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Homecoming Gala to celebrate Ellen Axson Wilson

The First Lady who called Rome her hometown will be celebrated during Rome Area Council for the Arts’ Ellen Axson Wilson Homecoming Gala.
An open lecture and book-signing precede the Sept. 13 gala at Oak Hill.
“We have wanted to do this for so long,” said Emily Hjort, president of RACA.  “Ellen Axson Wilson was slated to come to Rome exactly 100 years ago, in September of 1914, to participate in a celebratory event for her hometown.”
Wilson died unexpectedly three weeks before the celebration, so was unable to celebrate her hometown as she had wanted. RACA has arranged for 21 of her paintings from the President Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, D.C., to be on display at Oak Hill & the Martha Berry Museum.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to honor her and educate everyone about one of our most important citizens,” said Hjort. “It is really a very nostalgic time for our community.”
Events begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 11 with a lecture at Berry College’s Science Building Auditorium.
Kristie Miller, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of “Ellen and Edith: Woodrow Wilson’s First Ladies,” will speak. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Miller will sign copies of her book Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 1442 Turner McCall Blvd. RACA will receive 10 percent of purchases made during those two hours if the customer tells the cashier they are there to benefit RACA.
The gala begins at 7 p.m. that evening with appetizers and cocktails at Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum. Dinner at 8 p.m. will feature dishes inspired by the cuisine of the Wilson White House. Dress is black tie optional. Miller will also be at the gala and will sign copies of her book.
Tickets for the gala are $75 and can be purchased online at the RACA website, www.romearts.org. Tickets must be purchased by this Sunday.
Many distinguished guests are attending, Hjort said.
“Governor Deal and Mrs. Deal are coming, along with several representatives from The Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, D.C.,” she said.
The executive director and the curators of the Wilson House know how important Ellen Axson Wilson was to her husband, Hjort added.
“They live his legacy every day … She has an incredible legacy and it is a privilege to highlight her life and her art,” Hjort said.
The exhibition of the First Lady’s art will run through the first week of November.
“Her work is very beautiful and is in the style of the American Impressionists,” Hjort said.
Community partners for the event are Georgia Power; Pirelli North America; Brinson, Askew, Berry, Siegler, Richardson & Davis; Harbin Clinic; Emily & Peter Hjort; Ledbetter Properties; Layton Roberts/Etowah Employment; Wes Walraven & Brian Moore; Redmond Regional Medical Center; Southeastern Mills; Nancy & David Smith; and Citizens First Bank.

In-kind donors are Sara Hightower Regional Library; Riverside Gourmet; Ford, Gittings & Kane; N L Smithworks Inc.; and The President Woodrow Wilson House, National Trust for Historic Preservation.
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