Folk festival comes to Madison

Brittany Whitley Community

Every piece of art has a story and The Steffen Thomas Museum of Art is dedicated to making them known. The Great Folk Art Parade: Down the Lane to the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art is an exhibition spotlighting the unconventional beauty of folk art and its importance – the story behind the art. The exhibit will commence with an opening festival on the lawn of the museum on Sunday, September 23 at 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Over 100 contemporary folk artists constitute the largest self-taught exhibit in the South’s recent history and it is coming to Madison. During the opening festival, a sea of limitless pottery, textiles, and transformed discarded objects by artists Matthew Gentry, Steve Sweetser, Tex Crawford, and others will cover the museum’s grasses and envelope you into the world of folk art. Art cars, cars transformed by an artistic touch, created by artists Chris Hubbard and Kip Ramey will be on display. Big Kev’s and Scoops will be cranking out savory bites and sweet treats for guests to choose from, while popular local musicians like Johnny Roquemore, and Pete and Joan Ekstrom fill the air with folk tunes. The festival is free to the public.

Much of the art on the lawn will be available for purchase and smaller works available in the museum gift shop.

The mastermind behind the three-year movement, Artist Peter Loose, has selected pieces from a number of folk artists and within several of his own private collections to display throughout the exhibition. Loose will be hosting a gallery talk during the festival at 3 p.m.

Unorthodox. Unconventional. Avantgarde. Eccentric. Folk art embraces all that is outside of classical art and explores the freedom of personal expression. Folk art is the story behind its creation, and the story is the art – an aspect that Steffen Thomas, himself, encompassed in his own works.

“‘The Great Folk Art Parade: Down the Lane to the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art’ is an opportunity for the Museum to support the works of almost a hundred folk artists who share similarities with the artist Steffen Thomas: the belief that there is a story to be told through art and the story is really just as important as the finished product.  Through this exhibition, the Museum is inviting people to visit and find joy in art and get to know the folk artists through their works, just like Steffen invited people directly into his work studio and got to know them,” declared Museum Director Patricia DuBose.

“The goal of this exhibition is to share the excitement of this art movement and educate the community on the history and significance of folk art through the exhibition and programming associated with it,” Arts Outreach Coordinator and Professional Potter Elizabeth Collins commented.

The exhibition will run through Jan. 12, 2019 and will include a Collector’s forum on Nov. 8, an ornament workshop on Dec. 8, and a Sara Salon Talk by Peter Loose on the exhibition’s closing date. Call the museum to tour the exhibition as a group at 706-342-7557.

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