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Vision drives project for art
NGCSU teacher airs dream of Artstream
Chris Dockery, right, assistant art professor at North Georgia College & State University, helps audience member Tanna Savage with a hands-on art project during Wednesdays lecture at Hampton Park Library. - photo by Crystal Ledford

What’s next

All lectures in the North Georgia Community Connections series are free and open to the public. They will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Hampton Park library, 5345 Settingdown Road on the following schedule:

• Oct. 20: “Leadership in Uncertain Times”

• Oct. 27: “Preparing Teachers for 21st Century Students”

• Nov. 3: “Childhood Obesity”

Chris Dockery has a dream of bringing art to the community at large.

The assistant professor of art education at North Georgia College & State University shared her dream with an audience Wednesday night as part of the college’s North Georgia Community Connections lecture series.

Addressing a small group at Hampton Park Library, Dockery said she has loved the Airstream “silver bullet” trailers since she was an undergraduate, when one that had been converted into a bookmobile would frequently visit campus.

For the past three years, she has been developing an idea to convert one of the domed units into the “Artstream” mobile art studio.

In her presentation, “Mobilizing Creativity: Artmaking, Community and an Airstream Trailer,” she said the Airstream’s inventor, Wally Byam, has been a big inspiration for the project.

“Even after he learned he had terminal cancer, he encouraged his caravan of Airstream trailers to keep going,” she said. “His creativity is the same spirit of journey and exploration that we have for this project.”

The Artstream project, Dockery said, would equip her art education students with a vehicle for providing service learning to the community.

“As a portable art studio, we’ll be able to bring hands-on projects to groups with limited or no access to art,” she said.

While the Airstream trailer hasn’t been purchased, she said that hasn’t stopped her students from pushing forward with bringing art to the community.

“Next month, we’ll launch the first phase of the Artstream project that we’re calling ‘Creativity in a Trunk,’” she said.

Her students are packing old suitcases with art supplies and lesson plans and heading out into the community.

She hopes her dream of creating the Artstream vehicle will happen soon, though the price tag may be a challenge.

“[An Airstream trailer] that’s in really bad shape can be found for around $2,000,” she said. “But a good vintage one that’s been refurbished can cost $12,000. A brand-new one can run up to $25,000, although we want a vintage one for this project.”

Why an old Airstream in particular?

“Because they’re a work of art themselves and you can’t miss them,” Dockery said. “You can’t ignore an Airstream silver bullet.”

Audience members seemed to enjoy Dockery’s presentation.

“It’s so sad that so often art programs are the first things to be cut [from public education],” Kim Lovell said. “So often people forget the importance of art in history and science.

“Something like this [Artstream project] would be so great in bringing an awareness of the importance of art to the community.”

Anyone interested can follow the Artstream project online at

The North Georgia Community Connections lecture series continues at 6:30 p.m. next Wednesday at Hampton Park Library with “Leadership in Uncertain Times.”