You may be struggling with finding that “perfect” gift this holiday season. It just might be art from a local artist.
Not only are you buying local, but you’re supporting a local artist and you could be starting someone on a path to collecting.
Phil Free knows the joy that comes with collecting and creating art. When he’s not overseeing photo content at Alabama Power, he is a professional photographer who has captured images around the world, specializing in dance photos and creative portraits.
The walls of his home are filled with art from Alabama artists and other artists, including his own works.
“I’ve had some of these things on my wall for 30 years or longer and they’re still on there, on the wall, because I enjoy looking at them still,” Free said. “They still give me joy. I don’t get tired of them. These are things that just touch me deeply emotionally.”
You’ve seen some of Free’s work in Alabama NewsCenter stories such as breast cancer survivors Carla Youngblood, Gloria Buie and Rosalind Griffin and Alabama Music Makers Jessica Meuse, Belinda George Peoples, Bobby Horton, Willie Hightower and Marlowe Shepherd. Alabama Crimson Tide football legend Wilbur Jackson, Reed Books owner Jim Reed, Chef Brian Duffett, Birmingham Ghost Tour leader Edward Wolfgang Poe and Alabama Maker Kathy D’Agostino of Chocolata are others he has captured with his camera.
Galleries, art collectives and some stores specialize in carrying art from local artists. Large art festivals such as Magic City Art Connection in Birmingham and Kentuck in Northport can be a great place to find art as well. Both are expected to return in a post-COVID world.
Here are some of Free’s favorite galleries:
dk contemporary gallery, Marietta Georgia
Canary Gallery, Birmingham
Beverly McNeil Gallery, Birmingham
Four Corners Gallery, Birmingham
Artists Incorporated Gallery, Leeds
Gallery One Inc., Montgomery
Sac’s Gallery, Montgomery
Cotton Belt Gallery, Montgomery
Jeannie Maddox, Dothan
Lyons Share, Fairhope
Sophiella Gallery, Mobile
Lupercalia Art Society, Mobile
Innova Arts, Mobile
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)