Just a short drive to Big Adventure: 5 Spring Break getaways under 6 hours from Huntsville Huntsville is a vibrant city abounding with unique experiences and things to do; if you’re fortunate enough to call yourself a native of the Rocket City, you know! But, when Spring Break is here, it’s nice to get away […]
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✅ Clock Out Early! ✅ Things to do This Weekend in Huntsville, AL – March 1 – 3 1. Huntsville Comic Convention Date: March 1 – 2Location: Lowe MillEvent Information Get ready for epic comic fun at the Huntsville Comic Convention, March 1st and 2nd at the awesome Lowe Mill A&E! It’s a blast for the […]
The post Madison, Alabama Real Estate Updates, February 2024 first appeared on All Things Madison.
Don Howard knew he had the talent and the passion to be an artist. Then one day, he had the vision to bring it all together.
Howard was not always the renowned caricature artist whose work can be seen throughout Huntsville. He moved to the Rocket City to be closer to family after leaving his job at Disney Studios in California.
“I hadn’t the foggiest idea what I was going to do to make a living,” he said. “My father suggested I go and be an engineer, even though it was going to take a couple of years. I said, ‘Dad, this town is full of engineers. But there’s not an artist you can tell me of note in this town.’”
Now Howard is that artist. He’s sold pieces in 60 different countries and is a beloved figure in Huntsville’s art community.
“Huntsville has been great to me,” Howard said. “I mean, not just good but great.”
His work was featured in The Huntsville Times newspaper and that garnered him more attention. Now, you can visit Howard’s website and see caricatures of an array of famous people from musicians to movie stars to sports heroes. He’s also available for custom caricatures to celebrate special events.
Fun and lighthearted
His work has an undeniable touch. While caricature art typically emphasizes exaggerated facial features such as a protruding chin or a Pinocchio-sized nose, Howard creates an entertaining portrait without the over-the-top drawing. That’s not by accident.
“I must admit that I do this because I like to be invited back,” Howard said with a laugh. “I draw the person almost flattering them. I do alter noses, ear lobes, the mouth. I alter all of that. But I do it in a way in which they are going to look their absolute best. And their fans want to see them look their best.”
While caricatures are, almost by definition, a fun and lighthearted perspective, Howard takes his work seriously and appreciates the responsibility to help preserve Black history. His website displays drawings of the 54th Regiment in the Civil War whose story was told in the 1989 movie “Glory.” There is also a drawing of the World War II-era Tuskegee Airmen and the Civil War-era Buffalo Soldiers.
“It has always meant something to me to acknowledge our particular history in this country, which has been just interwoven all throughout from the first battles to the end,” Howard said.
As he grew up in the 1960 and 1970s, Howard considered it a “big responsibility” to be part of a generation that blazed paths for Blacks to pursue whatever they wanted in life.
“The single overarching thing that I wanted to accomplish with the skills that had been given to me was to basically show that if given the opportunity, I could use these (talents) and even be popular with them,” Howard said. “And, by the grace of God, I have been presented with both of those things. It’s a wonderful thing. It chokes me up when I think about it.”
Rocket Chef 2024 Blasts Off in Huntsville Foodies and supporters of the arts, mark your calendars! Huntsville’s most delectable culinary competition, Rocket Chef, returns to Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center on March 25th, 2024. This year’s event promises to tantalize taste buds and showcase the incredible talent of Huntsville’s culinary scene – all while raising funds […]
When Jackie Wilson sat down for a conversation recently at the Dr. Richard Showers Sr. Recreation Center, her first words were, “I’m just an ordinary person.”
All evidence to the contrary.
She is an artist and a City recreation leader who has shared her love of art with children at the Showers Center for 23 years. She has arms for hugging and shoulders for crying and an enthusiasm for life that’s electric and contagious. Her faith guides everything she does while she describes working with children as “my passion.”
An ordinary person? No, Wilson qualifies as extraordinary.
“The Lord has blessed me, so I give back,” she said.
Her artistic flair led her to design a Black History Month display at the Showers Center. It’s an exhibit that spotlights Black influencers and leaders across the country as well as in Huntsville and those with ties to the city. The display also includes some of Wilson’s paintings.
Understanding that history is important.
“Black children growing up should know their history,” Wilson said. “They should see where they belong. Some of the kids don’t know their history. They need to know they can be whoever they choose to be.”
Her childhood influences are the foundation for how she connects with children today. As she was growing up, Wilson’s mother and grandmother always stressed treating others like she would want to be treated.
And now Wilson is part of a ripple effect of those early teachings.
“I just try to be a positive influence in their lives,” she said. “And let them know I am here for them. You don’t know what they are going through at home. If they need a hug, I give them a hug. I give all the kisses and hugs I need to give.
“I was always told (as a child) that when I walked out of the house, I represented (the family). Be a good example because someone is always watching you.”
Could there be a better compliment for Wilson than for children she cared for at the Showers Center now bring their children to “Miss Jackie?” After 23 years, it happens a lot now.
“That’s a blessing for me,” she said.
Wilson is also planning to spend more time on her art. She specializes in abstract paintings and some also celebrate Black history. She will be displaying her artwork in May and June at the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library at 915 Monroe St.
“God blessed me with talent and that talent is in art,” Wilson said. “And I’ve just scraped the top of it.”
The post ‘Blessed with talent’: Artist reflects on inspiration and influence appeared first on City of Huntsville Blog.
in partnership with the Huntsville International Airport and Jet Lag Hero Spring Break The children are out of school, half of your co-workers are taking leave, the days are finally getting longer, and it is finally getting warm again. It’s the perfect time to escape the city and embark on new adventures. A flight to […]
✅ Clock Out Early! ✅ Things to do This Weekend in Huntsville, AL – February 23 – 25 1. Rapunzel and the Beanstalk Date: February 22 – 25Location: VBC PlayhouseEvent Information Rapunzel and Jack have always lived on the same cobblestone street but never knew it! Between them sits the run-down cottage of the worst witch […]
Huntsville, a city often recognized for its cutting-edge technological advancements and space exploration contributions, is coming into its own as a premier music city.
Once considered a small, sleepy town full of engineers and chain restaurants, Huntsville’s story is being rewritten. From Lowe Mill to North Huntsville, a tide of artistic talent is rising. You see it on canvas and in sculptures and taste it in an increasing number of unique restaurants.
You can hear it everywhere from rehearsal spaces at Alabama A&M University to the world-renowned Orion Amphitheater. Each year, the sound grows louder, sweeter and more familiar.
To what do we owe this cultural reawakening? Look no further than our local Black artists who are shaping our musical identity.
Their mediums, whether dance, music or visual, represent the very best of what Huntsville is about. Their contributions are an integral part of our expanding cultural fabric and are worthy of celebration.
This Black History Month, it’s crucial to acknowledge the profound impact and contributions of Huntsville’s Black musicians, who have enriched our local music scene and left an indelible mark on the broader music industry.
It’s a point of pride that the City and Huntsville Music Office recognizes the immense value Black artists bring to our music community.
The Huntsville Community Drumline, a dynamic ensemble that fuses traditional percussion with contemporary flair, has found a supportive ally in the Huntsville Music Office. Their rhythmic beats echoes through the streets of Huntsville, symbolizing the unity and diversity within the city’s music scene.
Additionally, the Alabama A&M Maroon and White Band, a powerhouse in the realm of historically Black college and university (HBCU) marching bands, is coming off a triumphant year. They stole the show at both Mayor Tommy Battle’s annual State of the City address and did so again as lead band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
During Huntsville Music Month in 2023, the Music Office played a key role in spotlighting and promoting Black artists through music-themed series like Love Jones, Mixx Madness and R&B Vibes Live. The expanded Women in Music Week also featured several talented Black female artists on stages throughout the City.
The inaugural Launchpad Festival in Big Spring Park featured a headlining performance from Huntsville’s own Deq’n Sue, whose photo was also featured within the pages of Rolling Stone Magazine in 2022. In her band for that headlining performance was Grammy-award winning producer, writer and musician Kelvin Wooten, also a Huntsville native.
The Launchpad Festival was the perfect lead-in to the opening of Jazz in the Park-Huntsville, hosted each year by the City’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI). Thanks to great weather and great talent, this year’s Jazz in the Park-Huntsville was one of the most successful to date.
Shaping our musical future
The Huntsville Music Office’s commitment to supporting Black artists extends beyond the stage. We’re working actively shape our music scene now and how it will look in the future.
To that end, we’re advocating for the appointment of diverse thought leaders and subject matter experts to the Huntsville Music Board. Deq’n is a past member, and Kelvin was appointed in January 2024, as was Kim Tibbs, a renowned artist in her own right. They join a roster of other Black artists and creators whose respective talents are nothing short of awe-inspiring – Mario Maitland, Codie Gopher, Kaleka Jones and Karmessa Padgett.
Mayor Battle’s appointment of these individuals marks a pivotal step towards creating a diverse and representative space for musical expression. By ensuring that the decision-making body reflects the rich cultural diversity of the city, Huntsville is fostering an environment where the voices of Black musicians are not only heard but actively shaping the city’s musical identity.
As we reflect on Black History Month, let us also celebrate the accomplishments of our talented artists – past, present and future. By recognizing and uplifting Black musicians and organizations, Huntsville is not just preserving its musical heritage but actively contributing to the evolution of a more inclusive and harmonious cultural landscape.
The post Black History Month: Huntsville artists are shaping our musical identity appeared first on City of Huntsville Blog.