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August 15-17, 2003, in the huge North Atlanta Trade Center, Steve and Amy Slotin hosted Folk Fest 2003 - The 10th Anniversary of this Folk Art Extravaganza.

Billed as the world’s largest folk art show and sale, it involved 90 galleries and dealers from around the nation specializing in Self-taught Art, Outsider Art, Folk Art, Southern Folk Pottery and Anonymous Antique Folk Art. Doc Lawrence was there . . .

Steve and Amy Slotin have contributed mightily to the elevation of folk art and its progeny, visionary and self taught art. In its tenth year, this event has matured and ranks as one of the best and finest of its kind in the country. It is, as always, big, colorful and friendly. The Slotins are deserving of all the praise in the world for sticking with what they know appeals to the masses and giving so many people a venue for exceptional exposure. In fact, I was a little sad when it ended at 5 p.m. on Sunday, wondering if I would be able to see some of my favorites next year.

I miss my friend Reverend Howard Finster, and no folk art show anywhere will ever truly be the same now that he has joined his Maker. But, he left behind a legacy of genuineness and originality that all artists will forever be influenced by. Ravened Finster granted me several interviews and (for those who knew him this will come as no surprise) always invoked Biblical Scripture as the basis for his art. There is a message and a story in every Finster artwork on this planet. The overriding theme is joy, hope, redemption, peace and everlasting love.

For those not as familiar as you might want to be with such emotions, I regret you didn't have the opportunity to meet this man of God.

I did have the opportunity to spend time with an old friend, the spectacularly great folk artist Lorenzo Scott and his talented sister, Marguerite Durham. Mr. Scott, a native of West Point, Georgia, now lives and paints his masterpieces in Atlanta, while Ms. Durham does her work from her Decatur, Georgia home. Scott and Durham both emphasize Old and New Testament themes in their paintings and depict Jesus and his Disciples as African. By the way, if you own an early Lorenzo Scott you have something that is already commercially quite valuable. But, any purchase of work by Mr. Scott or his lovely sister is a great way to invest, plus you will feel the power and the glory of something very spiritual when you behold these on a wall at home.

Folk Fest is the immediate predecessor to Alabama's renowned outdoor folk art festival,
Kentuck, which is now past its third decade in a park by the Black Warrior River near Tuscaloosa. I'll be there and can't wait to reunite again with my wonderful artist friends and meet some new ones, too.


Other interesting links:

Folk Art Legends and Rising Stars

Folk Art in the Big Easy

Reverend Howard Finster

The Florida Highwaymen

Unique designs by Laura Mostaghel

Some other great Folk Art shows and galleries


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