Mobile Arts Council Honors Charles Smith with Lifetime Achievement Arty and Patron Categories

date: January 12, 2018

MOBILE, Ala. - The Mobile Arts Council will honor two well-known Mobilians for their contributions to the arts at the Artys on January 18. Charles Smith will be presented the Lifetime Achievement award and John “J.T.” Thompson will receive the Patron award.

Charles Smith is an accomplished artist best known for his pottery pieces. Smith began his career in the 1970s. He was hired artist in residence for the City of Mobile in 1977 during which time he taught art classes and painted murals. He was once featured on the cover of American Crafts and has won over 25 first place or Best of Show awards throughout his career. His distinctive pottery style came as the result of years of trial and error, to which he credits his success.

“The more mistakes you make, you can dissect and learn from those mistakes,” Smith says. “You have to make those critical mistakes in order to find your artistic style.” 

The 2017 Patron Arty recipient is John “J.T.” Thompson, owner of the historic Callaghan’s Irish Social Club since 2002. Thompson is credited with starting Sunday night concerts at the small pub hidden within a neighborhood. They are known for their music just as much as they are the food they serve. Several well-known acts have graced the Callaghan’s stage before making it big, including Jason Isbell, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Alabama Shakes, and more.

Smith and Thompson will receive their career achievement awards at the Artys ceremony on Thursday, January 18 at 6 p.m. at The Steeple on St. Francis. Advance tickets are $35 and go up to $45 after January 12. They can be purchased in-person at Mobile Arts Council or online at

The Artys is an annual awards program that celebrates the important contributions that individuals, groups, and businesses make to the Mobile cultural community. Finalists have been announced in the remaining nine award categories, with winners to be announced live at the event.

Artys attendees will enjoy a night of celebration, complete with food, drinks and entertainment in many forms. A jazz trio comprised of John Milham, Chris Spies, and Chris Severin will play, with performances by Mobile Opera and Joe Jefferson Players throughout the ceremony. The Artys winners will received a limited edition art piece created by local artist April Livingston. Winners will be announced from the following categories:

Art Soldier: Kalenski Adams, Donna and Joe Camp, Jason McKenzie

Arts Educator: Stephen French, Lydia Host, Chris Paragone

Business: Callaghan's, Kazoola, The Steeple

Cultural Innovation: Lynn Henderson Oldshue, Charlana Quiovers, Cathe Steele

Design: Julia Greer Fobes, Stephen McNair, Patricia Richardson

Literary Artist: Emily Blejwas, Frye Gaillard, Chris "Champ" Napier

Organization: Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Comedy Whatever, Crescent Theater

Performing Artist: Robert Holm, Alvin King, Lynn Mackie

Visual Artist: Sean Herman, Vincent Lawson, Labarron Lewis

This year's Artys are made possible through the support of The Jake Peavy Foundation, Bienville Books, Hand Arendall, Threaded Fasteners, Devin Ford Photography, the Mobile Rundown, Alabama Public Radio, and Soul Kitchen Music Hall.

April Livingston Inspired by Mobile History for Arty Award

date: January 11, 2018

The Mobile Arts Council has released the limited-edition Arty award designed by local artist and instructor April Livingston.

Each year, the Arty award is a work of art created by a local artist. Winners of the Artys are announced live at the event and presented with the limited-edition piece.

This year's award draws on the rich history of industry and craft in the port city. 

"The cast-iron florette at the top of the sculpture was informed by a design found in Mobile's Magnolia Cemetery," Livingston explained. "The city is famous for its cast-iron lacework and there are many wonderful fences and balconies that showcase this iron-craft at its best. The base of the sculpture is influenced by that same idea of organic industry."

The award was created in two historic cities: Mobile and Pittsburgh. The florettes were cast with Rivers of Steel at the historic Carrie Furnaces in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during a summer workshop Livingston attended.

"Our iron pour lasted from sunset to sunrise, so many thanks to that crew for their help," she said.

The base of the sculpture was created in Livingston's Mobile studio using re-bar cast in wax and then molded into the final design.

"The patina is real rust--to approximate what would happen to acutal, unsealed re-bar and also to contrast with the fresh, bright cast-iron florette."

All 11 Artys winners will receive the work of art at the event on Thursday, January 18 at 6 p.m. at The Steeple. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 after January 12. Tickets include entertainment by John Milham, Chris Spies, and Chris Severin, as well as mini-performances by Mobile Opera and Joe Jefferson Players. Guests will receive two drink tickets and enjoy catered food throughout the event. Purchase tickets in-person at Mobile Arts Council or at

This year's Artys are made possible through the support of The Jake Peavy Foundation, Bienville Books, Hand Arendall, Threaded Fasteners, Devin Ford Photography, the Mobile Rundown, Alabama Public Radio, and Soul Kitchen Music Hall.

Stewart Heath

date: January 02, 2018

Mixed-media work by Stewart Heath

Mixed-media work by Stewart Heath

In the Danielle Juzan gallery, local artist Stewart Heath will be showing a collection of paintings and mixed media works in her trademark colorful, ethereal style. Heath works in a contemporary abstract style with both figurative and non-representational subjects.

A native of Georgia, Heath currently lives in Fairhope. She has been an artist for over 20 years and sees making art as a form of mediation, assigning it a place of spiritual importance in her life. Her paintings hang in private collections around the U.S. 

The exhibition will be available to see from 9 – 5 on weekdays throughout the month of January. Meet the artist on ArtWalk night, January 12, from 6 - 9 PM.

Camera South Photography Club

date: January 02, 2018

Photo by EJ Wright

Photo by EJ Wright

This January, the Skinny Gallery will feature photography from members of the Camera South Photography Club. Camera South is a local photography group which provides its members an opportunity to exchange ideas, develop new skills, and learn more about the art of photography. For additional information on the club, email or visit their facebook page,

The exhibition will be available to see from 9 – 5 on weekdays throughout the month of January. Meet the artists on ArtWalk night, January 12, from 6 - 9 PM.


date: January 02, 2018

Painting by Hunter Cobb

Painting by Hunter Cobb

This January, the Small Room will feature "Downhome - A Portrait of the Small Southern Town",  a new painting series by artist Hunter Cobb. Cobb says that the small Southern town has played an iconic role in American Culture. From "To Kill a Mockingbird" to "The Andy Griffith Show", Southern towns have been cast as both sinister and idyllic. As always, the truth is somewhere in between. Having been a visitor and resident of many small towns over several decades, Cobb noticed certain similarities and patterns. "This exhibit is my attempt to distill these attributes into a gestalt that is The Small Southern Town."

Cobb's childhood involved living in various locations in the U.S. and the world, as his father was a member of the Air Force.  He graduated high school in West Germany and attended the University of West Alabama. He moved to Mobile in 1992, and began a career in graphic design.  Several years ago he opted for a second career in software development.  He has been married to his wife and fellow artist for sixteen years.  Cobb has been an artist in residence at Innova Arts, Cathedral Square Gallery, Gallery 450, and Galeria Ltons in St. Augustine, Florida. He is a member of the Mobile Arts Council, Alabama Miniature Art Society, and is Second Vice President of Watercolor and Graphic Art Society.

According to Cobb, "I enjoy creating works that evoke an emotional response in viewers.  Taking a moment in time and space and manipulating color and form conveys emotion, or I utilize symbolism to have an impact on the viewer.  Artists should not be limited to a certain style or technique so my works draw on both inner and outer visions and can range from realistic to semi-abstract.  These different methods allow me to convey different moods and ideas."

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