Everything will be okay. What started out as a temporary art installation for the opening of a new exhibit at the Spruill Gallery in 2009, turned out to be a message that many couldn’t let go.

Artist Jason Kofke’s simple white panel sign with the black lettering, “Everything will be OK,” resonated with many passersby who saw it as a sign of hope and perhaps even a personal sign for their own struggles. Many had even driven to or telephoned the gallery to share the stories of how the sign had affected them with the gallery staff: A couple struggling to stay together; a father laid-off from his job; siblings who lost their mother; a sick child and more.

When the temporary mural was replaced by a new design, the calls intensified and the outcries convinced Spruill staffers to reinstall the original mural. But rain, sun and wind took its toll and even weekly touch-ups couldn’t keep the art piece from deteriorating beyond repair.

So, members of the Spruill Center staff had a new sign painted and installed. This one is on PVC board and is ready to weather the weather for the long-term.

And the Spruill Gallery is seeking more stories from the community about how the message has affected them. Share your story via gallery@spruillarts.org.

Gardeners to the rescue for at-risk azaleas. When a couple of the master gardeners who volunteer their time at the Donaldson Bannister Farmhouse took note of some beautiful blooming azalea plants at the site of Dunwoody’s new Georgetown Park, they set a rescue plan into action.

Betty Dworschak, Janet Hanser, Gail Foorman and Margo Cuthbert knew that the plants would be destroyed with upcoming construction preparations, so they spent several afternoons with shovels and determination digging them up and replanting them at the city’s historic Donaldson Bannister Farm on Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

Acting out a poignant message. Young drivers took note of the message intended via a school assembly at North Springs Charter High School.

The juniors and seniors had gathered in the auditorium for a discussion about safe driving when the sound of a loud crash interrupted the program. They were directed to the front of the school where they saw a badly crashed car, three fire trucks, rescue vehicles and sea of firefighters working to disassemble the crashed car to free the victims inside.

It was a staged event planned by the Student Government Association and Sandy Springs’ police and fire departments.

Using axes and power tools, the firefighters removed the car’s windshield, both doors and part of the roof to be able to reach the two “victims” trapped inside. The driver, math teacher Scott Hetherington turned out to be fatally wounded. The critically injured passenger, North Springs’ teacher of the year Karen Cushman, was lifted out of the car onto a back board and waiting gurney, which the EMTs rushed to the ambulance truck.

The message rang clear as students watched the difficulty of reaching the “victims.” Following the program, pledge cards were distributed to each student to sign with the promise of safe driving and no texting while driving.

picketfence@bellsouth.net

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