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The Scoop – Winter II 2019

SOUTHERN WOMEN

More than 100 stores of Innovators, Artists and Icons

The editors of Garden & Gun have delivered the perfect gift just in
time for Christmas
.

In their newest book, the editors of G&G paint a more accurate picture of the modern Southern woman. A woman who has style, remarkable strength and grace, but pushes conventional boundaries. The collection of original interviews, essays and portraits celebrates more than 100 women (all from the South) and their triumphs, grit and determination that led to ultimate success in their respective careers.

A TALE OF TENACITY

I met Kat McCall when a mutual friend of ours put us in touch about donating some of her time and artistic talent to a fundraiser I was organizing. I made the call and within the first five minutes of our conversation, Kat had not only agreed to help with a complete stranger’s vision but went above and beyond by turning my little fundraiser into a massive success that raised quite a bit of money for a local Augusta-based organization. Fast forward to a little over a year later. That painter’s newly founded business was Kat McCall Papers, LLC and the
owner-proprietor was of course, Kat McCall.

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By Brian Panowich | Photography by Amy J. Owen

I wasn’t at all surprised by the news of Kat moving on to bigger and better things; after all; she is an extraordinary talent. But I was amazed to hear how Kat McCall Papers, which specializes in watercolor works on custom invitations, announcements, cards, stationery as well as fine art, had catapulted over the course of the past year, following our initial encounter. I was thrilled to take the job and called Kat immediately. I started things off by thanking her again for what she had done for me in the past, and her answer was a brief and humble one. “Anyone would have done it,” she said.

“No,” I told her. “Not anyone would.” I knew that for a fact due to how many rejections I’d already received before I picked up the phone and finally asked her to get involved. Not everyone would spend the considerable amount of time and effort it takes to create art—to immerse themselves into a project with such passion and vigor—to just give it  away. Kat did, and that piece of insight leads into the story of a woman who fits perfectly into this country-wide awakening—revolution, if you will—of powerful women finally stepping into the foreground of the business world.

A native of Newnan, Ga., Kat received her bachelor’s degree in biology—with a minor in art—from Converse College, in Spartanburg, S.C. Her original educational track included medical school, but Kat says that her heart was never really in it. “I literally got up and walked out of the MCAT testing. It wasn’t what I wanted to do. I didn’t know at the time exactly what it was I did want to do back then but I was sure that being a doctor wasn’t it.”  Kat did, on the other hand, attend nursing school at Emory, and it was during these formative years that Kat met the man who would soon become her husband—a studious young engineer named George McCall, working on his master’s degree in Atlanta. The couple eventually married, had two children—Trent and Mac—and relocated to George’s hometown of Augusta in 2006, where Kat continued down the path she’d dedicated a considerable amount of her adult life to already, being a wife and mother. “I’d stopped working to homeschool both of my children. Being the best mom and the best wife I could had become my calling, so I went at it with everything I had. I knew the whole time I was raising my family that there was something else inside me yearning for something more, but I’ve always believed, and still do now, that if you’re going to do a job, then you should do it to the best of your ability,” Kat says.

Once her boys had gotten older, Kat went back to work as a nurse, leaving her ambitions of being a full-time artist to take an even smaller piece of the backseat. But the interesting part of Kat’s philosophy of staying the course, or as she has often put it, “Living the thoughtful life,” is that those sacrifices tend to pay off. After selling a few paintings, studying under the tutelage of local mentors, and completing various other projects—like helping a first-time novelist organize a fundraiser—Kat was commissioned by Cheatham, Fletcher & Scott Architects to produce an 18-piece set of botanical-themed paintings for a private collection. That huge commission led to exclusivity deals with local businesses and now world-renowned establishments.

Doors kept opening and Kat didn’t hesitate to step through them. Inspired by her younger sister, Allie Balling, and her successful marketing business, coupled with the generous support of her family and the community, a 55-year-old, relatively self-taught painter quit her well-paying job at the hospital and reinvented herself as the owner/operator of Kat McCall Papers.

I asked Kat about when it hit her that she was now, for the first time in her life, her own boss, and she told me about a day she and George attended a football banquet at a local school and she happened to be in need of a graphic designer. A friend, also attending the banquet, pointed to a young man named Ryan Bacheller who had just recently gotten into the business. Kat immediately got up, walked over to the young man, and offered him a job. “That’s the moment it struck me. I just hired someone,” she said. “It felt incredible.”

For more information visit, kmccall.com or email kat@kmccall.com

@katmccallpapers

DOWNTOWN PARADE OF LIGHTS

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Kick off the holidays in downtown Athens on Dec. 5 with the annual Downtown Parade of Lights! The parade begins at 7 p.m. on the corner of Dougherty and Pulaski streets and ends in front of City Hall for the traditional tree lighting ceremony, hosted by Santa Claus.

For more information, visit accgov.com for more information.

GETAWAYS

Serenbe, GA

Serenbe founders Steve Nygren and Marie Lupo Nygren believe that if you want to change the world, start in your own backyard. The couple discovered the property now known as Serenbe on a weekend outing to introduce their three girls to the Georgia countryside.

The vision for the community of Serenbe was born in an effort to protect the beautiful rural land just outside of Atlanta known as Chattahoochee Hill Country.

WHERE TO STAY

The Inn at Serenbe – Elegant and cozy accommodations in a rural, upscale inn. Nestled in the rolling countryside on the edge of Atlanta is 1,000 acres that includes preserved forestland, wildflower meadows, 15 miles of trails, waterfalls, an animal village, two pools, a cabana, hot tubs, croquet lawn and endless opportunities for relaxing and connecting with nature.

WHERE TO DINE

The Farmhouse – Fresh food is another of Serenbe’s natural assets, with a 25-acre organic farm, the seasonal Saturday farmer’s market, features a thriving CSA program and edible landscaping, including blueberry bushes along paths and sidewalks. The Farmhouse reimagines the farm-to-table menu each month with a focus on seasonal local ingredients and sources from the Farmhouse Garden, nearby farmers and artisanal producers.

WHAT TO DO

Year-round cultural events include an outdoor theater from Serenbe Playhouse, culinary workshops, festivals, music events, films and lectures, boutique shopping, art galleries, a spa and trail riding, plus a robust Artist in Residence program featuring dinners and talks.

Each of Serenbe’s four hamlets have complementary commercial centers focused on the elements of a well-lived life: arts for inspiration, agriculture for nourishment, health for well-being and education for awareness.

Try Serenbe Trail Riding. See the rolling countryside on horseback. Whether you’re a skilled equestrian or a novice rider, each path offers an experience for you.

MBARE HOME & GIFT

For 20 years, Athens-based Mbare has been supplying a unique collection of handcrafted products made from natural and recycled materials, sourced from all over Africa. The founder, Robbie Stewart founded Mbare based on his vision to provide sustainable sources of income for people and communities outside the formal economy and his belief that Africa needs trade, not aid. Mbare now provides financial support to more than 2,000 artisans by showcasing through offerings through Mbare Home & Gift.

To support artisans in Africa, visit Mbare.com.