In conjunction with the Wild Chicken Festival, the Fitzgerald Ben Hill Arts Council hosts three major events that are easily accessible and affordable to the public. On Friday, March 15 the New Bushmen will deliver a free concert. On Saturday, March 16 the council organizes a cozy curated artisan market behind the Grand Theatre in the Carnegie Center Courtyard. At that same time the annual Wild Chicken Soup exhibit will be on display which features an incredible variety of artwork from regional artists and creators of all ages.
For over 10 years, the arts council has hosted a free concert to kick-off the Wild Chicken Festival. This year, the New Bushmen will return to perform Friday night, March 15 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m in the White Swan parking lot behind Nabila’s Garden restaurant in Fitzgerald. Drinks will be for sale at this event as well as specially selected vendors with food, glow sticks and more. The arts council does allow table reservations for those interested with discounts for current arts council members. Tables are still available to ensure a cool, comfortable night at the concert. Everyone is welcome to bring a chair and their dancing shoes.
Over 13,000 people attend the Wild Chicken Festival downtown, but those unfamiliar may miss the exclusive Artisan Market tucked behind the Grand Theatre. Follow decorative bunting from the alley and discover unique and original artworks. With massive shade trees and an expansive custom built picnic table, the Carnegie Center Courtyard is a peaceful respite from the bustle of Main Street.
Artisans with handmade and home grown goods circle around the park creating a quaint bazaar. This year the market will feature fresh produce, eggs, and fruit preserves as well as paintings, jewelry of all styles and sizes, custom decorations, illustrators and photographers, glass work, handmade soaps, lotions, balms, macramé plant hangers and tapestries, hand crafted greeting cards, wood turned bowls, children’s décor, leather goods and more. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Inside the Carnegie Center will be two exhibits. One opened in February featuring Hispanic business leaders in Ben Hill County by local photographer Juan Galarza. The other is the annual Wild Chicken Soup Exhibit.
The exhibit includes 2D and 3D work. One painting by Zenobia Smith, of the Wiregrass Artist Guild based in Douglas, features lighter than air multi-colored bubbles floating through space. The oil painting portrays a nontraditional subject with traditional skill and craft. Another oil painting, by Fitzgerald artist Sara Adams, depicts an articulated wooden mannequin, often used by drawing students, with a gaping hole in his chest revealing sticky honeycomb on his shoulder rests a bumble bee. This is only two of the nearly 40 unique pieces of artwork that will be on display. Artist’s entries will be judged and awarded prizes.
“Featuring regional artists of all ages and mediums, allows the arts council to highlight how creative our area is. People will be blown away by the variety and the skill,” said Shelby Evans, Arts Coordinator. “This exhibit, the market and the concert guarantee a fun, art-filled weekend for locals and visitors alike.”
The Carnegie Center is located at 120 South Lee Street in Fitzgerald. More information about upcoming events can be found on their website at http://fitzgeraldbenhillartscouncil.org, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.