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The Athens bus station by René Shoemaker

By Pete McCommons, 10 January 2018     <  click HERE for the full article  >     

Here is fervently hoping that the loss of Junkman’s will not result in the destruction of our landmark old bus station. Owner Eric Brown is said to be looking for a restaurant to occupy the space. If that’s true, surely anybody attempting such a configuration is familiar with the highly successful conversion of the old Greyhound Bus station in Savannah to the upscale Grey restaurant, with meticulous repurposing of all the bus station areas and facilities (and damned good upscaled food, too).

Whatever he chooses to charge for rent, let’s applaud Eric Brown for so far saving the bus station building, which could have been a goner when Southeastern Stages moved its Athens location into a gas station way the hell out on the Atlanta highway, making a bus trip frightfully more inconvenient and expensive for those who need the bus the most.

I have always loved the old station and even fantasized at one point that Flagpole might use it as an office. Four or five years ago, I wandered into Aurum Studios downtown for the opening of a show by René Shoemaker, whose paintings on silk are lively and colorful. I was stopped in my tracks by René’s painting of the Athens bus station. It wasn’t in her usual bright palette, but I fell in love with it and bought it on the spot.

Speaking of René, she has a show of her paintings on silk at Ciné through the end of January.

It is mostly small, framed paintings on silk. René spent most of the last year living and painting in France, and this show marks her return, “La rentrée,” which is a term the French use to mark the end of summer and the return to “real life.” René is one of our many local treasures, and I urge you to go by Ciné and enjoy her exhibit. Stop by Flagpole and enjoy her bus station, too.