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A friend indeed. Isn't it strange that we now "friend" strangers in a virtual way and over time they actually become friends? Such was my luck when Tim Reilly contacted me about two years ago and joined this site to learn how to put on a first class art festival in the historic Southern town where he lived, Madison, GA.

On Thursday, 9/11, Tim, age 56, died from a brain aneurysm. He is survived by his wife and partner Janice Reilly. He was out of town working on a project when a friend found him where he had fallen.

Tim and Jan had fallen in love with the work of a master potter and had begun collecting his work and became friends. Then they wanted to help support him and other artists in a larger way and Tim came up with the idea of starting an art festival, originals only, in their town, The Cotton South Arts Festival in September 2013.

Due to Tim's winning ways he lured many of the top artists to Georgia for this first time show. He wrangled free lodgings for anyone who wanted them around the town and put on a first class event.

Prizewinners for the Cotton South: Frank Strunk, Charles Gatewood and Aaron Hequembourg. Also in the photo are Jan and Tim.

Problems with the location caused him to find a new spot for the 2014 show. He completed the jurying and thought he was all set, only to find out it wouldn't work for his vision. Much searching didn't turn up the ideal location so just a few weeks ago he alerted the accepted artists to the cancellation of 2014 and vowed to be back in 2015.

Tim joined AFI and was a frequent participant on the site, getting great feedback from artists and learning what they wanted in a new show.

He'd call me irregularly and we'd talk about the business, about artists we knew in common, the future of the industry, and beyond that to be a sounding board for each other. When the phone would ring I'd know it was time to take a break and many laughs would ensue as we'd gossip and plot and tell tales.

Many of you knew Tim and bantered with him here also. He will be missed.

The funeral will be in Lawrenceville, GA, at the Wages and Sons Funeral home on September 20. Visitation will be from noon to 1 pm.

His wife can be reached at 1750 Bethany Rd., Madison, GA 30650

I will post the obituary when it is available.

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Well, this is a big blow. I'm really down about this one. What in the world? I had several really great telephone conversations with Tim myself over the past few months, the most recent of which about two weeks ago lasted for 75 minutes. We discovered just how much we have in common during this conversation. He actually called me about my post in the Photographer's Forum regarding rules for photographers at shows. He said photography was near to his heart since he used to photograph architecture and work in progress for construction companies since the architects were more difficult to please. When I told him my history and that I was making a frame based upon the architecture of John Portman of Atlanta to debut at 2014 The Cotton South show, he was blown away. So naturally we were really disappointed to learn a few days before his last call that he had to cancel the show.

Well, my heart goes out to Janice and his family, certainly. I'll send her a note via snail mail.

R.I.P. Tim Reilly, and thanks for all you did for art and artists. 

Thanks for these thoughts, Barrie. He had wide reaching experience and could make connections easily. I'd guess just about everyone has their own story about him as he was so personable, interesting and in turn interested in you. His wife called me and asked that I let people know. He was so enthused about promoting artists and meeting them and working to make a new good market for their work. Seemed like such a great guy.

Thanks for posting the obit link, Connie. I've visited the page and posted a guest book entry.

I'm really gonna miss his enthusiasm since it really matched mine to a T. I'm a fierce collaborator and Tim asked me for my input. I'm just really gonna miss the camaraderie that came into my life and got taken away so fast.

I did not know this person but your post does him great honor.  Complete with all information and contact info.  I saw the announcement in a FB forum but not much was said.  I am glad I checked here.  My condolences to his family.


Thanks, Bruce. It is still a shock. I just went to the obituary page of the funeral home and saw the names of several artists who left their condolences -- and the Cotton South was just one of his projects!

I didn't know Tim either.  Always so sad to hear of a person with such good attributes passing on.  My sympathies to those of you who knew him and his family.  He sounded like a great person.

The Cotton South art show would have been this weekend.


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