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Teutsch to lead LES Center

Dr. Matthew Teutsch, who is currently lecturing at the University of Bergen in Norway as part of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, has been named Director of the Piedmont College Lillian E. Smith (LES) Center.

A native of Bossier City, Louisiana, Teutsch’s academic work explores how African-American authors imagine and represent the South in their works.

The LES Center, located in Clayton, Georgia, is the former home and property of Lillian E. Smith, a famed and sometimes controversial author who explored social injustice, segregation, and isolation in the 1940s South until her death in 1966. Through a generous donation in 2013, Piedmont College acquired the property, which is used as an artist retreat and educational center.

Teutsch has served at the Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL), an international center that focuses on the work of the African-American author. While there, he collaborated on day-to-day operations of the center, worked with archival materials, generated grant support, and participated in outreach. Teutsch, who will also teach part-time, earned his M.A. from the University of Louisiana-Monroe and Ph.D. from ULL. He succeeds Craig Amason, the center’s founding director.

“Dr. Teutsch has a unique and broad skillset that is well suited for the LES Center,” said Piedmont President James F. Mellichamp. “He will work to expand the reach of the center, which is a wonderful cultural and educational resource for the college.”

Teutsch will begin his work in May and move to the area with his family during the summer.

“I am excited about continuing the work that Lillian E. Smith started to fight social injustice,” said Teutsch. “I look forward to building, with the advisory board, upon the solid foundation that Craig Amason constructed during his time at the center.” 

Sarah Browning Wins 2019 Writer-in-Service Award

The LES Center is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Lillian E. Smith Writer-in-Service Award. Sarah Browning served for ten years as the executive director of Split This Rock, a national organization she co-founded based in Washington, D.C., the mission of which is to cultivate, teach, and celebrate poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change. She was the associate director of The Fund for Women Artists (now WomenArts), providing fundraising and other support to women in theater and film. She was also the director of Amherst Writers & Artists Institute, which offers creative workshops and leadership development for low-income women and youth. Ms. Browning will receive a $500 honorarium, a $500 travel stipend, and a two-week residency at the Center. Congratulations, Sarah Browning!


LES Fellow presents paper at Southern Studies Conference

Emily Pierce, a Lillian E. Smith Fellow at Piedmont College, presented a paper last week at the Southern Studies Conference at Auburn University in Montgomery. Her presentation was titled "Personal and Societal Traumas in Lillian Smith's Killers of the Dream" and was part of a conference panel called Trauma in Southern Literature. Emily's paper is part of her senior capstone project, a requirement for her upcoming graduation as a Lillian E. Smith Scholar in May, 2019.
"The conference itself was a great experience," Emily said. "I attended panels discussing moments in Southern history as well as photography, art, and creative writing. Overall, it was an incredible experience, and I'm excited to continue my research as I finish up this project for capstone."

Upcoming documentary film on Lillian Smith

Breaking the Silence is a documentary film by Hal and Henry Jacobs that will explore how Lillian Smith became a formidable voice of the South — a voice that has been muted in the decades after her death. Just as important, the film will demonstrate her relevance today as we face a rising tide of intolerance and discrimination throughout the world.

Hal Jacobs started his own independent film company in 2014 after years of producing short videos for Emory University and others. His 2017 film, Mary Crovatt Hambidge: Wanderer, Whistler, Weaver, Utopian, was awarded the “Best Documentary” award at the Spring 2017 Southern Shorts Film Festival and was screened at the Atlanta History Center in September 2017.

Henry Jacobs is a photographer, a licensed drone operator, filmmaker, and musician. He is also the Middle Chattahoochee Outreach Director for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. His photography has appeared publicly in several juried exhibitions and can be found in the permanent collection of the Lamar Dodd Art Center of LaGrange College. 

Breaking the Silence is expected to be released in spring 2019. You can see a preview of the documentary, along with more information about the project, at the film’s website at


2017 Symposium Presentations Available on YouTube

Piedmont College hosted The Lillian E. Smith Symposium on Arts and Social Change on March 18, 2017 at the Athens campus. Moderated by the highly-acclaimed and bestselling author, Barbara Brown Taylor, “Between dream and reality” explored art in the public arena as an inspiration for social change and featured keynote speaker Jen Delos Reyes, Associate Director of the School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois Chicago. Other presenters included:

Ellen Elmes, muralist and professor of art at Southwest Virginia Community College
Hope Hilton, professional artist and art instructor at Athens Technical College
Broderick Flanigan, community activist and owner, Flanigan’s Portrait Studio (Athens)

Follow the links provided here to view videos of some of the presentations from the Symposium.

Jen Delos Reyes | Ellen Elmes | Broderick Flanigan | Panel Discussion

PowerPoint Presentations: Reyes, Elmes, Flanigan


Web-based Resources to Accompany New Book on Lillian Smith

A new anthology of Lillian Smith’s work is being published by the University of Georgia Press in September, 2016.  Bringing together short stories, lectures, essays, op-ed pieces, interviews, and excerpts from her longer fiction and nonfiction, A Lillian Smith Reader offers the first comprehensive collection of her work and a compelling introduction to one of the South’s most important writers. The book is edited by Margaret Rose Gladney and Lisa Hodgens. The book is published in association with Piedmont College, which is also hosting a webpage to accompany the book containing a variety of electronic resources associated with Lillian Smith’s life and work. Here you will find audio files of Lillian Smith reading from her own work, along with photographs, text documents, video clips and more.


LES Scholars Program 

Piedmont College recently created a new academic program called the Lillian E. Smith (LES) Scholars Program. This program encourages students to fully explore the values and convictions that shaped the life and work of this great humanitarian. By developing skills of critical and creative thinking, enhanced by real-life experiences far beyond the classroom, LES Scholars emerge from this program with a heightened sense of empathy, innovation, and personal responsibility – qualities useful for a number of occupations in non-profits and human services. 

LES Scholars will be recognized for their achievements at Commencement. They will also be presented with a framed certificate and will be included in an alumni affinity group. Piedmont College is seeking donations for scholarships for the LES Scholars. We are grateful for annual donations that will support these exceptional students as well as major and planned gifts that can endow the scholarships in perpetuity.  Please contact Craig Amason, director of the LES Center, at if you are interested in supporting our students.



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