Believing that our stories define and live beyond us, Mary Porter painted “Friday Night at the White Tiger” (2023, acrylic on canvas, 36x50 inches) to tell the story of the White Tiger restaurant. Situated among a cluster of former mill houses within the Boulevard Neighborhood - the vibrant, dynamic and eclectic area in Athens, Georgia where Mary lives - Porter hoped to “preserve the history of the people and the culture and everything else beyond words about this place in space and time.”
The 1905 building originally housed JR Davis Grocery, the general store and central part of the community for the Happy Top mill village. Bob Thrasher took over the business in 1974, adding a kitchen, with a serve window cut into the adjoining wall where food was passed to the counter staff. When Porter first visited in 1981, the grocery section was all but gone, but Thrasher’s was booming as THE place for Saturday morning breakfast. After Thrasher’s closed in 1993, the building hosted a series of unique but short-lived food enterprises. Then in 2007, Ken Manring opened White Tiger, offering BBQ, soups, grilled veggies, banana puddin’ and homemadechocolates, all made fresh on the premises. The Tiger quickly grew to be a popular part of the Athens community, hosting art shows and celebrations and musical events on a tree covered lawn furnished with picnic tables. Children drew hopscotch and sketched on the sidewalk. Local artists painted on the picket fence. Ken and his wife/partner Melinda recently perked up the interior with a signature electric pink and green, adding disco balls. But other than that (and air conditioning) the interior remains true to its historic roots. Even the original vintage meat scale remains. Today, you sense the spirit of the past merge with the energy of the present.
Mary earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in Art from the University of Georgia, where she later taught painting and color theory classes. She has received a National Foundation for the Arts Regional fellowship and two Georgia Council for the Arts grants. Her nationally exhibited watercolor, oil and acrylic paintings are represented in numerous public and private collections, including King and Spalding, Atlanta, GA; Department of Labor, Washington, DC; and in Athens: Clarke County Courthouse, the Classic Center, the University of Georgia, and Morris Communications Building. Porter's work has appeared in media publications such as The Georgia Review, The New Art Examiner, Art Papers, Athens Magazine, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
• 500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
• Finished Puzzle Size: 19.25 x 26.625 inches
• Quality ESKA blueboard backing
• Matte Finish to reduce glare
• Recommended Age: 13+ Years