Artists to display work in Camden

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 30, 2005

DEMOPOLIS- The Black Belt Treasures exhibition, which kicks off today in Camden, is a great opportunity according to Demopolis painter Kirk Brooker who will have his art on display.

“They bring people together,” the 30-year-old painter said. “There’s so many people out there that do so many art type things, the fact that they’re bringing them all (together) is great.”

Not only will the artists get exposure from the exhibition that kicks off with today’s gala, but also the Black Belt Treasures will give local artists a chance at worldwide exposure via the Web.

Email newsletter signup

“The Web site is a great opportunity to get our name out there and works out there,” Brooker said.

Brooker, who majored in graphic design at Auburn, said he’s been painting since high school, but his love of art began earlier than that.

“I was one of those kids, I always drew. I liked anything that had to do with drawing,” he said, adding he discovered painting in a high school art class. “There was, at that time, one of the first art classes we had offered at the high school. It just kind of went from there.”

Brooker, who works in acrylics and some oils, said he enjoys doing historical work as well as pattern color florals. Brooker, who also works for the Marengo County Historical society, said growing up in Demopolis keyed his interest in history.

“I really think growing up here, I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve always been kind of interested in what we have here,” he said. “I like to make up my own things as well, whatever hits me on a day.”

According to Delia Brand, Executive Director of Black Belt Treasures, Demopolis artists Clay Cain and Amanada Smith will also have exhibits.

“We’ve got an excellent potter, Clay Cain,” Brand said. “He does beautiful pottery. We’ve got Amanda Smith, who has started a little home-based sewing business. We’ve got diaper bags, purses and jewelry items from her.”

The brainchild of Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission Executive Director John Clyde Riggs, Black Belt Treasures is a non-profit 501c3 organization.

Counties from which items are being drawn include Butler, Bullock, Clarke, Conecuh, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, Washington and Wilcox.

“We are excited by the amount of truly professional work being done by artisans, authors and food producers in these counties,” Riggs said.

“Our goal is to assist them in marketing their products to a wider group of potential customers.

At the same time we anticipate this being an income and job creating mechanism to advance our economy.”

Black Belt Treasures is a partnership between the Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission and the University of Alabama.

Sales of items produced exclusively in the 17 Black Belt and contiguous counties will be made from the gallery in the former McGraw-Webb Chevrolet Building at 209 Claiborne Street in Camden.

Specific items, such as Black Belt Gift Baskets will be offered on the Black Belt Treasures web site.

The grand opening will feature book signings by authors such as Kathryn Tucker Windham and State Senator Hank Sanders, music by James “Winky” Hicks, and exhibits by many of the artists and crafts persons.

Numbers of well-known persons from government, education and civic life are expected to attend.

The schedule is from 10 a.m. until gallery closing at 5 p.m.