On Tuesday, November 14, local artist Brenda Harris Tustian will unveil her newest work of art, “A Christmas at Reinhardt,” at the Falany Performing Arts Center at Reinhardt University in Waleska.
Brenda’s work will be on display at her one-woman show at the Falany Performing Arts Center on November 14 and will remain on display through Sunday, December 17.
A Flair for Art
Brenda’s interest in art first began in kindergarten. She says, “When I was a little girl in kindergarten, my teachers noticed I had a real flair for art—that’s written on my report card that we still have from my kindergarten class. All through my childhood, I was always painting or doing some craft work. Then, when I was in high school, I was the artist for the school annual.”
After high school, Brenda studied art at the University of Tennessee, then moved to the Atlanta area. After her three children were born, she lived in São Paulo, Brazil, for a year and joined The American Society of São Paulo, a nonprofit organization established in May 1950 dedicated to supporting the American traditions of education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. She was inspired to work with watercolors after taking a watercolor workshop with watercolorist Claude Croney.
She says, “When I came home a year later, that’s all I wanted to do. I devoted myself to studying the medium and [have since] taken a lot of watercolor classes and workshops around the nation, and also in Italy. That was wonderful.”
Brenda began exhibiting her artwork after returning from Brazil and found that her pieces were selling. Her business grew and she began to specialize in limited edition art prints.
In addition to living in Brazil, Brenda has also traveled and produced one-woman shows throughout the United States, including Ohio, Kennedy, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and additional locations along the East Coast.
Brenda has since commissioned artwork for The Coca-Cola Company, National Geographic, The American Humane Society, and the United States Equestrian Federation and has received several awards for her art.
Brenda is now perhaps best known for her Christmas-themed artwork, which was initially inspired by her granddaughter, Whitley. She says, “I wanted to do something special for her, so I decided I would do a Santa painting for her, just as a keepsake. So that’s how all this Christmas art came to be. For the last thirty years or so, I’ve painted one Santa a year.”
When discussing what inspires her artwork the most, she responds, “Oh goodness, it’s just the good Lord. I think an idea will come to me usually in the Spring or Summer and so I kind of mill around, let it come to be in my mind. Then I usually paint them in the late Summer, so it’s ready for Christmas for the holiday.”
Brenda has painted collegiate Santas for the University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Alabama, Auburn University, University of Tennessee, and The Citadel, and includes the details of the history of the school in the paintings.
When discussing her new work dedicated to Reinhardt University, she says, “Last year I did a one-woman show at Reinhardt and grew to love the school and the history there. When they invited me again this year to exhibit, I thought, ‘That would be a good place to study and gain knowledge and learn about the sports program.'” Brenda spent the summer
In “A Christmas at Reinhardt,” Brenda includes hidden surprise features within the painting that reflect different aspects of the school’s history, such as past presidents and the Honor Pledge.
She has also collaborated with Tim Cavender, who has portrayed Santa Claus in Cherokee County for the past fifty years. Brenda’s works featuring Cavender as Santa include “Christmas Love,” which features Tim and his wife, Pam, as Santa and Mrs. Claus dancing in the snow, and “Angels Among Us,” which honors first responders.
Learn more about Brenda Harris Tustian at BrendaHarrisTustian.com…
In addition to painting Christmas-themed artwork, Brenda enjoys painting pet portraits, landscapes, and florals. Her work was also featured on the cover of Enjoy Cherokee Magazine’s November/December 2022 edition.
Falany Performing Arts Center at Reinhardt University
Brenda will appear at various Falany Performing Arts Center [FPAC] shows between November 14 and December 17 to meet with guests and discuss her work. She says, “I love to meet all my collectors and friends, new and old. The students are so wonderful [as are] the musicians. They come up to the balcony and while we have people looking at the work, they’re playing Christmas music.”
Following the unveiling on November 14, there will be a limited edition of 250 signed and numbered 14″x18″ giclée prints available for $125.00 each, with a portion of the sale benefitting Reinhardt University. The original will also be for sale.
The Falany Performing Arts Center is located on the beautiful Reinhardt University campus. The arts center hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts, student productions and music recitals, theatrical performances, and ensembles, such as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
According to Reinhardt’s Dean of the School of Performing Arts, Fredrick Tarrant, the arts programs at Reinhardt include acting, dance, music education, performance, and theater. In addition to the performing arts, Reinhardt also offers programs in the visual arts, including photography, digital media, painting, and graphic design.
Become a Patron of the Arts
Students and the public can experience the arts at Reinhardt by attending upcoming performances and events at Falany, including:
- The University Jazz & Percussion Ensemble, November 14
- Young Singers of Flint Hall, November 16
- Fall University Theater 2023: Shining Lives, November 16 – 18
- North Georgia Youth Wind Symphony, November 19
- Christmas at Reinhardt Series, November 30 – December 3
- 3 Redneck Tenors Christmas Spec-Tac-Yule-Ar, December 4
- Visit with Santa, December 10
- The Polar Express Movie Screening, December 10
- A Joni Mitchell Christmas starring Lauren Fox, December 11 | Enter to Win Tickets
- Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, December 15
*Events in bold indicate Brenda Harris Tustian is set to appear at FPAC.
Tickets can be purchased by contacting 770-720-9167 or emailing email@example.com.
People can also get involved by becoming a patron of the FPAC series. By becoming a patron, a person can gain early access to all ticketed performances at Reinhardt. The university will host a sneak peek for the upcoming FPAC season on Tuesday, May 14, 2024.
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A senior at Reinhardt University completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Emilee Hendrix is on track to graduate Summa Cum Laude and on the President’s List. While at Reinhardt, she has edited three books for a published author and worked with a team to publish the 2022 edition of the James Dickey Review Magazine.