The Gallery in Camden celebrates local artists
“The Art of Henrietta Blackmon and Louise McEvoy” art exhibit at The Gallery in downtown Camden at 103 Broad St. opened Thursday, June 16. Hosted by Blackbelt Treasures Cultural Arts Center (BBTCAC), the opening night was a success, with over 70 visitors coming to see the 36 pieces displayed, 18 from each artist. The Gallery, hosted by Wilcox Artworks in partnership with BBTCAC, was established to display art from local artists periodically.
Neither McEvoy nor Blackmon are originally from Camden but moved to town in their adulthood. The two took an art class in Selma together for years, where they refined their skills. Both spend their spare time creating their art. McEvoy and Blackmon prefer painting in watercolors. McEvoy said, “It [watercolor] is the closest thing to real life, and color is my best thing. It is what I love the most.”
Blackmon served as the first female mayor of Camden from 2010 to 2011 and is well-known around town for her watercolors. “I paint a lot of flowers,” she said. Blackmon’s paintings often depict nature scenes she has observed and were often displayed at the office of her husband, Dr. Sumpter Blackmon. Though she does not paint as often today, her works are widely appreciated throughout Wilcox County.
McEvoy expressed interest in art from a young age. “My mother did art since I began remembering anything, so I just started doing it,” McEvoy said. “I did not know if I was good enough to do art on a college level.” However, in her time at Auburn University, she loaded up on art classes. “I realized I could do it…that I was on that level,” McEvoy stated.
Her first portrait was one she painted of her son, James, at Dauphin Island, and her skills expanded from there. McEvoy began accepting commissions for her watercolor portraits from friends and neighbors, and her commissions expanded across the state and beyond. Now, McEvoy has completed nearly 100 portraits.
McEvoy also volunteered to teach art and music classes to Camden’s youth and contributed to the community artistically in many ways. For example, she designed the Wilcox Academy logo. Lately, McEvoy has painted pet portraits. “They’re so fun and easy,” she said.
Both artists expressed how much it takes to create their art. McEvoy said, “It takes me months and months. I ask people to allow me six to eight months.”
The crowd that filled the Art Gallery guestbook on opening night showed their appreciation for the art created by these the two artists who continue to share their gifts with the community. McEvoy and Blackmon’s art display will be up until July 15, and The Gallery will be open for visitors July 1-2, July 7-8, July 14-15 or by appointment. The art featured was mostly from private collections and is not for sale.