- Associated Press - Sunday, February 2, 2014

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) - Parker Hunt thought his main focus as the Hardin Center’s artist-in-residence would be on personal projects in ceramics and sculpture, and on youth classes at the center and the Boys & Girls Club of Gadsden/Etowah County.

However, Hunt said he quickly realized after one class at the club that he could have an impact on the community by introducing students to art.

Hunt, 27, a native of Gadsden, said he started with two children at the Boys & Girls Club making papier-mâché masks. He said a flock of children soon began asking questions and joining in.

“What was incredible about it was all these kids wanting to do something different,” he said. “Individuality comes out. They’re reaching in from a different place and making marks on paper to symbolize what they would be sculpting.”

Hunt said his priorities changed from looking on this as a time to work on his art, to developing projects for youth.

“I see teaching (as) more important,” he said. “As soon as I realized how much fun the kids were having, I was willing to put a halt to my needs and wants as an artist.”

He wants to share what he has learned as an artist. “Sharing knowledge that you’ve gained from school and what you did, and to be able to pass it on, is part of education,” he said.

Hunt grew up in Gadsden, and his family later moved to North Carolina and then to California. He returned to Alabama to attend Gadsden State Community College, and although he’d painted in high school, art wasn’t in his career plans.

However, he fell in love with painting after taking a class from Dennis Sears at Gadsden State. “At that time, it was really a great expressive outlet for me,” he said.

Hunt decided that he wanted to pursue art as a career and began taking more art classes. He was awarded a scholarship to the University of Montevallo, and after taking introductory courses in different art media there, he decided to pursue ceramics and sculpture.

He graduated in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics and sculpture, and plans to return to Montevallo after the residency to work on his master’s.

Hardin Center Executive director Bobby Welch said he knew Hunt from his time at Gadsden State, and had watched him grow as an artist. Hardin said he knew Hunt would have time between graduation and graduate school, and began talking with him about the artist-in-residence position.

He said Hunt sees this as a growth opportunity, and also wants to give back to the community.

Hunt said he didn’t know if he would call himself a ceramicist or a sculptor. “I just love making stuff using the wheel as a tool,” he said.

One of the projects he has planned for the Boys & Girls’ Club is a 15-foot by 7-foot textural mural out of clay tiles that the youth will work on. He also wants to expose them to other media besides painting.

Hunt is enjoying staying in a room in the Gunn-Bellinger House, which is owned by the city. “I need a place of quiet solitude,” he said.

Hunt is staying in a room on the second floor of the house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“I picked the largest room with the most glass,” he said


Information from: The Gadsden Times, https://www.gadsdentimes.com

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide