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Arts Festival celebrates return to Clanton

By JOYANNA LOVE/Managing Editor

It was an exciting day for art in Chilton County on July 31 as the Chilton County Arts Festival was able to be held after missing a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizer Mack Gothard said they were able to have the event sooner than he had anticipated given the circumstances.

“It’s amazing to have another festival,” Gothard said.

Gothard said through the event this year, he “met a few new local artists that we did not know about.”

Publicity and having a new more visible location for the Arts Council has also helped connect the group with new artists.

Among these  artists were some young people showing and hoping to sell their work for the first time.

Skyleigh Cagle and Tenna To of Clanton shared a booth with paintings and prints of digital art creations.

“I think it’s fun to get my paintings out there,” Cagle said.

To said she wanted to participate in the festival to “try it out and see how it went.”

She became interested in digital art after she received an Apple pencil as a gift.

Chloe and Ruthie Rochester were selling jewelry and ornaments.

Ruthie had become interested in making earrings and showed Chloe how to do it.

“I am very proud of them,” Arts Council member Sue Anne Hoyt said. “They have worked really hard.”

Among the returning artists were Charlotte Rowland of Clanton, Karen Stone of Thorsby and Tim Tingle of Montevallo.

“We enjoy the family we’ve got here, when you do art, you become friends really, really quick, and its lifelong friends,” Stone said.

Her gourd art and paintings were for sale.

“I like to see everyone’s creations, and I like to talk to the people who come to the event,” Rowland said of the festival.

Rowland had several of her watercolors for sale.

Tingle had a wide array of carved golf balls for sale. The center of the golf ball is rubber, allowing it to be carved into fun shapes and characters. Tingle has been carving golf balls for at least 15 years. His most popular designs are turtles and University of Alabama.

“I like doing these three-dimensional characters better than any of the others,” Tingle said.

These include turtles, dragons, squirrels and even pumpkins.

Her favorite thing to paint is flowers because “they are beautiful and have a lot of color.”

Adding to the variety of art available were Shelley and Henry Szipszky of Shelby County with their quilted art.

“My husband has done most of this,” Shelley said of the colorful creations. “I taught him how to quilt last June. He was saying he needed to get out of the heat and he took off and did all this.”

Shelley enjoys doing detailed quilts, while her husband enjoys kaleidoscope wall hangings and placemats.

The Chilton County Arts Council is already planning its next major event, which will be the Peach Orchard Christmas Market on Nov. 13 at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center, 1850 Lay Dam Road in Clanton.