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An ‘Artist Showcase’

Local artists including painters, photographers and musicians, along with a number of others, gathered at the Demopolis Public Library yesterday afternoon for the 2006 Artists Showcase, organized by the Two Rivers Arts Council of Demopolis.

A large number of people in the community attended the event yesterday.

“This has been our best turnout,” Beverly Youngblood, the art council’s vice president, said.

Regie Galloway, wife of musician and pianist Johnny Galloway, is a member of the Two Rivers Arts Council, and was the 2006 Artists Showcase chairman. “This is our fourth annual showcase,” Galloway said. Artist Bart Galloway is the son of Johnny and Regie Galloway.

“This annual art show is always the first week of June,” Connie Lawson, head of circulations at the library, said.

Lawson invited Birmingham artist Walter Clements, who displayed his sketched art of the first graduate of West Point, the U.S. Military Academy, and his piece “The Unveiling of Ignorance.”

One of the event’s honorees, photographer Michael Clements, also commented on the number of people that came to the showcase yesterday afternoon. “It’s almost doubled since last year,” Clements said.

The featured artists for the council’s showcase this year were Maryanne Baker, Terre Moore Cowling, Audrey Hamilton, Yvette Lawrence, Michael Clements, Pat Moore, Clark Pickel, Joe Turner, Laura Clements, Johnny Galloway, Anne Elizabeth Low, Jason Low, painters Faith Beverly, Kirk Brooker, Linda Burnham, Karen Davidson, Bart Galloway, Hannah Keel, Sue Keel, Sheron Laney, Jane Latture, Christina Lee, Jane O’Neal, Ann Parsons. Linda Ray, Mary Rutledge, Betty Russell, Betty Stephens, Beverly Youngblood, Louise Webb Reynolds, Jeff Couch and Charlie Dotson.

The council included a biography of each of the artists that were honored at the showcase yesterday. Maryanne Baker is a photographer and a resident of Marengo County. Baker enjoys photographing nature and wildlife. Baker had photographs placed in the 2005 Alabama Outdoor photography contest. Artist Bart Galloway is an art degree graduate of Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi, and has also studied in Cortona, Italy. Galloway has taught college courses in art in Mississippi, and is now located in Louisville, Kentucky, where he is currently a free-lance artist and puppeteer.

Photographer Audrey Hamilton came to Demopolis to live about three years ago, and was inspired by the literature and photography of Eudora Welty, and enjoys doing a lot of black and white photography. Painter Hannah Keel started taking art lessons at the age of 10, and is graphics design major at Troy University. She paints using pastels and acrylics, and has an individual style using three dimensional forms with splashes of color.

Sheron Laney is an oil and acrylics painter, and has been taking art classes 15 years. Her favorite art classes in college were art appreciation and art 101, and has tried a number of different style of painting including abstract, realism, pointillism, impressionism and cubism. Painter Jane Latture was inspired by Birmingham artist Arthur Price to begin painting again two years ago, after sustaining from practicing the art for a number of years. Lautture is a retired college English professor and moved with her husband to Greensboro about a year ago. Photographer Yvette Lawrence is originally from Louisiana, but has lived in Demopolis for the past 15 years. Lawrence recently acquired her photography hobby, but also has previous experience in pencil and oil painting.

Fourteen-year-old violinist Anna Elizabeth Low has been taking Suzuki Violin Lessons at the University of Alabama Community Music School for five years. Anna Elizabeth is an honor student at Demopolis Middle School. Her brother, Jason Low, is also a violinist, and has also been studying at the university’s community music school. He has been playing for four years, and both of the violinists have performed with the “Suzuki Strings” in Tuscaloosa. Anna Elizabeth and Jason’s parents are Greg and Emily Low. Painting and drawing artist Jane O’Neal is a native of Demopolis and has three children. She is married to Mike O’Neal and has always enjoyed doing creative things, including drawing.

O’Neal previously worked with Joy Collins, the owner of the Mustard Seed, and Collins encouraged O’Neal to do more with her talent after seeing the results of some of her work. Demopolis native and painter Ann Parsons, was influenced in art by her grandmother Flora Morris.

Parsons reunited with her passion for the art when she took lessons from Linda Ray at UWA Demopolis in painting.

Beverly Youngblood is a painter and has been living in Demopolis for 24 years, but is originally from Mississippi. Youngblood attributes her aspiration of interest into the art from her study in art history courses, her visits abroad in Europe, and the encouragement of the “Monday Morning Monets.” Youngblood has been painting for two years, and retired three years ago from teaching French and Spanish at Demopolis High School.

Painter Linda Ray is a native of Demopolis. Ray graduated from Demopolis Academy in 1980, and she first began taking art lessons as a teenager. Ray is a graduate of David Lipscomb University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education, and taught classes in watercolor and oils at Alabama Southern last year. Painter Louise W. Reynolds started painting about six years ago, although she has had a desire to paint since she was a little girl. Reynolds carries her artistic title in oil on canvas, watercolor, gold leaf and acrylic painting. She is grateful for the encouragement she has received from her family and friends, and attributes her joy from her prayer and spiritual experience.

Painting and drawing artist Portia Rhone is a Demopolis native and graduated in 1999 from Demopolis High School. Rhone is currently studying both art and nursing at the University of West Alabama and has always enjoyed exploring different kinds of art such as singing, painting and drawing. Painter Betty Russell began painting a few years ago after retiring from a career in teaching. In her teenage years, Russell took a class in oil painting and discovered her love for the art. Russell’s favorites in the art include watercolors and acrylics. Painter Faith Beverly from Gallion, recently got her start in the art and attended one of Karen Davidson’s art classes. Design consultant and painter Kirk Brooker, is a native of Demopolis and is the operations manager for the Marengo County Historical Society, and is a graduate of Auburn University.

Mary S. Rutledge is a painter and is from Auburn, but has been living in Demopolis for 18 years. Rutledge is a graduate of Auburn University and recently retired from a 30-year teaching career, and was a first-grade teacher at Westside Elementary School in Demopolis for 17 years. Photographer Clark Pickel is a native of Demopolis, and attended the University of West Alabama and University of Alabama at Birmingham. Pickel graduated from Demopolis High School in 2003, and then he began to explore his passion for photography. Artist Betty Stephens is a painter and is married to David Stephens, and she joined the Angel Wing Gallery art group. Stephens’ daughter, Stephanie Hoggle, encouraged her mother to pursue her talent in painting, and is also a gifted artist herself.

Sue Keel has been drawing since high school, but began to really dedicate her time to her painting in 1998. She lived in Marengo County with her three children, and she enjoyed painting rural scenes and people. Linda Burham came to Demopolis about four years ago with her two children and her husband. Burham is a painter, and was first inspired Walt Disney’s art.

Vocalist Laura Clements has been involved with music since she was three-years-old. Before taking her position as music director at Lakeview Baptist Church, she sang in the Hawaii Opera Theatre. Laura Clements’ husband, Michael Clements, is a nature photographer. He is fairly new to artistic photography, but has always loved nature. He specifically enjoys photographing nature and landscape scenes.

Jeff Couch, an artistic woodcarver, is an employee of Alabama Power, and only took one class since beginning the practice of the woodcarving art. He encourages others who have not attempted their hand at the art to give it a try. Native Demopolis resident Joseph C. Turner is a photographer, and is a graduate of University of Alabama. Turner has a master’s degree in Fine Arts of Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design, and has been a photography instructor at University of North Alabama in Livingston. His passion for photography was discovered when he was a child in Cub Scouts.

Artist Hanah Willis is from Faunsdale, and graduated in 2005 from Marengo Academy. Willis is a drawing artist and is currently a student at the University of Montevallo, where he is majoring in accounting and minoring in art.

Woodcarver Charlie Dotson first began practicing the art several years ago after beginning he retirement, and uses different kinds of wood to carve including that of pine and palm-trees. “I first started woodcarving about seven or eight years ago,” Dotson said. “I use a John Deer chainsaw.”

Local painter Karen Davidson opened a gallery in Demopolis about seven years ago, and believes art is an important part of our civilization. Davidson attended Ringling School of Art, and she currently teaches art classes to children and adult students.