Art On The Square Arts League is a non-profit art organization created by a dedicated group of volunteers over seven years ago. Its purpose is to support artists, promote art education, and bring cultural events to Athens and Limestone County, Alabama.
The nonprofit all-volunteer group understands that creative arts drive the cultural success of a community. The Art On The Square Arts League seeks to establish a locally vibrant arts center and hub from which art can be easily accessed for the entire community. The group regularly provides this community with the art education, events and experiences that will assist in promoting Athens as a place that is deeply appreciative toward and reflective of the arts. The Art On The Square Arts League has worked to bring superb quality and creativity to all of their events. Their upcoming fine arts festival encompasses many successful collaborations with community anchors like Athens State University, T.R.A.I.L.,( a youth service organization in Limestone County), The City of Athens, Limestone County, Redstone Federal Credit Union and more.
On September 8, 2012, from 10 am ‘til 4pm, approximately 60 juried fine artists will sell their works under the trees around The Limestone County Courthouse in Athens, AL. This marks the seventh consecutive year that the Art On The Square Arts League has brought the festival to downtown Athens. The competition showcases some of the highest quality art from the region, and thousands of people attend the annual September event. A Budding Artists’ Tent allows young artists from this community to sell their own work during the show. Families bring their children to enjoy the all-art, always free of charge KidsZone, and to participate in a number of various art activities. They can choose to enjoy painting, mosaics, puppet making, and throwing on the clay wheel.
All members of the Art On The Square board agree to the importance of children growing up in a community that invests in cultural and artistic happenings. In planning and preparing their extensive projects, Art On The Square further expresses their mission and impacts young peoples’ character by training teen volunteers who work with younger students at various art camps and at the fine arts festival. Art On The Square’s current work reaches over two thousand children in North Alabama each year. At the festival everyone is invited to participate in creating a public art project that is ultimately presented to the community for display.
Local musical groups, dancers and renowned guest musicians including The Alabama Blues Project Advanced Band and Microwave Dave & The Nukes will perform this year. On September 7, Art On the Square Arts League, in conjunction with Athens State University Livingston Concert Committee, will present The Alabama Blues Project Advanced Band who will perform an educational program for hundreds of school students in Athens and Limestone County. They will perform at 9:30 a.m. Friday Sept. 7, in Athens State University Carter Gymnasium, and at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 8, on the Square. Both performances are free and open to the public. A heavy rain location has been reserved for the festival at the Athens State University Carter Gymnasium.
The Alabama Blues Project was founded in 1995 by such famous blues musicians as the late Willie King. Mr. King was born to Mississippi sharecroppers, and even after attaining award-winning acclaim as a world-renowned bluesmen, he continued to live in his trailer in Old Memphis, AL, and work in local social activism. He said he wanted to “help children rise up.” He forged relationships with area youth through an education program established by blues enthusiasts Rick Asherson and Debbie Bond, who moved from England to Tuscaloosa, AL in order to study the blues and establish the award-winning after-school program. With King’s influence, they established the nonprofit Alabama Blues Project. The Advanced Band members are the program’s most elite and gifted student musicians.
In addition this year, Kudzu Chronicles, Writing Southern Style at Art On The Square, will bring another dimension to the fine arts downtown event. The writers’ festival will be held from 9:30am-2pm at the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning, and admission is free. Registration is required and can be completed by calling 256-233-8260 .
We need to get the word out that we are here and that we have been here, and that AOTS intends to bring the arts fully to the whole community via collaborative and conscientious strategic planning and promotion of artists, art education and art events in Athens and Limestone County.
By Diane Lehr, AOTS President