Dixie art colony alabama gulf coast colony


First located in Mobile County, Alabama from the early 1930s to the late 1940s and then in the fishing villages of Bayou La Batre and Coden on Alabama's western Gulf Coast between 1946 and 1953, the Dixie Art Colony evolved into the Alabama Gulf Coast Colony. Artists gathered at the latter colony from spring to fall and lived communally and painted the local scenery "en plein aire". The Dixie Art Colony was part of a more widespread post-United States Civil-War movement that continued into the 20th century. It was composed of a group of women artists working together to promote their art and that of women generally in Alabama during the first half of the 20th century. Kelly Fitzpatrick, a popular male artist, was the key leader and taught at the Colony school at Deatsville, Alabama. Women artists included Doris Thompson, Arrie Plummer, Anne Goldthwaite and Sallie Carmichael. In those days in the South, women artists were not taken seriously, and art was something condoned from them as long as they did not try to elevate their art to a professional level. As part of their activities, they organized painting excursions to the Gulf Coast, and in May 1946, a second colony formed as a result of these excursions and the effort of Genevieve Southerland. Called the Alabama Gulf Coast Colony, added members included Frances Elizabeth Harris, William Bush, George Bryant and Carlos Alpha "Shiney" Moon. Southerland served as Director, and Fitzpatrick and Moon were art instructors. The Colony dissolved in 1953 with the death of three key members (Fitzpatrick, Southerland and Moon) within a hundred days of each other. Sources: Lynn Barstis Williams, 'South Alabama's Art Colony 1946-1953, "American Art Review", February 2006, pp. 158-165; James R. Nelson, "Birmingham News", 10/31/2004.