Eclectic designs, colorful bottles and profound prints adorn the walls of Makervillage to mark the establishment of the Harbin Clinic Gallery which opens with its first exhibit on February 1st. The exhibit showcases creations by one of the region’s most recognized artists, Howard Finster. The late Finster’s work influenced popular culture with his unique folk art, and he still continues to have a following today.

On Friday, February 1st, the public is invited to celebrate the Harbin Clinic Gallery and Finster exhibit at 7 p.m. at Makervillage located at 252 N. 5th Ave. in downtown Rome. The free event will have live music by the Barbaric Yawps followed by Kindred Fire, as well as a cash bar.

Susan Gilbert Harvey, a longtime local artist and member of the Harbin Clinic family will speak at the event about the importance of art for health.

“Harbin Clinic has always been dedicated to the arts in our region, and this is another wonderful opportunity for demonstration,” says Harbin Clinic CEO Kenna Stock. “I hope the community of Northwest Georgia will join us in commemorating the work of Howard Finster, and I can’t wait to see how future exhibits will inspire people to make their own form of healthy expressions of creativity.”

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The physicians at Harbin Clinic have long recognized the benefits that artistic enjoyment can bring to our health and wellness. Research shows that creativity has an impact on personal health, public health, and on the stress level of those who provide healthcare.

A study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine (a branch of the National Institute of Health) shows that experiencing art either as an observer or a creator can enhance mood and other psychological areas, as well as having a positive impact on physical health. Creative activities help reduce stress and depression and can serve as a vehicle for alleviating the symptoms of chronic diseases.

“Creativity is important for an integrative approach to improving health,” says Matthew Mumber, MD, a doctor in Harbin Clinic’s Radiation Oncology department. “The same can be said for healthcare providers; being able to tap into our creativity has positive impacts on the care we provide our patients.”

Creating Healthy Partnerships

Makervillage is a co-work space located in Rome with the intent to nurture creative ideas, interactions and businesses in Northwest Georgia.

Future exhibits are already in the works and the space will also be available for creative performances and musical events.

“Makervillage exists to nurture ideas in all forms,” says Tricia Steele, Founder and Executive Director of Makervillage. “This partnership with Harbin Clinic to offer a gallery and creative space helps us advance our mission and offer additional resources to the community.”

The gallery and meeting space is available for use by the public. Regional residents in need of a location to hold a creative class or meeting of any kind can contact Makervillage through their online calendar to reserve the space.

Exhibiting Finster’s Legacy

Finster was an American artist and Baptist minister from Summerville, Georgia. His inspiration from God led him to spread the gospel through the design of Paradise Garden, a folk art sculpture garden with over 46,000 pieces of art.

Discovered in the 1970s, Finster was commissioned to design album covers for Talking Heads and R.E.M., which gained him world-wide recognition.

“It’s thrilling that Howard Finster’s work is going to be on display at the Harbin Clinic Gallery,” says Tina Cox, executive director of the Paradise Garden Foundation. “This is a great central location for so many to come and view it, and we hope it will inspire people to come visit Paradise Garden in Summerville.”

The Harbin Clinic Gallery exhibit will be up throughout February and March and the public can visit on Fridays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit includes work and prints by Finster, as well as a collection of Coke bottles created by numerous area artists commemorating some of Finster’s most famous designs, and his love of painting painted Coke bottle cutouts.

Following the exhibit in Rome, the bottles will be placed around Finster’s home of downtown Summerville.

The exhibit will also feature photos of the garden, and unique paintings

of the garden by Donnie Davis.  Both signed and unsigned original prints by Howard Finster will be available for purchase.

The artists whose Coke bottles will be featured at the Finster exhibit


Chris Allison (Mt. Airy, GA)

Kip Ramey (Comer, GA)

Charlie Dingler (Clayton, GA)

Peter Loose (Hull, GA)

Kristen Ramsey (Smyrna, GA),

Becky Altman (Chickamauga, GA)

Eric Legge (Dillard, GA)

Fawn DeRosia (Thomaston, GA)

Donnie Davis (Summerville, GA)