Campus Gate Art Gallery at YHC to Host Exhibit by Alumnus Al Garnto

Monday, August 8, 2011

Media Contact: Krystin Dean
(706) 379-5310,

 Campus Gate Art Gallery at Young Harris College to Host Exhibit by Alumnus Al Garnto

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College’s Campus Gate Art Gallery will host “A Retrospective,” a body of work by Young Harris College alumnus and Blairsville-based artist Al Garnto, ’94. The exhibit opens Monday, Aug. 15, with an opening reception on Thursday, Aug. 18, at 6 p.m. in the Campus Gate Art Gallery. The exhibit will be on display through Friday, Sept. 9. The reception and exhibit are free and open to the public.

“A Retrospective” spans 20 years of Garnto’s artwork, including drawings, paintings, kinetic sculptures, constructed assemblages, folk art and composite street photography. The exhibition was recently on display at the Campus Gate Art Gallery during Alumni Weekend 2011. 

Garnto’s work is heavily influenced by his time spent in the north Georgia mountains. His collage work incorporates found objects and recycled materials from the area, and his paintings reflect significant locations and individuals such as the Nottely River Series and a piece titled “Byron Herbert Reece, the Poet” that features Garnto’s cousin and well-known former YHC student and professor.

While at YHC, Garnto received several awards for his paintings and sculptures. He was awarded a presidential scholarship from the Atlanta College of Art in 1993, where he studied art and sculpture before returning to Blairsville to open the Al Garnto Fine Art Studio in 1994.

Garnto’s work is featured in numerous private collections throughout the southeast. Two of Garnto’s paintings are on permanent display in YHC’s Duckworth Library as part of the Byron Herbert Reece collection, along with more than 30 unique designs in the Mann Collection that features more than 5,000 Indian artifacts.

Nine of Garnto’s kinetic sculptures are currently on display at Meeks Park in Blairsville, making the park the largest kinetic sculpture show in northeast Georgia history. Garnto is currently working on the Appalachian Sculpture Project, a wide-scale initiative to create 24 kinetic sculptures from Georgia to Maine, exposing various areas of Appalachia to art and sculpture. The project is funded in part by the Grassroots Art Program and the Georgia Council for the Arts.

It is Garnto’s hope that one of these kinetic sculptures will reside near his hometown and alma mater, to highlight not only his love for the region, but also for the College that helped shape his artistic career.

“At YHC, I realized that when you learn to look at the world differently, it becomes a different world,” Garnto said. “When I went to YHC, I could just feel that I was experiencing something special. It has been a true blessing in my life.”

Campus Gate Art Gallery is located at 5149 College Street on the Young Harris College campus. Regular gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information contact the Campus Gate Art Gallery at (706) 379-5256 or

About Young Harris College
2011 marks the 125th anniversary for Young Harris College, a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. Long known for nurturing students during the first two years of college, Young Harris College received accreditation in 2008 to grant bachelor’s degrees. The College currently has approximately 800 students across four divisions—Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Science—and plans to increase enrollment to 1,200 over the next few years. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., is currently undergoing major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth, including recent completion of a 200-bed, LEED Silver-certified residence hall, Georgia’s first higher education facility north of Atlanta to achieve this certification, and a 57,000-square-foot, LEED-certified recreation center, the second higher educational recreation facility in Georgia to achieve this certification. For more information, visit