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Art from Alabama to New Orleans and Along the Trail of Tears

Posted: Aug 11, 2009

This week's feature is about Going Green in New Orleans--how one city is turning trash into treasures. As we become more and more environmentally conscious, we become more and more aware of how much we waste and what can and should be reused. The Green Project and Recycle for the Arts have joined together to help New Orleans make recycling exciting, decorative, and profitable.

Athens, Alabama, population just over twenty thousand, is giving big cities a run for their money where the art scene is concerned. Thanks to Spirit of Athens and Art on the Square ,this weekend's Preview Show and Silent Auction attracted 250 patrons to Carol Foret's art studio for an evening of food and fun. Next, the city will be gearing up for the the annual Art on the Square event to be held in downtown Athens on Saturday, September 12. Art on the Square will be followed by the first annual Southern Shorts Film Festival scheduled for October 17 (preview gala on October 16). So mark your calendar now. If you are an aspiring filmmaker, this is an opportunity to be discovered. Submit a short film for the festival.

Another event that is just a month away is the Sixteenth Annual Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride.  Held on the third Saturday in September the TOT ride commemorates the forcible removal of the Native American Indians from the southeast to reservations in the west. This year at the intersection of the Bell's trail and the Benge's trail in Pulaski, Tennessee, there stands a magnificent bronze statue of a Cherokee family created by Athens State University art professors Pamela Keller and Gail Bergeron. (Yes, the same Aunt Gail that is mentioned in the "Going Green in New Orleans" feature That is Aunt Gail at the far right of the sculpture.). Watch Swampland for an article on the unveiling of the statue at the new Trail of Tears Interpretive Center in downtown Pulaski.

The Trail of Tears Ride ends near Florence, Alabama, so if you don't make the ride. be sure to drive up to Pulaski to see the sculpture and then down to Florence and over to Tuscumbia where another powerfully moving sculpture stands. It is a statue by Birmingham artist Branko Medinica of a Native American woman holding a baby and gazing down at the grave of what could be her other child, tears running down her cheeks. The statue, Sacred Tears, can be seen in Tuscumbia's Spring Park.

---Penne J. Laubenthal

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DavidLP says...

Glad to see this as one set of my mothers grandparents were full blooded Cherokee and was on the Trail Of Tears..........

blackinathens says...

So proud to have such talented artists and visionaries in the Athens community. The word is out...Athens is the place to be.

bullitt says...

What a wonderful article ( so excited about the enthusiasm for art in Athens) We are starting the conversation with "art" on many levels here, now! And the beautiful drive to Pulaski is a treat. Then on to an amazing sculpture that Gail Bergeron and Pamela Keller created! Behold Art! Thanks for reminding us of its importance.

GailBergeron says...

Dr. Penne Laubenthal, You did it again! Your enthusiasm for the arts continues to spill out of that wide river of appreciation, that you have, for your southern environment. You remind us how lucky we are to be alive, and well, on or off the river. Gail

PenneElk says...

I plan a more thorough article on the sculpture as soon as I get caught up. I will be sure to include the information above. Thanks for all that you do!!

Pamela Keller says...

Thank you, Dr. Laubenthal, for mentioning our sculpture. Professor Bergeron and I worked over 700 just on the clay original and nearly ten years on funding and awareness for the Trail of Tears memorial sculpture. Of paticular interest to us is the teaching potential this artwork has for young people.

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