Jerry Brown Arts Festival set for this weekend

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The 17th Annual Jerry Brown Arts Festival, designated an official event of the Alabama 200 Bicentennial, will take place on Saturday, March 2, and Sunday, March 3, at the Tombigbee Electric Cooperative, in Hamilton.   

Fifty-five artists from five states have been selected to participate in the juried arts festival.  Fourteen of the 55 are new participants.  Five former best in show artists will return, including Helene Fielder of Booneville, Mississippi (clay sculpture), Debra Farley of Pelham (jewelry), Craig and Tracy Wilson of Blue Springs, Mississippi (pottery), Linda Lindale of Amory, Mississippi (fiber artist), and Maurice Cook of Hoover, formerly of Walker County (folk art painter).

Unique to this year’s festival, and in conjunction with the Alabama 200 bicentennial, will be a special section of artists demonstrating time-period art from the 1800s.  Demonstrations which will take place throughout the weekend include basket weaving, looming and weaving of fiber art, broom making, and the turning of clay.  Attendees can also join in the fun as the Hamilton-based business Sugar Bend Sewing will have a quilt set up and anyone who wants to sit and quilt is welcome to join in the fun. 

Also new to the JBAF is a celebration of the area’s rich heritage of songwriting is the songwriters’ nook.  This section will feature multiple musicians singing and talking about their songwriting journeys.

Media included at festival includes pottery, iron, copper, wood, painting, jewelry, textiles, fiber, quilting, clay, ceramics, knives, pens, soap, baskets, brooms, photography, and more.

Additional special exhibitions include the popular "Molding Hearts, Hands & Minds" program, featuring the fourth grade students from Brilliant Elementary School, and the Arts Council will have its popular Image Masters photography display.  

There will be a special kids’ art station provided by Bevill State Community College-Hamilton and its ambassadors, which is free to attendees.

The festival is held inside the Tombigbee Electric Cooperative, located at 3196 Co. Hwy 55 in Hamilton (just off Exit 14 on U.S. Interstate 22, highlighted by one of the city’s water towers). 

One of the primary differences between the JBAF and other arts festivals is that many of the artists demonstrate.  It is an opportunity for many people, both young and old, to be exposed to the arts and have educational, cultural, and artistic experiences, many for the first time. 

There is no charge for admission, and the JBAF is a family-friendly event.  All parking is free, shuttles are provided, and there will be food vendors on site. 

For more information, one may go to Facebook at Jerry Brown Arts Festival, which posts participating artist spotlights daily leading to the festival.  Area and additional festival information can also be found at  the festival’s website, www.JBAF.org, or by calling (205) 921-9483.