Kentuck Arts Festival showcases over 270 artistsBy Kyarra Harris | 10/17/2016 12:30pm
UA students kneel by a decorated Volkswagen at the 2016 Kentuck Art Festival in Northport.
CW / Mary Kate Halloday
The 45th annual Kentuck Arts Festival continued its legacy this weekend with over 270 artists and craftsmen selling different pieces of artwork and handmade items at various booths. Visitors viewed everything from paintings to pottery to jewelry, along with live performances throughout the weekend.
Exa Skinner, the program manager, said the festival is a way for people to come together and enjoy the folk-art that artists have dedicated their time and effort to.
“So many people have been a part of this festival for such a long time,” Skinner said. “It attracts students and families because it’s a great community event, and it attracts the more affluent crowd like collectors who travel to find great art like this.”
The event kicked off Saturday Oct. 15, with people filling up the streets of Northport and taking buses to the event. Hundreds of families and other visitors listened to the live performances by the Birmingham Seven and Spookhouse Saints and also enjoyed refreshments from Tea Town.
Over 300 volunteers participated, including students from the University.
Yvonne Wells, a textile artist, has been attending the festival for years. She specializes in quilt making and has been named an Alabama Master Quilter.
“I started making quilts back in 1979 as a way to tell stories,” Wells said. “Back in ’79 I had an extension done to my house, but our new fireplace wasn’t working so I made a quilt to stay warm. I used to use curtains, sheets, my husband’s clothes, whatever I could find.”
Though Wells has been quilting for years, she said she hasn’t lost passion for it at all. She said she loves watching customers view the quilts that stand out to them and interpret her stories in their own way.
“I want people to buy my work because they are in love with what they’re buying,” Wells said. “I tell stories from the heart, so I want them to feel that too. When I quilt, I’m telling a story, so that can take up to a month, but it can also be two weeks. Sometimes I’m up all night because I have to tell the story and it feels good, because you know if you sleep, you may lose what you’re feeling.”
A highly anticipated project during the festival was the Artcar Project, where Kentuck artists painted a donated car. Restoring Piece provided their Chalk Paint in a booth where visitors could watch the blank car come to life with different paintings and drawings. The car will be auctioned in Spring 2017 and the proceeds will go to charity.
Jeni Bowen, owner of Restoring Piece, said the project has been very successful as artists have taken time away from their booths and contributed artistically to the car. Auction details and the chosen charity are still to be determined, but Bowen said they are excited to be a part of the project.
“We’re hoping the car can be a representation of what the paint can do, but raising money for charity is awesome,” Bowen said. “I can’t wait to see the finished project.”