Folk Art & Fine Craft Celebration

The Art at the Festival:

View and purchase one-of-a-kind works from over 150 fine artists from all over the US displaying original fine works of art with a fresh and diverse array of 2-D and 3-D mixed media, ceramics, drawing & graphics, fiber, glass, jewelry, painting, sculpture, and computer-generated art. Artists compete for awards in each category by our expert judges.

Professional chalk artists will also be creating large-scale pieces throughout the festival to create interactive (selfie-worthy) works of art.

2024 Folk Art New Addition:

LeMoyne Arts, in partnership with the John G. Riley Center & Museum, will host a special exhibit celebrating local folk artists and their contributions to the visual arts experience in our community. This exhibit will be in tandem with the Chain of Parks Art Festival to showcase folk artists from our region and beyond during the festival weekend.

While always featuring fine art, the Festival celebrates all of the arts including music, dance, culinary art, street art, and now, folk art! Festival attendees will visit 9 self-described folk & fine craft artists along the festival’s Tunnicliff Lane leading to the exhibit at the LeMoyne Arts Gallery.

“Soulful Feelin’: A Folk Art Celebration” Exhibit: Thursday, Apr 11 – Saturday, May 18, 2024

In collaboration with the John G. Riley Center & Museum, is a duel exhibition that pays tribute to the enduring legacy of folk art (“outsider” or “make-do” art) as a universal form of expression. We honor the ingenuity, authenticity, and shared humanity that connects artists from all walks of life. The exhibit features works by renowned artists such as O.L. Samuels, Thornton Dial, Sr., The Florida Highwaymen, and Mary Proctor, showcasing the rich tapestry of our artistic heritage.

Kindly Presented By Akbar Thomas Law Firm

Art is one of the first languages of expression in history. From the initial crude engravings in caves to more sophisticated formulations now, people have used art to communicate, tell stories, and express their creativity. With time, different forms of art have emerged, each with its own unique style and purpose. Two such forms of art that people often compare and contrast are “fine art” vs. “folk art”.

While the differences are subjective and the definitions are constantly evolving, here’s a helpful guide to understanding the subtle distinctions between “Fine Art”, “Craft” and “Folk Art”.

Fine Art is typically described as a form of work that is the expression of emotions, executed from innate talent, passion, and classical training. The origins of fine art can be traced back to ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks and the Egyptians. Fine art was seen as a way to express one’s creativity and artistic talent. It was often created by professional artists who had received formal training in the techniques and theory of art.

Folk Art, on the other hand, has its roots in traditional cultures and communities. It is often created by individuals who have not received formal training in art but have inherited a style and skill through the traditions of a community. It is often passed down through generations and can be seen as a form of cultural heritage. Folk art is steeped in grassroots history and often distinguished from academic, commercial, and Western “Fine Art”. Folk Art is frequently demonstrated through fine craftmanship, utilitarian and ornamental media, color, and texture; showcasing artistic expression from a non-classically trained artist.

Generally, folk art is ART that:

  • May be decorative or utilitarian
  • Is handmade; it may include handmade elements, as well as new, synthetic, or recycled components
  • May be made for use within a community of practice or it may be produced for sale as a form of income and empowerment
  • May be learned formally or informally; folk art may also be self-taught
  • Is traditional; it reflects shared cultural aesthetics and social issues. It is recognized that, as traditions are dynamic, traditional folk art may change over time and may include innovations in tradition.
  • Is of, by, and for the people; all people, inclusive of class, status, culture, community, ethnicity, gender, and religion

Fine Craft is a form of work that results in a tangible output, often repeatable over and over. A fine craft can be learned from considerable practice and developed into a world-class form. Patrons are inspired by the skill to create the piece rather than a reaction to the subject matter.

Folk Artist Highlight: Mary Proctor

Photo of Mary Proctor by Becki Rutta from the Women Among Us: Portraits of Strength Exhibit

Mary L. Proctor, a.k.a MISSIONARY MARY is a world-renowned Folk Artist who started painting in February 1995. In January of 1994 she lost her grandmother, aunt, and uncle in a mobile home fire that her grandmother raised her in, whom she called Momma. Told by God that “the door is the way,” she began to paint on an old door lying in her yard. In February of 1996, “Mary L. Proctor: The Door Paintings,” her second one-woman show, was presented at Tricia Collins-Grand Salon in New York’s Soho. From that show, Mary blossomed as the “Queen of Folk Art”.

She has permanent art in some of our most prestigious museum collections in the county, including the Smithsonian Anacostia, the Morris Museum, the American Visionary Art Museum, The Metropolitan NYC, the High Museum, the Saint Petersburg Fine Art Museum, the Mennello Museum of American Folk Art, and the Museum of Florida History. Mary has a national following of private and public collectors, along with multiple Tallahassee-based establishments such as LeMoyne Arts’ Gallery Shop. She’s been featured in several articles and book publications and continues to be a prolific self-identified Folk Artist.

Folk Artist Highlight: Monica Rios

“I see my art as a direct spiritual connection to my cultural heritage. It is in my dreams and in my veins. People often ask me if I am painting myself, but really I am just painting Hispanic women in general. When other Hispanic viewers look at my art and feel the connection, it feels like magic to me. It is a way we instantly connect, and know each other. Although the percentage of the US Spanish-speaking Hispanic Population decreases generationally, food, music, and art continue to thrive, and we hold tight to it.”

She goes on to say “From childhood, I held tight to it with my use of color, and as I have practiced my art, I have felt my connection grow. I am a self-taught artist of Puerto Rican descent, experiencing Florida and deciphering it through my dreams, and my cultural identity comes out in my art. You could say that the folk heritage belonging of my art comes from my “naive” self-taught take on the Florida experience and is infused with my cultural identity which flows through my dreams, through my veins, and through my art.”