The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

June 19, 2013

Upcoming events to highlight local artists

By Diane Lehr
For The News Courier

— Stroll art events and walk in high cotton on The Square in Athens starting June 28.

The Athens Arts League is hosting Summer Art Strolls in the city’s historic downtown on the fourth Fridays in June, July and August, and working on an art incubator called High Cotton Arts.

Step back to a simpler time on the Limestone County Courthouse lawn on June 28, and enjoy original art from many local and regional artists who offer creations ranging from ceramics, to jewelry, to fabric art to paintings.

Athens Arts League hopes to attract locals and visitors seeking summer fun from 4-8 p.m. at The Square.

They additionally aim to highlight local businesses and restaurants downtown. You may choose to stroll over to the oh-so-retro Kreme Delight on Washington Street or to Limestone Drug on Market Street for an old-fashioned ice cream. Perhaps after purchasing a piece of art from one of the 20 or so participating artists, you might eat dinner and enjoy a frosty beverage at Casa Blanca, Village Pizza or LuVici's. Children can hula-hoop on the grounds or draw their own chalk art masterpieces on the sidewalks during the stroll.

“We are excited that Athens Arts League, as part of Spirit of Athens, is hosting the Summer Art Strolls. Formerly Art On the Square, the group has joined SOA and they have a reputation for excellence,” said Trisha Black, executive director of Spirit of Athens. “Our downtown revitalization cannot happen without the active involvement of the arts. We are thrilled to see all these exciting prospects coming our way”

More exciting art news is in the works for late August, as the Athens Arts League partners with art benefactor Jim Batson of the H.C. Blake Company. The league, under the guiding hand of High Cotton Arts Project Director Kirsten Kelley, will begin work on the center this summer. Athens Arts League will share the storefront of the W.E. Estes building with the H.C. Blake office.

The Athens Arts League will oversee and direct the progress of the arts center that will include several studio rental spaces, indoor and outdoor classrooms, and event and gallery space. The art group will begin work right away and hopes to be in an early operational phase within three months.  

Athens Arts League Committee Chairwoman Bree McConnell is excited about the group continuing to present high quality art to the community.

“We are filling our 2013-2014 calendar even as we speak,” McConnell said. “Art strolls, children's art camps, special art events and partnering with local businesses, organizations, and schools are on the agenda in order to advance the arts in the local community. The league has numerous talented volunteers who have worked diligently promoting the arts in this community for almost a decade.

“Art On The Square served to bring a high quality fine arts festival and numerous art events to Athens and Limestone County for seven years prior to the merger with Spirit of Athens. Without that dedication, we would not have this opportunity today.”

Mark your calendar for June 28, July 26, and August 23 from 4-8 p.m. Athens Arts League hopes the community will enjoy the Summer Art Strolls under the trees on The Square and learn more about the upcoming High Cotton Arts Center during the summer events.