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Fine Arts Center prepares for Christmas showcase

By John Few
Special to the Hartselle Courier Journal
Photo by Ellen Hudson/ Special to the Hartselle Courier Journal
Artist Michael Ballew will be one of more than 20 vendors at the Hartselle Fine Arts Center’s open house to be held Dec. 7-9.

Looking for that one-of-a-kind gift that you will not find at any department store or mall this season? An upcoming arts and crafts show will give local artists a chance to shine for holiday shoppers.

The Hartselle Fine Arts Center will host the First Annual Art & Crafts on College Street on Dec. 7-9.

“We have an assortment of 20 vendors representing a unique array of local artists,” Fine Arts Center Executive Director Kelley Redmond said. “There will be fine art pieces and crafts in a variety of mediums. We have artists who specialize in drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, photography, digital art, fiber, glass and mixed media. There will also be great holiday items such as ornaments, wreaths and other Christmas decorations on sale.”

The Art and Crafts on College Street will be held at the Center’s 96-year-old historic Burleson Elementary School building. It will begin with an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7. The arts and craft event will continue from10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9. There will be door prizes, and there is no admission.

“This is our way to say thank you for the support we have received from the community,” Redmond said.

The Center has been in the middle of a fund-raising campaign to help build a wheelchair accessible ramp, an elevator and remodel the restrooms.

“The Fine Arts Center is housed in a great location that is wonderfully decorated for Christmas. You have people coming through, and they get to see this beautiful art and then get to meet local artists,” Redmond said. “It’s a very festive one-stop holiday shopping opportunity.”

Some of the local artists included in this event will be the Center’s Artists of the Month: Gayle Strider and Mitch Howell Coon.

Coon, who owns an art studio in Hartselle, has painted such dignitaries as Vice President Dan Quayle, Governor Guy Hunt, the President and Chairman of the Board of U.S. Steel, President Ronald Reagan and President George Bush.

Strider owns Hartwood Gallery in Hartselle and is a professional artist and longtime art teacher.

Also included in the Art & Crafts on College Street event will be local artists like Forrest Long. Mostly working in watercolors, he travels to Nova Scotia several weeks every year photographing scenes, sketching and painting.

“There will likely be something for everyone’s tastes at this event, and at very affordable prices,” Redmond said.

The Hartselle Fine Arts Center is also gearing up to present the play, ‘Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ by The College Street Players in February and host the Alabama Watercolor Society’s 72nd National Exhibition in May.

“We are the best kept secret in Morgan County,” Redmond added. “Now is a perfect time to find out what we are all about.”

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