Jerry & Kathy Chappelle
For more than four decades, Jerry and Kathy Chappelle’s names have been synonymous with the art community around Athens, Georgia.
In 1970, Jerry was recruited by Lamar Dodd, then-chairman of the University of Georgia’s art department, to teach ceramics at UGA. Shortly after accepting the position, Jerry launched a lifelong dream when he bought an abandoned chicken farm just south of Athens in Oconee County.
The couple named the farm Happy Valley Pottery, and there Jerry and Kathy established an artists’ community that over the next 40 years would serve as a launching point for hundreds of careers.
In 2001, the couple opened Chappelle Gallery in the historic Haygood House in downtown Watkinsville. Chappelle Gallery, which was Kathy’s vision, sells upscale, contemporary crafts from more than 125 artists.
The couple was instrumental in the founding of the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation in 1994, and Jerry and Kathy were also founding board members of the Arts Development Council in 2007.
Kathy has studied under Rick Berman at Callanwolde Art Center and Warren Mackenzie at Penland School of Crafts. She has received awards from numerous arts festivals and craft shows.
Jerry has held artist in residence positions at many colleges, including the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, John C. Campbell Folk School, Ohio State University, Keystone University, Louisiana State University and Fenland School of Crafts. His art has been juried at many festivals and art markets and has exhibited at several museums around the country.
Jerry was born in Fredericktown, Mo on November 14, 1939 and Kathy was born in Minneapolis on January 28, 1943. Jerry earned a BS in arts and education from Murray State University and an MFA from the University of Minnesota. Kathy studied business and accounting at William Woods College. The couple has three children, Danny, Lisa and Marc. Marc died of leukemia in 1978.
The Chappelles have devoted their lives to awakening and nurturing the arts. Their efforts have given Watkinsville and Oconee County distinction and spurred cultural development in communities across Georgia.