2013 Folk Fest features artists, storytelling


Folk Fest

5-10 p.m. Aug . 15: Meet the Artists Party and show opening ($15, includes readmission all weekend); 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 17; 10 a.m.-5 p.m.Aug. 18 . $7 (free for 16 and under). North Atlanta Trade Center, 1700 Jeurgens Court, Norcross (Exit 101 off I-85). 770-532-1115, www.slotinfolkart.com.

There will be no shortage of yarns being spun at Folk Fest, the annual three-day explosion of self-taught art that opens at the North Atlanta Trade Center in Norcross on Aug. 15. The only difference is that, instead of words in black type on white pages, the storytellers whose works overflow more than 90 booths express themselves in vividly hued oils and acrylics (among other media).


Beyond works by Dorethey Gorham and Billy Roper, storytellers with works on view at Folk Fest this weekend include:

  • Bernice Sims: Now in her mid-80s, she's considered the grandmother of Southern memory painting. The Brewton, Ala., artist, who worked in voter registration during the civil rights era, depicts many of the movement's key events as well as rural scenes such as creek revivals and syrup making. (Find her work at Montgomery's Cotton Belt Gallery among other booths.)
  • Marie Elem: Snowy winter landscapes by the Commerce artist evoke Grandma Moses, but her cotton-field scenes are pure Georgia. (At Around Back at Rocky's Place's booth.)
  • "Missionary" Mary Proctor: Look beyond the simple, sweet paintings on tin with life-affirming messages inscribed by the Tallahassee, Fla., artist for far more detailed pieces that recount lessons from her grandmother and other stories of her youth. (Proctor will have her own booth at Folk Fest.)
  • Richard E. Roebuck: The Madison County artist is a memory painter whose straightforward images of hunting and fishing and timeworn farmhouses and barns are executed in an old-time illustration style. (At Potteryman booth.)
  • The Rev. Howard Finster: The late Georgia folk artist used every work, great and small, to spread the Gospel in his tiny, neatly printed script. (At multiple Folk Fest booths.)
  • James "Buddy" Snipes: His found-object constructions and paintings on rusted roofing tin tell tales of the many characters and animals that populated his childhood in remote Macon County in southern Alabama. (At Main Street Gallery and other booths.)

It should be noted that works by some of folk art’s most accomplished and renowned narrative-oriented artists — including the late Clementine Hunter of Louisiana and Georgians Linda Anderson and the late Nellie Mae Rowe — are hard to find at Folk Fest, where the focus (and price point) is more on emerging and midcareer artists.

But works by artists such as these can be found at the twice yearly Slotin Folk Art Auctions (www.slotinfolkart.com) in Buford, run by Folk Fest founders Steve and Amy Slotin, where the finer works quickly hit four and five figures before the gavel falls.