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Upcoming Southern Lit Alliance’s annual arts event features 57 local artists
When Anna Carll was growing up and going to church with her family, rather than finding inspiration from the sermons, she found her attention focused elsewhere. “Instead of paying attention to mass and church, I was staring at the stained glass windows,” Carll says, “so that super-saturated color really affects me and how I work.”
This attention to color and the inspiration drawn from stained glass is very much evident in her contribution to this year’s Art-a-ma-jig event, a fundraiser for The Southern Lit Alliance. Fifty-seven artists have contributed more than 60 works.
On Carll’s part, contributing to the event was a chance to really explore this year’s theme: “Stories”. Drawing inspiration from the timeless tale of Dante and his muse, Beatrice, her piece tells the story of Dante’s courtly romance; of a love that never was.
The two protagonists’ faces overlap, an idea Carll got from randomly picking up Southern novelist David Morrell’s book “Double Image” and liking the idea of two images intertwined. “I really took the theme and ran with it. It was really fun to do,” she says.
Dana Shavin has been involved with the fundraiser (now in its twelfth incarnation) for a number of years, and says she was thrilled to be chosen to be a part of it. “It’s a high-quality, high-class event. It’s the thing to do,” she says. Plus, as an artist, “I love the fact that they use themes…[and seeing] how artists interpret the themes.”
For her contribution, Shavin had little problem coming up with a piece to fit this year’s theme—because she already had it. “When the theme came out, I had just done this painting of this woman sitting in a room by herself reading a book. You can’t tell what the book is or what the room is and you don’t know what her story is, so it’s sort of a story within the story. I think it was kind of perfect for the theme.”
Both Carll and Shavin agree that Art-a-ma-jig event is an extremely worthy, and exciting, event to be a part of. Shavin notes that she is an artist and a writer as well, making this particular event the perfect juxtaposition of her passions. Plus, the Southern Lit Alliance, she says, “is just such a great organization, doing so many things. They’re supportive of the arts, obviously, and very supportive of the artists. They have enrichment programs for kids and the writer residency…they have so many creative programs. And how do you not support that?”
Carll agrees, and adds, “They just put on a great party!” Not to mention, she points out, it’s a great place to meet and mingle with some wonderful local artists and writers. “It is a fantastic opportunity to see the work of a bunch of great artists in one place,” she says. “It’s great for the artists too, to mingle with other artists and art patrons.”
The Southern Lit Alliance (formerly the Arts & Education Council) celebrates Southern writers and readers through community education and innovative literary arts experiences. The Alliance hosts the Celebration of Southern Literature, as well as programs to directly affect and enrich the writing culture in Chattanooga, such as Young Southern Student Writers, Writers in Classrooms (residencies), Creative Writing Workshops for Teachers and Dramas for Youth.
Art-a-ma-jig, which SLA Executive Director Susan Robinson explains got its name from a board member who during planning referred to it as an “Art-a-ma-jig-y thingy” (and the name stuck), is the Alliance’s only annual fundraiser for the year. Not only is it a fabulous evening of art, which can be bid on during the silent auction, food, wine and great company, it’s a chance to support the community. “Art makes our community a vibrant place to live. [Supporting] this event helps our community become more vibrant,” Robinson says.
This year’s event is catered and sponsored by The Grocery Bar (formerly Enzo’s Market). The food will be paired with select wine from sponsor Riverside Wine & Spirits. Tickets are $75. The silent auction of original artwork begins at 6 p.m.
Art-a-ma-jig, 6-9 p.m. July 31, The Church on Main, 1601 Rossville Ave. (423) 267-1218, southernlitalliance.org