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Council moves ahead with leasing historic house to arts group
Sawnee Association of the Arts
Sandra Ford works on a painting during a Sawnee Association of the Arts class at the Brannon-Heard House recently. - photo by Jim Dean

The Brannon-Heard House in downtown Cumming has been the site of many art events over the years, and could likely see more use than ever before.

At a work session on Tuesday, members of the Cumming City Council approved moving forward with renting the house to the Sawnee Association of the Arts by a 3-0 vote, with Councilmembers Lewis Ledbetter absent and Linda Ledbetter recused as she is a part of the arts group.

“[The Sawnee Association of the Arts] is proposing to pay $1,000 a month to rent the Brannon-Heard House for their art exhibits, art classes and that sort of stuff,” said Mayor Troy Brumbalow.

Kris Weeden, past president of the arts group, said on Thursday, the organization has a lot of plans.

“We’re going to do art classes, as we’ve already started on that. But, we’re hoping it’s going to take off,” she said. “We will probably have different types of events going on.”

She said the group has plans for holiday events, an area for tea and coffee, a gift shop and a gallery.

Brumbalow said the city would be partnering with the group to paint some concrete walls, including one at the Cumming Fairgrounds, in the city with the city government supplying paint and artists in the group handling the work.

Weeden said the mural would take several artists and likely incorporate the history of the city and the fairgrounds into the work. 

“They would like artists with Sawnee Association of the Arts to do a mural on that,” Weeden said. “We are coming up with ideas for that. We kind of have an idea of what the mayor wants, but until he looks at that, we have a couple of artists that are working on the plan and the drawing, then we will present it to the mayor for approval.”

She said the group would also be allowed to use the grassy area on School Street, across from the Brannon-Heard House, as a place to set up booths for vendors.

City Administrator Phil Higgins said the house is only used for a few non-arts events each year.

“This year, it’s only been a couple of times,” Higgins said. “[It is rented] just a handful of times each year, mainly for things like wedding receptions, showers, things such as that.”

City officials said there are a few events scheduled, but the arts group said they would work around those.

Members of the group said at the meeting they plan to set up their own events as part of the city’s Food Truck Fridays on nearby Church Street, an event that was also approved at Tuesday’s meeting.