Jailhouse Alley Art Show in Fort Valley still a crowd pleaser after 47 years

November 1, 2013 

A group of women, bonded by a love of art, share their artistic abilities one Saturday each fall at the Jailhouse Alley Art Show and Sale in Fort Valley. The group spends a year preparing for the annual art show, one they’ve sponsored for nearly 50 years.

This year, the event is happening Saturday at Fort Valley United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall, located on Main Street.

“This is an annual art show and sale. It’s been going on for 47 years. ... We are a group of artists who do watercolor, oils and acrylics. We meet weekly and paint. Our teacher is Ernie Stofko-Dixon, who has been teaching us for about 30 years,” said Betty Cleveland, who is handling public relations for the group.

Profits from the show are used to pay for art supplies and the art classes where they prepare their works.

“We also provide a scholarship to a senior at Peach County High School who excels in art,” Cleveland said. “There are about 15 members currently who meet on Thursday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon at the old Peach County High School. We also accept new members. I taught school for 30 years and when I retired I became involved. I would go to the show every year and it was a big community attraction. I had taken lessons years before, but I hadn’t been able to do it and teach. Now, it’s a great hobby. It’s relaxing and inspirational to be with all these people who like to paint. Our membership is always fluctuating and changing, so we never get stale.”

There will be about 200-300 items for sale at the event.

“A variety of paintings will be at the show, including still-life of fruit, local scenery like peach orchards in bloom, and other landscape scenes and flowers and things like that. We all mat and frame our own paintings,” she said. “There is stationary of local scenes and flowers and things like tomatoes. Our note cards are a good seller. We also have a bargain table.”

The best-seller at the event is the annual calendar produced by the group.

“One of our biggest specialties is a pen and ink calendar. Twelve people contribute and this year’s theme is buildings of Middle Georgia. We sell the calendar for $5, which isn’t much, but we want to keep this accessible for the community,” said Cleveland. “Some of the buildings include the Fort Valley Coca-Cola Bottling Factory, which has been torn down. The Whistle Stop Café in Juliette is another, as is the old train terminal in Macon. They are all local scenes that we, as local artists, capture. This will be the belle of the ball, if you will. It’s definitely something that we all look forward to.”

Jailhouse Alley Art Show and Sale

When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 2

Where: Fort Valley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 301 W. Church St., Fort Valley

Cost: Free admission

Information: 478-825-5775

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