Archived Story

Artists gather at Chuck’s Marina

Published 6:17pm Wednesday, June 15, 2011

For the ninth year in a row, Chuck’s Marina in Dadeville has held a wide variety of artists for its Calypso Art Festival.
Jane Harris, wife of marina owner Greg Harris, began the festival years ago, and said it has grown tremendously throughout the years.
“All of the artists have said they are surprised at the big turnout,” she said. “It’s been a good show. It’s grown quite a bit. The first year we had 10 or 15 artists and now we’re averaging 35 to 42.”
Harris said she and her husband started the festival nine years ago because of their family’s love for art.
“My husband Greg really is into art and he’s a big into collecting different regional artists, Alabama artist’s work,’ Harris said. “His family is from the Czech Republic so he’s done a lot of art shopping over there. So he had the desire for it and I had the ability to organize it.”
Harris also said she feels the festival is different from others in the area.
“We bring people that do this as their passion to those that do it full time because I know that some of the art shows over here are by invitation only. People are surprised when they see the spectrum I have here. We have everything from gallery artists to beginning artists.”
Sam Cheek, who has been creating folk art for 15 years, said he’s been coming to the festival since it began.
“Jane just has really good artists here this year,” he said. “And she only allows handmade art by the artists.”
Selling his art at many other places through Alabama, Florida and Virginia, Cheek said he started his career as a hobby. His colorful birdhouses and other art seemed to catch the eyes of many.
Another artist, Linda Holt, has been creating ‘windies “ for the past two years, and was inspired by her cousin, She-She, who was another artist at the festival.
These kitchen-gadget-inspired wind chimes, Holt said, are her way to be creative.
“I was kind of hanging out with her and going to art shows and I just loved the people and so I’ve always been kind of creative,” Holt said. “So I tried to find something that I could do. I don’t paint, I sew, but it’s not something I enjoy, and I’ve always enjoyed the old kitchen gadgets. It kind of reminds me of cooking with my grandmother. I had bought a wind chime at Hobby Lobby or Pottery Barn, but it wasn’t the real stuff but I thought it would be pretty if you made it out of the real stuff.”
All in all, the entire area around Chuck’s Marina was covered in masterpieces from people of all ages and talents.
Elizabeth Grimes, 16, and Courtni Mask, 22, the two youngest artists at the event said they enjoyed the festival because it was a chance to get their name out their.
“I think it’s cool being the youngest because people say, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re so little,’ and people buy more because we’re so young,” Grimes said.

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