As I was driving through Sylvester with my parents recently I turned on a side street and this delightful home immediately caught my eye. I got shots of all the other houses I was interested in and couldn’t wait to take a closer look at this one. Moreover, I was surprised I’d never noticed it before.
It wasn’t easy tracking down information, but my father recalled having seen a fascinating story on the Albany news about a gentleman who was working on a community garden in Sylvester that included a banana farm. He thought, just perhaps, this could be his home.
I’m always excited to find a new art environment and this one was special. As I approached the house, I felt it wasn’t the work of a traditional folk artist, but rather that of a skilled and trained professional. I also knew the creator was sharing a vision. The images depicted on the house blend Native American and African iconography and seem to pay tribute to displaced and endangered peoples.
After a bit of research I discovered that it was, in fact, the home of the gentleman my father had suggested. His name is Sam X White, and he’s known by many as The Gourdmaster Sam X, for his masterpieces of gourd art. But Sam is a Renaissance man. He’s a community activist, art educator, supporter of 4-H, and the man behind Sylvester’s Village Community Garden. He’s an ambassador for so much more than art and I hope his neighbors love his work as much as I do. I hope to meet him in the future.