Celebrate the ARTS with Don Kordecki
Family and friends are donating funds for artist Julia Knight (www.juliaknight.com ) to create a bronzed life-size statue of Don Kordecki to be placed prominently in downtown Cartersville. Don will be depicted in a tuxedo, smiling and welcoming locals and visitors alike to join in and Celebrate the Arts! A plaque describing Don's contribution to the arts and the community will be placed near the statue.
The target date for installation of the artwork is March/April 2024.
Don Kordecki was a beloved and revered community leader in Cartersville and Bartow County. His first 20 years in Cartersville, starting in 1961, were spent as the owner of Cartersville radio station WKRW. During his years as a radio broadcaster, Don was well-known for his weekday morning program “Coffee Hour” where he interviewed local personalities and politicians at the luncheon counter of the Dunaway Drugstore. He was the voice of the popular 8:30am buy and sell program “13 B’s” and, for 50 years, was a Master of Ceremonies for the local Junior Miss Pageant. Don was awarded the Georgia Broadcaster Citizen of the Year in 1969 and in 1977 received the Best National News Story award from The Associated Press. In 2012, Don was posthumously inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.
During his years in local radio, Don was also a founder of The Dramateurs which later became The Pumphouse Players, serving as President of the “Players” for many years. In 1965, he helped to create the Georgia Theatre Conference, a statewide organization of educational, professional and community theatres, and was its first and third President. In addition to his work in the theater arts, he was the Cartersville Jaycee Young Man of the Year in 1963, served as president of the Cartersville Chamber of Commerce in 1968, and served twice as President of the Downtown Cartersville Alliance, a precursor to the Downtown Development Authority.
After selling the radio station in 1981, Don’s life became even more involved in promotion of the arts as a means of supporting and creating community health and well-being. In the following years, he was instrumental in converting The Grand Theatre from a movie house to a performing arts venue and was a charter member and organizer for the Etowah Creative Arts Council. He was a member to the Advisory Board of the Georgia Art Commission (predecessor to the Georgia Council of the Arts) under Governor Carl Sanders, served for three years on the theatre panel of the Georgia Council for the Arts, and served for over 17 years as a board member, officer, committee chair and lobbyist for the Georgia Citizens for the Arts. He was chairman of the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention and Visitors Bureau, chairman of the Bartow County Library Board of Trustees, treasurer of the Cartersville-Bartow County Cultural Arts Alliance, and Technical Director at the Grand Theatre.
Perhaps Don’s most public contributions were in relation to his involvement with the Grand Theatre. As General Manager and, later, Technical Director, from 1988 until his death in 2010, Don shared his passion for the theatrical arts with hundreds of community members. Besides contributing his many theatrical talents as actor, director, producer, and set designer to numerous productions of The Dramateurs, Red Top Mountain Players, Pumphouse Players, Cartersville City Ballet, Pumped Up Players, and Grand Theatre Opera Company, Don was instrumental in creating and directing The Grand Theatre’s Summer Theatre Camps. These annual summer camps provided theatrical experience to hundreds of Cartersville and Bartow County youth from elementary school age to high schoolers. Don was also instrumental in providing theatrical experience to older community members via The Grand’s annual Senior Shenanigans talent productions.
Don was well-loved for his intelligence and wit and he coined the phrase “Without art, Cartersville and Bartow would just be Cersville and Bow.” His indelible contributions to his community will not be forgotten.