Tough but humble, passionate about what she cares for, about what she loves, is how I see this woman whom I know as a friend, as an artist, and as a “power” behind so much that has helped Richmond Hill to be recognized as an art community, an historical location of repute and an important tourism site.
Sarah Volker always wanted to draw.
She drew on walls as a child, and now has been honored for drawing this time something she has and is doing effectively on the walls of the Roots and Shoots classroom at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens.
At the historical Bamboo Farm, she was honored Saturday, April 10 by being made the Garden’s Artist in Residence replete with a plaque at the building, with its classroom on whose walls she has painted scenes of nature.
An artist as far back as she can remember, Sarah has interpreted the world, her world, through the use of a pen, a brush or a chisel. I asked her what art means to her and she replied without hesitation, “I love art, it’s who I am, always been. Next to my family it’s the most important thing to me. If I can’t produce art it’s terrifying. Art’s always defined me, been with me. I’ve used it when I’m bored, scared, alone, it’s my therapy. It’s my way of communicating. It’s hard to describe, but I’ve always had a ‘pencil’ in my hand.” She moved here from Atlanta because there was something about this area that makes her think, makes her create, perhaps because nature is such a strong art form to her. With friend Angus McLeod, who has introduced many to these environs, she has been introduced to nature the “regular” people never get to know.
Her art gives us stories. The three women titled “The Three Queens” wearing tiaras in the painting shown on this page speak to joy in each other, to lasting friendship, companionship that endures time as one ages.
Friend and fellow artist Patti Mathews said “Her kindness and altruism to all people are grounded by her self-deprecating humor and humility.”
Sarah sees life in vivid detail and perspective and her art directly reflects her vantage. She was involved from the beginning as aboard member for Arts on the Coast in finding and recruiting new artists as well as seasoned professionals and performs tirelessly in creating numerous art shows that help to make Richmond Hill known as a place for the arts.
Sarah also works tirelessly for the Richmond Hill History Museum as an advisor and on the board. Since she first arrived in Bryan County the museum has gotten her help and attention.
“It’s such a unique place, we can’t afford to lose its incredible history. We must try to save what makes it unique. We are part of the Ford story.”
Jennifer Grover, executive director of the museum told me, ”The depth of knowledge she has regarding local history and the efforts to preserve it coupled with her willingness to share has made her a ‘go-to’ person when I need to know something. Her art talent was used for the first major project I undertook: a coloring book of Richmond Hill historic buildings.”
Christy Sherman, executive director of the Richmond Hill Convention and Visitors Bureau told me, “the first thing that comes to my mind is Sarah is always working on something behind the scenes, never looking for credit, always busy, keeping a low profile. A great talent.”
Giving of herself describes this special woman. When we last spoke she was on her way to Baltimore to visit her sons but not before she completed three small paintings for fund raising for yet another project dear to her, Habitat For Humanity. In that way, Sarah is always sharing, always trying to make life better for others. “It’s hard to explain what art is to me, it’s just always been there. Like my blue eyes, there till I die. So I’ll always embrace creating, like those blue eyes, always an artist.”
Thank you Sarah for sharing, and for always being at work.
Georgene Brazer is chairman of the Richmond Hill Downtown Development Authority and a Ford resident.