Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center (BBTCAC) is the centerpiece of an arts economy revitalization involving artist development and arts education located in the heart of Alabama's Black Belt. A region rich in cultural heritage, bountiful in natural resources and gifted, diverse group of artists, it is also one of the most impoverished areas in America.

CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

We offer regular youth and adult visual arts classes in acrylic, oil, and watercolor painting, basket weaving, chair caning, ceramics & pottery, quilling, quilting, sewing, mixed media, photography, and more. Classes are instructed by professional and skilled craftsmen, and provide opportunities for individuals of all ages and walks of life to enjoy learning a new craft, perfect their skills, build their portfolios, and potentially become entrepreneurs as they sell their works of art.

BOOK CLUB

Through Black Belt Reads, BBTCAC’s book club, members meet and select works of literature written by Black Belt area authors or about Black Belt area subject matter. Many meetings have included discussions and talks with authors, including K.T. Archer, Joey Brackner, Mike Stewart, Kathryn Tucker Windham, Mary Ward Brown, Ted Dunagan, and Dr. Wayne Flynt. Currently, Black Belt Reads meets quarterly at BBTCAC. New members are welcome to join at any time; the only requirement is a love of reading and discussing regionally significant literature.

OUTREACH

There are a variety of trained and experienced artists available to demonstrate their art techniques, provide hands-on instruction, share their art with community groups, and much more. From in-school programs to classes and workshops offered to private groups – our artists are ready and willing to take programs 'on the road.'

BLACK BELT TREASURES TEACHING ARTISTS PROGRAM

Begun in 2016, BBTCAC began to identify and train regional “Black Belt Treasures Teaching Artists” to present approved programs in Clarke, Dallas, Hale, Lowndes, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Pickens, and Wilcox Counties, (these counties have been funded by grants from the Black Belt Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of South Alabama). BBTCAC works in cooperation with the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Alliance for Arts Education to ensure that Teaching Artists are prepared to present quality programs. The first workshop and training session for Black Belt Treasures Teaching Artists was held on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 with 24 artists in attendance, and was led by Diana Green, Arts in Education Program Manager for the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Tara Sartorius, Alabama Alliance for Arts Education Program Director, and Kristin Law, BBTCAC Art Programs & Marketing Director.

Each program presented by BBTCAC Teaching Artists will incorporate regional history and culture; storytelling; encourage students to contribute accurate, relevant information; respond to and develop what others have said; make comparisons and contrasts; and analyze and produce a multitude of ideas.

Black Belt Treasures Teaching Artist's are available to present programs in public and private schools, community programs, non-profits, and art centers across the Black Belt region, and ultimately the state of Alabama. An online roster is being developed which will showcase: a short biography of the artist, a list of classes/workshops available, sample lesson plans, arts integration information, and prices options of classes (hourly, half-day, full-day, 2 day, week-long, and residencies). If you would like to receive more information about a. becoming a BBTCAC Teaching Artist, or would like to have a BBTCAC Teaching Artist visit your school or organization, please contact Kristin Law, Art Programs & Marketing Director at BBTCAC at kristin@blackbelttreasures.com, or 334-682-9878.

BLACK BELT ART HOUSE

The current BBTCAC campus includes a partially renovated car dealership; the renovated front portion is a beautiful gallery, office space, with limited teaching space, while the back portion of the facility (6500 sq. ft.) is the former auto shop and currently used as storage space (referred to by BBTCAC staff as the warehouse). Concept drawings have been prepared by Auburn University architecture students for re-purposing the warehouse space in order to provide artist work-spaces where they may work creatively while growing their businesses and developing unique products, and to allow for vibrant educational experiences (classes, workshops, exhibits, festival events, music, dance, and dramatic performances) for visitors, hands-on learners, and arts consumers.

A portion of this expanded space will house a dedicated Pottery Station. We selected to begin our expansion with pottery because of its popularity, demand from consumers and tourists, and availability of qualified staff instructors to implement a strong educational program focused on ceramic arts. Following a successful fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo in 2014, the Pottery Station will offer six pottery wheels, a dedicated clay classroom, drying racks and storage space, a kiln and glaze room, and room to grow. In addition, Black Belt Art House will provide room and equipment for expanded arts education opportunities (classes, workshops), community arts presentations (theater, music, literary readings), and exhibits.

ARTS CULTIVATE

Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center (BBTCAC) introduces ARTS CREATE, which provides current and future BBTCAC Juried Artists with educational programs related to starting and growing arts business. The program, entitled ARTS CULTIVATE consists of six courses held once per quarter - beginning in March 2017. The courses include: Creative Business Planning; Portfolio Building and Specialized Artistic Development; Financial Management and Bookkeeping/Accounting; Creative Marketing and Tourism Training; Creative Business Law; and conclude with a Practicum (a personalized project).

The courses are taught in sequence over an 18 month revolving period. At the conclusion of the courses, participating artists will be awarded a certificate of completion, receive a thumb drive with all course information for later reference, have continued advising opportunities with the Small Business Development Center, and qualify up to 25 points (of total 100) toward the juried process of inclusion in the Black Belt Artisans Guild.

To learn more about ARTS CULTIVATE please email info@blackbelttreasures.com and type ARTS CULTIVATE in the subject line. For additional information, please phone Sulynn Creswell or Kristin Law at 334 682-9878. Partners in offering these courses are the University of West Alabama’s Division of Economic Development and the University of Alabama’s Small Business Development Center.

Please visit our Facebook Page or email us at info@blackbelttreasures.com to get information on upcoming classes.