JH fundraiser and Art Expo attract visitors to Moulton

En Plein Air Artist Timothy Joe, of Huntsville, chose to capture the sign over Lula Belle’s Florist as one of his downtown Moulton series.

About $900 was raised at the Jackson House Foundation Ribs and Butts Barbecue Fundraiser and Bake Sale for the historical Jackson House on Saturday, JHF Director Tammy Roberts said. 

The fundraiser, held in conjunction with Moulton’s first Art Expo on the Moulton square, brought in a large crowd and enthusiastic artists and craftsman despite the weather, JHF board member Loretta Gillespie added.

As barbecue pre-orders were being prepared for the fundraiser, Gillespie said she knew music entertainment would help make the event a success.

“We didn’t need another festival. This was just a day to bring people downtown,” she said. “This was a free and relaxed event for the whole family. Parents could bring their kids to celebrate the art of living in a small town.”

Gillespie said artists and craftsmen who set up around downtown Moulton did not pay to have a slot on the square and they did not charge visitors and onlookers to watch demonstrations or learn about their crafts.

She said the only money made during the event was from the proceeds of the fundraisers held by the JHF, which included the sale of raffle tickets for a wood carving by Philip Terry. 

Roberts said the proceeds from the barbecue fundraiser and bake sale will be used to pay expenses and restoration efforts at the Jackson House. 

“I’m about to write a big check of $13,100 for an HVAC unit,” Roberts said. “We’ll have virtually nothing in our account until we receive reimbursement funds from the grant we were awarded.”

Roberts, who said it can take up to three months to receive funds from an awarded grant, but she hopes the foundation’s fundraisers will allow them to build up a reserve for the months until the grant is received. 

The Foundation began taking orders for barbecued ribs and butts by former Auburn football player Pat Johnson earlier this month. 

Raffle tickets for the woodcarving also went on sale in early June, and a winner will be drawn on July 18 at the JHF Pizza, Picking and Preserving event, happening from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Mellow Mushroom in Decatur.

“We sold about 100 or 125 raffle tickets on Saturday,” Roberts said. “We’ll continue selling them from now until July 18—up until the minute we do the drawing.”

The woodcarving prize entitled “Cottonwood Bark Mining Town” will remain on display at Shrewsberry Donuts in Moulton until the date of the drawing, she said.

Sculptor of the prize, Philip Terry, was also at the Art Expo on Saturday showcasing his work. 

“He teaches free classes at his studio in East Lawrence. He also teaches at Java Jaay in Decatur,” Gillespie said. “That’s what this Expo is about—sharing and teaching these old skills and art forms that could become lost if they aren’t passed down.”

She said Tracy Murcks with Murcks Family Chair Caning and Seat Weaving was one of six other artists to attend Saturday as well. She demonstrated the diminishing art of chair caning and displayed some of the chairs of her business, Gillespie said. 

Daniel White, a photographer from Battleground, in Cullman County, showcased his work of landscapes and farm life—pictures he took with an iPhone. 

“He has quite a following,” Gillespie said. “He explained his pictures and how he achieved them with special effects. Everyone thought they were paintings! They were pictures any farm-grown person would be familiar with.”

Along with White, Murcks and Terry, a Huntsville En Plain Air artist, Timothy Joe, meandered downtown Moulton in search of inspirations for his next paintings. 

“He paints scenes that catch his eye,” Gillespie said. “Lula Belle’s—the florist on Main Street—their logo and sign really caught his attention.”

She said Timothy Joe took photographs of other places in downtown Moulton he plans to paint later. 

Along with artists and craftsmen who attended the Expo, Gillespie said several musicians performed for visitors as well.

Craig Mann, who teaches dulcimer playing in Cullman, Blountsville and Hanceville, played the old-timey instrument on the steps of the old courthouse as people picked up their barbecue orders. 

Rod Wallace and Brett Anderson performed on stage for visitors on the square as well. Wallace, who has been in the music business for more than 60 years, sang and played alongside Anderson, who has lent her musical talents for the Moulton Veterans Day Parade in the past. Together the pair sang covers from the 60s and 70s as well as gospel tunes. 

“We hope to make this an annual event,” Gillespie said of the Art Expo. “We’d like to see bigger crowds, better weather, and more participation from local craftsmen and artists next year. It all depends on community response.”

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