Friday, November 27, 2009

Expanded Hours at Andalusia

Thanks to our new staff member, Mark Jurgensen, the Foundation will soon be able to expand the hours of operation at Andalusia. Beginning in January 2010, Andalusia will be open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. When it first opened for regular tours in 2004, Andalusia was only open on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There were approximately 2,500 visitors to the farm that year. The next year we began opening on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays and seven days a week by advanced appointment, primarily to accommodate group tours. Our visitation has increased every year, and the demand for more open days has become apparent. In 2009, our number of visitors will most likely top 3,700. This year Andalusia has welcomed 25 school classes, 23 college groups, and 17 organizational tour groups including civic clubs, book clubs, and churches. We look forward to welcoming even more visitors to Andalusia in 2010, and we hope that YOU will be among them.


Friday, November 20, 2009

And the Winner Is . . .

And the winner is...Flannery O'Connor. On Wednesday night the National Book Foundation announced that The Complete Stories, published in 1971, had been named Best of the National Book Award winners. Beating out such stiff competition as Faulkner, Welty, Ellison, and Cheever, O'Connor was the clear choice of the more than ten thousand readers that participated in the poll. To all those who voted for O'Connor, we say thank you. If you do not already own this splendid collection of short stories, we have copies for sale at the Andalusia gift shop. With Christmas just around the corner, wouldn't The Complete Stories make a great present for the reader on your gift list?

- Mark

Friday, November 13, 2009

Creative Writing at Andalusia

It is quite fortunate for all concerned that Andalusia is located in the town that is also the home of Georgia's public liberal arts university, Georgia College & State University (GCSU). It is also the institution, earlier called Georgia State College for Women, where Flannery O'Connor earned her undergraduate degree in June 1945. This university of 6,500 students offers several programs that provide wonderful opportunities for collaboration between Andalusia and GCSU. The most obvious of these is the Creative Writing Program, where graduate students are instructed in the craft of writing and are encouraged to publish in their respective genres. Professors who teach in that program routinely hold classes at Andalusia and bring visiting writers for tours. The students visit Andalusia to tour the house, to volunteer, to walk the nature trail, or to find a place simply to read and write. No one can deny that Andalusia is an ideal place to inspire writers. Students in the Environmental Sciences department use the property for algae sample studies and ecosystem monitoring. GCSU also offers an alternative to traditional middle school education through a program called Early College, which prepares students to complete high school, gives them an opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit, and assists them in meeting requirements to earn the Georgia HOPE Scholarship. The Early College students take field trips to Andalusia and are given topic prompts to write creative papers, some of which will be posted on Andalusia's website. The Foundation partners with GCSU on a variety of programs including the February lecture series, The Big Read, the Southern Literary Trail, and more. Andalusia has the potential to expand this partnership with GCSU and other colleges, universities, and institutions as we seek to increase the appreciation and understanding of the life and work of Flannery O'Connor.