Regional folk artists’ works are on display at the Shelby County Arts Council in January.



Folk art is steeped in southern tradition, so what better way to celebrate the genre than to display the works of some of its best regional artists? The Shelby County Arts Council is primed for visitors to see its annual exhibit recognizing the art form and the people who use their talents for it.

For the past few years, Fine Folk Art exhibit curator Teresa Wamble has handpicked some of the best regional folk artists to participate in this gallery exhibit. Fine Folk Art—an intentional play on words—simply means that we believe we have some of the finest folk artists around.

These artists travel from across Alabama to showcase their work. Artists showing in the 2018 Fine Folk Art exhibit include Mary Ann Casey, Brian Bohanan, Deron Harris, Scott McQueen, Carter Sanders, Ben Smith and Teresa Wamble. Each artist brings his or her own unique folk art twist to this exhibit. Their work ranges from gourd art to painting on unconventional surfaces to ceramic work and 3D work with found materials.

Exhibiting artist and Jemison native Ben Smith spent his life as a carpenter until a fall from a deer stand left him paralyzed in 1996. Since then, he decided to put his wood working skills to use in another way. Smith uses his know-how to turn wood in to functional art by crafting bows, vases, chessboards, bowls and much more. “He takes a piece of wood and starts to work it into what he initially sees in the piece,” says Wamble. “But sometimes things happen and the piece heads in a totally different direction.” Smith and his family spend time selling his work at various art shows around the state, and his pieces have even won awards.

The Fine Folk Art exhibit opening will be held Friday, Jan. 18, from 6-8 p.m. at the Shelby County Arts Council. Rick Carter will perform live music, and visitors can munch on complimentary refreshments and meet some of the featured artists. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

In February, the Celebration of the Arts Luncheon fundraiser is back on Saturday, Feb. 23. Each year, the community gathers to show support of the arts in Shelby County. Funds raised from this luncheon ensure that the Shelby County Arts Council outreach programs can continue reaching those in need in Shelby County. The programs include-ArtAbilities, which provides weekly music and art classes to special needs students in over 17 county schools; Writing Our Stories, an anti-bullying creative writing program that is currently in three county middle schools; and art and music therapy classes to at-risk youth in the Shelby County Juvenile Detention Center.

Tickets for the Celebration for the Arts Luncheon are $25 per person or $250 per table (seats eight). Patrons will enjoy a lunch catered by The Fish Market, entertainment by local singer Austin Foster, and will be able to purchase work from local artists in the art sale. The fundraiser is hosted by the Culture, Novella and Vignette Federated Women’s Clubs of Columbiana.

To purchase tickets, visit or call (205) 669-0044.