100 Lenses

Art for the Masses

It might come as a surprise to some folks, but Gordo, Alabama, in Pickens County has a thriving arts community, especially for a town its size (approx.1,700 people).

I’m sure a large part of the draw is the fact that at least three regionally and nationally known artists live and work there… Glenn House, Sr. (Sandee’s uncle), Kathy Fetters, and Amos Kennedy. A blog post from 2009 covers Gordo’s annual Mule Fest and mentions these characters better than I can relate it.

While I was in Gordo a couple of weekends ago, I met Rhys Greene, a tile artist who was securing a beautiful work to the wall of a building housing the mayor’s used book store. I struck up a conversation with her and found her to be interesting and delightful to talk with.

Through a project called Black Belt 100 Lenses, she has worked with children in the surrounding communities to increase their love of and participation in the arts, her specialty being the tile mosaics. In this photo, she created the center piece, and then directed children as they placed in the surrounding pieces.

Rhys doesn’t live in Gordo, but somewhere between there and Fayette. She was telling me that she has pieces at church gardens, in Northport (where the Kentuck Festival is held), and other places around the region. Surprisingly to me, she said that she did not take up the tile art until later in life, that photography is her true passion, as it is mine.

I find it inspiring to know that art and creativity does not have to be defined by your location or your age… it’s really limited only by your imagination and your passion.

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