Selma Art Guild helps organize tour of Black Belt’s art

Published 8:38 am Thursday, September 13, 2012

Many people may have witnessed an artist at work while visiting a festival or even an art show, but few have experienced the privilege of seeing an artist work in his or her own element. A process that artists say can be quite personal.

For residents of Dallas County, that is all about to change.

The Black Belt Art Explosion Studio Tour hosted by the Selma Arts Guild will allow interested individuals of all ages to literally take a tour of local artist’s studios in and around Selma on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..

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Local artist, Jo Taylor, spearheaded the creation of the studio tour.

“So many people don’t realize what the art making process entails; just how hard artists really work at their craft and do what they do.”

Taylor added, “If people saw the art making process, then they would have a deeper appreciation for what the artists do.”

That is the hope and the goal for the studio tour.

Kritsin Law, an artist participating in the studio tour as well as a staff member of Black Belt Treasures said she is excited about the chance to see artists in action.

“At most of the events we have around the Black Belt, you get to see some artists at work in one setting, or at a festival. This [studio tour] is a chance to see a lot of the artists in their own element –in their studio, to really see how they work, and see a little bit more about what they’re about,” Law said.

Black Belt Treasures, located in Camden, Ala., is working with the Selma Arts Guild to support and promote the diverse artistic talent found in the Black Belt.

“That’s why we’re really interested in being a part [of the studio tour],” Law said. “[Black Belt Treasures] is an economical vehicle in one sense, and an education center in one sense. For us, this is a great chance to promote some of the artists from Dallas County and Wilcox County.”

“It sounds like a great day to be able to visit the home or studios of all these artists,” Sulynn Creswell, director of Black Belt Treasures said. “And we just wanted to be a part of the excitement of the day.”

Creswell added that they are glad to be supportive of what the Selma Arts Guild is doing and for the opportunity, “to bring lots of folks into the Black Belt and for those who are in the Black Belt — I hope — that they’ll get out and go to Selma that day,” she said.

Black Belt Treasures works with artists and tries to “give them a vehicle to learn and grow as business people, and also a place to sell their work,” Law said.

Law noted that Black Belt Treasures works with a lot of artist who are at the Selma Arts Guild and also through Arts Revive.

Black Belt Treasures is located nearly an hour away from Selma and “since this [event] is in Dallas County, it wouldn’t make sense for people to have to drive down to Camden,” Law said. “They have graciously offered to let us come up there and have some of our artists do demonstrations at Arts Revive.”

Black Belt Treasures plan to bring between six and 10 artists to demonstrate their craft at Arts Revive.

“Mostly what people are going to see, from what I understand,” Law said, “is a lot of these artists at work in their own studios or in their own homes, or at their own site, or even at an organization they’re affiliated with.”

Taylor agreed and said, “Every artist is going to be working in their own venue, in their own style and in their own medium.”

Law said that the artists, including herself, will be there demonstrating art and will also have art available for sale that day

People looking to participate in the studio tour can pick up a map from the Arts Guild. There are going to be more than 30 artisans and 12 stops, which is a lot more than the Arts Guild even conceived, Taylor said.

The studio tour will have a wide range of artisans including quilters, potters, metal workers, fiber artists, folk artists and sound artists, basket makers, soap makers and more.

“I just love seeing the wide variety of arts throughout the Black Belt. It’s just great to see that we have such a wide mix of painters, and fiber artists, quilters, and potters –people that are carrying these old, rural Alabama traditions and making them new again,” Law said.

While creating art can be a personal and even emotional process, Law said that the artists involved in the studio tour are excited about sharing their craft with the public, even if it means invading their personal space for a day.

“All of the artists [on the studio tour] will be demonstrating so people will get a chance to see them make their art, create their art, and see the effort that goes into it,” Law said. “This isn’t just something that people are doing for fun; this is really something that they feel so passionate about, and they’re willing to share a little bit of how they create themselves, which is sometimes a very personal process.”

The studio tour event will be special for a number of reasons. Not only will people get to experience art in a new way, but they’ll get to experience the first collaboration of the local arts organizations.

“We’ve all come together to promote this,” Taylor said of the Selma Arts Guild, Arts Revive and Black Belt Treasures. “Which I think is just wonderful.”

If any artist would like to be added to the tour, they should contact Jo Taylor at