By Howard Pousner
One of the unvarnished pleasures of following folk art, as anyone who’s ever attended the sprawling summertime Folk Fest extravaganza at North Atlanta Trade Center would tell you, is meeting the self-taught makers behind the colorful creations.
The 6th Annual Folk Art Family Reunion, at the Around Back at Rocky’s Place gallery in Dawsonville this weekend, offers a similar opportunity but on a more intimate scale. It’s a backyard show featuring 20 artists from around the Southeast selling their paintings, drawings, pottery, constructions and a lot of things that defy easy categorization.
The big draw is John “Cornbread” Anderson, the former Dawson County sheriff’s deputy who’s made a national name for himself with whimsical depictions of the wildlife he grew up closely observing in rural North Georgia. But the reunion also offers the opportunity to meet emerging talents such as Douglasville assemblage artist Athlone Clarke; Alabama painters Brenda and Greg Davis; and Rik Long, son of the late Folk Fest favorite Woodie Long, who paints in a graphic style with clays and acrylics.
Rocky’s Place co-owners Tracey Burnette and Robin Blan launched the Folk Art Family Reunion as a way of helping support the artists whose works fill their two adjoining gallery spaces. The artists get to keep all sales proceeds from works they bring this weekend.
“We would love to have gallery sales as well, but this show is about them,” Burnette said.
If that’s not enough, there’s also an exhibit through June 30 organized by Burnette and Blan just down the road at at the Bowen Center for the Arts in downtown Dawsonville, “Folk Art Family Reunion Too.” It features 100 works for sale by 35 artists. (The Bowen is at 334 Ga. 9 North. Information: 706-216-2787, www.dawsonarts.org.)
Folk Art Family Reunion hours at Rocky’s Place are 6-9 p.m. June 24 (preview party with light hors d’oeuvres), 10 a.m.-7 p.m. June 25 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 26. Free. 3631 Ga. 53 East (at Etowah River Road), Dawsonville. 706-265-6030, www.aroundbackatrockysplace.com.