Tourism Tuesdays January 23, 2018


U.S. Civil Rights Trail links landmarks
Visit to Montgomery is great chance to explore civil rights history
A Kiwi in Alabama Part 3 – Gee’s Bend and Marion area
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum named Alabama’s best attraction in USA Today poll
Alabama stars will shine at Music Hall Of Fame Induction Banquet
Samantha Brown’s new travel show features Alabama city
New international flights to the south
Bob Hendrix to retire as head of Visit Dothan
Alabama architectural history exhibition debuts in Gadsden
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center and the Alabama Legislature team up to send students to Space Camp
“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website


U.S. Civil Rights Trail links landmarks
Media outlets covering the launch of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail included: The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Associated Press,Alabama Public Radio,, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, U.S. News and World Report, The Washington Post, Yahoo, The Anniston Star, The Birmingham Business Journal, The Decatur Daily, The Florence Times Daily, The Gadsden Times, The Montgomery Advertiser, The Tuscaloosa News,, WAFF-48, WAKA-8, WALA-10, WBRC-6, WCFT-33/40, WHNT-19, WKRG-5, WNCF-32, WVTM-13, WZDX-54

Visitors can literally walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, John Lewis and other African American activists, thanks to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which was launched on King’s birthday.

Gov. Kay Ivey made Alabama’s announcement of the civil rights trail last week at King’s former church. Ivey, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean, and Joseph Carver, the vice president of the Montgomery Improvement Association also spoke at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church’s event.

The announcement marks the first time Southern tourism departments have worked together to link the country’s most important civil rights sites. Many of these important historical sites are in Alabama.

The trail includes almost 130 museums, churches, courthouses and other landmarks that were essential to the advancement of social equality during the volatile 1950s and 1960s. Almost 30 of these sites are in Alabama with most of them in Central Alabama. Montgomery has 10. Selma has seven, and Birmingham and Tuskegee have four.

The website profiles the landmarks and offers an interactive map, interviews with foot soldiers, past and present photographs and 360-degree video as special features.

Alabama tourism director Lee Sentell said civil rights sites are already popular attractions, and the U.S. Civil Rights Trail will only increase that popularity.

“The subject of human rights has never been more relevant,” he said. “The landmarks in Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery already attract visitors from Britain, Europe and Australia as well as from the U.S. Now that the South has a website that raises the visibility of minor sites, we can expect more tourists in Monroeville, Tuskegee and Scottsboro.”

By connecting these sites for the first time, it also makes it easier to plan multi-state road trips and to plan them around particular themes or people, such as the Freedom Rides or the role African American churches played in the movement.

Two years ago, National Park Service director Jonathon Jarvis challenged historians to inventory surviving civil rights landmarks. Georgia State University found 60, which became the foundation of the trail.

Then Sentell helped spearhead an effort by TravelSouth USA to have the 12 Southern states it represents supplement the list with other worthy sites. The result is a trail that stretches from schools in Topeka, Kan., known for the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation court decision in 1954, to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. where King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech to thousands who rallied for equal opportunity in 1963. But the vast majority of the sites are located in the South.

Below are the sites in Alabama:
Freedom Riders National Monument
16th Street Baptist Church
Bethel Baptist Church
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Kelly Ingram Park
Old Courthouse Museum
Alabama State Capitol
City of St. Jude
Civil Rights Memorial Center
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
Dexter Parsonage Museum
First Baptist Church on Riley Street
Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Building and United States Courthouse
Freedom Rides Museum
Holt Street Baptist Church
Rosa Parks Museum
The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center
Brown Chapel AME Church
Edmund Pettus Bridge
Lowndes Interpretive Center
National Voting Rights Museum and Institute
Selma Interpretive Center
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation and Museum
Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama
Butler Chapel AME Zion Church
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
Tuskegee History Center
Tuskegee University

Visit to Montgomery is great chance to explore civil rights history
From the article by Tracey Teo on (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

In the basement of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., my young friend Jayden and I stood mesmerized by a sprawling mural that chronicles the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s crusade for racial equality from Montgomery to Memphis. It was painted in 1980 by John W. Feagin, now 88 years old, one of the few church members alive during those six years (1954-1960) when King was pastor.

I was pleased that Jayden seemed genuinely moved by the colorful mural and engrossed in our tour. The stuff of textbooks was coming to life for this biracial (she identifies as black) teenager, and that’s what I had hoped for when I brought her here from the Midwest.

Recently, while having a conversation about news stories centered on race relations, she said she had personally never experienced racial discrimination.

At first, I felt a sense of pride about how far we have come as a nation, but then I wondered how much Jayden really knew about the African-Americans who had suffered humiliation and physical abuse during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s to create a better America for her generation.

I hoped that Martin Luther King Jr. Day wasn’t just time off from school and that Rosa Parks wasn’t simply a woman she had to learn about to pass a test.

I decided a visit to Montgomery was in order.

The simple, red brick church where King started his career seemed like the perfect place to kick off our tour of the city’s civil rights attractions.

Located less than a block from the State Capitol where Jefferson Davis took his oath as president of the Confederacy, the church was literally and figuratively in the shadow of justice until a young, unknown pastor’s vision changed not only the South, but the world.

We stepped into King’s church office, which remains much as it was during his time.

Jayden couldn’t resist running her hand over the wooden desk where he organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott to protest segregated seating on city buses and wrote speeches that spurred thousands to action.

Vintage photographs of King with his family are displayed, and volumes that shaped his thinking remain on the shelves.

A pulpit tucked away in a corner of the basement is the same one King placed his notes on in 1965 when he delivered his riveting “How Long? Not Long” speech at the State Capitol following the triumphant Selma-to-Montgomery March that eventually led to equal voting rights for African-Americans in the South.

When King accepted the position as pastor, he probably thought his main duty would be delivering memorable Sunday sermons, but a series of events that started with the arrest of Rosa Parks when she flouted segregation laws on a city bus thrust him into the national spotlight. Soon, he wasn’t just a pastor, but the charismatic leader of the civil rights movement with a powerful message that nonviolent protest was the best weapon against social injustice.

In the sanctuary, I admired the stained-glass windows and wondered what it must have been like to sit in a pew as one of the world’s most compelling orators spoke of equality, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Dexter Parsonage Museum
The adjacent clapboard parsonage is an ordinary house that was home to an extraordinary man.

The kitchen looks like many others of that time, but the simple kitchen table was King’s Gethsemane. It’s where he experienced a life-changing moment, an epiphany that kept the civil rights leader strong in the face of fear.

Late one night in January 1956, with the bus boycott in full swing, King received a chilling phone call threatening not only him, but his young family. King was president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, an organization of black leaders that led the boycott.

He had been fielding intimidating phone calls for weeks, but this particularly vicious one shook him to the core. His spirit was broken. He wanted out.

At the kitchen table, King bowed his head and prayed for courage.

Years later, he said he heard an inner voice clearly saying, “Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you, even until the end of the world.”

The sense of foreboding that had been troubling his soul was replaced with a feeling of tremendous inner strength.

He would need every ounce of it.

A bomb went off on the porch a few days later.

King wasn’t home at the time, but his family was. Miraculously, they were unharmed.

Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University
On the street in front of the Rosa Parks Museum, Jayden and I stood on the very spot where Parks was arrested on Dec. 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white passenger, the famous act of civil disobedience that led to the 382-day bus boycott.

Parks’ story is widely known, but the museum, which has six main areas and a children’s wing, brings to life this historic moment through a powerful, multimedia re-enactment that captures the mood of the bus passengers that day and the zeitgeist of the Jim Crow era.

In addition to Parks’ experience, visitors hear the accounts of unsung heroes, ordinary people who participated in the boycott but didn’t get their names in the history books.

Carpools were organized by the black community to provide transportation to boycotters. On exhibit is a fully restored 1955 Chevy Bel Air station wagon representative of the “rolling church buses” used in the effort.

A highlight is the Victory Room, an exhibit that has a likeness of King and other civil rights leaders proudly riding at the front of the bus after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal.

As for Jayden, she commented that riding the city bus at home was uneventful, and she was suddenly grateful for that.

If you go
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. 454 Dexter Ave., Montgomery, Ala. 334-263-3970,, Dexter Parsonage Museum. 309 S. Jackson St., Montgomery, Ala. 334-261-3270,, Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University. 252 Montgomery St., Montgomery, Ala. 1-800-414-5756,

For the complete article please see

A Kiwi in Alabama Part 3 – Gee’s Bend and Marion area
From the article by Janice Nieder on

Travel writer Janice Nieder takes a fascinating road trip to Alabama, and discovers “small towns and cities sizzling with a new energy, cultural excitement, compelling historic offerings, and some damn fine eating!” This is part 3 of a 4 part series. Part 1 and 2 ran in previous editions of Tourism Tuesdays. Dec. 19, 2017 and Jan. 9, 2018.

As comfy as our stay was, Jules could barely sleep a wink last night since after flying over 8,000 miles to get here she was finally going to meet some of the quilters who had sewn what The New York Times called “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.”

I had last visited the G.B. Quilters about six years ago and I was dying to see how my two favorite ladies from last time were doing. When I barged in for a big hug I have to admit I was a little sad that they didn’t remember me, although Mary Anne Pettway was quick to point out that they had had many visitors since then and that most days they were lucky if they remembered their own names.

However after I showed them a couple photos from before Mary Anne said, “Oh, sakes alive, I do remember you. You brought us those itty-bitty lil’ gold thimbles and those tasty chocolates,” and broke into gales of laughter.

I was thrilled to find out that her one-of-a-kind, $25,000 quilt, “The World’s Only U.S. Postal Office Uniform Quilt” was bought by The Smithsonian Museum.

“But,” Mary Anne whispered, ”I didn’t make them pay the full price.”

Although not many of the younger generation want to learn quilting, Mary Anne’s teenage grandson is showing great promise.

Our next stop was the town of Marion (the opening scenes for Oprah’s film “Selma” were shot here) where we walked over to the Perry County Court House to see the historical marker commemorating the shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson.

It reads ‘Gave his life in the struggle for the right to vote.’ Greatly aided by the efforts of Main Street Alabama the downtown area is working hard on beautifying the streets, getting jobs and revitalizing their community.

Instead of empty buildings and graffiti- covered walls; colorful planter boxes, historic photos and huge portraits of famous civil right activists now adorn the immaculate streets.

Vacant storefronts are giving way to antique stores and eclectic shops such as the Smith Building Art Gallerie, built in 1880 where we saw a wonderful photography exhibit done by third graders.

Off to visit another group of quilters at the historic Lincoln Normal School, an African American School that was started to teach newly freed slaves in 1867. Coretta Scott King is among the notable alumni. Many of these ladies were foot soldiers during the Civil Rights Movement but now it felt more like a group of old friends getting together to exchange local gossip and quilting tips. They all agreed that the best quilter by far, was Eunice Hewitt. She’s waiting for one of her grandkids to put together a website for her, but in the meantime, you can special order a quilt from her (phone: 334-683-6196).

We were feeling a bit peckish so our local guide, Cooper, took us for some tasty vittles at The Shack. Jules, normally quite the health nut, thoroughly enjoyed her first Southern BBQ and made quite a dent in her piles of fried dill pickles & jalapenos!

What a wonderful shocker to find out Cooper’s “family farm” was the Moore-Webb-Holmes Plantation which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been in his family since the early 1800’s and is one of Alabama’s last active plantations.

The farm has grown from the original 80 acres which William “the wagon maker” Moore homesteaded (ask to see the original deed signed by Andrew Jackson) into thousands of acres. Most of the buildings, farm equipment and furnishings are original to the site.

The Country Store is literally like entering a time machine since the shelves have not been touched since the days when sharecroppers could buy everything from long johns to castor oil.

Cooper took us all around the property us, showing us the old blacksmith shop filled with original tools, the first cotton gin in the log seed house, a carriage house, a potato house with a pit for the storing vegetables, the weaving house, a canning house, the overseer’s house, tenant quarters, a firehouse with a 1930s fire engine, and a two-story early Federal/Greek Revival style house with clapboards covering the original log structure (Cooper’s home).

For the complete article please see

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum named Alabama’s best attraction in USA Today poll
From the article by Erin Edgemon on

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is the “Best Alabama Attraction,” according to the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice awards for 2018.

“Our dream was to create the greatest collection of motorcycles in the world. Being named the best Alabama attraction was thrilling news to receive, and we appreciate our fans for showing such overwhelming enthusiasm for our mission here in Birmingham,” said the museum’s executive director Jeff Ray.

A panel of Alabama-based travel writers and photographers nominated 20 places for the list. The top 10 winners were deemed the most popular after four weeks of digital voting. The panel included Larry Bleiberg, Lynn Grisard Fullman, Cory Lee, Art Meripol and Connie Pearson.

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is located at the 880-acre Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham. Its dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, exhibition and history of motorcycles, vintage vehicles and motorsports.

Over the course of the past decade, the Barber Museum has brought people from around the world to Alabama, and it has been named the number one tourist attraction in Birmingham. The museum is the home of the world’s largest motorcycle collection and is widely known for its collection of vintage Lotus racecars and other rare vehicles. Each October it hosts the Barber Vintage Festival, one of the premiere motorcycle events in America.

“What an honor it was to be nominated and to receive this award. When you consider just how spectacular all 10 of the state’s contenders are, it was truly a competition of favorites. We’re delighted,” said the museum’s founder, George Barber.

Barber Motorsports Park features a challenging 2.38-mile, 17-turn racetrack that hosts motorcycle and car racing events throughout the year, including the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Since the inception of Barber Motorsports Park in 2003, the Porsche Sport Driving School has been a partner and is North America’s only Official Porsche driving school. The park also features the Barber Proving Grounds, where Mercedes-Benz hosts the Mercedes Brand Immersion Experience for its employees.

For the complete article please see

Alabama stars will shine at Music Hall Of Fame Induction Banquet
From the article by Jerry Hayes on

Alabama’s rich musical history will hit another high note in a couple of weeks. Four new members will be inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia forever taking their place in our state’s ties to the music world.

Thirty years ago, Alabama voters approved a statewide referendum to build a museum to honor Alabama’s music achievers and its musical roots. More than 30,000 people attended the grand opening of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1990.

It’s a place to celebrate our rich musical heritage and honor fellow Alabamians. Dixie Griffin is the manager. “We do our walk of fame where we put bronze stars down and then we have the museum itself but also we do our induction banquet.” She said. There are 74 inductees so far. Griffin added it is “Also the highest honor we can bestow on a music achiever.”

Four more will join the group February 3rd. Musicians and songwriters Mac McAnally and Walt Aldridge along with folk singer Odetta Holmes and guitarist songwriter Eddie Hinton.

“We’ve got every genre represented here and that’s something that when I bring tours through, it makes me very proud to be able to show,” board member Judy Hood told me. It’s a place where you can walk through and see a suit worn by Hank Williams or walk through one of the country band Alabama’s tour buses.

But despite the exhibits and unique memorabilia, the museum fell on hard times several years ago. “Yes we did,” Griffin said. The funding was cut from the state budget. “Jerry, it wasn’t a gradual cut,” Griffin added. “It was just like zero, you out.”

Thankfully they had money in the bank. “So we were able to work on for several years but sooner or later, it kinda caught up with us,” Griffin said. They hit a sour note. “It was real hard on everybody when we closed the doors,” she added.

The museum reopened nine months later with new exhibits, thanks to donations from folks like The Civil Wars, Drive by Truckers and Jason Isbell. But the real shot in the arm came with the 2013 release of “Muscle Shoals,” a documentary honoring Rick Hall, the founder of Fame Studios.

Hall of Fame board member Judy Hood remarked, “That documentary gave a rebirth to the music, especially around here.” When state officials saw it, they knew something had to be done to fund the museum. “They knew that the state’s largest music tourism attraction could not be closed at a time when people from all over the world were going to want to come here to celebrate that,” Hood said.

And come they did. “We have had 34,000 tourists from 40 countries and every state in the union,” Hood added. “40 percent of our visitors are international.” That just proves that music is the universal language. Hood smiled and said, “A rising tide lifts all ships so that documentary benefited not just the Hall of Fame but also the local music industry in general.”

The next class of inductees will be honored at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and awards show Feb. 3. It’ll be held at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence. For ticket information, call the Hall of Fame at (256) 381-4417.

For the complete article please see

Samantha Brown’s new travel show features Alabama city
From the article by Matt Wake on

For some reason, Samantha Brown, one of TV’s best-known travelers, frequently forgets to pack a toothbrush.

Not that big of deal really. It’s pretty easy for Brown to purchase a new toothbrush when she reaches her latest destination, and forgetting that basic provision may just free-up valuable memory space. “One time I remembered to bring a toothbrush I forgot like 10 other things,” Brown says with a laugh.

For the last 15 years, Brown has hosted an array of Travel Channel shows, including “Great Hotels,” “Girl Meets Hawaii,” “Passport to Europe,” “Passport to Latin America,” “Green Getaways,” “Passport to China” and “Great Weekends.”

Brown’s latest show, “Places to Love,” debuted earlier this month on PBS. The weekly, half-hour program airs 2 p.m. Sundays locally through March. For the Feb. 4 episode, Brown visits Alabama, with a trip to Huntsville. “Places to Love” season one’s 13 episodes also spotlight Houston; Switzerland’s Bern Region; Brooklyn, New York; Shanghai, China; Vancouver; Texas Hill Country; Big Sur and Monterey, California; Xi’an, China; Donegal and Northwest Ireland; Orange County, California, Montreal and an “Oregon RV trip.”

On a recent afternoon, Brown called in for an interview from her Brooklyn office. Over the phone, she’s as irrepressibly pleasant as she is onscreen – sort of like an inverse Anthony Bourdain.

Samantha, why did you decide to highlight Huntsville on an episode of “Places to Love”?
What really sealed the deal was I spoke at the big TBEX conference (a 2017 event for travel content creators) there. I was like OK, what’s there to do here? Because I was going to come from pretty far away, I live in Brooklyn, to come to Huntsville, Alabama, I’d never been to the state of Alabama at all, amazingly, and so I just started doing a little research about what do you do while you’re there, because I’m going to try and have fun and meet people and it could be in the show. And so, it was as I started to get to know the town and what was going on there, it became what I thought just an up-and-coming destination that everyone wants to know about. So you’re always as a traveler looking for the next, you know, Asheville, North Carolina, the next Austin, Texas and I thought Huntsville hit the mark.

For the complete article please see

New international flights to the South
Good news for Alabama tourism.

The south USA as a tourist region is gaining momentum as airlines add direct flights from international destinations into our area.  This week United Airlines will begin their new flight from Sydney to Houston.  This will be a nice addition to the already established Qantas flight from Sydney to Dallas/Ft. Worth.

The flights from Sydney to Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth are the only flights from Australia past the West Coast of America.   The United flight uses the 787-9 Dreamliner and will have a capacity of 91,980 seats per year.  The Quants flight is on an Airbus 380 with a capacity of 176,660 seats per year.

United has direct flights from Houston to Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile.  American flies from Dallas to Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery.

That’s about 375,000 seats per year that can connect to Alabama with just one connection.

In addition, Australians spend more time than other international visitors while in the USA.  They visit five states on their trips, speak English and can access all of our web and printed material.  They also love to drive and thus a driving trip from Texas to Alabama is not out of the question for these adventure seekers.

And in June of this year, Delta will start their Shanghai to Atlanta flight.  The Delta flight will be on a Boeing 777 with 291 seats.  Currently there are no nonstop flights between Atlanta and China. This flight will make it much easier for Chinese travelers to reach Alabama. The flight will code share with China Eastern Airlines.

British Airways starts their nonstop flight from London to Nashville on May 4 of this year, five days a week on a Boeing 787-7 with 214 seats.  British Airways started their London to New Orleans direct flights in March of last year.  They already had direct flights from London to Atlanta.  This means, for British Airways, visitors have three choices to drive and fly to Alabama from cities only a short drive away.

And in June 2017, Condor Airlines of Germany started a new non-stop service from Frankfort to New Orleans, twice weekly from May through October.

For more information on how Alabama is targeting these international destinations to increase tourism, contact Alabama Tourism Deputy Director Grey Brennan,

Bob Hendrix to retire as head of Visit Dothan
From the article on

Bob Hendrix, who has served 18 years as executive director of the Dothan Area Convention and Visitors Bureau — also known as Visit Dothan –announced his retirement Tuesday.

His retirement is effective at the end of January.

During Hendrix’s tenure, tourism-related expenditures increased 24 percent and the city generated $16 million in tourism-related tax revenue, according to the CVB.

Hendrix served on multiple boards of directors and advisory councils across the region and state, including Alabama Travel Council, Alabama Tourism Department Advisory Committee, Southeast Tourism Society, Alabama Historic Commission and the Wiregrass Festival of Murals board. He lobbied on a local, state, and national level for Dothan tourism through these boards and councils. He is also an active member of Rotary International and the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Dothan, serving on the Vestry committee

For the complete article please see

Alabama architectural history exhibition debuts in Gadsden
From the article by Erin Harney on

Melissa B. Tubbs for years has dreamed of an exhibition that showcases Alabama’s architectural history. The pen and ink artist finally got her chance with an exhibition, which is tied to Alabama’s bicentennial, and debuted Jan. 5 in Gadsden.

The exhibition, “Celebration & Preservation: Drawing Alabama’s Architectural History,” features 25 detailed pen and ink drawings of architecture from throughout the state, beginning with the 1820 Ivy Green House – the home of Helen Keller, and ending in 1997, with the Goat House — an Auburn Rural Studio Project. The exhibition will travel throughout the state from January 2018 through June 2019.

Tubbs began laying the groundwork for the exhibition in 2008. “I wanted to show the variety of architecture that has been built in and around the state,” Tubbs said. “We have almost every architectural style you can think of … from Victorian and Mid-Century Modern, to Art Modern and Art Deco.”

With the support of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and the endorsement of the Alabama Architectural Foundation, Tubbs reached out to the public on social media to solicit ideas for the buildings she would include in the show. While Tubbs is a long-time Montgomery resident, her query garnered suggestions for buildings and places she would have otherwise not known about.

To help organize the selection process, Tubbs divided the state into five areas and chose five buildings in each of those areas to feature in the exhibition. “I did not necessarily want to choose buildings that were well-known and on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Tubbs. “However, it turns out that a good many of them are, which was a good way to find out information.” Tubbs chose a variety of buildings, including homes, churches, courthouses, businesses and even a jail. Each city hosting the exhibition has a building featured in the show.

Tubbs’s pen and ink career began about 20 years ago, when her sister asked her to complete her first official pen and ink drawing of her father-in-law’s home.

“I never knew how much I loved architecture until I drew it,” Tubbs said. “I really like working in black and white. I like seeing the values. … It doesn’t matter what color anything you see is, it’s the values – the shadows behind something or cast by the sunlight on a building that gives depth to everything and volume.”

A lifelong artist, Tubbs graduated from Auburn with a degree in visual design, and worked in magazine production for nearly 25 years. However, about six years after the house drawing for her sister, the number of commissioned works Tubbs received equaled that of a full-time job, so she chose to leave magazine production to pursue her own art career full-time.

“I never regretted it,” Tubbs said. “It is not always easy … but I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of different things.” Tubbs’s work includes designing the Montgomery Area Business Committee for the Fine Arts awards, the 2011 White House Christmas ornament, as well as two different drawing pad covers for Strathmore artist papers in 2011-2012.

While the pen and ink medium has been around for hundreds of years, it is not a common art medium. “It’s a hard medium to use, because you can’t erase,” Tubbs said. “You either start over or find a way to incorporate it into you drawing. Tubbs likes the challenge since she can’t make it easy on herself. “Pen and ink is a case of practice makes perfect,” Tubbs said. “I’ve gotten better with more that I’ve done. It is a medium that I think requires that … you get to a higher level at using the medium.”

Her attention to detail, showcased through layers of delicate lines, captures every aspect of architecture that makes each of the buildings in the exhibition unique. Regarding her drawings, Tubbs has had people tell her that “each time they go back and look at the drawings, they see something they didn’t see before,” something that she hopes visitors to the exhibition will also experience.

For Tubbs, preparing this exhibition was a labor of love, as she merged her love of art with her appreciation of history. “You can’t look at one without the other – art, architecture and history. … I love finding out about buildings – who built them, when, why they were built, and what materials were used,” Tubbs said. She incorporated her research into the exhibition catalog by recording the technical information about the building, as well as historical information and family history.

For example, Tubbs discovered that the Holman House in Ozark was built by Jessee DeCosta Holman, a prominent businessman who sold horses and mules in the early 20th century. “When he built the house in 1912-1913,” Tubbs said, “he had a horse carved on one side of the living room mantle and a mule carved on the other side, representing what he did to make the money to be able to build the house.”

Another interesting story she uncovered after the exhibition catalog had been printed involved the Bashinsky Home in Troy. Tubbs spoke with the granddaughter of L.M. Bashinsky, who had been the cashier of the Farmers and Merchants National Bank of Troy in 1902-1903, and learned that members of the Bashinsky family used the Troy home as a refuge from “the polio season” during the summers in Montgomery.

“Architecture is always influenced by what’s going on in the rest of the country, and world, at times,” Tubbs said. “It ties together all kinds of history and makes a community.”

“Drawing these buildings and celebrating 200 years of different architecture in the state is a way of drawing people’s attention to these buildings that are worth saving,” said Tubbs. “We need to remember history … whether it’s architecture or anything else… For people to know and realize how important it is to appreciate the people who came before us… It’s made us who we are and makes Alabama what Alabama is.”

To learn more about Tubbs, this exhibition, or how to commission artwork, visit Pen & Ink Works.

“Celebration & Preservation: Drawing Alabama’s Architectural History” will be on display at the Gadsden Museum of Art from Jan. 5 to Feb. 23. The opening reception will be Saturday, Jan. 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Exhibition catalogs will be available for sale in the museum gift shop.

The Gadsden Museum of Art is at 515 Broad St. Call the museum office at 256-546-7365 for additional information.

For the complete article please see

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center and the Alabama Legislature team up to send students to Space Camp
Middle-school students living in Alabama are eligible to attend a special Space Camp program free of charge. Students ages 12 to 14 may apply for Space Academy for Leading Students in Alabama, or SALSA, a Space Camp scholarship funded by the Alabama legislature. A male and female student in each Alabama Legislative district will receive a scholarship to attend SALSA, which promotes awareness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts and careers along with leadership skills.

To be eligible for SALSA, students must apply for the scholarship. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center will then forward a notice of application to the members of the Alabama House of Representatives or the Alabama Senate representing the district in which the students reside. Each member will nominate two students to receive a scholarship to attend SALSA, which takes place May 27 through June 1, 2018.

Each scholarship includes tuition, room and board for the Space Academy program and a flight suit. Travel to and from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center are is included.

The deadline to apply has been extended to Friday, Feb. 16. To apply, visit To learn more, visit

Media contact: Pat Ammons,, 256-721-5429

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website
FORE! Pack your clubs, we’re going on a road trip. Sweet Home Alabama’s best golf courses are waiting for you. Smell the freshly cut putting green as you watch your birdie roll into the hole. Feel the coastline breeze as you play a relaxing 18-holes and taste the feeling of victory.

Sweet Home Alabama is a golf lover’s paradise with over 150 courses and now is your chance to hit the links. Enter now at to win the chance to stay and play golf around Alabama, including the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Pursell Farms and Alabama’s Gulf Coast on June 3-8, 2018.


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