Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 Carnegie Carnival Preliminary Events

The Carnegie Visual Arts Center presents the schedule of events for 2015 Carnegie Carnival Season. Numerous preliminary events are happening in the weeks leading up to Carnegie Carnival on Saturday, February 14, 2015. Proceeds will benefit the Carnegie Visual Arts Center located at 207 Church Street in Decatur, and other area non-profit organizations. The day of Carnegie Carnival will be full of family friendly events and three parades. Carnival Canines on Parade will be at 11:00 AM and benefit the Animal Friends Humane Society. At 2:00 PM, the Prince and Princess Parade for children, tots to teens, is sponsored by the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts. The Carnegie Carnival Parade at 6:00 PM and will feature 25 Crewes, many with elaborately themed floats, beads and other throws, and street bands. Detailed information, voting, and forms are available at the official website,, and the Carnegie Carnival Facebook Page. Corporate sponsors include 3M, Valley Budweiser, Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Decatur-Morgan County CVB, Kiwanis Club of Decatur, and Decatur Rotary Club Foundation.

Cajun Cook-Off

The expanded team cooking competition, Cajun Cook-Off, will take place on Bank Street at the corner of Cherry Street. Categories are Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, and Jambalaya. A 1st Place Cookin' Crewe winner in each category and a Cookin' Crewe Grand Champion overall will be awarded at the Cook-Off Awards Presentation at 3:00 PM. The public may taste free samples at 2:00 PM and vote for the Peoples Choice Award by tipping their favorite Cookin' Crewe. Registration form is available at and the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. Teams may register through February 8, 2015.

2015 Original Artwork Raffle, Posters, and T-shirts

The Carnegie Visual Arts Center commissions an original artwork to serve as the official Carnegie Carnival artwork for the year. This year the artwork is by B. C. Keith and Mary H. Reed. Posters of the artwork, both unsigned or signed, are available for purchase at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center and Long Sleeve T-shirts are available in black or white this year by Pre-Sale Only. Orders for T-shirts are due by January 30, 2015. Shirts will be at the Carnegie for pick up on February 11, 2014. The Original Artwork has been framed and will be won by a raffle this year. Tickets are $5 and are available at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. Tickets also will be available until 5:00 PM at the information areas on the day of the parade. The winning ticket will be drawn and announced at 5:30 PM before the Carnegie Carnival Parade on February 14, 2015.

Vote for Royalty

Candidates compete to be crowned King, Queen, Prince, or Princess of Carnegie Carnival. King candidates are Ronnie Moore, Andy Thomas, and Phil Tuell. Queen Candidates are Kristin Propst, Kim Hallmark and Sheila Motley. Princess and Prince candidates are Victoria Sautter and Mallie Sedlak, and Braxton Higdon and Sean-Alex Smith. Throughout the Carnival Season, the candidates host fundraising events and raffles, most of which are open to the public, to raise awareness and revenue for the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. For information about candidates, public events, or to vote go to or call 256-341-0562.

Gospel Brunch

The Gospel Brunch will be February 7, 2015 at 11:00 AM at the Magnolia Room. It will feature a New Orleans styled breakfast, catered by The Big Easy, and a cash bar. Musical entertainment will be provide by Southern Cross and the Orr Sisters. It is open to the public and tickets ($40 per person) are available at and at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center.

Zydeco Band at the Princess Theatre

The Swamp Poppas Zydeco Dance Band headlines a Mardi Gras party at the Princess Theatre performing Cajun, Blues, and Swamp Pop music. The band members, Tuck Kornegay, Wade Sexton, Jason Courson, Clay Alligood, and Michael Johnson, are from Birmingham, Alabama. The group has diverse instrumentation including 3-row accordion, Cajun accordion, fiddle, mandolin, bass, guitar, drums, lapsteel, harmonica. Expect lyrics in Cajun French and English. Admission is $5 at door and includes food by The Big Easy, and a cash bar.

Pre-Register for Parades

Carnival Canines on Parade will begin on 2nd Avenue at 11 AM on February 14th. Participants may pre-register ($10 for first dog, $5 for each additional walked by same person) at via Pay Pal, or may register the day of the parade at Casa Grande Park. Groups wishing to participate in the Prince and Princess Parade can pre-register for $25 for the group at or at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. Individuals may register the day of the parade at Founders Park for $5 per person.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Photographs of North Alabama to Exhibit At the Carnegie

Carnegie Visual Arts Center presents Alabama Revisited: Recent Photographs of Alabama's Past on display January 20 - March 7, 2015. In January 2014 Decatur native and photographer, Tillman Crane lead a group of photography enthusiasts through visual treasure troves of North Alabama. From industrial Birmingham to the backwaters of the Tennessee River, these photographers found beauty in the still, the rusted, and the silent shadows of Alabama's past.

The exhibit includes fifty photographic works by seventeen photographers from eleven states. Locations included Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, a historic building on Bank Street in Decatur, Alabama, and structures and backwater marshes in Mooresville, Alabama.

In conjunction with the beginning of the exhibit, Mr. Crane will host a third Alabama photography workshop, Spirit of Structure: Alabama Revisited, with different Decatur places waiting to be captured in film or pixels. A video slideshow of new images will be added to the exhibit at the conclusion of this year's workshow on Friday, January 23rd and continue to be on display for the remainder of the exhibit.

Alabama Revisited: Recent Photographs of Alabama's Past is comprised of works by the following photographers:

Charles Carson - Pennsylvania
Tillman Crane - Maine
James Delark - North Carolina
Dorthea Eiben - Maine
Steve Epstein - Maryland
Carol Glassman - New York
Vivien Goldman - Massachusetts
Stacia Hollman - Florida
Ed Kenney - Maine
Harold Lichtin - Massachusetts
Darrell Roak - Maine
Donna Wesley Spencer - Illinois
Alan Strassman - Massachusetts
Elizabeth M. Swain - Massachusetts
George Edward Tilman, Jr. - Missouri
Charles Waldron - Texas
Page Williamson - Tennessee

Since 2003, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center has presented multiple exhibitions throughout each year featuring a variety of local, regional, national, and international art through solo and group shows. All exhibitions are free to the general public. The Carnegie is a 501(c)(3) non-profit art exhibition venue housed in a historic renovated and repurposed Carnegie Library building. The Carnegie is supported by fundraising events, membership, corporate and private donations, and grants.

Regular viewing hours are Tuesday - Friday, 10 AM - 5 PM and Saturday, 10 AM - 2 PM.

The Carnegie is located at 207 Church Street, NE, Decatur, Alabama.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Dose of Mardi Gras

Decatur’s Carnegie Carnival is set for February 14, 2015.

On Valentine’s Day this year, Decatur’s Mardi Gras-style celebration hits the streets when the Carnegie Visual Arts Center holds its annual Carnegie Carnival. Set for February 14, 2015, Carnegie Carnival fills Decatur’s historic downtown area with parades, music, a Cajun cook-off, and other free activities, all while promoting art, creativity and family-friendly fun and raising money for the arts and other non-profits located in Decatur and Morgan County.

The fourth annual Carnegie Carnival gets underway at 8 a.m. with the Mardi Gras 5K sponsored by the Junior League of Morgan County. The Cajun Cook-off follows at 10 a.m. at the corner of Bank Street and Cherry Street with the award presentation set for 3 p.m. The tasty event is open to professional and amateur Cookin’ Crewes. There will be first, second, and third place winners and the team with the most “tips” in the Tip Jar will be presented the People’s Choice award.

The first parade of the day, sponsored by Animal Friends Humane Society, is the Carnival Canines on Parade. Starting at 11 a.m., dogs of all shapes and sizes will trot through downtown Decatur beginning on 2nd Avenue at Casa Grande Park and ending at Founder’s Park, which is located in front of the Old State Bank.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Kiwanis of Decatur Creation Station art area will be open with free hands-on art activities for children, and a children’s play area sponsored by Morgan County CAC will provide kid-friendly entertainment. Both of these events will be held at Founder’s Park.

At 2 p.m., the Prince and Princess Parade for children takes to the streets of downtown Decatur beginning at Founders Park and ending in front of the Princess Theatre. The parade, for tots through teens, is sponsored by the Princess Theatre.

New for this year’s event is a bluegrass music showcase that will have festivalgoers on their feet. Carnival Mardi-Grass, sponsored by Valley Budweiser, will be presented at Founder’s Park from 2 to 5 p.m., and, in between parades and activities, stop by the Carnegie Visual Arts Center between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., for an incredible photography exhibit titled “Alabama Revisited: Recent Photographs of Alabama’s Past.”  

The grand finale of the daylong event is the Carnegie Carnival Parade where crewes proceed in traditional Mardi Gras-style complete with themed floats, costumes, “throws”, and music. Set to hit the streets at 6 p.m., the parade route begins on 2nd Avenue at Gordon Drive, continuing onto Lee Street/Bank Street, and ending at Founder’s Park near the Old State Bank. The parade will be led by 2015 Carnegie Carnival King Jake Reed and Queen Kate Cole. Immediately following the parade, the evening concludes with a headlining band (TBA) at Founder’s Park. The outdoor performance (weather contingent) is free to the public and is sponsored by Valley Budweiser. Anyone participating with a Crewe may attend the Carnegie Carnival Crewe Party at Ingalls Harbor where the 2016 Carnegie Carnival King and Queen will be crowned.

During Carnegie Carnival, downtown merchants will be open and shoppers can browse for locally made and one-of-a-kind items and participate in the Carnival Crawl shopping game. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., shoppers can visit merchants and collect stamps on the Carnival Crawl game sheet for a chance to win a prize basket.

Festival organizers are also pleased to announce a new bead-recycling program for this year’s event. The Carnegie Visual Arts Center, in conjunction with the Decatur High School Developmental Program, will collect and recycle thrown beads from previous Carnegie Carnival parades. Beads may be dropped off at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Albany Bistro and Pool Doctors during their regular operating hours until January 16, 2015. DHS Developmental Program students and volunteers will wash, sort and repackage the beads to make the beads available for resale at an economical price. Beads will be available for purchase beginning February 3rd at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. All proceeds from the sale of the beads will benefit the DHS Development Program.

Parade registration forms and activity information are available at Proceeds benefit the Carnegie Visual Arts Center and other non-profit organizations in the Decatur area. For additional information, call the Carnegie Visual Arts Center at 256.341.0562.