Juried artists from across the Southeast make their way to the northwest Alabama community of Hamilton the first weekend in March to offer one-of-a-kind creations and masterpieces. Hosted by the Northwest Alabama Arts Council, the highly acclaimed Jerry Brown Arts Festival (JBAF) is now in its fifteenth year.
The family-friendly event offers two days of quality folk art exhibition, a free kids art station and free admission and parking. During the two-day event, over 50 hand-picked artisans will present “slowly made, homegrown art” on the special theme of “The Tradition Continues” from diverse media including pottery, fabric art, ironwork, metalwork, paper art, glass art, gourds, and others. This year’s featured artists are the Jerry Brown family, consisting of his widow, Sandra, and their children and grandchildren, who make up the tenth and eleventh generations of the Brown pottery family and who are carrying on the late artist’s folk art tradition. Children can also create their own works of art with the help of student ambassadors from Bevill State Community College.
The festival honors Hamilton’s Jerry Brown, a ninth generation potter whose work can be found in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Brown was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship in 1992, as well as receiving numerous merit awards, and in 2003, he was awarded the Alabama Heritage Award from the Alabama Arts Council. Brown, who passed away unexpectedly on the eve of the fourteenth annual festival last March, was the only known potter in the United States who used a mule, Blue the Mule, to help him mill clay for his pottery. For more information on Brown and his mule, visit www.jerrybrownpottery.com.
Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free and parking is free.