Alabama artists shine at the 50th Kentuck Festival in Northport

Green Pea Press
Rachel Lackey is a printmaker from Huntsville, AL. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

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

Charle &Quot;Tin Man&Quot; Lucas
Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas is a renowned folk artist from Selma. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

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.

Charlie &Quot;Tin Man&Quot; Lucas
Charlie Lucas’ work is intricate and unique. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

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

Kentuck Tuscaloosa
Sarah Cavender is a sculptor from Oxford, AL. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

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.

Kentuck Tuscaloosa
Sarah Cavender’s designs shined at Kentuck. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

Each one of Cavender’s pieces is wearable art. Her jewelry is the perfect gift for any occasion.

Rachel Lackey

Green Pea Press
Rachel Lackey is a printmaker from Huntsville, AL. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

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.

Green Pea Press
You could get customized designs pressed before your eyes at the Green Pea Press booth! Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

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

Kentuck Tuscaloosa
Garland Farwell creates colorful art from found wood. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

Garland Farwell is a woodworker and painter from York, Alabama. He uses wood from abandoned or broken down houses to create his pieces.

Garland Farwell
Garland Farwell is a sculptor from West Alabama. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

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

Kentuck Tuscaloosa
Kathryn Gage is a Tuscaloosa artist whose work shines with life. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

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.

Kentuck Tuscaloosa
Kathryn Gage is particularly interested in representing shadows in her work. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

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

Mike Spiller
Mike Spiller is a truly unique artist. Photo via Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz

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!

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Libby Foster
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