As the COVID pandemic was loosening its grip on the world in the summer of 2021, a small group of writers and filmmakers from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) located in Tifton, Georgia, led by professor Tom Grant and cheered on by ABAC’s Curator Polly Huff, embarked on an international adventure. The group ventured on the literary trail of Merlin and King Arthur and visited sites in England and Wales, collecting stories, documenting each stop with photographs, and filming a documentary. “Visual arts, stunning drone photography, exceptional writing, and award-winning filmmaking will all be woven together to present this event,” according to Huff. The stories and photographs will be on display in the Georgia Museum of Agriculture (GMA) Gallery, and the documentary will be shown publicly for the very first time at the
exhibit’s opening on May 11, and then again daily for the duration of the exhibition (December 11).
The filmmakers walked the spooky moors of Cornwall, climbed into Merlin’s cave below Tintagel Castle, and shared the summer solstice with the druids at Stonehenge. In search of the mystical site of Avalon, they spent the night on the slopes of Glastonbury Tor, hiked the mountains of Wales, and boated to a remote island off the coast. To discover the world of Merlin, they traveled to his birthplace in Carmarthen as well as the mountain where he freed the red dragon that now flies on the Welsh flag. They interviewed Oxford and Cardiff professors, business owners, and writers who see the story of Merlin and Arthur as a tale rooted in the distant past yet still unfolding today. As author Paul Broadhurst told the crew, “The land is alive.”
What is fact and what is legend? Visitors of the exhibit will have the opportunity to follow the trail for themselves, as the photographs and stories will be arranged in the order of which they appear on the actual trail. One of the members of the group, ABAC lecturer for the School of Arts & Sciences Kaci West, has written an accompanying piece, which will be given to each exhibit visitor as a keepsake. West’s background is in Arthurian literature. ABAC student Charley Lollis of Perry, Georgia worked with Grant, West, and Huff on this project as her Capstone and her senior internship. She was also a part of the group which travelled the trail, and after being certified overseas as a drone pilot, took many of the photos included in this exhibition.
Stone & Story will open for display at the GMA Gallery on May 11th and will be available for viewing until December 11. Admission to this special multi-media event is free on opening night, after which it will be included in the GMA’s daily admission for the remainder of its running time.
Professor- ABAC School of Arts and Science
Senior Lecturer- ABAC School of Arts and Science
ABAC Graduate Class of 2022
Other Team Members:
Polly Huff- Museum Curator
Mary Ann Grant- Travel