UWG Professor Wins Paper Dress in Willowbrooke Benefit Raffle

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tommy Cox can now be known as the man with the paper dress. Cox, the director of the School of the Arts at UWG, bought four fundraising raffle tickets and ended up winning the strapless gowns, which fans affectionately call “the lady.”

Tommy Cox can now be known as the man with the paper dress. Cox, the director of the School of the Arts at UWG, bought four fundraising raffle tickets and ended up winning the strapless gowns, which fans affectionately call “the lady.”The dress is made of brown craft paper and has a three-foot train. It was recently auctioned to raise funds for the expressive art therapy program at Willowbrooke at Tanner, the 52-bed behavioral health facility in Villa Rica.

Cox bought the tickets to show support for the Willowbrooke program.

“Art is a great way for patients to heal,” said Cox, who is also a professor of theatre at the University of West Georgia, which offers students a creative and stimulating learning environment. Among SOTA’s goals are to foster a sense of community among faculty, staff and students and to engage with the general public.

Art therapy includes drawing, painting and other art processes. According to Tanner Medical Foundation it is used to assess patients and to help them “increase their insight and judgment, cope better with stress, work through traumatic experiences and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of the creative experience.”

Supplies for expressive art therapy are in constant use and quickly depleted. Community support and donations help buy supplies for Willowbrooke’s innovative therapeutic program.

The dress is currently on display at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center, 251 Alabama Street. Cox wants a place on the UWG campus to display it. But he also wants to lend it out, as a traveling testament to the benefits of the arts.

The mother and team of Donna and Carla Maner, owners of The Nest in Carrollton, created the dress about a year ago. It was on display in the window of their vintage gift and antique store. But when they moved to their present store, at 121 Bradley St., they put it up for auction.

The auction raised $400, said Carla Maner, who graduated from UWG in 2009 with a degree in marketing. She came up with the concept for the dress and her mother put it together.  

“We thought we would auction it off and asked around for who need the most money. And Willowbrooke needed the most money,” she said.

She loves that someone from UWG won the dress. “We are happy that he is sharing it.”

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Pictured with the paper dress known as “the lady,” are (L-R): Donna Maner and Carla Maner, the creators of the dress; Kathy Mathis, the director of development for Tanner Medical Foundation; and Tommy Cox, the director of UWG’s School of the Arts and a theatre professor.