nature Center loved the concept and work began right away.
"I was so excited to be a part of giving new life to an old piano for the Dunwoody Nature Center," Kelly said. "Inspiration automatically came from the flora and fauna specific to the Nature Center itself. So many people from the Spruill Center added suggestions for the woodland creatures that now adorn the instrument. Music and art are the heart of a community and this was a wonderful outlet for me to give back to the area in which my family lives."
The name for the piano presented itself as Kelly continued to explain her inspiration. "In October 2016, the Spruill Center lost a good friend - Dick Bennett, a talented Dunwoody artist. He gave his time and talent to the Spruill Center for the Arts for more than three decades. His family donated his paints to the Spruill Center. Now these were not just any ole paints in tubes and jars. These were paints that he carefully mixed to express his ideas using quality materials," said Mauldin. " I loved painting with these unique paints. So as I painted, the spirit of Dick Bennett was with me in every stroke. Though our styles were different, he would have liked all of the animals that now gather to listen to the music.”
Unlike a portable instrument, it's not practical to pickup an acoustic piano and play it among the trees -- but now you can, and it's a breathtaking experience. Bennett's location is amazing, and it's inspirational. If you haven't played Bennett yet, you really should. It's an experience not to be missed!
About Kelly Thames Mauldin
Kelly earned her B.F.A. from Auburn University and her M.F.A. from Georgia State University and, as a consummate student, she is pursuing a Masters in illustration from the Academy of Art University.
Kelly has taught at The Art Institute of Atlanta 1999 -2012 where she served as the Design coordinator for the Art Foundation Department and served on the Illustration and Art Foundations faculty. She is now faculty at Kennesaw State University and Georgia Highlands College and is an instructor at the Spruill Center for the Arts in Dunwoody, Georgia where she teaches kiln-fused glass and watercolor.
As a respected peer, Kelly juries other artists’ works from elementary school, high school, collegiate, and professional levels. Additionally, she lectures for groups on color theory and design for Interior Design and was a panelist at the 2010 College Art Association Annual Conference in Chicago.
Kelly’s work can be seen at the Spruill Gallery in Dunwoody, Georgia and The Left Bank Gallery in Mexico Beach, Florida. For more information, visit www.KellysGlassArt.com.
About the Dunwoody Nature Center
The Dunwoody Nature Center inspires the love of nature and cultivates environmental understanding and stewardship and has been a meeting place in the community for nature enthusiasts, students, Boy and Girl Scouts, gardeners, community volunteers, and for those who just need a place to relax in the middle of a bustling city. Every year more than 20,000 people visit the Nature Center to participate in its programs and thousands more stroll the 22 acres of protected greenspace. The Dunwoody Nature Center is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that is supported from programming, memberships, grants, corporate sponsors and donors. The Dunwoody Nature Center is located at 5343 Roberts Drive; Dunwoody, GA 30338 and is free and open to the public sun-up to sun-down, seven days a week. For more information, visit www.DuwoodyNature.org.
About the Spruill Center for the Arts
Established in 1975, the Spruill Center for the Arts in Dunwoody is a private, non-profit organization, whose mission is to foster understanding and appreciation of the visual arts, by offering an extensive and diverse program of classes, professional artist exhibition series, and outreach programs for seniors, youth, and audiences with special needs. For more information, please visit www.SpruillArts.org.
Bennett's Birthdate: March 10th, 2017
Share Your Bennett Stories
If you have a story with Bennett that you'd like to share, please do so, we'd love to hear from you! We'd also enjoy seeing your pictures and videos.