Beautiful Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia

Piedmont Park pic
Piedmont Park
Image: piedmontpark.org

Samuel Brice Hall serves as director of investor relations with Piedmont Private Equity in Atlanta, Georgia. Outside of work, Samuel Brice Hall enjoys exercising at the historic Piedmont Park.

Piedmont Park is the premier green space and gathering place in Atlanta. In addition to offering residents a respite from busy city life, the popular park features walking trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, tennis courts, a public swimming pool, and a dog park.

The land that is now Piedmont Park was originally forestland purchased by Samuel and Sarah Walker for their homestead. The land passed through the hands of several owners and was finally sold to the city of Atlanta in 1904. In 1909, city planners hired the famous Olmsted Brothers, sons of legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, to create a master plan for the park. Due to budget restraints, the city didn’t implement all the elements of the master plan, but the Olmsted-designed plan continued to strongly influence future development of the park.

Over the years, the number of visitors to the park has increased dramatically as Piedmont Park became the venue of choice for several popular festivals and events. Currently, events such as the Dogwood Festival, the Arts Festival of Atlanta, and numerous musical performances take place at the park.

The nonprofit Piedmont Park Conservancy was formed by a group of concerned citizens in 1989 to help bring much-needed revitalization to the historic park. More than $60 million has been invested and raised to complete renovations and to fund maintenance and security staff. In addition, the Piedmont Park Conservancy offers a variety of educational programs at the Community Center. The conservancy works diligently to encourage community involvement at the park.

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The BP World Ice Art Championship in Fairbanks, Alaska

BP World Ice Art Championship pic
BP World Ice Art Championship
Image: icealaska.com

When financial professional Samuel Brice Hall isn’t working in Atlanta, Georgia, he enjoys traveling. Recently, Samuel Brice Hall had an opportunity to visit Fairbanks, Alaska, during the BP World Ice Art Championships, hosted by Ice Alaska.

The World Ice Art Championships take place in March and help residents celebrate the end of long Alaskan winters. The annual event hosts 100 professional ice artists from around the world and draws over 45,000 people.

Several events take place at the World Ice Art Championships. One of the most impressive events at the festival is the Multi-Block Classic. Teams of two to four sculptors design and build enormous, beautiful sculptures consisting of 10 blocks of ice, each measuring 4 ft. x 6 ft. x 3.3 ft., totaling over 46,000 pounds. The impressive finished sculptures can reach up to 25 feet high.

Teams competing in the Single Block Classic consist of one or two members. Each team designs and executes a sculpture from a single block of ice measuring 5 ft. x 8 ft. x 3 ft. Teams work around the clock to finish their sculptures, which are judged and then lit with decorative colored lights to enhance their already magical appearance.

Ice Alaska has developed programs to teach the art of ice sculpting to the next generation. In 2006, an event sponsored by Fairbanks Youth Sports and Clarence Beers was added to the competition. The Ice Alaska Youth Classic allows junior and senior high students to try out the techniques they have learned through the youth outreach programs.

The Basilica di San Marco of Venice

Basilica di San Marco pic
Basilica di San Marco
Image: europetravelideas.com

Accounting professional Samuel Brice Hall is the director of investment relationships with Piedmont Private Equity, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Fond of traveling in his free time, Samuel Brice Hall spent several weeks in Venice, Italy, during Christmas and New Year’s.

An engineering wonder, the City of Venice is built completely on water. One can visit the city any time of the year via plane, cruise ship, or train. A long-distance bus service is also available. A nonstop flight from New York to Venice takes about nine hours.

There are many things to do and see in Venice. Aside from taking the Venetian gondola ride through the Grand Canal, another requisite experience is visiting the Basilica di San Marco.

According to legend, the basilica dates back to the 9th century, when two merchants smuggled the remains of St. Mark out of Egypt inside a barrel containing pork fat. The original basilica burned in 932, and the Venetians rebuilt it with a Greek cross layout, Byzantine domes, walls covered with marble from Palestine, Egypt, and Syria.

It has 8,500 square meters of mosaics. At the entrance are five niched portals crowned with mosaics and stonework arches. The oldest mosaics of the basilica are inside the vestibule. They depict the apostles with the Madonna and have been there for over 950 years. The Pala d’Oro is a gold altarpiece covered with 2,000 sapphires, rubies, emeralds, pearls, and other precious stones.