Gattis Leadership group gets a taste of Marshall County

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

By Ivory Riner

Staff Writer

Members of the 2015 Gattis Leadership group got a taste of Marshall County as they spent Thursday afternoon and evening learning about historical buildings around Lewisburg's square, touring the Dixie Theatre, and painting with local artist Tina Lilly.

Fourteen members, including one alumni, met at the Historic Ladies Restroom on First Avenue N. for appetizers from Brothers Fine Foods, located in Lewisburg.

This was the third Gattis Leadership group to visit Marshall County. The name Gattis comes from the late Peggy Gattis, the former executive of Metropolitan Moore County/Lynchburg, who died in a car crash in June 2009.

The group walked to the Dixie Theatre after hearing Lynda Potts tell the history of the ladies' restroom.

Led by Marshall County Community Theatre Executive Director Faris Phillips, group members toured the theatre. They enjoyed seeing the old movie projectors in the top room. Phillips was assisted during the tour by Dave Sanders, who has directed many of the Dixie's most successful productions, including last year's "Cats."

Before walking to the Marshall County Art Guild, Mike Wiles, executive director of the Joint Economic Community Development Board, didn't hesitate to brag about the new renovations to the courthouse, which are almost finished.

At the Art Guild, group members took a painting class taught by Tiny Lilly, District 8 County Commissioner and president of the MCAG. They followed step-by-step instructions to replicate a painting of Lilly's called "On Line Dating." The artwork depicted two birds on a suspended wire against a yellow moon and dark blue sky.

Luke Buckley from First Commerce Bank broke from the pack by painting six miniature bats in flight against the yellow moon and dark blue sky. Lilly applauded him for thinking outside the box. He said he drew what he would have drawn for his little girl because he couldn't do the more complicated birds.

Lilly gave each person a choice of drawing two birds on a wire or tree limb.

"That was the first time that most of the folks had ever held an artist's brush, but the painting class was a good 'ice breaker' and was received well by both men and women," said Potts.

Dinner was served afterwards, provided by First Commerce Bank and First National Bank.

The night ended with a presentation about economic development and existing industries in Lewisburg by Director of Economic Development Greg Lowe.