There was magic in the air at Northport’s Kentuck Park on October 16 and 17. The Kentuck Arts Festival was celebrating its 50th year with art, music, spoken word and more. At its heart, the annual festival showcases Alabama’s thriving arts scene. Here were some of our favorite homegrown artists we discovered.
Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas
Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas started making art at three. Since then, Lucas has become an internationally renowned folk artist. He first showed his vivid folk art at Kentuck in the 1980s, and he’s been a part of the festival since.
Lucas told us that he finds inspiration for his work in God. He believes humility is key to creating honest art.
Lucas also praised Kentuck’s role in Alabama’s arts scene.
“I think Alabama has embraced artists. Alabama has shown the world that a lot of creative people come from right here. We’re a plant that grows.”-Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas, artist
Sarah Cavender creates stunning jewelry from metal. She treats folded mesh to create intricate flowers and bugs, which adorn her jewelry.
Cavender creates her designs in her Oxford, AL workshop. She told me the process is labor-intensive, but her pieces are still reasonably priced.
Each one of Cavender’s pieces is wearable art. Her jewelry is the perfect gift for any occasion.
Rachel Lackey is the founder of Green Pea Press, a printmaking collective in Huntsville. She creates intricate designs that often reflect Alabama’s natural beauty.
Lackey started Green Pea Press after graduating from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The collective is now 11 years old with two locations. Similar to Kentuck itself, Lackey builds community through art.
Garland Farwell is a woodworker and painter from York, Alabama. He uses wood from abandoned or broken down houses to create his pieces.
Farwell said that each one of his pieces has a unique feeling.
“Part of what inspires me is that my wood is from places that have been lived in. There’s so much history in my work.”-Garland Farwell, artist
Kathryn Gage highlights simple natural beauty in her work. The Tuscaloosa artist is inspired by light and hard shadows, which is apparent in her stunning still lives.
Gage also creates pieces inspired by the 1960s. I was particularly struck by the vibrance of her art–every piece came to life before my eyes.
“No other festival has a more down home cultural feeling than Kentuck. The art, the food, the music and the families create something really unique.”-Kathryn Gage, artist
Mike Spiller is a mixed media artist. Spiller looks for uniqueness in the everyday, and his pieces scream with life and laughter.
The centerpiece of Spiller’s tent at Kentuck was a working drawbridge. It’s a replica of a bridge that crosses the Warrior River in Greene County. Spiller spent nearly forty years making the piece.
Every artist at Kentuck filled their tents with stunning pieces. The festival has highlighted Alabama’s rich artistic tradition for 50 years.
What was your favorite part of Kentuck 2021? Tag @thebamabuzz and paint on our canvas!