Chilton County Arts Council receives grant for gourd art festival

Published 10:16 am Monday, December 18, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Arts Council has been awarded a grant for $2,650 from the Alabama State Council on the Arts with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

These funds will go toward expanding the Arts Council’s annual March Gourd Madness art show.

CCAC President Sue Anne Hoyt said the grant is competitive, and the board of directors was told “only the highest ranked and top priority applications were funded.”

“You never know how they are going to feel about giving money to something like this,” Mack Gothard, coordinator for March Gourd Madness, said. “It’s unusual … we’re not in the mainstream of art.”

He said being chosen as one of many applicants to receive funding made him proud.

The CCAC board of directors received the award letter on Dec. 15. Hoyt said ASCA will give them half of the funds before the event, and the remaining amount will be given to them after sending in documentation of holding March Gourd Madness.

New for this year the March Gourd Madness will be held at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center and feature other traditional art forms that can be incorporated with gourd art.

The new location will allow for larger demonstrations of the art and for art classes, Gothard said.

“The traditional arts like basket weaving, we can do that to a gourd,” Gothard said.

He said many traditional arts, such as basket weaving, broom making, fiber arts and carving, are seeing a decline in interest, so the festival will be a good way to showcase each of them.

Attendance to the festival is free, but there is a charge for each of the classes.

Free art projects for children will also be offered.

Gothard already has vendors and teachers from New Hampshire, Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi signed up to participate.

“Its trying to be a gathering of different artists to teach, rather than just a show and sell,” Gothard said.

Gothard said he and the grant committee of the board have been working on securing the grant since September. This involved a written application and an in-person presentation.

Hoyt said the combination of the grant and the hard work of Gothard in organizing the festival will continue to help the festival be successful and grow.

The Arts Council has also recently received a general grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

For more information about the Chilton County Arts Council, visit