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Pasaquan wall painted in bright colors

About Pasaquan

Eddie Martin Owens

Eddie Owens Martin

Eddie Owens Martin was born on the 4th of July, 1908, to sharecroppers in rural southwest Georgia. He always said that he never fit in with all the other "God-fearing" citizens of Glen Alta, so, at the age of fourteen, Eddie hitchhiked to New York City to pursue a life of adventure, a life far from the conservative values of the South. Hitting the NYC streets during the roaring '20s, Eddie supported himself as a hustler, a fortune teller, and a waiter in a gay nightclub. In his spare time, Eddie tried to absorb as much of the NYC culture as he could by visiting the museums, galleries, and libraries. However, he also certainly enjoyed the company of drag queens, drug dealers, and other colorful characters in the curser scene.

During a high fever in 1935, Eddie received his first vision from a futuristic, gender-fluid being who ordered him to change his ways and follow the path of Pasaquoyanism, a new religion. Eddie agreed, changed his name to St. EOM, pronounced "ohm," and became the world's first and, as far as we know, only, Pasaquoyan. St. EOM would remain in New York for twenty-one years, developing his spiritual belief system and crafting a Pasaquoyan aesthetic that lavishly fuses with 1930s NYC fashion design.

In 1956, the Pasaquoyans returned to St. EOM in a vision and commanded him to return to his recently deceased mother's farm 8 miles outside Buena Vista, Georgia. There, he worked as a fortune teller and card reader and began his final, most significant piece, Pasaquan. For the last three decades of his life, St. EOM dedicated himself to creating this unique art environment. This seven-acre site boasts six significant structures with interior spaces complete with intricate mandala murals and over 900 feet of elaborately painted masonry walls. Pasaquan's design combines pre-Columbian Mexican, African, and Native American cultural and other religious symbols with motifs inspired by James Churchward's book "The Lost Continent of MU." Today, Pasaquan is recognized as one of the most significant visionary art environments in the United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kohler Foundation Preservation

In 2014, the Kohler Foundation was approached by the Pasaquan Preservation Society‘s board to help preserve Pasaquan. Although the society had been diligent caretakers, they lacked the resources to address the growing deterioration, paint loss, and numerous structural issues. The Kohler Foundation‘s Board agreed to take on the project, and the preservation of Pasaquan began.

The preservation of Pasaquan took about two and a half years and was one of the largest and most complex projects ever undertaken by the Kohler Foundation. The work included challenges related to concrete and painting conservation. A team from International Artifacts stabilized the artworks and prepared surfaces for the painting conservators from Parma Conservation. Local tradespeople, under the highly skilled general contractor T.G. Gregory of Columbus, GA, addressed structural concerns in the six buildings. They repaired termite damage, replaced rotting wood, supported foundations, handled safety issues, and replicated intricate floors and roofs. Interns from Columbus State University assisted with documentation and organization.

Pasaquan was officially given to Columbus State University in 2016.

Kohler Restoration Wall Art at Pasaquan

CSU and Pasaquan

Concert at Pasaquan

CSU's primary focus is on safeguarding, sustaining, providing accessibility to, and aiding in the interpretation of Pasaquan and the enduring legacy of St. EOM. Our goal is to offer visitors a distinctive understanding of the intuitive artistic process, engaging them through diverse programs, interdisciplinary workshops, lectures, seminars, retreats, and performances.

Our educational mission aligns closely with Columbus State University. At Pasaquan, we cultivate culturally enriching programs fostering respect for self-taught visionary art and celebrating creative diversity. We organize workshops and encourage dialogue that promotes self-exploration, deepening visitors' understanding of art and inspiring them to express themselves creatively.

Students from a diverse array of institutions, such as CSU, University of West GA, Auburn, UGA, GA State, GA College, and Wheeling Jesuit University (West Virginia), have made visits to Pasaquan. Many of these students have gone on to complete projects or assignments centered around the site and the legacy of St. EOM. Additionally, graduate students from esteemed institutions like Cornell University, University of Wisconsin, University of Georgia, and Georgia State have engaged in thorough research both in the archives and on-site, resulting in the creation of original works inspired by St. EOM.

We view Pasaquan as a dynamic laboratory for experiential learning, offering a unique platform for hands-on educational experiences. On an annual basis, CSU hosts approximately 10 interns who actively contribute to the restoration efforts at Pasaquan. Through these internships, exhibitions, performance, artist residencies, and workshops, we celebrate St. EOM's significant contribution to American art and strive to fulfill his utopian vision for a better world and future.

Pasaquan Today

Today, Pasaquan, is under the stewardship of Columbus State University (CSU). St. EOM and his Legacy are having his most meaningful impact in the art world with exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, The Drawing Center, Intuit, Institute 193, and many more. Artists in our residency program have come to us from across the world, including Brazil, NYC, and LA, and each has been inspired and influenced by St EOM's vision. Students are researching and having genuine experiential learning encounters on the site and in the Pasaquan archives housed at the CSU library. Pasaquan is encouraging emerging voices to bring forward new knowledge and awareness of St. EOM's significance in the history of American art.

Eddie Owens Martin

Pasaquan Preservation Society

Concert at Pasaquan

Pasaquan has an advisory Board, the Pasaquan Preservation Society (PPS). This group advises the Director and CSU administration on preservation issues and programming at the site. Their mission is to protect, educate and assist CSU through fundraising and outreach.

Pasaquan Preservation Society Website

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