Callanwolde fosters the fine arts


Courtesy of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

This mansion has been repurposed as a location for fine arts classes and events.

Lindsay Ruhl

Once inhabited by the owners of Coca-Cola, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is a beautiful mansion now used for private events and art classes.  It is also a popular filming location for movies and TV shows.

  Before the house was built, Asa Candler was the founder of Coca-Cola and owned all the land. Then he gave the land to his son, Charles Candler.

  “The construction began in 1917 and was finished in 1920,” said receptionist, Bobbie Behanna. “At that time, Charles moved his wife and three children in and it became a one family dwelling.”

  Behanna has been working at Callanwolde as a receptionist for 5 years. She observes private events being hosted up to three times a week.

  “We have a wedding going on this weekend,” said Behanna. “Sometimes, we can book up to two years in advance for weddings.”

In addition to private events,  Callanwolde also hosts its own events.

  “We have Calloween, Jazz on the Lawn, and Christmas at Callanwolde which is where the top designers of Atlanta fill the house full of their furniture and Christmas trees and everything is for sale,” said Behanna. “So, if you are not in the Christmas spirit before you get here, you will be before you leave.”

  Callanwolde is also used as a popular place for dance classes and other art classes.

  “We teach classes here from adult ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, African, and Irish dance,” said Behanna. “We recently renovated a barn and turned it into a recording studio.”

  With its vintage charm, Callanwolde is a popular place for filming movies and TV shows.

  “We are going to have more filming coming up for the next nine weeks,” said Behanna.

  Callanwolde is not without its recent controversy. In 2016, two of the Callanwolde dance teachers, Kelly Oakes Dent and Jennilee Garcia, left and started their own company called Dance Foundry.

  “I always imagined having my own company,” said Garcia. “And now I do.”

Garcia is originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, and moved to Atlanta in 2008 to work at Callanwolde until 2016. She choreographed many different show performances there and she was even the Assistant Director on a few occasions.

 Garcia would see many private events and weddings along with some movies being filmed at Callanwolde.

  With many events going on Garcia said, “We did not have to cancel [dance practice] very often.”

  Behanna was sad to see the two teachers leave, but she wishes them all well. Most of the girls who danced with Dent and Garcia previously moved to Dance Foundry with them. Through Callanwolde, which is where her dance career started, Caroline Kirk was able to form a relationship that has been really important and special throughout the rest of her life even once she left.

“I have danced with Ms. Kelly my whole life,” said Kirk. “I did not want to build a new relationship with any new teacher when I had a good one going.”

Callanwolde is the perfect place to go learn how to do pottery, film a movie, or to learn about the history of the owners of Coca-Cola who once lived in the mansion.

“Callanwolde is just a very nice place for people to go,” said Garcia. “They have lots of activities there.”