Founded in 2010, we serve art to individuals with different disabilities in Southwest Georgia.
Industries & Business
Four friends, Julieta Conde Canal, Olga Avallone, Lucy Rivera & Dixie Lee Hedrington-Miller wanted to give back to their community and decided to focus on individuals with disabilities. Dixie, being the mother of a special needs son knew first-hand that services were limited for that population. Julieta & Dixie were artists, Olga a museum curator & Lucy had the organizing skills. Together they created the Circle of Friends & Stars, LLC in 2010. Their friendship and all attendees were referred to as Stars which was incorporated into the organization's name.
The program ran every Saturday and served 50-75 Stars each week for 4.5 years establishing a waiting list. Realizing that the idea was a good one, the friends applied for a 501(c)(3) status which was granted in 2013.
After the closing of the Schacknow Museum of Fine Arts, which cut off the funding to continue the program, they had to closed for a few months.
In 2014 the organization incorporated as Friends & Stars, Inc., and obtained funding to open an Art Center in Lauderhill, Florida. They added children programming and operated until July 8, 2016 when the organization moved to Ochlocknee, Georgia and bought an 7.5 acre campus. Starting over with no Stars was difficult, but Dixie endeavored to provide the customized, quality programming and now served individuals in Southwest Georgia and North Florida.
We believe every individual regardless of ability should experience the joy of art, which is a fundamental part of the human experience.
From Our Founder
Since the beginning of time, the arts have been a fundamental part of the human experience. It's my belief that the Arts should be accessible to every individual. It's this belief that drives my passion as I focus on excellence. I was honored to be awarded the 2016 African American Achiever in Arts & Culture by JM Family Enterprises, Southeast Toyata Distributors & JM Lexus. Became a Georgia Council for the Arts Teaching Artist in 2017. For the past several years I have endeavored to bring the same level of excellence to children and adults with disabilities in rural Georgia. No matter who you are, no matter where you live, you deserve to experience the joy of art. We are blessed with many supporters who believe with us and are changing lives through their giving. And we are privileged to see lives changed every day through beautiful art.
Dixie Lee Hedrington-Miller
We believe in dignity, ability, quality and joy.