Wood legacy honored in art gallery

Published 10:57 am Monday, February 27, 2023

By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

It is bigger than an art show. It is bigger than a fundraiser.

The Roy Wood Art Show and Sale at the Chilton County Arts Council is a way to honor the last wish of the artist. The artwork will remain on display through March 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. All proceeds from the sale will go to the Chilton County Arts Council.  Cash and checks are accepted.

“This is what Roy wanted,” Kermit Jones, Roy’s nephew, said describing the gallery of paintings on display.

The display features a variety of subjects. Some feature Chilton County. Some are landscapes of other places, and some are still life paintings of intricate design. The majority are oil on canvas, but there are also some acrylic works and watercolors.

As he grew older, Roy Wood had begun to worry about where his paintings would end up.

“He told me over and over was what he worried about was his paintings,” Becki Barnes, Wood’s niece, said.

His greatest wish was that they would be owned by people who appreciated them. He especially wanted some of them to stay in the county he had called home.

“He said he wanted something special done with the paintings,” Barnes said. “He knew we couldn’t all take them.”

Barnes had assured Wood that she would “get creative” about honoring the paintings, even though she was unsure what that would look like.

The collection was passed on to Wood’s brother, Denny, but when he died in September 2022, Barnes again began thinking about what could be done with the paintings. She had contacted a realtor friend about selling the house that Denny Wood lived in, which had once been owned by Roy Wood. The realtor was retired from the industry, but recommended Melinda Oaks Smith.

Smith was also the president of the Chilton County Arts Council, presenting an opportunity to also share Roy Wood’s art with the community. Smith suggested having an art show to sell the remaining paintings after the family members had chosen the ones they wanted to keep.

“To me, it was like a God thing,” Barnes said.

Jones and Barnes said the art show was a way to honor Roy Wood’s work, and the family was happy.

“It means everything to us,” Barnes said.

Jones said he had been surprised by how many paintings there were.

Roy Wood developed his painting talent taking classes taught by Scarlett Teel. Barnes said he was creative in several ways. In addition to art, he enjoyed music, gardening and baking.

“He was a man who could do everything,” Barnes said. “Great Christian man, he loved the Lord.”

Chilton County Arts Council is located at 500 Second Avenue N in Clanton