The Fayette Art Museum was founded in 1969 by Fayette City Council and Jack Black, who was the Musuem's Director for 35 years. It began with the gift from Lois Wilson, a Fayette native, of her art collection, which ultimately totaled 2,600 pieces of her own and of other artists’ work. Wilson died poor and obscure in Yonkers, NY, in 1980 at the age of 75. Black, who died in 2004 at age of 79, shepherded the Fayette Art Museum from its fragile birth to its solid presence as an icon of Southern pride in its arts.
Initially housed in Fayette City Hall, the museum is now located in Fayette Civic Center, originally the Fayette Grammar School, built in the 1930’s and restored in 1982. There are now over 4000 pieces in the permanent collection with over 500 running feet of display space on the main floor of the Civic Center and 6 folk art galleries downstairs, as well as a gallery used for the Director/Curator's office.
Artists include internationally known Fayette native Jimmy Lee Sudduth; Rev. Benjamin F. Perkins; Fred Webster of Berry; Sybil Gibson of Jasper; Jessi LaVon of central Alabama; Wanda Teel of north Alabama; Moses T and Doug Odom of south Alabama; Margarette Scruggs of Walker county, and Lois Wilson of Fayette. Other folk and mainstream 20-century American artists are also represented.
The Fayette Art Museum put Fayette (pop. 5,000) on the tourist map when in 1999 National Geographic flagged the museum as a regional attraction.
For more historical and booking information about the Civic Center check it out on the city's website at www.fayetteal.org and join them on their www.facebook.com page under Fayette Alabama Civic Center.