Just a ‘sample’

Published 4:35 pm Friday, May 6, 2011

Troy Arts Auxiliary showcases local scenes, talent in book

The “Troy Sampler” project of the Troy Arts Council Auxiliary began three years ago with an art exhibit at the Troy Senior Complex titled, “Scenes of Troy.”

Susan Berry, Auxiliary member, said local artists were invited to contribute their talent to the exhibit.

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“The ‘Scenes of Troy’ Alabama’ exhibit was very successful,” Berry said. “It brought back a lot of memories for a lot of people. Because people seemed to enjoy it so much and because we just hated to take the exhibit down, we started to look for a way to ‘extend’ the exhibit.”

The Troy Arts Council Auxiliary asked the participating artists to sign a waiver allowing the council to use their art images in other ways.

“Everybody was very agreeable so we had what we needed to find other ways to ‘show off’ the ‘Scenes of Troy,’” Berry said, with a smile.

Ideas were tossed around and the one that really caught on was of a booklet featuring “Scenes of Troy”

“The idea was to use all of the artwork featured in the ‘Scenes of Troy’ exhibit plus additional artwork from other local artists, past and present,” Berry said. “All of the artwork was to depict existing buildings in Troy. And this publication titled “A Troy Sampler — A Nostalgic Look at Troy, Alabama” was to be Vol. 1. It was to be the first of several – maybe many.”

The “Troy Sampler” was to include text about the buildings that are so wonderfully preserved through the talented artists.

“We had to find someone to write the text and we finally decided that it should be us, the members of the Troy Arts Council Auxiliary,” Berry said. “Members of the Auxiliary selected the pieces of art, organized the material and wrote the text for the ‘Sampler.’”

The Auxiliary chose the center of a townscape by a local artist, the late Marcia Rice, for the cover of the Sampler project.

The “Troy Sampler” was compiled with the devotion for a town and its people, “a town that honors its Southern charm.”

The “Sampler” is dedicated to Mary Rawlins Hilyer, who taught thousands of students in English classes in the Troy City Schools and Troy University to love the language and to enhance their lives through their ability to write, to speak and to enjoy the treasures of literature.

“Mary was beloved by many because she shared so much of herself with others,” Berry said. “Her strong Christian faith was apparent in her many activities in the church and community. Mary was not only the epitome of the ‘renaissance woman’ but the embodiment of the true ‘Southern Lady.’”

Hilyer was a longtime member of the Troy Arts Council Auxiliary and a patron of

the Troy Arts Council.

The artists whose works are featured in the “Sampler” are Day Barnes, Mary Susan Berry, Jane Brantley, Judy Colley, Libby Doty, Les Faulk, Sally Fenn, Bill Flinn, Ann Gilchrist, Jean Lake, Joyce Lee, James C. Ludwig, Mary Page, Bill Porter, Phoebe Porter, Jo Rape, Marcia Rice, Chrissie Schubert, Alice Thornton, Ruth Walker and Joan Word.

The writers are Mary Susan Berry, Juanita Bush, Lyra Crapps, Frances Davis, Anne Gilchrist, Mary Hilyer, Jean Orendorff, Suzy Senn, Bobbie Swisher and Joan Word.

Thirty pieces of “architectural” artwork are featured in the “Sampler.” The artwork includes historic homes, churches, downtown businesses, street scenes, tenant houses and historic and community structures.

“The artwork features acrylics, oils and watercolors and pen and ink drawings by Les Faulk that were the covers on note cards,” Berry said. “The ‘Troy Sampler’ features color and black and white art and the different style of the artists make it very interesting. Because of the different mediums and styles, the “Sampler” has a diversity that is Troy, Alabama.”

The “writings” give thumbnail sketches of the structures and provide information that many may not know about the familiar structures that make up the Troy community.

“For example, the Rock Building is one of Troy’s most interesting buildings but it belongs to all of Pike County,” Berry said.

The information from the “writing” states, “The Rock Building was constructed around 1937 by the WPA (Works Progress Administration). Builders worked from a sketch using donated local iron-streaked rocks. At close observation, it is obvious that many unskilled masons worked on the building.”

“From what I understand, people from all over the county collected the rocks that were used in this magnificent building,” Berry said. “The Rock building is an example of people using raw materials to produce a building to meet the needs of a community.”

Berry said “A Troy Sampler” is a project that is a good example of what can be accomplished when artistic talent and love of community mesh.

“This ‘Sampler’ is an expression of the love that all of the artists have for our community,” she said. “I think it is a book that everybody who loves Troy will treasure. It’s not a fancy book. We didn’t want it to be. We just wanted to provide a sample of what this town is like for those who call Troy home. I think it does that.”

“A Troy Sampler” is only $10 and may be purchased from the main branch of Troy Bank & Trust. Judy Chancey is the contact person.”