Folk Fest – billed as “The World’s Greatest Self-Taught Art Show and Sale” – will celebrate 17 years in Atlanta with a three-day show slated for Aug. 20-22 at the North Atlanta Trade Center in Norcross. Nearly 100 galleries and dealers will exhibit at the air conditioned, 85,000-square-foot venue. Norcross is located north of Atlanta, off exit 101 of I-85.

Visitors will pour into Georgia from all around the country to see what’s hot in the world of folk art. Folk Fest is where museums, prominent galleries, serious collectors and major art publications make their new discoveries. Attendees – ranging from housewives to Hollywood producers – will find items priced from a $5 starter piece to a $50,000 museum masterpiece.

Since its inception in 1994, Folk Fest has become the largest and most important event in the rapidly burgeoning folk art genre. Prestigious galleries and dealers from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe – all specializing in self-taught art, outsider art, Southern folk pottery, antique folk art and anonymous works – have regularly attracted 12,000 people or more.

As with previous Folk Fests, this year’s show will kick off with a Friday night meet and greet with the artists. Attendees of past events have mixed and mingled with some of the biggest names in folk art: Woodie Long, Charles Lucas, Cornbread, Michael Banks, Chris Clark, Willie Jinks, Mary Proctor, Ruby Williams, Michael Crocker, the Meaders family and many others

Folk Fest has been staged from the start by Steve and Amy Slotin, owners of Slotin Folk Art, based in Gainesville, Ga. The couple regularly holds folk art auctions in Buford, a bit further north from Norcross, in addition to Folk Fest. It was Steve who got the folk art bug first, when he ran across an ugly Lanier Meaders face jug near his childhood summer camp in Cleveland, Ga.

“I discovered there were primitive forms of pottery and art all over the South,” Steve remarked. “These incredible pieces were created by housekeepers, janitors, factory workers, farmers and house painters. They created art, but had very little formal education at all. They used found materials – rusty metal, stray sticks, discarded objects, leftover house paint, mud.”

Folk Fest will begin on Friday, Aug. 20, with the Meet-the-Artists Party & Show Opening, from 5-10 p.m. ($15 includes readmission). The Aug. 21-22 show hours are 10-7 on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday. Admission is $7 both days. Children 16 and under are free. The North Atlanta Trade Center is located at 1700 Jeurgens Court in Norcross, off exit 101 of I-85.

For more information, call Slotin Folk Art at (770) 532-1115 or visit to www.slotinfolkart.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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