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Meet Our Artists

Northwest Alabama is blessed to have many talented and highly decorated artists. On this "Meet Our Artists" page, our Arts Council will spotlight those special individuals and share with you their stories and accomplishments. Artists will be highlighted for approximately 90 days.

Jerry Brown

(Michael E. Palmer/Tuscaloosa News)

"Our icon." In 2003, potter Jerry Brown allowed the Hamilton
Area Chamber of Commerce to use his name and reputation to begin a new springtime festival in his hometown of Hamilton, Alabama, and as they say, the rest is history. The Jerry Brown Arts Festival in March 2010 will mark its eighth festival and second year in a row as a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 event ranking. In 2009, over 4,000 people from 14 different states attended the festival.

California, Idaho, Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts are a few of the states from which visitors traveled to see one of the most widely acclaimed juried arts festivals in the state of Alabama, headlined by the potter for whom the festival was named – Jerry Brown.

Recognized as a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship Award and an Alabama State Council on the Arts Heritage Award, Jerry Brown is an acclaimed ninth-generation potter who learned his trade as a young boy at the feet of his father.

Jerry is known throughout the world for his "face jugs" or "ugly jugs." What sets him apart from other modern-day potters is his "process." Jerry creates his masterpieces using the time-honored tradition of his forefathers by digging his own clay, mixing it in his mule-powered mill, sculpting each and every piece by hand, and then firing these creations in his hand-built groundhog kiln.

With all the success and accolades Jerry Brown has received, it would be easy to focus on all of the ribbons and awards and certificates hanging on the walls of his shop. What many people never see is the generosity of time and talent, which he has given so liberally over the past seven years to the Chamber of Commerce and to the Northwest Alabama Arts Council, thereby allowing the Arts Council to build its programs upon his name and reputation.
(Michael E. Palmer/
Tuscaloosa News)
In collaboration with the Arts Council, the "Molding Hearts, Hands & Minds" program was created in 2007, giving local school children the privilege of working with Brown and making their own piece of pottery. The hopes and dreams of Brown and the Arts Council are that young artists can be identified and inspired to continue their dream of becoming potters.

Brown works side by side with his wife, Sandra, at their shop just west of Hamilton, He is training several of his children and grandchildren the family’s pottery-making skills and traditions in hopes those will be passed on to the tenth and eleventh generations of the Brown family.

For additional information and contact information for Jerry Brown Pottery, please check the Marion County Arts Trail page on this website. Information on the Jerry Brown Arts Festival can also be found on the Jerry Brown Arts Festival page on this website or on www.jbaf.org.

Lou Weeks Carter

Age 82. At an age where most folks have long since been retired, Mrs. Lou Weeks Carter of Winfield is going strong and adding to her daily "list of things to do" the task of being a tour guide at her art studio. Mrs. Carter was recently selected by the Northwest Alabama Arts Council to be a charter member of the newly created Marion County Arts Trail.Mrs. Carter has been painting since 1957, and paints exclusively with oil. In a recent interview with the Journal Record, Mrs. Carter talked about her favorite subjects to paint. "I like most everything in the range of art, from portraits to flowers, fruits, and landscapes." And never too old to continue enjoying her hobby, she said, "I paint several days a week. It’s my favorite thing to do."

Mrs. Carter, who in her estimation has created hundreds of paintings, has participated in juried arts shows and festivals throughout her career, including traveling to participate in art shows in Arizona and Colorado. A winner of multiple awards throughout her career, Mrs. Carter was awarded best of show at the West Alabama Art Association Art Show in Tuscaloosa in 1985.

Even though she doesn’t participate in as many juried shows these days, Mrs. Carter serves in a capacity which many feel are a higher calling – that of a teacher. She teaches two art classes per week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with seven to ten students per class. The costs for the classes are $15 each with the classes being taught in her studio in Winfield. "My favorite thing about teaching is helping other people and getting them started in (painting)," she said. One of her students, Donna Smothers from Twin, won first place in the two-dimensional art category at the 2009 Jerry Brown Arts Festival held in Hamilton, Alabama.

Mrs. Carter was also honored on July 18 and 19, 2009, with the formation of the Lou Carter Art Fest held at the Car Nut Museum in Winfield, Alabama. The decision was made by museum officials to create a special event to honor Mrs. Carter for her years of service to the arts community in Winfield and the surrounding area.

Carter is married to Travis Ray Carter, and has two daughters, Dianne Cockrell and Myra Weeks, both of Winfield. Her grandchildren are Brett Smith and Cristi Tidwell. She has two great-grandchildren, Tyler Tidwell, 12, and Sara Grace Tidwell, 2.

Additional information, to include how to contact Mrs. Carter or visit her studio, can be obtained on the Marion County Arts Trail page of this website.

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