Arts & Humanities Society & Culture

Georgia Virtual History Project art exhibit draws from Athens’ hidden past

Seen/Unseen ATHICA exhibit (Willson Center) Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm
The "Seen/Unseen" exhibition includes a photo of the Shields-Ethridge Farm in Jackson County

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Virtual History Project and ATHICA—the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art—will present “Seen/Unseen,” an exhibition dedicated to public history and the local past of Athens, on Nov. 7-10 at ATHICA, 160 Tracy St., Unit 4. An opening reception Nov. 9 from 6-8 p.m. will be co-hosted by the University of Georgia Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts as part of this year’s Spotlight on the Arts festival at UGA.

The show is co-curated by Hope Hilton of ATHICA and Christopher Lawton, director of the Georgia Virtual History Project and a history instructor at UGA. It includes digital projects by UGA and Athens Academy students in collaboration with ARwerks Learning as well as artworks and archival pieces by local artists and residents. Many of the works pertain to frequently overlooked local histories such as those of African Americans who were enslaved in the area.

“This collaboration presents a unique opportunity to both reshape the way we talk about local history and unveil a radically new technological and educational model,” Lawton said. “More importantly, inclusion in this exhibition will provide UGA and Athens Academy students with an unprecedented experience that can significantly help propel them into future academic and professional endeavors.”

The Georgia Virtual History Project, or GVHP, is an effort to use new and interactive technologies to record the history of the state of Georgia and make it available to multiple audiences. It is aligned with the eHistory initiative of the UGA Digital Humanities Lab, a Willson Center Faculty Research Cluster. For more on the project, see

Athens Institute for Contemporary Art is an independent, non-profit gallery promoting and supporting innovative contemporary art and artists through exhibitions, education and events. For more information, see

The Spotlight on the Arts festival is presented by the UGA Arts Council, of which the Willson Center is a participating unit. More than 60 events are scheduled during the nine-day festival in November. For more details on the Spotlight on the Arts festival, see For more information on “Seen/Unseen” and the Willson Center’s other Spotlight on the Arts programming, see

Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
The Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts is a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Research at UGA. In the service of its mission to promote research and creativity in the humanities and arts, the Willson Center sponsors and participates in numerous public events on and off the UGA campus throughout the academic year. It supports faculty through research grants, lectures, symposia, publications, visiting scholars, visiting artists, collaborative instruction, public conferences, exhibitions and performances. For more information, see