Alabama Art: ‘It’s about time’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 6, 2001

Features Editor

Quilt maker Yvonne Wells decided "it’s about time" for people to know that there were victims of the Civil Rights movement who were not black. So, she designed a quilt titled, "It’s About Time."

She had just explained the quilt to guests at the "Celebration of Alabama Art with Pike County" reception and exhibition Tuesday night when she was asked her opinion of the Alabama Art movement.

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She responded with a big smile, "It’s about time."

And, no matter what other residents of the state think, it was evident that a large number of people in Pike County agree with Wells that "it’s about time."

Al Head, executive director of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, said the exhibition is an example of the rich tradition of art in Alabama and reflects the variety of mediums – from primitive to contemporary.

"This exhibition is significant in that it is the beginning of a movement in art," he said. "We expect to see it unfold in the following months and years. "

Head said the exhibition of Alabama Art reflects the essence of creative expression that springs from Alabama.

"The artists whose work is presented epitomizes the state’s rich cultural heritage," he said.

He expressed appreciation to Nall, founder of the "Alabama Art" exhibition which has given birth to the movement, and his wife, Tuscia.

"They have made it possible for the artistic spotlight to be placed on some of Alabama’s best-kept secrets," Head said.

Nall, internationally acclaimed artist and Troy native, was an artist-in-residence at Troy State University during the spring semester 2001 and has a vision and dream of establishing an Alabama Art Museum in his hometown.

Troy State University, the city of Troy, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, the Troy Council on the Arts and Humanities and the Pioneer Museum of Alabama have joined Nall in an effort to establish an art museum in Troy and bring national and international attention to the state through the arts.

The Troy arts council has, for several decades, been offering opportunities in music, drama, art and dance to the people of Pike and surrounding counties. Now, they are supporting the movement with a focus on art, but will continue to bring other forms of the arts entertainment

to the area during the year.

Don Crapps, president of the Troy Council on the Arts and Humanities, said the reception and exhibition at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama was an exceptional occasion.

"This was a wonderful opportunity to expose our community to the arts," he said. "The arts council appreciates all of those who made this event possible. To celebrate different mediums of Alabama art and recognize the outstanding artists we have was an excellent idea. We are behind the Alabama Art movement and we hope the resources will be available to make it happen here in Troy."

Nearly 500 people attended the "Celebration" according to Charlotte Gibson, director of the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.

"Everyone was enthusiastic and amazed at the diversity of talent," she said. "Some people who attended were very knowledgeable about art and some were not. But, everyone appreciated the work they saw. I believe we gained a lot of support for the Alabama Art Museum. The response was very positive and the show generated a lot of interest throughout the county."

Jerry Spann was among those who returned to the museum on Wednesday to get a closer look at the artwork.

"I didn’t get to see everything at the "Celebration" and I wanted to come back and see it all," he said. "The exhibition is very interesting. It’s nice to see that some people work in areas that we are not accustomed to seeing."

Spann said he always enjoys viewing the works of woodcarver Pugh Windham and painter Jean Lake.

"I was really impressed by one of Nall’s pieces, ‘The Troy Swamp,’" he said. "It was one of my favorites."

But if Nall had a favorite, he wasn’t about to say so.

His excitement about the exhibition and the response to it was evident.

"I’m always excited," he said with a broad smile. "But this is fantastic. It’s just the beginning though. We are going places with Alabama Art and, yes, I’m excited."