It's all new and it's got everything. The inaugural Arts in the Alley begins Saturday morning on the nostalgic brick-paved Journal Street in downtown Thomson.
Sponsored in part by the GrassRoots Arts Program and brought by the McDuffie Arts Council, the event will have performances by musical ensembles, professional dance troupes, poetry recitals and a ventriloquist. Visual arts will include painting, pottery, native American craft, metal work, sculpture, photography, illustration and folk art.
"We've got enough culture, enough art and enough performers, the whole thing; we just need people to attend," said MAC Chairman Marion Ivey.
Mr. Ivey, whose metal sculpture is seen annually at the Arts in the Heart festival in downtown Augusta, said the McDuffie event will be much smaller than the Augusta event, but just as good.
"As far as quality, I think we could easily compare to Arts in the Heart," he said. "We've got quality performance, quality literary art and quality visual art that is pretty much all local."
The art council began last September in McDuffie County and immediately began plans for an event that would promote the cultural and artistic resources of the region. Poetry recitals will take place in the county's new museum, located on Main Street across from Journal Street, and children's interactive art activities will be offered at the Family Y's new location, the Y130, on the corner of Main and Journal streets.
"We're a new art council that's never been here before, the museum is new, the Y130 is new, we are part of the GrassRoots program, so we had to do something cultural, so it's a culmination of all things new thrown together," Mr. Ivey said.
Children's activities will include coloring a copy of MAC's mascot - the Alley Cat, tie-dying projects and entertainment from a ventriloquist.
Members of the Thomson High School Class of 1985 will recognize the name of one of the poet performers - Dr. Gordon Johnson. Dr. Johnson graduated from THS that year and went on to become a professor at Mercer University. His poetry has been published in several magazines.
"He grew up in Dearing, so it's kind of a favorite son comes home as far as poetry goes," Mr. Ivey said.
The poetry recitals begin at 10:30 a.m. Other poets giving recitations Saturday include Betsy Weir and Phillip Turner. Musical performances in the alley will be by Distant Cousins, Dayz To Come, Eleventh Hour, Carl Purd & the Sandhills String Band and the Thomson High School Jazz Ensemble.
The fine arts event begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until 6 p.m. Manna, Inc. will accept food donations to its local food band as admission to the event. For more information, visit www.mcduffieartscouncil.org.