The Southern Soiree is Sept. 15
By LAURA NATION-ATCHISON

Home features editor

Add up a mixture of fine finished art and watching “hands on” art in the making, a gathering of friends who support the arts in the community, and the work done by youth interested in the arts and you’ve got a start.

Then, consider eclectic entertainment and some tempting taste sensations and you’ve got it.

The 2012 Southern Soiree’ hosted by Heritage Hall Museum in Talladega begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 and all the above and plenty more awaits those who attend.

It’s a fundraiser for the museum, chaired by members of the Jemison Carnegie Foundation, which is the fundraising arm for the museum’s Talladega Heritage Commission.

The event is open to the public this year, and not limited to museum members.

The several dozen painting and pieces of pottery which will be available via a silent auction are of distinct quality and represent a variety of tastes.

You could take home a painting or piece of pottery that reflects young hands in the learning process, or a piece done entirely by a professional artist.

Large canvas paintings abound among the offerings, in tones and styles to become a centerpiece for any home or place of business.

Professional artists included in the stash of art include Tommy Moorehead, artist in residence for Heritage Hall Museum; Lila Graves; Russell Everett and Jim Gasser.

Each of the artists have long years of supporting Arts Camp for Kids in Talladega, where many of the pieces were created for this year’s auction.

The pottery was created to be “functional pieces that people can take home an actually use,” Moorehead said.

There are large hand built urns decorated in an assortment of styles, designed to use as planters or ornamentals for all kinds of uses, Moorehead said.

The paintings are done in florals and cariacatures, some even cartoonish in styles that are suited for all kinds of uses, from children’s rooms to offices and living rooms, too.

Hands on artists for the soiree’ include Moorehead, along with Graves.

Funds raised from the event are used to pay for the museum’s ongoing programs, things like Arts Camp for Kids and for ongoing arts programs in the local school systems, said Misty McGehee, president of the Jemison Carnegie Foundation.

“This is really an elegant event and a great party,” she said.

Live entertainment from the band Lynwood and the Lounge Lizards will be ongoing throughout the evening.

Last year’s soiree’ brought in about $3,000 and McGehee said the group hopes to exceed that amount by doubling or tripling the funds raised.

“This is so that we can put art back into our community with great camps, children’s and adult art classes, and of course, art classes for students in our city schools,” she said. “This is an outreach our boards are very proud of offering,” she said.

Organizers plan to have televisions set up in the downstairs studio for SEC fans to keep an eye on games taking place during the event.

After building a new library in 1979, the City Council of the City of Talladega established the Talladega Heritage Commission, delegating to it complete authority and control of the landmark Jemison-Carnegie Main Library Building. In 1981, the Council passed ordinances giving the powers and responsibilities regarding the operation of a local museum and cultural center to this Commission.

The goals of the Commission included adaptive restoration of the building as a permanent not-for-profit institution and provision of access to quality arts experiences and the humanities.

Jemison-Carnegie Foundation, the support organization, was then incorporated, specifically structured to include input from every area of community interest and activity. In addition to organizing fund-raising activities and membership, the Foundation sponsors the Jemison-Carnegie Heritage Hall Service Guild.

The museum houses a permanent collection that continues to grow, a vast supply of historic photographs of the city’s past that have now been digitally stored and public art exhibits throughout the year.

This year’s soiree’ includes a membership drive, and memberships are available at the following levels: Individual, $40; Dual, $65; Family, $75; Bronze Corporate Sponsor, $150; Silver Corporate Sponsor, $300; and Gold Corporate Sponsors, $450.

© 2012