Time has come to 'Paint the Town'

-A A +A
By Charlotte Underwood

This Saturday, local and visiting artists will converge on Tennessee Avenue in LaFollette to participate in the Paint the Town Festival.


The first of its kind in LaFollette, festival organizers hope the festival will be a success, turning into a repeat event.

“This first festival will hopefully become a model for the city to build on in the years to come,” said Campbell Culture Coalition President Jo Anne Myers.

The one-day street festival will include music, food vendors and story telling.  But the main attraction will be the vivid, colorful street paintings, according to Myers.

A secure walking trail will be created for safety purposes along Tennessee Avenue between Central Avenue and Beech Street, according to LaFollette Recreational Director Johnny Byrge.

“The downtown area needs attention; we hope for the festival to generate more interest downtown and help the businesses,” Byrge said.

This particular project appealed to the CCC and other organizers because of the growth potential.

“It gives us something positive that we can grow in the future,” Myers said.  

Through cooperation and efforts by the CCC, the LaFollette Recreation Department, the Campbell County Historical Society and the Campbell County Artists Association, festival organizers hope to highlight the positive images of the city.

Visiting street artists are coming from Florida to participate in the festival. Jeannie Burns is one of the street painters traveling to the area to participate in LaFollette’s first Paint the Town. She has participated in other street painting events and exhibitions throughout Florida, New York and California. “Street painting is essentially a performance-based art form, similar to music or theatre.  I take photographs to record the image, but once it’s done, I move on and look forward to the next one,” Burns said previously.  She believes art enriches the world by fostering imagination and communication.  

Another artist coming to town is Kelly McClain, of Lake Worth Florida.  McClain is actually a homegrown Tennessean who originally came from the Claxton area, before moving to Florida.

McClain said he is really looking forward to visiting his hometown area.

“To come full circle back to my hometown with my new talents will be such a blessing,” McClain said.

Coming up on his 13 year of participating in street painting, McClain said he still finds the art form fascinating.

“An event like this has an amazing effect on the community…on both the spectators and the participating artists.  That’s the beauty of it; it brings together people in all walks of life,” McClain said.

He said he looks forward to seeing families participate in the festival, especially the children, because he has two young children of his own.

Festival organizers also hope for the children in the community to come out and participate in the event.

There will be a children’s gallery so the kids can try their hand at chalk art as well, according to Myers.

 “There will be something for everyone, but especially for the children.  Even young children will have a specially designated area to chalk away on the sidewalk,” Myers said.  Chalk will be provided, according to Myers.

“This gives the children an opportunity to participate in a positive activity for the day,” Myers said.

Myers said the community has shown an outpouring of support for the event and that everyone seems excited.

“We’re very optimistic about the event and hope for people to come by and have some fun on Saturday,” Myers said.

Artists and crafters who would like to set up on the street to sell or display their work are encouraged to pre-register by visiting www.CampbellCultureCoalition.org.  There is no admission fee to the festival and no vendor fees either.  All public activities and vendor booths will be open from 10 a,m., to 4 p.m.  Artists wishing to participate must pre-register and have art or description of art pre-approved before painting at the festival, according to Myers.

For more information, contact the CCC at CCCHighlanders@aol.com or call Myers at 566-3641.