For Teresa Adams and Ronnie Payne, the 45th annual Arts Festival at Rose Lawn will be a rare and welcome experience. The fall staple will be first festival the vendors will be able to showcase their creations since the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We were excited to know that the show was on,” said Payne, who has displayed his pottery at the Arts Festival at Rose Lawn for nearly 20 years. “The Rose Lawn art festival is what we consider our ‘hometown’ show, with no admission for patrons to the show, therefore, people come and go quite often during the day, for most are local residents.
“This show is almost like a family reunion. The people in Cartersville are so hospitable and friendly to everyone. All the staff and county employees work extremely hard to put on the art festival twice a year and we appreciate all their hard work to make this a huge success every year.”
Set for Sept. 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sept. 20, noon to 5 p.m., the Arts Festival at Rose Lawn will cover the grounds of the former Cartersville residence of the late renowned evangelist Samuel Porter Jones. Now operated by Bartow County government, the 19th-century building serves as a house museum at 224 W. Cherokee Ave.
Over the past two decades, Payne and his wife, Brhonda, have garnered numerous accolades at the Arts Festival at Rose Lawn. Along with winning Best in Show in 2007 and 2017, the Emerson residents took first and second place in the heritage crafts division in 2012 and 2016, respectively.
In addition to Rose Lawn’s fine art and heritage craft festival, the Paynes were planning to display their Payne Pottery stoneware at shows across two states this year.
Some of the festivals that turned into casualties of the pandemic included the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tennessee; May Market at Rose Lawn in Cartersville; JugFest in Roberta; North Georgia Folk Potters Festival in Homer; Beersheba Springs Arts and Crafts Fair in Beersheba Springs, Tennessee; Pine Log Arts and Crafts Fair in Rydal; and Ketner’s Mill Country Arts & Crafts Fair in Whitwell, Tennessee.
“We had planned on 10-12 shows this year and Rose Lawn was the only event that didn’t cancel,” Payne said. “Our sales are down this year, due to the lack of shows, but our studio is open to walk-in customers.”
Like the Paynes, Adams also watched as area festivals canceled left and right over the past several months.
“I was planning to be at the Rose Lawn May Market, Rose Lawn arts festival and Karon Mauney’s Northwest Georgia Women’s Expo this year,” said Adams, a photographer and owner of Southern Shots Gallery, 12 S. Wall St. in Cartersville. “Sadly, the May Market and the Women’s Expo were both canceled. We opened our shop on Feb. 6 and as a new shop owner, these events would have gone a long way to help increase our exposure and marketing.
“I’m thrilled that the festival is going forward. We’re so excited to see our returning customers and meet new ones. I know a lot of folks are ready to get out and get back to some fun activities and shopping.”
As in past years, the juried festival will be presented by Bartow County government and Rose Lawn Museum and sponsored by the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Due to the coronavirus, the event will feature various safety measures, such as encouraging social distancing and face coverings, and sanitizing eating and restroom areas.
“The Art Festival at Rose Lawn has been a Cartersville tradition for the past 45 years,” said Jane Drew, director of the Rose Lawn Museum. “With the assistance of the Bartow County government facilities team, we plan to move forward on our grounds and provide a fun-filled, safe festival environment the third weekend of September.
“All event homes have suffered greatly with this pandemic and we are glad to be back in full swing. We will definitely practice social distancing by allowing an open space between every tent and plenty of walking space between the rows. Thankfully, as of now, we have been able to accommodate everyone who has applied.”
The festival’s 45th year will feature about 90 vendors, including the Paynes and Adams.
Established in 2001, Payne’s working studio, named Payne Pottery, is situated at 97 "Old" Old Alabama Road in Emerson. Payne — who graduated from Cass High School in 1978 — is grateful for his high school art teacher, Bill Amos, and his mentor, potter Ron Cooper, for their pottery guidance.
“I love turning on the wheel and seeing it take shape,” he said, “but often when turning a piece of pottery, I think of this Scripture from Isaiah 64:8 — ‘But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou art the potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.’”
During the Arts Festival at Rose Lawn, patrons will be able to view a plethora of the Paynes’ utilitarian-type pottery, including pitchers, cups, bowls, decorated pieces, churns and face jugs.
“I mix all the clay and glaze colors, so they are unique to my pottery. Some of the glazes took me years to develop,” Payne said. “Start to finish, the process takes on average three weeks, some pieces … longer than that.
“One of our popular items is a story jug or story jar. This is a collaboration with my wife, Brhonda. After I turn the pottery, my wife puts a country scene all around the piece. Many of the scenes include cabins, barns, fence posts, farm animals and trees.”
For Adams, capturing and sharing photographs has turned into a “healthy addiction.”
“Seeing reactions to my images is so rewarding,” she said. “As a photographer, I can tell you that every photo has a story and I love sharing those stories.
“But what I’ve learned since I began displaying and selling my work, is that my images sometimes evoke beautiful, personal and at times, very emotional stories from others. I’ve been humbled and honored by the stories they’ve shared with me.”
In her first appearance at the Arts Festival at Rose Lawn, Adams won third place in the fine arts category in 2019. This year, her Rose Lawn booth will be filled with images that Adams is known for, such as northwest Georgia farmscapes, cotton fields, old barns and landscapes.
“An image that has gained the most interest is one I took with my Canon 80D — which was a perfect starter camera, and has since been replaced by my Canon 5D IV — of Plant Bowen in September of 2018 while standing in the middle of Highway 113,” Adams said. “The sky and clouds were just perfect and I’ve been told that to capture all the smoke stacks/cooling towers working at the same time is fairly rare.
“I never imagined so many people would appreciate this photo. I really just took it for me because when we first traveled to Cartersville from Orlando in October of 2011, to begin our search for a new home, this was our ‘welcome to Cartersville-Bartow view.’ I never imagined that I’d return to that spot seven years later and capture that image, let alone that people would want to buy it.”
Along with the exhibitors, an integral component of the festival’s offerings will be a guided tour of the 20-room Rose Lawn Museum. Costing $5 for adults and $2 for children 10 and younger, the tours will impart key details about Jones, whose ministry started small — preaching at various churches and open-air tabernacles surrounding Cartersville. Gaining notoriety during the late 1800s, he drew thousands to revivals at the Union Gospel Tabernacle, which is now known as Ryman Auditorium — home of the Grand Ole Opry.
“Rose Lawn, the historic home of Rev. Sam Porter Jones who was the most noted evangelist of the late 1890s and early 1990s will definitely be open to the public and on tour,” Drew said. “Rose Lawn Museum functions primarily as a museum during the week and an event home on the weekend.
“During our festival, we usually have quite a large crowd of visitors who have an opportunity to take the tour and see the grand carriage house. Our tour guides will be sharing the compelling story of Sam Jones’ ministry that influenced the entire United States over a century ago. I’m always surprised at how many locals have never been to Rose Lawn, one of Cartersville’s most noted landmarks.”
Complimentary shuttle service will be available from the parking lots of the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center at 135 W. Cherokee Ave. and the Cartersville Public Library, 429 W. Main St.
For more information about the Rose Lawn Museum and its festival, visit www.roselawnmuseum.com.