Explore Decatur Arts Festival and Downtown Galleries

Historic Decatur, Georgia is a city that showcases the arts. Located six miles east of downtown Atlanta, Decatur is home to a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants clustered near its old courthouse square. Each May the city showcases its arts community during the Decatur Arts Festival. More than 70,000 visitors are expected to attend this year’s 25th annual festival, scheduled for May 24-26, 2013. In addition to the festival activities, visitors are invited to explore the city’s downtown galleries. Here are the highlights of the weekend festivities.

The festival kicks off with an ArtWalk on May 24 from 5-10pm. Local shops, galleries, restaurants, and educational institutions in the downtown and Oakhurst areas will host free exhibitions and receptions. One stop on the ArtWalk will be the Dalton Gallery on the campus of Agnes Scott College, located at 141 College Avenue. The college will host a juried fine arts exhibition from May 21-June 2, which will be open to the public from 2-5pm on weekdays and from noon-8pm during the festival weekend.

A highlight of the Decatur Arts Festival will be the juried artists market in downtown Decatur on May 25-26. This high quality market attracts artists from across the Southeast, who will showcase paintings, sculpture, mixed media, ceramics, digital arts, fiber arts, glass, leather, and jewelry. Theater and literary arts activities and presentations will be taking place on the front lawn of the DeKalb History Center at the Old Courthouse on the square. Visitors can enjoy musical entertainment on the performing arts stage at the bandstand. A children’s festival is scheduled for May 25 at Decatur Recreation Center, located at 231 Sycamore Street. The kids can enjoy arts and crafts, inflatables, and music. Food and beverage vendors will be set up at the festival, or visitors may want to try one of Decatur’s popular downtown cafes or restaurants. Admission to the festival is free, and hours are 10am-6pm on Saturday and 11am-6pm on Sunday. Attendees can take MARTA transit to Decatur Station.

There are several downtown galleries that festival attendees may want to visit. The Seen Gallery is located at 415 Church Street. The gallery offers original paintings, photography, sculpture, ceramics, etchings, hand-blown glass, and limited edition prints. Wild Oats & Billy Goats, at 112 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, specializes in whimsical and colorful folk art. Visitors can browse for paintings, pottery, sculpture, jewelry, and hand-sewn art. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday from 11am-6pm, Saturdays from 11am-7pm, and Sundays from 1-5pm. Rose Squared Gallery & Framing is located on the courthouse square, at 111 Clairmont Avenue. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm. The gallery features works by owner JD Isaacs and other artists. The works of metal artist Ivan Bailey are currently being shown. Watercolor and drawing classes are offered.

Decatur Market & Gallery, at 153 Ponce de Leon Place, is a co-op for emerging artists and artisans. Each of the two dozen artists displaying pieces in the gallery works one day each month to greet visitors. The gallery showcases modern art, landscapes, mixed media, pottery, jewelry, and textiles. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday from noon-8pm and Sundays from noon-5pm.

Scottsboro Preserves Its Historic Past

Scottsboro, Alabama, incorporated in 1870, is a city rich in history. Its past has been well preserved in its historic districts and structures that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown historic district contains the courthouse square. Its tree-lined streets are lined with historic homes. Most of the properties are privately owned, but a walk or drive around town affords visitors the opportunity to view a number of these historic structures.

The Public Square Historic District contains Scottsboro’s quaint courthouse square. The Jackson County Courthouse, constructed in 1911-12, is the attractive centerpiece. The brick structure was designed in the Neo-Classical style, with four Doric columns supporting its front portico. The building is topped with a cupola containing a clock. The courthouse was the site of the 1931 trial of the Scottsboro Boys, nine young black defendants accused of raping a white woman. Some people consider this trial to be the beginning of the civil rights movement in America. More than two dozen of the buildings surrounding the square have been designated as historic structures. Most are one or 2-story brick commercial structures from the early 20th century.

The Scottsboro Railroad Depot, at North Houston Street and Maple Avenue, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The brick building was constructed in 1860-61 as a passenger and freight depot for the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. On January 8, 1865 it became the focus of an intense Civil War battle between Union forces that held the depot and Confederate troops under the command of Brig. Gen. H.B. Lyon. Confederate artillery eventually drove the Union soldiers from the building. This depot is one of only three remaining pre-Civil War depots in Alabama.

The Brown-Proctor House on South Houston Street is another property listed on the National Register. The Greek-Revival style mansion, built in 1880, currently houses the Jackson Heritage Center. Visitors may tour the home as well as Sagetown, the center’s pioneer village. A number of authentic buildings have been moved to the location for preservation, including cabins, a school, and Jackson County’s first courthouse, built in 1868.

The College Hill Historic District includes ten structures on College Avenue between Scott and Kyle Streets. This area was Scottsboro’s first subdivision. Homes in the district date from 1909 to the 1940s. The building styles include Bungalow, Craftsman, and Classical-Revival.

The preservation efforts in the historic districts show Scottsboro’s commitment to honoring its history. This picturesque town in northeast Alabama is well worth a visit.

Oxford, Mississippi – The Land of Charm and Elegance

Oxford, also known as Ole Miss, is a land of charm and elegance. It has approximately 19,000 residents who are known to possess Southern culture and hospitality. Most people here are as passionate as authors and will genuinely win your heart that will entice you to stay longer. In fact, this city was quoted as the writer’s haven. It has produced a Nobel Prize-winning author, William Faulkner; and dozens of authors chose to stay and pursue their writing like Josh Grisham, Larry Brown, Cynthia Shearer, Barry Hannah, etc.

Oxford is a lively university filled with a historic picturesque town in Mississippi. It has scenic town square, unique shops and galleries, historic landmarks, excellent restaurants and clubs, and comfortable inns.

The courthouse square, called “The Square”, is the geographic and cultural center of the city. It is known for an abundance of locally owned restaurants, specialty boutiques, and professional offices, along with Oxford City Hall. Recently, The Square has become overpopulated with condos. Hence, Oxford has been considered as a sophisticated little city.

Oxford is also the home of the acclaimed University of Mississippi which plays an integral part in the community, providing cosmic social and cultural activities. Inside the campus is the University Museum which contains the several impressive, permanent collections including the Robinson collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, the Millington-Barnard Collection of 19th century scientific instruments, the personal collections of Mary Buie & Kate Skipwith, and an extensive collection of the work of Theora Hamblett, who is a native Oxonion folk artist. Additionally, it yearly hosts eight to ten temporary exhibits in conjunction with various university departments and the local community.

SEC sports continue to be a major attraction in Oxford-University Stadium, not only for Ole Miss Students and alumni, but for the entire community as well. The stadium is one of the country’s finest places to watch collegiate baseball. Moreover, Oxford plays as the hospitable host to thousands of visitors each year who attend athletic events here from across the nation. Furthermore, Oxford has been a long-time home for football games of tailgate parties. In order not to miss an ultimate Southern experience, you have to plan a day in The Grove to watch a home football game.

Anytime, there’s no shortage of recreational activities and venues available to residents and visitors in Oxford. The city combines a southern lifestyle with the cosmopolitan flair of a college town. Even so, the place is dwelt with friendly and warm-hearted people. Indeed, it is appropriate to quote Oxford as a land of charm and elegance