Forester to be enshrined in Georgia Women's Hall of Fame

Photo provided courtesy of Pope's Store MuseumShown is artist Laura Pope Forester in 1948.

CAIRO — A historical Grady County feminist folk artist will be entered into the Georgia Women's Hall of Fame next year.

Laura Pope Forester was bestowed the honor by the Georgia Women of Achievement Organization, Pope's Store Museum has announced.

"Our Board of Selections felt that Laura Pope Forester proved to be an excellent addition into the Hall of Fame due to her outstanding contributions and the inspiration she is to present day Georgians," GWAO President Penny Elkins wrote in an email to Pope's Store Museum.

Forester will be formally entered into the Hall of Fame at an induction ceremony next March. She is one of four women to receive the recognition for 2021, joining the more than 80 existing honorees.

Michelle Dean, executive director at Pope's Store Museum, said South Georgians have every reason to be proud of one their native daughters receiving the rare honor.

"As a pioneer in both art environments and women's history, Laura Pope Forester exemplifies what the Georgia Women of Achievement Organization stands for," Dean said. "Her artwork combined excellence in her craft with a message of patriotism and love of family and the military, rising above the limitations society placed on women in the early 20th century."

Dean noted that Forester's property, where much of her work was created, was within the borders of Thomas County when the folk artist first arrived there in 1894. It was also the Pelham Women's Chamber of Commerce in Mitchell County that kept the museum open for 20 years following Pope's death in1953.

"This really should be a South Georgia celebration," Dean said.

Since purchasing the 1,600-acre Forester property on Pope's Store Road in 2017, Dean has worked to acquire and preserve the artist's work.

"In gaining this honor, our work of restoring Pope's Museum to its place of state and national honor has received a strong validation," Dean said.

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