Hello, I'm Kim! Author, Wife, Mother, & Founder of Heart for Dixie.
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Burning Art Rises Out of the Ashes

Buildings burned. Bricks from those 200-year-old structures were strewn down the block along with the hopes and dreams of a city losing it’s historical district. It seems that just when you think your ship has come in, it catches fire and sinks in the harbor. This had to be the sentiment of John Witzel Walters when his studio and art burned in the 2013 Georgetown Front Street Fire. He had just finished a commissioned project worth over $20,000 when it literally all went up in smoke.

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Southern Art Rises Out of Ashes

The story doesn’t end there. As I imagine the combustion of paint supplies and flames lapping the entrusted artwork, I am reminded of the proverbial phoenix. John didn’t just sit there, but instead chose to rise out of the ashes.

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Something Bigger in Store

John Witzel Walters is a self-taught artist from South Carolina, who uses acrylic on canvas to evoke thought and emotion through his dramatic art that takes colorful-risks. Witzel’s art has been influenced by the eccentric life he has led, surviving both a ship sinking while working as a scuba diver in the Caribbean, and the fire, where he lost his home, art business, and beloved dog in the flames.

On several occasions when something as dramatic as this happens, I’ve heard it said that, “God must have had something bigger in store.” To see the work and talent of this artist now confirms this for me. I’ve not met Mr. Walters in person yet, but I only hope that when I do, there will be the nuzzling of a sweet puppy involved, because his love of life and his art have lived on.

Through the fierce dedication to his art and his collectors, John repainted the commissioned pieces and was back working in a studio as soon as he could get there.

Rising Up From the Ashes

The textures, vibrant colors and dominant brush strokes reflected in Witzel Art are inspired from the artist’s love of everything Southern.


His art reflects perfectly the purpose of my creation. Heart for Dixie is also an expression of love for everything southern.

Witzel feels “The South is character-filled, and hauntingly romantic.

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Kim Burdette

Kim Burdette


  • Pingback: A True Southern Gentleman is Never the Victim

    June 1, 2016 at 8:04 am
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    Debbie Morgan

    February 1, 2016 at 1:22 am

    John is a super nice guy. Met him a couple years ago at one of the little pub’s on front street near his up stairs home that went up in the fire. Also met his wonderful furbaby friend Jake that was also lost in the fire. He is a very kind young man and has an unbelievable talent of art. I know his buddy Jake will be waiting for him just over the rainbow bridge!

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