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Saturday August 1st, 2015 8:22PM

Memorial to John Kollock taking shape in Helen

By Ken Stanford Reporter
HELEN - A memorial to artist John Kollock, who helped transform Helen into the tourist mecca that it is today, is in works.<br /> <br /> Kollock, a man synonymous with art and history in northeast Georgia, died in March at the age of 85. He is credited with the vision for modern-day Helen.<br /> <br /> The Helen Arts & Heritage recently earmarked $5,000 to implement the first phase of the John Kollock Memorial Project, according its President, Nancy Ackerman in a posting on the organization's website, which goes on to say that the effort is expected to lead to a museum of history and culture in Helen. The goal is to bring the past alive with "a new and exciting enthusiasm that ensures the stories of the past will forever be told and never lost or diminished."<br /> <br /> In 1968, Kollock was approached by Helen businessman Pete Hodkinson, who asked him if he had any ideas to dress up the rows of concrete buildings in that city.<br /> <br /> Kollock visited Helen and photographed the business district and, about a week later, presented a series of watercolor renderings showing what Helen would look like as an Alpine village.<br /> <br /> He gleaned the designs from being stationed in Bavaria while in the Army.<br /> <br /> After Kollock's designs were given the go-ahead by businessman Jim Wilkins of Orbit Manufacturing, modern-day Alpine Helen was born.<br /> <br /> Ackerman says the Helen Arts & Heritage says it hopes to do its part "as a pillar of this area's arts and heritage community, to present to the Kollock family, to the state of Georgia and beyond, our appreciation and respect due the man who contributed so much. We hope to provide a visible opportunity, a window to the past, to the millions of visitors that come to Helen annually, to discover who we are and how we came to be, not only here in Helen but Northeast Georgia as well." <br /> <br /> Contributions to help fund the initiative are being accepted ,are tax deductible and go directly to fund the John Kollock Project, according to Ackerman. They may be mailed to Helen Arts & Heritage, John Kollock Project, P.O. Box 390, Helen, Ga. 30545.<br /> <br /> Jerry and Gayle Murdock are hosting the kick-off fundraiser for the John Kollock Project Sept. 19 at 6:00 at their home in the Innsbruck Golf Club Community. Details can be found on the Helen Arts & Heritage Center's Website.<br /> <br /> (AccessNorthGa.com's Rob Moore contributed to this story.)<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
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