Alabama artists have a good time wildlife at new Wetumpka competition

When Thomas Harris realized that the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery in Wetumpka was that includes Alabama wildlife throughout its artwork exhibit collection this fall, he envisioned an even bigger, extra far-reaching occasion that may have a larger influence on the town in addition to the state.

The end result: The museum, extra generally often called “The Kelly,” is internet hosting the primary Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival, in partnership with the Smoot Harris household and metropolis of Wetumpka. The competition is a celebration of Alabama wildlife and discipline sports activities by means of artwork, and can culminate with a daylong, action-packed occasion within the historic downtown.

“In Alabama, we’re all about wildlife, from north to south to east to west,” stated Harris, noting that Wetumpka’s central location within the state makes it the right spot for the competition. “Our goal includes a desire to benefit the Wetumpka area by helping to increase tourism, impact economic development, expose The Kelly to a wider audience and, hopefully, create an ongoing event for this charming community as it continues to grow into a mecca for the arts.”


Harris, founding father of Alabama Black Belt Adventures, grew up in Wetumpka and has deep roots locally. Moreover, his mom, Ethel Smoot, took artwork classes from John Kelly Fitzpatrick, a Wetumpka artist, who, earlier than his demise, gained worldwide popularity of his work.

The late artist John Kelly Fitzpatrick hailed from Wetumpka. (Encyclopedia of Alabama)

“My wife, Cindy, and I wanted to give something back to Wetumpka and do it in honor of my family,” stated Harris. “I think this will be a fun event with lots of energy and excitement.”

The celebration opens with “Art Gone Wild,” an exhibition at The Kelly that runs from Sept. 27 by means of Nov. 19 and takes an in depth take a look at wildlife and nature by means of the eyes of native and regional artists, together with Sue Key, Dirk Walker and Andrew Lee.


The thrill will construct, peaking Nov. 5 with the premiere wildlife arts competition on the banks of the Coosa River. The free occasion will embrace demonstrations by award-winning artisans, together with chef Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham and woodcarver John David Foote.

Wildrose Kennels, a nationally acknowledged breeder of British and Irish Labradors, can be on the competition showcasing their sporting canine. And the Alabama Wildlife Federation, which operates the Alabama Nature Center in close by Millbrook, will provide animal encounters. Guests will get the possibility to observe animals paint and should purchase their work. There can be instructional workshops, crafters, distributors, youngsters’s actions and video games, and reside music.


Wild Rose Kennels is bringing its famed sporting canine to the competition. (contributed)

“We’re using this momentum to nurture and grow the arts in Wetumpka,” stated Belyn Richardson, president of The Kelly, in a information launch in regards to the competition. “With beautiful rivers, lakes and abundant wildlife in Elmore County, as well as the nearby Alabama Nature Center, it only made sense for us to partner with the Smoot Harris family and the city to bring a top-tier festival to sweet home Alabama. We’re grateful for their enthusiasm and support.”

Jennifer Eifert, govt director of The Kelly, stated the competition will permit guests to observe artists in motion.


“Artists will be painting all around town and selling their pieces at the festival,” she stated. “It will be a way for them to get their work in front of a whole new group of people.”

Alabama Power is among the many occasion sponsors, together with the Alabama Wildlife Federation, Alabama Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils and Wind Creek Wetumpka.

“The festival will be a great opportunity for people to get out and have a fun day, and see what our beautiful town has to offer,” Eifert stated.

For extra info and a schedule of occasions, go to the gallery web site at

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