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Artists Bring Manga and Music Lessons to Hickory Flat

Hickory Flat residents Jonathan and Lara Cazenave bring music and art to the Hickory Flat community.

Offering a modern facility with both art courses and music lessons, Play! Music and Art, provides an artistic escape for all members of the family.

“People are finding out we’re here and what we have to offer,” said Jonathan Cazenave.

Lara Casenave is the art director and Jonathan Casenave oversees all music activities in their business located in the shopping center at the corner of Hickory Road and Hickory Flat Highway. 

Professional music lessons are available in several instruments, including guitar, piano, flute, bass, drums, and violin as well as voice. 

Chinese brush painting, acrylic painting, oil painting, and jewelry design.

Play! also hosts group painting, private parties, and even summer camps.

Both Jonathan and Lara have studied and performed in the arts as professionals and as teachers, and they have developed the following business philosophy:

“Play! Music and Art is a family-run business whose core belief is that learning should be fun and the best ideas are born out of play, hence the name of our store.”

As residents of the Hickory Flat area for the last eight years, the Cazenaves discovered, through home-schooling their own children and providing lessons to community members, that there was a high demand for a strong music and art program in Hickory Flat. 

“At first, we focused on the music but the art part held high demand too and our business evolved into what we are now.”

These artists are offering the community a chance to explore the passions they themselves have always enjoyed.

Lara Cazenave has drawn and painted since childhood and also studied art at Georgia State.  She has worked on murals, has hand-painted designs on high-end furniture, and has enjoyed selling her own paintings.

“Lara is a very visual person,” said Jonathan.

 “My paintings speak the words my mouth cannot find. Entire essays on beauty, philosophy, longings, moods and memories are all found in colors, shapes, lines, textures and forms,” according to Lara on the website.

Lara has also spent several years studying Chinese Brush painting, a course she now instructs, in which one stroke is practiced over and over. 

“It’s a Zen thing,” said husband Jonathan.

Of his own musical training, Cazenave says, “I was swimming in music and music education growing up. Music came natural from being immersed in it.”

Jonathan Cazenave, who grew up in a family of musicians, began learning how to create music on his brother’s drums at age five and then later began playing guitar.  

He says most of his formal training has been through private lessons so he holds strong insight as to what makes a first class teacher.

Play! Music and Art has just that, first class music and art teachers.  In addition to the Casenaves, two other artists instruct courses.

Award-winning songwriter and author Kyle Lovely is a classically trained pianist who now performs in a heavy metal band, said Cazenave, who praises Lovely for his ability to connect with his students of all ages on multiple levels.

Lovely has also written two books about the music industry for aspiring musicians.

Comic book artist Shawn McCauley, with more than 15 comic books in print, is the drawing, comic/Manga, and art history instructor. 

With work published for the “Monster Hunters comic series and more, McCauley instructs cartooning in various styles, including the Japanese Manga style found in graphic novels, a style very popular with teens. 

Cazenave said McCauley is often found lounging on the store couch working on his professional drawings and loves to greet students and patrons and share his work.

As a professional musician and composer, Cazenave has toured with gospel groups, worked as a studio musician, and this year put out an album entitled “Snow Flower: Things That Occur in Nature,” an album that was an Emusician.com Album of the Month in March of this year.

“It’s nice ambient guitar music,” Casenave said.

Play! Music and Art offers a free introductory music lesson to encourage new students to find out how fun and rewarding lessons can be.

Cazenave says that since they opened about six months ago, business has been steady and students are registering for classes. 

He says he’s happy to hear patrons consistently comment, “We’re so glad you’re here.”

The Casenaves are excited to offer artistic opportunities for fellow Hickory Flat residents. 

 “A natural synergy has led up to what we are doing now,” said Casenave.   

To learn more about these Hickory Flat artists, visit their website and take a tour of what Play! Music and Art is all about.  To learn more about Lara and Jonathan as individual artists, click on their artist links as well.  

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