Helen Arts & Heritage Center

Serving the Arts & Artists - Preserving Our Heritage


2018 Spring Art Exhibit

The Helen gallery will be filled with reminders of Spring in breathtaking art forms, all created at the hands of local artisans. The featured artists for this exhibit are Lou Francani, Outer Banks, NC and Stephanie Grafton, Toccoa, GA and their work along with that of many other artists will be on display through May 5, 2018. Our opening reception honors all of our exhibiting artists and will be held Thursday, March 15th at 5:00 pm at the Arts Center. Admission is free and the gallery and history museum are open Monday through Saturday from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. We extend a cordial invitation to the public to come and meet the artists and experience Spring early.

Lou Francani

Lou Francani was born in Ohio to an Italian family where her grandmother first introduced her to art by teaching her to crochet.  When Lou’s children completed college and moved out she brought her crochet hooks out of the closet and began work on many new projects.  In her search for a new art medium, she discovered wire and that was the beginning of a new and exciting business.

Some of her pieces are crocheted while others are wrapped.  She made the choice to use non-tarnish silver covered copper instead of sterling silver, to minimize the cost of materials.  She added a new dimension to my jewelry with sea glass after having discovered it on the beach at her home in Outer Banks, NC.  She enjoys walking along the beach searching for sea glass and then incorporating the new found treasures into jewelry pieces. Most sea glass jewelry is wrapped using straight lines but Lou loves using loops and circles.  As a self taught jewelry artist, Lou prefers decorative rounded designs.

Lou's work is on display at The Cottage Shop, Outer Banks, NC where she teaches glass wrapping from May to September where she is commonly referred to as “the sea glass lady.”  Lou's jewelry pieces can also be seen in the gallery at Helen Arts & Heritage, Helen, GA.

Stephanie Grafton

Toccoa, Georgia native, Stephanie Grafton became interested in painting in 2003, when she took her first painting class from Pat Appling of Atlanta, GA. Stephanie shares her personal reflection of that experience, “My first painting was a winter landscape with an old cabin and a blanket of snow on the trees and ground. My parents and sister were fighting over the picture so I put the painting up for bid. My sister won the bid and she paid me in full and now it hangs in her house. They were so proud of me and I knew at that moment that I had a true talent that makes me proud of myself. I find excitement, relaxation and motivation each time I start painting a blank piece of canvas. I start my painting by what my “brain” tells me to paint. I add my own touches to each painting as I see fit. I have a lot of physical challenges that interfere with my life but painting helps me endure those issues. Painting has recently helped me through chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer as well as dealing with shingles, arthritis, and other medical issues in my life. I enjoy painting so much that I volunteer my time to teach others with disabilities to paint. I teach paint classes for the AVITA Community at Helen Arts & Heritage Center in Helen, GA and I know painting has helped me and I know it can help others. I was picked on while I was growing up and in school because of my disabilities. I overcame those bad times and sometimes look back and think, If only they could see me now.”