painting art

We have all heard of second Saturday events, but a local artist has the first Friday on his mind. From April through November, artists from around the area will join together for a downtown Wetumpka Art Walk on the first Friday of the month, beginning April 2, from 4 to 8 p.m.

The Art Walk is a collaboration between handpicked talented artists who will come together to create a unique art show and sale in the heart of downtown Wetumpka.

Don Sawyer is the brainchild behind the Art Walk and his hope is that this will become a destination for Wetumpka residents as well as tourists from around the region.

"Some of the artists are famous," Sawyer said. "There are too many for me rattle off right off the top of my head."

This is the second annual Art Walk.

"This is our second year," Sawyer said. "We will be on Company Street on April 2 and after that on the first Friday of every month in downtown Wetumpka."

The Art Walk will encompass an eclectic array of artistic media, and, perhaps, some art for the ears.

"This is a really, really, great art show,” Sawyer said. “Everything from paintings to sculptures, I think we have some ceramics. We have a fantastic artist out of Birmingham who paints on gourds. It's really something to see. And hopefully, we will have music.”

The Art Walk will also be good for business in the downtown Wetumpka area.

"All the restaurants around town will be open," he said.

Sawyer is a seasoned artist with deep ties to the Wetumpka community.

"I've been an artist for a long time. I've had galleries all over the place. In fact, I had one in Wetumpka 15 years ago," he said.

After Sawyer had the idea in mind he reached out to fellow artists, and city officials, and the Art Walk was born.

"I called a bunch of artists that I know, some really good artists, and told them what I wanted to do, and they loved the concept," he said. "The concept is simple. We know what kind of product we have. These are really good artists that have been selling art for a long time. I thought if we brought a group of artists into downtown Wetumpka, and they were here on a regular basis, and we were having fun doing it, we could be a source of entertainment for Wetumpka, and also a step in the direction of becoming a cultural arts center."

While the Art Walk is his idea, Sawyer understands that ultimately it is the response to the event that matters.

"That is my concept," he said. "What I want doesn't matter. The community will have that say, but if the community wants what I want, I want Wetumpka to become a cultural arts center. I don't see any reason why it can't."

Sawyer points out towns in south and north Alabama that have become a cultural arts center, such as Fairhope, which is known for the annual Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival and more. However, there are no cultural arts centers near central Alabama, and Sawyer is hopeful that Wetumpka's Art Walk will fill that void.

"Why don't we become the center of art for central and south Alabama?" Sawyer asked.

Sawyer says Wetumpka is a perfect location for a cultural arts center.

"I think it's doable. I think the city is set up exactly right for it. All of the arteries come into the same point. That's the actual definition of a village. Where all of your roads connect at a central point."

Not only does Sawyer think Wetumpka could be a cultural arts destination, but he also believes this is the perfect time to make it happen.

"I think we are right on time with this. We have some great art. We have some reasonable prices. We have Wetumpka prices not New York prices. We just want to give the town a little something extra," he said.