Colquitt, Georgia is a national model for community and economic development through the arts, heritage, and culture. More than 20 years ago, the Arts Council in this small town made a daring move – they sponsored a play based on the stories of their community and thus, Swamp Gravy, Georgia’s Folk Life Play was born. Each year, approximately 100 volunteer actors gather in Cotton Hall, the Home of Swamp Gravy, to perform a new original drama guided by a professional playwright, director, musicians, lighting designer, and choreographer. Together, they craft a theatrical performance like no other, telling the universal stories of ordinary, extraordinary lives, intertwined with original and traditional music that leaves the audience spellbound.
Because of the success of Swamp Gravy, a cultural tourism industry has been developed in Colquitt that includes the Storytelling Museum inside Cotton Hall. The museum houses artifacts that tell the stories of life in farming communities in simpler times. The Millennium Mural Project has yielded 15 murals painted by professional muralists. These Big Pictures grace the downtown and tell many of the plays’ stories. The children’s tutorial and art enrichment program brings the arts alive for young children with after-school programs and an annual summer youth theater event. The Tarrer Inn is a beautiful Victorian inn located on the town square that serves delicious Southern cuisine. The Tarrer Inn affords a return to a more leisurely lifestyle, if only for a day.