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CREATIVE COMMUNITY -- Indie Arts Alliance

Meet five members of Indie Arts Alliance, a creative collective uplifting the arts in Smyrna.

Chelsea Darling, Darling Metals

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF YOUR WORK?: “My training in metalwork was an even balance between assisting artist blacksmiths and working in commercial fabrication and machining shops. I think this duality of traditional craft and commercial process really reflects me as a person: I am both the spirited artist that is pursuing my dreams, and the grounded entrepreneur.”

WHAT MAKES YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR CHOSEN MEDIUM?: “I’m drawn to do metalwork in a way that’s inexplicable, even to myself. I sometimes wonder if my soul is mildly magnetic, and the iron pulls me towards it.” 

A FAVORITE MEMORY RELATED TO YOUR ART: “I was truly moved to see the descendants of those buried at Mount Zion Cemetery gather and sing “Amazing Grace” together in front of the decorative arch I built for their grounds. It’s something I will never forget.”

A VISION FOR THE ARTS IN SMYRNA: “I really hope to see art and culture flourish alongside the growth of the population. As more folks move in to enjoy this lovely city, it’s important to keep developing the kind of strong culture and identity that can bring everyone together.”

IG: @darlingmetals / Work available via

Paula Winter, Table 16 Studio

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF YOUR WORK? “I retired after 30 years of teaching in 2019.  When the pandemic hit, I was looking for a way to pass the time.  A friend gave me a canvas and the journey began.  I painted my first abstract and fell in love with the result.  Collage design began when I trimmed paintings to mat.  I put my trimmings together to create a collage.  The combinations of color and shape brought me joy and I started creating more.”

WHAT MAKES YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR CHOSEN MEDIUM?:  “I love color and shape.  When I look at my collages, I see something different every time.  They are bright and joyful - it’s my way to bring happiness to others.”


A VISION FOR THE ARTS IN SMYRNA: “I would love for Smyrna to have its own art gallery.  A gallery would give Smyrna an even better vibe than it has now.”

IG: @paw8363 / Work available at Marietta Square Artisan Market

Kimm Martin, Kanders Ceramics

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF YOUR WORK?:  “I have always been creative and drawn to the art world.  When I was young, I felt the pull to create but couldn’t really determine what the right medium was for me.  When I took a leave from my career after my dad passed away, I decided to try a pottery class.  I was hooked immediately.  I wanted to pursue 10,000 hours as soon as possible so that I could become proficient in the technical aspects and create new and unique items that felt true to my personal aesthetic and philosophy.”

WHAT MAKES YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR CHOSEN MEDIUM?:  “I love the permanence of it once it goes through a fairly involved and rigorous process.  The uncertainty of what might happen in the kiln and the will of the clay can be happy outcomes or frustrating variations.  I also really love the process.  It has a very Zen feel to it when I’m at the wheel and joy when it comes out the way I want.”

WHO IS ANOTHER ARTIST IN SMYRNA YOU ADMIRE?: “We are lucky to have Robert Harrison in our community.  In addition to being a gifted metalwork artist, he is also willing to give his time and effort to advance the arts in Smyrna.  He renovated the Old Smyrna Firehouse to not only be his home but also to be a place where people can gather for all types of events.”

FAVORITE THING ABOUT SMYRNA: “I love my neighborhood (downtown Smyrna) and the way I can walk to so many things.  I love the small town feel with quick access to a large urban city.”  

A VISION FOR THE ARTS IN SMYRNA: “I love what happens to the culture of a city when there are creative things to do and engage in as well as things that beautify the community.  I want Smyrna to have an arts center where people can come to learn and engage with others to build an overall sense of community.”

IG: @kandersceramics / Work available at Westside Market

Suzie Tremel, Suzie Tremel Designs

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF YOUR WORK?:  “My love of fabric started when I was a teenager. Once I got to college, I knew instantly that I wanted to be a textile designer. Later, I started my own business custom screen printing and dying fabric yardage. I am back designing my own textiles again and I am working on launching a fabric and wallpaper line that will be digitally printed that will cater to the interior design trade.”

WHO IS ANOTHER ARTIST IN SMYRNA YOU ADMIRE?:  “Elizabeth Landt.  She is so versatile, and she works in every medium imaginable. She has a beautiful eye for design details, texture, and forms.”

A VISION FOR THE ARTS IN SMYRNA:  “There’s so much potential for our city. I want to see mural art on the buildings, plays, musicians/concerts, art walks, and maybe even a gallery or two open in Smyrna. Art brings the community together and makes it a more beautiful place to live.”

IG: @suzietremel / Work available at Westside Market

Justin Groom, Leafmore Studios

WHAT MAKES YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR CHOSEN MEDIUM?:  “Illustration is narrative.  All my work is filtered through a complex, neurodivergent brain.  As a result, the pieces are dense and filled with opportunities for the viewer to search, inviting a deeper connection between them and the work.  I like watching people walk by my art, be engaged, and then be compelled to lean in closer.”

FAVORITE THING ABOUT SMYRNA: “I was born here and visited my Nana here often, but was raised in Tampa, Florida.  Coming back to make a life here as an adult is very full circle.”   

A VISION FOR THE ARTS IN SMYRNA: “I can’t wait to see more public art, beautifying businesses and coexisting with nature.  It reflects community pride.”

IG: @leafmorestudios / Work available at Smyrna Handmade Market

Indie Arts Alliance is a grassroots organization of dedicated artisans and community members. Learn more at

  • Chelsea Darling
  • Paula Winter
  • Kimm Martin
  • Suzie Tremel
  • Justin Groom