“MY ALABAMA” John Dersham Photographs a State

John Dersham’s most recent collection of Alabama landscape photographs are on display from January 15th through February 19th in the Kennedy-Douglass Annex gallery. The My Alabama exhibit reveals the spectacular beauty found within the state’s rich biodiversity, complex river systems, forests, roads, and streetscapes. Mr. Dersham will be teaching a two-part workshop “TAKING BETTER PICTURES: COMPOSITION, LIGHTING AND IMPACT” comprised of a presentation on Friday evening, January 31st, 6 – 8:30PM and a hands-on downtown photo shoot on Saturday, February 1st, 7:30AM – 1PM. 

Photo credit: John Dersham



CREATIVE SPIRIT : Lynnette Hesser and Steve Loucks

Kennedy- Douglass Center for the Arts welcomes ceramic artists Lynnette Hesser and Steve Loucks. A gallery talk is scheduled for Friday evening, January 17th at 6PM . The exhibit in the Kennedy-Douglass main gallery will be open daily Monday-Friday, 9AM – 4PM from January 14th – February 20th. For information call 256-760-6379 between 9am-4pm.

PAINTINGS AS PERSONAL THEATER : Surrealist paintings by Guy Robinson

“I enjoy playing on traditional subjects (still life, landscape, the figure, mythology, religious images) and the expectations that have grown up around them – as around how we see reality in general. The nature of life is that appearances are changeable and deceptive. So, paradox is always the subject.”

gallery talk: sunday, december 15th at 2pm

Kennedy- Douglass Center for the Arts is pleased to present Paintings as Personal Theater : Surrealist paintings by Guy Robinson. A gallery talk is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, December 15 at 2PM and the exhibit will remain open from December 15th – January 10th. Mr. Robinson will display his original oil paintings in the Kennedy-Douglass Main Gallery, and is offering an Abstract Painting workshop on Saturday, January 11th from 9AM – Noon. For information on the workshop, call 256-760-6379 between 9am-4pm.

Skin & Ink: The Art of Tattoo

Allegory Arts and Kennedy- Douglass Center for the Arts is pleased to present Skin and Ink: The Art of Tattoo from September 26-October 14. A gallery talk is scheduled for Thursday night, October 3 at 6PM. Artists Ulysses Blair, Daniel Evers, Eva Huber, Victor Thompson, and Cammeron Donnelley will display their original drawings and photographs of tattoos in the Kennedy-Douglass annex galleries. 

Tattoo by Victor Thompson

“Tattoo is one of the earliest forms of art for our species,” owner partner, Eva Huber, shares. “Now people are collecting works of art directly on their bodies, artworks that express exactly what they wish.” Each custom design and tattoo has a personal story and meaning to the client, which is where Allegory Tattoos gets its name. 

This prominent group of local tattoo artists are specifically known for their custom work and individual styles nation-wide. They create original designs tailored to each client; in fact, these artists do not copy other works. “We are here to build something just for you, so let the other fellow keep theirs!  This is our guarantee. What you are getting is just for you!” This is unique look at the personal art collections of Allegory clients in the medium of skin and ink. 

A Cast of Blues

lo-PostcardBlues music was born in Mississippi, came of age in Chicago, and went on to inspire generations of rock and rollers, ranging from the British invasion of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to contemporary groups, such as The Black Keys. As one of America’s contributions to the world of music, the blues took root in the fertile soil of the Mississippi Delta, a flood plain covering 7,000 square miles between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers. Early blues greats in the Delta pioneered the strong rhythmic style of music, accenting the raw emotions of the lyrics by squeezing chords out of a guitar with a bottleneck or metal slide. 

A celebration of Mississippi’s rich musical heritage, The exhibition A Cast of Blues features 15 resin-cast masks of blues legends created by artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson, as well as 15 color photographs of performers and of juke joints by acclaimed photographer Ken Murphy. Now visitors to Kennedy- Douglass Center for the Arts can experience the exhibition, A Cast of Blues, opening June 26 and running through August 1. 

IMG_1238A Cast of Blues artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson has said, “a life cast is like a 3-D photograph to someone who is blind.” McConnell-Dickerson, who is visually impaired, continues, “It captures the flesh, muscle, bone, hair, and subtle expressions of emotion. I wanted to discover the faces behind the music I love, so I went to Mississippi to map out the visages of the real Delta blues men and women.” 

Ken Murphy’s photographs are selected from the groundbreaking book Mississippi: State of Blues (published 2010 by Proteus/Ken Murphy Publishing). A longtime Mississippi resident, Murphy captures the essence of the blues through highly detailed, panoramic color pictures. The exhibition’s compilation of casts and photos create a compelling portrait of the men and women who defined—and continue to shape—the tradition of Mississippi blues. 

During the 1920s and 1930s, Charlie Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson, and scores of other bluesmen and women barnstormed across the Delta, playing plantations, juke joints, and levee camps scattered throughout the area. It was the next generation of Mississippi music artists led by Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf, who brought the Delta blues north to Chicago. The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and other rock and rollers picked up on the Delta sound and introduced it to the world. The musicians who stayed behind in Mississippi kept the tradition alive, passing it from one generation to another. Since the 1990s, Delta blues music has undergone a revival, with the rediscovery of overlooked artists—R.L. Burnside, T Model Ford, and Bobby Rush—and the rise of contemporary blues acts like the North Mississippi Allstars and the Homemade Jamz Blues Band.  

The exhibition is fully accessible to all visitors, featuring braille labels and educational materials, as well as a music playlist for gallery use and a closed-captioned film about the Cast of Blues project. In addition, visitors are encouraged to touch the resin-cast masks. Says McConnell-Dickerson, “As a sculptural and visual art experience, feeling the life-made casts of these individuals and their facial expressions transfers their experiences directly to our fingertips.” The exhibition is also accompanied by the 2008 documentary film, M for Mississippi: A Roadtrip through the Birthplace of the Blues

(94 minutes) that will feature at the Florence Indian Mound Museum July 11 at 6PM. 

Organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national part of Mid-America Arts Alliance, the exhibition was curated by Chuck Haddix, music historian, author, radio personality, and director of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Mid-America is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information is available at www.maaa.org and www.eusa.org.

This exhibition is sponsored by the Florence of Arts and Museums Membership and the City of Florence Department of Arts and Museums. 

Arts Alive 2019

ARTS ALIVE!Arts Alive’s 2019 Exhibition runs through June 21,2019 at Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts. The Arts Alive Exhibit displays artworks in various mediums and disciplines from artists and craftspeople from all over the country. This year’s exhibition judge Kay Jacoby, community arts coordinator for the Alabama State Council on the Arts selected the winners of nearly $5,000 in artistic awards. 

The Arts Alive exhibition is one of two fund raisers for the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts Volunteers. Arts Alive supports Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts Volunteers Endowments to school art programs in Lauderdale and Colbert counties. Last year’s Arts Alive Festival endowed nearly $10,000 to local schools for art programs and projects.

Arts Alive Award Winners 2019


First Place – Tim Stevenson, “Just Looking”

Second Place – Dale Lewis, “Miro Does Egypt”

Third Place – Sue Leatherman, “Wash Day”

Merit Award – Kelly Morton, “A Night in Paris”

Merit Award – Amita Bhakta “Whispering at the Base of Almighty”

Merit Award – Spears McCalister, “Sossusvlei: Dunes and Grass”

Merit Award – Robin Matthews, “Mathew’s Treehouse”

Merit Award – Dennis Leatherman, “Reaching Out” 

Special Gallery Awards

Jack Opler Award – Spears McAllister, “Gray Galley”

Betty Hairston Award – Martha Beadle, “Shoals Theatre”

Donald G. Waterman Award – Vanessa Bowser “Sunrise over the Fields”

Mhairi Frank Award – Helen Fielder, “Tea Pot”


1st Place – Guadalupe Lanning Robinson, ceramics

2nd Place – Jim Goshorn, Metal Sculpture

3rd Place – Amy Lansburg, driftwood art

Best Display – Anne Moore, jewelry 

Merit Award – Eve Styles, fabric design

Merit Award – Cracker Harris, folk art

Merit Award – George Jones, brooms

Merit Award – Martha Beadle, fiber art

Merit Award – Leslie Bennett, painting