Though potter Jerry Brown has been celebrated in arts festivals for many years, the Jerry Brown Arts Festival in Hamilton, Alabama honors him annually with a juried art festival. This year’s event, which is the fifteenth annual, will be held on Saturday, March 4 from 9 AM ’til 5:00 PM, and on Sunday, March 5 and 10:00 AM ’til 4:00 PM. Admission is free.
Jerry Dolyn Brown was a resident of Hamilton and a ninth-generation traditional potter in his family. Brown won the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment of the Arts in 1992 and the Alabama Heritage Award in 2003. His his significance was acknowledged as he was one of few remaining Alabama folk potters and as a representative of the state’s folk art traditions. Brown died on March 4, 2016.
His face jugs and his more traditional pottery have been sources of income and happiness for the Brown Family. He taught and trained his children, grandchildren, and many other people about pottery in his shop, located on Boyett Drive in Hamilton.
The first full weekend of March will feature the sixth annual gathering of regional artists selling and showcasing their works at the Folk to Fine Arts Festival, a lively festival with music and visual art in Georgia. This year, over 70 artists from the southern states will be present. Their works include acrylic paintings, pottery, birdhouses, and jewelry. The El Parian Mexican Restaurant will be providing beverages at the bar. There will also be a live performance by local musician Brit Jones.
This year, previous artists will return to the festival, and new artists will also be attending. Returning artists include Amir Youssef and his artwork made from nails, Mike Craven and Lynn Thurmond from Craven Family Pottery, and A.S. Lindsley with her folk primitive art. New artists include Martha Rose Jewelry, Ronald Waddell whose works range from handmade leather belts to key rings, and Mary E. Rugg who makes ornamental scarves and wraps.
The festival will be held at the Civic Center on State Street in downtown Commerce. On March 3, a reception to meet the artists, from 5:00 PM ’til 10:00 PM, costs $15.00. On March 4, the festival will be open from 10:00 AM ’til 5:00 PM. Tickets are $7.00, but children under 10 years old get in free.
For more information, visit their website or call them at 706-335-6417.