Kentuck Art Night displays local art culture

Kentuck Art Night displays local art culture

A piece of art from a prior Kentuck Art Night is displayed. Photo Courtesy of Aaron Head

Standing on the corner of Main Avenue and Fifth Street in Northport, one can feel the heartbeat of an artistic community at the Kentuck Art Center. On the first Thursday night of each month, downtown is alive with the sounds, smells and sights offered at Kentuck’s Art Night.

Kentuck Art Nights have no admission cost and feature a variety of artwork and regional artists. This Thursday, Kerry Kennedy of Firehorse Pottery, Steve Davis of Sunheart Metal Works and Kentuck’s resident painter Ann Betak will have their studios and demonstrations on display in the Courtyard of Wonders. Visitors can buy artwork from Kentuck’s Clay Co-op artists, as well as handmade goods in the Gallery Shop.

Aaron Head, retail manager and artist liaison at Kentuck, said Kentuck is well-known for its festival, but he wants to raise awareness of the year-round programs.

“Repeat visitors always have something new to see, and new visitors will see something that is hard to find elsewhere in the area,” he said. “All work is handmade by craftspeople at the top of their field. There really is something for everyone.”

This Thursday’s Art Night includes the opening of a new exhibit in Kentuck’s Transitory Episodic Momentary Provisional (T.E.M.P.) Gallery in the Clarke Building. The exhibit is called “Life in Hooligans’ Corner” and it will feature Florence, Alabama, artist Jim Weaver.

Weaver, born in 1943 in Sheffield, Alabama, began painting at the age of 60. Ninety percent of his paintings were inspired by his childhood memories of growing up in the late 1940s and 1950s, he said. Weaver later found out that the section of town he was raised in was called Hooligans’ Corner, which he adopted as the name of his upcoming exhibit. Weaver’s art has been described as “simple,” and he paints because it makes him happy, he said.

“I have had people say, ‘My third-grader could do that!’” Weaver said. “I would like to say to them that most third graders could probably do that, but most 71-year-old men can’t.”

Visitors can experience additional local pop-up shops, food and music during Art Night. Soapy Jones of the Left Hand Soap Company will be selling handmade soaps and skin products, Cob Oven pizzas are made fresh in the courtyard and Tea Town Alabama will have its truck full of hot and cold teas. Aubrey and Jonathan, a Tuscaloosa-based folk duo, will provide live music.

New members of downtown Northport will also be involved in Art Night. Weaving Alabama, a weaving studio and yarn shop, and The Grocery, a visual arts gallery and performance venue, will be open and offering demonstrations and exhibits. Visitors are encouraged to walk down the street to Mary’s Cakes and Pastries as well.

“There is lots to see on Art Nights as well as every day,” Head said. “We want people to realize there is a thriving, easily accessible art and culture scene in downtown Northport that is a perfect entry point for college students to get involved with local culture.”

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