‘New Harmonies’

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Complex is gearing up for what will be the busiest and best October in its young history.

The “Celebrating Contemporary Art in Alabama: The Nature of Being Southern” exhibition opened at the Johnson Center for the Arts on Aug. 14 and will run through Nov. 8.

The exhibition features the works of 41 Alabama artists who are recipients of the Individual Visual Arts Fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

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On Oct 1, the Complex, in cooperation with the Alabama Humanities Foundation will bring the very popular, “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition to The Cultural Arts Studio. The exhibition will close on Nov. 11.

Richard Metzger, Complex executive director, said the combination of the two exhibitions will offer a rare opportunity far visual arts and music enthusiasts. And, as always, admission to the arts complex is free.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to bring exhibitions of this caliber to Troy and at times that overlap,” Metzger said.

“Visitors to the complex can see two outstanding exhibitions within the complex and that’s unusual.”

The New Harmonies exhibition celebrates the music that is truly American.

“Music is all around us,” Metzger said. “Whether you’re hearing country, gospel, folk, country western or blues, American roots music reveals the American story.”

The New Harmonies exhibition examines the progression on American roots music as well as other genres including zydeco, tejano, bluegrass and klezmer through a selection of photographs, recordings, instruments, lyrics and artists’ profiles.

In addition to the exhibition, the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Complex will host several lectures and concerts.

The lectures will feature Dr. Alan Brown, with “Sounds of Alabama, Blues, Folk and Country Western Icons from the Heart of Dixie; Presentation on Nat King Cole, by Daphne Simpkins; and Songs of Slavery: Black Folk Songs from Alabama by Brown.

The lectures will be presented at the Trojan Center Theater

The Concerts at the Gazebo include, Lenny Trawick, country music; the Jim Bell Trio, rhythm and blues; Tommy Stewart and band, jazz; Dan Fraley, backwoods music; Willie Felton & Co. and Stanley Smith and Co., sacred harp music; and the Troy University and Community gospel choirs, gospel music.

“I don’t believe that you can go anywhere and enjoy arts events any better than what we have to offer,” Metzger said.

“We encourage the people of Pike County and the surrounding areas to begin now making plans to be a part of all that we have to offer at the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Complex, which includes the Johnson Center for the Arts and the Cultural Arts Center, not just now through Nov. 14 but throughout the year.”