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Jerry Brown Arts Festival this weekend in Hamilton, Alabama

Potter Jerry Brown, left, with his mule Blue who helps turn the clay.
Potter Jerry Brown, left, with his mule Blue who helps turn the clay.

The eighth-annual Jerry Brown Arts Festival kicks off this weekend in Hamilton, Alabama with guest artist Charlie Lucas headlining the event. The JBAF was named in honor of ninth-generation potter Jerry Brown.

Brown, who was awarded in 1992 with a National Heritage Fellowship and in 2003 with an Alabama Heritage Award from the Alabama State Council on the Arts said he is eagerly anticipating the event.

"I feel like it's going to be one of the best ones," Brown said. "The atmosphere is different. We have lots of people calling. They feel that we have a good thing going."

Marla Minter, public relations chairperson for the Northwest Alabama Arts Council echoed Brown's feelings.

"We feel like the festival is creating its own tradition, it's beginning to have a life of its own," she said.

"Jerry's goal when he created the festival in 2003 was to be thought of in the same respect as Kentuck," Minter said, referring to the internationally known Kentuck Festival of the Arts held each October in Northport, Alabama.

"(The JBAF) can be another Kentuck," Brown said. "It's not as big but it's just as good."

Minter said this year's festival will include 69 artists from five states.

"In the last two years we have doubled in artists," she said.

Brown said this weekend's festival will feature artisans who make such items as turkey calls, knives, brooms, quilts, jewelry and baskets. A blacksmith and a weaver will be on hand to demonstrate their various techniques.

Having guest artist Charlie Lucas attend is a big plus for the event Brown said.

The internationally known metal sculptor Charlie "Tin Man" Lucas said he can't wait for the event.

"I feel like it's one of the festivals I should have gone to already. I owe them a big hand of thanks because it takes a lot to put a festival together," Lucas said.

Lucas, who has shown his art in galleries all across the United States is from the flat lands of south Alabama. He said he is eagerly anticipating his visit to the hill country of Northwest, Alabama.

"I'm real excited about this because this is new for me. I want them to know about what's going on in Selma and Montgomery. It's like sharecropping. Right now we're sharing our crops," he said.

The festival runs from 9 AM to 5 PM Saturday and from 10 AM to 4 PM Sunday. There is no admission fee.

Directions to the JBAF can be found here.


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