GMA celebrates Bicentennial exhibit’s arrival

September 27, 2019 chris
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By Sarrah Peters

News Editor

During downtown Gadsden’s First Friday event on October 4, the Gadsden Museum of Art will be the happening place to be.

The museum is welcoming the Alabama Bicentennial traveling exhibit titled “Making Alabama.”

The exhibit was created through a partnership with the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Alabama State Bicentennial Commission and the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The exhibit has been traveling throughout Alabama to all 67 counties.

The exhibit’s arrival at the Gadsden Museum of Art will kick off on October 4 with a ribbon cutting at 6 p.m.

“The downstairs of the museum will be the traveling exhibit, which is a digital timeline of pre-Alabama to now,” said GMA Curator Ray Wetzel. “There will be 16 screens you can scroll through.”

In honor of the Bicentennial exhibit, Wetzel decided to hold a concurrent exhibit with a timeline of Etowah County’s history on the third floor. The third-floor exhibit includes local Native American history; local civil rights history; the history of local landmarks including Noccalula Falls, the Coosa River and downtown Gadsden; the history of the local police and fire department; and the history of local industry, including Dwight Cotton Mill, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Alabama Steel and Wire Company.

In addition to the new exhibits, three Alabama authors will hold book signings at the event on October 4.

John Dersham is well-known for his photography book My Alabama: John Dersham Photographs a State. Dersham began his photography career in 1960 with his father’s 1930 Kodak Brownie. He has continued to make art for 59 years. Dersham worked in the photography industry at Eastman Kodak for more than 30 years. His last Kodak job brought him to Alabama, where he fell in love with the state’s natural beauty and varied terrain, as well as its people and places.

Dersham’s work in the tourism industry was recognized when he received the Alabama Travel Council Award of Excellence at the 2018 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Mike Bunn, director of Historic Blakeley State Park in Baldwin County, is the author of Civil War Eufaula and Early Alabama: An Illustrated Guide to the Formative Years, 1798-1826; coauthor of Battle for the Southern Frontier: The Creek War and the War of 1812 and a contributor to the newly released Alabama, From Territory to Statehood.

Julian McPhillips, Jr. was born in Birmingham and grew up in Cullman. He attended Sewanee Military Academy, Princeton and Columbia University Law. After working for four years as a Wall Street attorney, Julian returned to Alabama in 1975 as an assistant attorney general.

McPhillips is well-known for his work on civil rights and public interest cases. He is the author of an autobiography titled Only in Alabama: More Colorful True Stories from a Lawyer’s Life. McPhillips has won awards from the SCLC, NAACP,and other civil rights groups. He is also co-founder, with his wife Leslie, of the Scott and Zelda Museum.

At 7:30 p.m., Wanda and Michael Green, local photographers traveling to each Alabama county using the “Making Alabama” exhibit as a guide, will speak at the museum.

Light refreshments will be offered at the event. Posters featuring unique works of art will be available for purchase.

For more information, contact the Gadsden Museum of Art at 256-546-7365.