“The Implied Narrative” by Ke Francis

Tupelo artist, Ke Francis presents “The Implied Narrative,”  a series of etchings, engravings, hand-made books and paintings at Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts August 27 – September 24. Francis will give a gallery talk and narrative reading Tuesday night, August 28 at 6PM. Francis’s colorful compositions bring familiar Southern symbols to life. Motivated by a graphic style and love of story, his bold creations of place and character vibrate with motion and plot.

Approaching Storm: Mississippi (engraving) by Ke Francis

Ke Francis is a narrative artist who has been actively producing artwork for more than fifty years. His books, paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures are in over thirty major public and private collections including the Getty Museum, the National Gallery, the National Museum of American Art, the High Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Fine Art, the San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art, Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library, the Van-Pelt Dietrich Collection, the Polaroid Collection, and the Ginsburg Collection in Johannesburg. He has exhibited with, collaborated with, and curated exhibits with some of the most influential artists of this century, including Sam Francis, William T. Wiley, Bill Christenberry, Terry Allen, Kenneth Noland, Robert Rauschenberg, Wendell Castle, Albert Paley, and  Robert Stackhouse. His creative works in bookarts, painting, printmaking and sculpture have won grants and awards from the Rockefeller Bellagio Study Center, The Southern Arts Federation, The Susan B. Herron Award (Mississippi Arts Commission), the Beck Foundation, the Polaroid Foundation and the Deep South Humanities Council.

Francis resides in Tupelo, Mississippi, where he and his wife Mary are the co-owners of HOOPSNAKE PRESS, a fine art press that publishes artist books and prints.



House & Home 

Exhibit June 18 – August 9

special programs July 12 & 14

NEH On-the-Road Exhibition created by The National Building Museum, Washington, DC, in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance
Curated by Sarah Levitt, Curator, The National Building Museum

What makes a house a home?

Throughout American history, people have lived in all sorts of places, from military barracks and two-story colonials to college dormitories and row houses. Drawn from the flagship installation at the National Building Museum, House & Home embarks on a tour of houses both familiar and surprising, through past and present, to explore the varied history, and many cultural meanings of the American home.

The NEH on the Road version of House & Home draws on themes originated by the National Building Museum to encourage visitors to explore how our ideal of the perfect house and our experience of what it means to “be at home” have changed over time. The exhibition includes domestic furnishings and home construction materials, photographs, “please touch” interactive components, and films. Together, the objects and images illustrate how transformations in technology, government policy, and consumer culture have impacted American domestic life.

House & Home presents an overview of architecture styles and living patterns that have been featured in American homes over the years. Quotes, toys, and other graphic advertising materials prompt visitors to think about the different ideas embodied in the words “house” and “home.” The exhibition also showcases domestic objects–from cooking utensils to telephones–and traces how household goods tell the stories of our family traditions, heritage, and the activity of daily living.

Another key section of House & Home explores how different laws, historic trends, and economic factors have impacted housing in America. The American Dream, once more generally seen as an aspiration to prosperity, grew in the 20th Century to be synonymous with home ownership. Visitors learn about the economy of housing and how homes have been promoted and sold. Issues of housing inequality, land distribution, and the role of the government are examined, from the Colonial period though the Homestead Act and the creation of the Federal Housing Administration in the 1930s; and from the Oklahoma Land Rush to the subprime loan crisis. Related sections of House & Home looks outward, exploring the relationship of the individual house to the larger society by presenting examples of contemporary community development through film.

Video and film features immerse audiences in a nationwide tour of residential buildings and community developments that reflect contemporary trends. From futuristic dormitories to post-Katrina communities built on shared interests in music, the images evoke the experience of residential space and illustrate the evolution and diversity of American domestic architecture, design, and community. In its scope, content, and presentation, House & Home moves beyond the bricks and mortar to challenge our ideas about what it means to be at home in America.

“Our Neighborhood”

July 12, 2018, 6PM

Florence Indian Mound Museum
Join us for a panel discussion about what makes a neighborhood and how we connect to each other with old and new communities. Panelists are:
Mary Shell, Alabama Historic Commission
Melissa Bailey, director of planning and development for City of Florence
Jason Fondren from KPS Group

“Our House”

July 14, 2018, 1PM – 3PM

Florence-Lauderdale Public Library 
We invite families to sign up to create a scrap book for “Our House.” Families will pre-register for this event at the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library beginning June 14 and receive a packet to complete before the scrap booking session. Time will be allowed for sharing the stories of our homes at the end of the session. 


Arts Alive Exhibit 2018

Arts Alive’s 2018 Exhibition comes to life May 14 and runs through June 8, 2018 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 Parker Seward, assistant professor of art at University of North Alabama, will select 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 $5,000 to local schools for art programs and projects. Children’s artwork created by local elementary schools will also be on display in the art center breezeway during the exhibition.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see this impressive collection of fine, folk, and craft works!

This exhibition is sponsored by the City of Florence Department of Arts and Museums. The children’s exhibition is made possible by the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts  is located at 217 E. Tuscaloosa St., Florence and is open, Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and the weekend of the Arts Alive Festival, May 19 &20. Festival is open from 9:00 AM – 5PM on Saturday and 10:00 AM – 5:00PM on Sunday.  Call 256-760-6379 for more information or visit alabamaartsalive.com

Faces of Florence

Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts presents Faces of Florence: A Bicentennial Portrait Exhibition April 2 – May 8. Portraits of early settlers to Lauderdale County and Florence have been gathered for this once-in-a-lifetime gallery of early local portraits. Portraits are on loan from local families, collectors, and house museums.

Unique pieces include the portraits of John Coffee and Mary Donelson Coffee from the Hermitage in Tennessee as well as a collection of miniatures of the Jackson family lineage from a private collector. Most portraits are early planters, businessmen, and wives who had the financial means to have a portrait painted in the early nineteenth century. Many portraits are originals. Some are reproductions. All tell the story of families of influence in Florence.

Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts thanks the families who have loaned their ancestral artworks to the gallery for display. We also thank the museums and institutions that generously cooperated in this exhibit: Belle Mont Plantation, the Hermitage, Pope’s Tavern Museum, the University of North Alabama and Florence-Lauderdale Public Library. This exhibit is sponsored by the City of Florence Bicentennial Committee.

photo featured: Ferdinand Sannoner courtesy of Pope’s Tavern Museum

Artistic Renderings of Youth 2018


Artistic Renderings of Youth, a juried exhibit of work by 7th through 12th grade artists from Colbert, Franklin and Lauderdale counties, will be on display at Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts in Florence from February 26 through March 27. Celebrating its 27th year in existence, this exhibit has developed into an outstanding showcase of youth art.

A reception will take place on Thursday, March 1, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.  The public is invited to attend and meet these young artists and their teachers.

March is nationally recognized as Youth Art Month.  This exhibit provides an opportunity for the community to discover the young artistic talent in our area. The competition is coordinated by a group of junior high and high school art teachers to give students a chance to exhibit their art work and receive recognition for their talent.  There are 366 pieces in the show. Ribbons are awarded in three grade divisions, and this year three new scholarships from UNA will be chosen from the 11th and 12th division.

Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts is located at 217 East Tuscaloosa Street in Florence and is open, free of charge, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Call 256-760-6379 for more information.

Abstraction in Realism: Watercolors by Yuri Ozaki

Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts presents Abstraction in Realism: Watercolors by Yuri Ozaki, an exhibit by Huntsville watercolor artist, Yuri Ozaki February 15 – March 30. Ozaki’s soft, complex watercolors have such intimate detail they dive into the depths of abstraction. Join us for her gallery talk, Monday night, February 19 at 6PM.

Yuri Ozaki grew up in a small town in Mie Prefecture on the Kii Peninsula of Japan. The area is known for its unique wet climate and mystical history. This area also features UNESCO World Heritage registered sacred sites and pilgrimage routes. The beauty and mystery of her home region has been a strong influence on Ozaki’s work.

Her favorite subjects have been woodland scenes in the Tennessee Valley as well as her coastal hometown in Japan. Most recently, she has been experimenting with her own imaginary world based on scenes of decay and renewal in nature. She feels connected to her subjects through the texture of watercolor on paper.

Ozaki has been accepted to several national juried shows since 2010 where she has garnered several awards. She is a signature member of the Watercolor Society of Alabama and North East Watercolor Society. (yuriozaki.com)

Just Maybe… by: Eric Bagwell

Eric Bagwell presents “Just Maybe…” at Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts 
 Gallery talk: Monday, January 8 at 5:30
     Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts will feature a new body of work called “Just Maybe…” by Huntsville artist, Eric Bagwell January 8 – February 9. The new work is a series of contemplative abstracts centered in spiritual meditations of hope, grace, and longing. As the new year begins, this series of vibrant yet quiet visual relationships challenge the viewer while putting them at ease in consciously designed spaces. 
    “Using abstract form, color, and texture I try to capture the holy moments found in everyday life. I most often work in oil – occasionally in encaustic, watercolor, or even sculpt in clay or stone. If we are indeed made in the image of the one who created everything, then creating is an elemental part of what we are meant to do. I believe creating art connects us to our elemental human identity,” Bagwell says. 
    Bagwell is a former Methodist minister and graphic designer. He has created several series that have been presented in art festivals across the state, including Arts Alive. To learn more about Eric Bagwell’s artwork visit ericbagwellart.com

Storytelling Time with Marian Baker

Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts presents Storytelling Time, an exhibit and talk with contemporary folk artist, Marian Baker November 27 – December 28. Baker has  been producing folk art for almost a decade that is inspired by her own family stories. She describes her artwork as “scruffy” with a dose of humor. Baker lives in Oneonta, AL and began painting from old family photographs. “Once I started painting, my memories all started coming back to me,” she said.
Baker will share some of the stories in her paintings Monday night, November 27 at 6PM at her gallery talk or “storytelling time.” Her unique use of materials in layers produce subtle charm in her characters. Her subjects vibrate with a determined sense of presence, whether it be a farm animal, tomato, watermelon, or great aunt. She calls her studio Blockhead Art Studio after the style of the characters she brings to life. Baker’s artwork has been featured in several movies and she has been a distinguished artist in many galleries and art festivals.

Inspired by Song! 2017 Shoals Quilt Guild Challenge

The Shoals Piecemakers Quilt Challenge ’17 will feature quilts inspired by song titles at Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts. The quilts were specifically created to evoke a visual representation of songs we love.  The Quilt Challenge will open to the public on November 15 and display through December 20 in the Annex galleries.

Prizes will be awarded for best use of embellishments, best use of color, best use of the theme, most creative, best hand quilted, best machine quilted, best hand appliqué, best machine appliqué, my favorite quilt, best piecing, and a people’s choice..

The Shoals Piecemakers Quilt Guild meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at Saint Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Florence. New members are welcome. Quilters of every level of expertise including those interested in promoting the collection and preservation of quilts are part of the Guild. 

Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts is located at 217 E. Tuscaloosa St. and is open, free of charge, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 256-760-6379 for more information or visit kdartcenter.org.lo-QuiltChallenge