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Folk art on a grand scale
Annual exhibit gathers top artists, works in Atlanta
Crying Girl, by Atlanta artist, Lorenzo Scott.

Folk Fest

When: Aug. 17-19. Artists meet and greet 5-10 p.m. Aug. 17 ($15 includes re-admission); 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 19

Where: North Atlanta Trade Center, 1700 Jeurgens Court, Norcross, exit 101 off I-85

How much: $7, ages 16 and younger free

Contact: 770-532-1115,,

Fans of folk art won’t want to miss this weekend’s Folk Fest exhibit at the North Atlanta Trade Center in Norcross.
The event marks its 19th year with nearly 100 galleries and dealers taking part. Pieces for sale can range from $5 to a $50,000 museum masterpiece.

The show begins Friday night with a meet and greet with the artists, including some of the biggest names in folk art.

Folk Fest is organized by Steve and Amy Slotin, owners of Slotin Folk Art, based in Gainesville. Steve Slotin started in folk art when he ran across a Lanier Meaders face jug near his childhood summer camp in Cleveland.

“I discovered there were primitive forms of pottery and art all over the South,” he said. “These incredible pieces were created by housekeepers, janitors, factory workers, farmers and house painters. They created art, but had very little formal education at all. They used found materials — rusty metal, stray sticks, discarded objects, leftover house paint, mud.

“I took this enormous leap of faith, believing that if I could just share this primitive art, this local treasure with others, they would appreciate it as much as I did.”

Over the course of its 19-year history, Folk Fest has doubled in size and attendance.

“For a long time this art has been kept outside the mainstream art community,” Steve Slotin said. “Self-taught art is the most important visual culture America has ever produced. And it’s not country crafts, duck decoys or split-cane baskets. It is highly personal art. It’s religiously inspired paintings, crude tin cutouts, wood-relief carvings and environmental sculpture gardens.

“Self-taught artists don’t seek out the art world. The art world, collectors and dealers passionately seek them out. Their art is done by untrained people who draw on their culture and experiences in an isolated world. It’s made with a true, untutored, creative passion, raw and totally original.”