Coleman Center breeding old and new artists

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Who would have thought of the City of York population 2,850 as the center of an artistic boom in West Alabama? Well the Coleman Center in York is the breeding ground for this new movement towards art and design.

The Coleman Center has brought the arts and a tone of openness to the community by conducting workshops, holding exhibitions, and sponsoring local festivals and events for the last eighteen years. The last two years have seen a major growth for the Center.

Three new programs have been developed: Ala-Miss Book Center, a contemporary print shop to teach bookmaking, printmaking and graphic design which is ran by Amos Kennedy; the municipalWORKSHOP, a public art program that provides the area with inspiration and creativity through a civic venue which is ran by Richard Saxton; and Black Belt Designs, an empowerment project teaching fashion design which is operated by Marilyn Gordon.

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Additionally, a competitive, community based artist-in-residence program is being created to bring contemporary artists to the Black Belt to teach and promote education and appreciation for the arts. There are currently three artists-in-residence right now in the city.

The Coleman Center believes that exposure to contemporary art and the revitalization of traditional arts, culture and community can encourage open dialogue, provoke sensitivity about the outside world and inspire hope in society.

It is the goal if the Coleman Center to be the cultural bridge and the gathering place that unites the entire community. Through intense collaboration with the City of York, The Coleman Center conducts workshops, holds exhibitions, spearheads the development of micro-enterprises in the arts, and sponsors local festivals and events. Our competitive artist-in-residence program brings contemporary artists to the Black Belt to teach and promote education and appreciation for the arts.

What was once a block full of crumbling buildings in downtown York is now a haven to as many as nine artists busy designing and painting. Its director Amy Horst, who was introduced to the city of York and the center by fellow student Richard Saxton, leads the Coleman Center into the future.

The Coleman Center houses an exhibition area for artists to come and display their works to the masses.

They currently have Naturalist artist Marilee Keys setting up for her exhibition called Shadows and Reflections: The Work of Marilee Keys. The dates for the display are January 31-February 27.