Archived Story

Registration begins for 2013 art colony

Published 10:59am Friday, February 1, 2013

A beautiful setting away from the world with all of life’s menial details taken care of, leaving almost unending time for creative expression and learning – an artist’s dream.

It’s a dream that can come true at the 2013 Sarah Carlisle Towery Art Colony.

“It is one of the most popular art colonies in the Southeast,” said Langley Tolbert, publicity chairperson for the art colony. “It has a wonderful reputation.”

This year’s art colony will be Oct. 4–9 at Children’s Harbor on Lake Martin.

It began in the early 1990s with Sarah Towery, Alexander City native, and a few close friends. Today the colony reaches enrollment of close to 50 each year.

“We get artists from North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama,” Tolbert said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be in a beautiful setting … and the facilities are wonderful. The food’s wonderful. So it’s just several days that an artist can do nothing but painting and learning.”

Registration is $625, which includes workshops with one instructor, meals and lodging, or $525 for independent study – an option that is back this year.

Although art colony is still several months away, Tolbert said class limits – 20–22 per instructor – make it necessary to register as soon as possible.

“We will have a waiting list, sooner or later, for both classes,” Tolbert said. “We wish we could accommodate a lot more people.”

Participants in the art colony have a choice between two instructors this year – Richard Mills or Julee Hutchison.

“Richard is an abstract artist,” Tolbert said. “He’s worked in a lot of different media.”

According the biography on the colony’s website, Mills is Professor Emeritus of Art at Auburn University Montgomery. His work has been featured in more than 30 solo exhibitions from The Auburn University Gallery to The Ty Stokes Gallery in Atlanta, Ga.

Hutchison’s plein air landscape painting is inspired by her love of nature and animals, according to the biography available on the art colony’s website. Her awards and exhibitions span more than a decade and include solo and group exhibitions at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, the Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art in San Antonio, Texas, the AhHaa School in Telluride, Colo., and the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Fine Art Landscape Show.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to teach at Sarah Carlisle Towery Art Colony this October,” Hutchison said. “I look forward to painting in such a beautiful setting with such a great facility.

“My emphasis will be on some of the critical foundations that will make your paintings come together from beginning to end,” Hutchison said. “Whether a student is a beginner or at an advanced level, we all have to be taught and reminded about some of the basic truths that make any painting successful … I want my students to feel the joy of painting because I believe this energy, in addition to the knowledge of the fundamentals, will create really exciting paintings. There will be demonstrations, discussions and personal instruction. I hope to encourage my students to explore their own style.”

Tolbert said for each art colony, they look for two art instructors with two different approaches – classic, structured and formal classes for one, versus a more informal approach that can appeal to a diversity of artists from the other.

“We seem to be able to cover the interests of a large variety of artists,” Tolbert said. “It’s just a wonderful place to paint … it’s really an artist’s dream.”

Tolbert said the art colony also means great exposure for the community, highlighting Lake Martin and Alexander City to those who have never been here before.

“It’s getting the community known through this avenue of the arts,” Tolbert said. “This is a perfect addition to what this area has to offer culturally.”

To find out more or to register, visit

“It’s just a very special and unique experience,” Tolbert said.