Art is popping as events encourage shopping at High Cotton Arts

By  | November 14, 2017 | Filed under: News

ATHENS-Two shopping events in November will support about 15 artists operating their small businesses in downtown Athens.


The artists operate their businesses at High Cotton Arts, an art incubator that Athens Arts League operates to offer affordable studio and exhibit space to artists as well as art classes and other cultural events for the community. This month, Athens Arts League and the High Cotton Arts artists are participating in Christmas Open House and Small Business Saturday.


Tina Swindell

“Supporting small businesses like the artists at High Cotton Arts brings clientele into our town to visit,” said High Cotton Arts artist Tina Swindell. “Art in the community stimulates the economy as well as documenting our cultural history and educating our children in the arts.”


The High Cotton Holiday at High Cotton Arts for Christmas Open House is Nov. 17-19. The Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and Athens Main Street host the event. Shoppers can enjoy holiday music and find unique gifts of art at High Cotton Arts that weekend. Matt Ennis and the Athens Dulcimers will be among the entertainment.


In addition, Athens Arts League is sponsoring popcorn and cookies for shoppers and an ornament craft for children.


“Since the Christmas Open House theme is Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, the art craft will be creating Christmas ornaments from 45 rpm records,” said Athens Arts League Publicity Chair Holly Hollman.


The craft station will be open from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18, and Sunday, Nov. 19.


Shoppers can visit with the artists to commission pieces, purchase art and sign up for classes.


Sonya Gordon

“Having an art presence in our community, such as High Cotton Arts, brings a special life enhancing element to our city,” said High Cotton Arts artist Sonya Gordon, who also serves as part-time manager. “The creative process and finished art pieces serve as a form of communication that can bridge gaps, unify people and provoke thought.”


To support an endeavor like High Cotton Arts, American Express hosts Small Business Saturday, a national event designed to encourage shoppers to support independent retailers. This year’s event is Nov. 25. According to the Shop Small website, shoppers reported spending $15.4 billion with small businesses during the 2016 event.


“Your small business owners are your neighbors, the supporters of your school, and the friend you see at community events,” said Athens Arts League Board President Amy Golden. “By supporting our artists at High Cotton Arts, you are supporting the people who make up your community.”


American Express has approved High Cotton Arts as a Neighborhood Champion for Small Business Saturday for its event Pop in at High Cotton Arts. On Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., shoppers can pop in to meet artists, purchase art, tour the Athens State University and Athens Rotary student studios, and enjoy free popcorn. In addition, there will be balloon pops where shoppers can pop a balloon to see what prize is inside, such as a percentage off for purchases.


“What makes receiving a gift extra special?” asked High Cotton Arts artist Roberta Ress. “It’s receiving a unique, hand crafted gift made by a local artist, not something mass produced that could have been given to anyone without any thought as to what the recipient likes.”


To learn more about High Cotton Arts and the artists who operate a business there, follow on Facebook or go online at


Specials offered by artists at High Cotton Arts for Christmas Open House and Small Business Saturday:


  • Tina Swindell will give away a $50 gift certificate during Christmas Open House and offer light snacks.
  • Roberta Ress will give away a door prize during Christmas Open House.
  • Sonya Gordon will give away two $40 gift certificates during Christmas Open House.
  • Sanda Bishop will give away two coupons valued at $35 each for her art classes during Small Business Saturday.

Tanjie Nash Schrimsher and Athens Arts League will do “balloon pops” with prizes inside the balloons during Small Business Saturday

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