Outsider Art Comes In

Born in Arizona and raised in California, Futerer grew up in an artistic family and pursued a modeling career in Manhattan with the Ford Modeling Agency. When she began looking around the art world, though, she wasn’t drawn to the classical forms, but to the rawness of outsider art, a genre of art created by untrained or self-taught artists. She started first buying the works of a single artist, but as her knowledge of the genre grew, so did the number of artists whose works lined her walls. “I started collecting outsider art like a fiend and it took over my house so I decided to open a museum and to share it because...

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Folk Art Jubilee

Folk Art Jubilee Self-taught artists and their fans mingle each fall at Alabama’s up close and personal Kentuck Festival By Brian Noyes Smithsonian magazine, October 2003 Under the towering pines hard by Alabama’s Black Warrior River, the talk at 8 a.m. on an October Saturday is of a forecast of rain. When the exhibited work of 38 folk artists is made of mud, cardboard, sticks and rags—and the exhibit is out-of-doors—wet weather can indeed mean a washout. But for now the sun shines, merciful news for the 30,000 people expected today and tomorrow at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts, held the third weekend of every October in the woods near downtown Northport, across...

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Miz Thang

Written by M Glover Thursday, 04 November 2010    Another year at the Ketuck festival, and I had another artist to choose. With so many talented, unique artists to choose from, it can be quite the challenge to find only one to interview. This year, choosing an artist was not a difficult task for me. Not when you scroll on the list of artists and find a name that captures your attention like Miz Thang. “Just let me know if I can help you,” Miz Thang would say when anyone came walking into her bright, colorful, musical tent at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts. Wearing her paint-covered overalls, pink t-shirt, and shades, Miz...

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Miz Thang, the Artist of the Blues: History of the Blues Through Art

The songs slaves and field workers sang as they worked on Southern plantations in America in the 19th century and later after the end of slavery in the early 20th century, evolved over the years into what has become the Blues. The earliest Blues were mostly sad songs about hard work, unhappy love affairs and being poor, but songs about happier times eventually came to be included. At first, Blues were sung and played only by African-Americans, but now Blues music has spread around the world and is performed by all nationalities and races. Blues gave birth to most other kinds of American popular music, including Jazz, Rock & Roll, Zydeco, Rhythm & Blues...

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Miz Thang and The Alabama Blues Project

The Alabama Blues Project  (ABP), based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has been called “a unique program that helps children find harmony and hope.” The ABP us a nonprofit group dedicated to educating the public about blues music and the vital role that Alabama Musicians from W.C. Handy to Dinah Washington have played in its evolution. Once a week in the spring, the ABP runs an after-school program known as Blues Camp. The camp is also presented as an intensive weeklong session in the summer. Since its inception in 1995, the camp and other programs have reached more than 100,000 children. Seventy-two percent of the campers are considered at-risk because of poverty or special needs. For...

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Helping Kids Express Themselves Through Folk Art

The rich tradition of American folk art has traveled many roads over the years, from its beginnings in the seventeenth century to the wide variety of creative works that are being produced today in many formats and media by America’s self taught artists. Over the years, American folk art has advanced from those early primitive works to the honored status it enjoys today in prestigious museums and galleries throughout the country. In 1990, fewer than 10 museums included contemporary folk art in their collections; today; more than 50 museums vie for the best folk and “outsider” art America offers. New York’s Museum of American Folk Art moved into a permanent new home in January...

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