Native Alabama Artists Featured at UA Gallery

Thornton Dial's Scratching for Life, 1998 (paint and gravel on wood, 48 x 48 inches), photographed by Edward Badham.
Thornton Dial’s Scratching for Life, 1998 (paint and gravel on wood, 48 x 48 inches), photographed by Edward Badham.

The University of Alabama Gallery will feature pieces from Doug McCraw’s collection of art March 2 to April 30 in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center in downtown Tuscaloosa.

The exhibition, “A Harder Task Than Making Bricks Without Straw,” showcases quilts, paintings, sculptures, and photographs created by Alabama natives including Mary Lee Bendolph, Chris Clark, Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Charlie Lucas, and Lucy T. Pettway. The exhibition and a reception, to be held March 2 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., are free and open to the public.

Exhibit curator Paul Barrett said he hopes people from all backgrounds will attend and that each visitor will view the pieces in the exhibit like a conversation overheard at a family reunion or gathering of old friends — seeing the works for their stories.

“There are stories behind each work, and they’re Alabama stories,” he said.

Art collector Doug McCraw is the founder and developer of FATVillage, an arts district in the city center of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The area was developed out of a warehouse district in 1999 and has some of the oldest buildings in the city. It has developed into a community of artists, galleries, theatres, studios and other arts-centric businesses. Doug graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from The University of Alabama in 1972 and remains active with board work on the campus.

Paul Barrett is the director of Stephen Smith Fine Art, a gallery space in Fairfield, Alabama, that specializes in cutting-edge modern and contemporary fine art with a primary focus on artists whose work engages with social issues.

The UA Gallery offers a year-round schedule of exhibitions of artistic works, artifacts, textiles and more from permanent collections held by UA, as well as works by faculty, students and guest artists and designers.

It is located at 620 Greensboro Ave. in downtown Tuscaloosa and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the first Fridays of the month from noon until 8 p.m. For more information, contact the gallery at 205-345-3038 or 205-342-2060.

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.