Robin McDonald Exhibit

Robin McDonald is the Leeds Arts Council’s featured artist in October.  The public is invited to the opening reception on October 2, 2016, 1:30-3:30 pm, to view his delightful photographs of Leeds.  Admission is free.

Robin is English by birth, born in Beckenham, a suburb of London, in 1951. He emigrated to America at the age of 12, and after 3 years in Philadelphia, moved to Alabama with his parents in 1966. He has lived here ever since. After receiving a BA cum laude in art history at Emory University, he attended Columbia University on a graduate fellowship, receiving an MA in art history in 1973. While in New York, Robin became interested in photography, and decided to pursue art and photography as a career rather than academia.  He returned to Birmingham, and by a stroke of fortune, despite having no formal training, was hired as an artist at a small Birmingham ad agency where he worked for three years before moving to a larger agency, and then a photographic studio, finally forming Triad Studios, a graphic design and photography studio, with two other photographers in 1977.  In 1979, he was hired away from Triad to become the art director of Horizon Magazine, a well-known national arts magazine that had just been purchased and moved to Tuscaloosa. Robin spent five years working at Horizon, during which time he received a gold award and a bronze award from the New York Art Directors Club. In 1980, he won Best in Show at the first (and only) Greater Birmingham Arts Alliance Juried Photography Exhibition.

In 1984, Robin left Horizon and returned to Birmingham to start his own independent graphic design and photography studio, now in its 32nd year.  Robin and his wife Debbie Bennett purchased a house in the woods off Bailey Road near Leeds in 1986, and Robin has operated his business there ever since. Debbie, who is very active in the Leeds community, currently serves as a librarian at the Leeds Jane Culbreth Library, and both serve on the board of the Leeds Historical Society.

In 1991, Robin became the designer and principal photographer for Alabama Heritage Magazine, published jointly by the University of Alabama, UAB, and the Alabama Department of Archives and History.  The Spring 2016 issue of Alabama Heritage was Robin’s 100th. The magazine has been recognized by the CASE awards for academic publications a number of times, both regionally and nationally. Robin’s other principal client is Clairmont Press in Atlanta, a company that publishes state history school textbooks for almost all of the southeastern states.  Robin has designed all of their books, with a single exception, since 1985. He has also designed many books for the University of Alabama Press, including both editions of The Crimson Tide by Winston Groom, Alabama Architecture by Alice Meriwether Bowsher, and Headwaters by Beth Maynor Young and John C. Hall.

Robin is the author of two books, Heart of a Small Town: Photographs of Alabama Towns (2003) and Visions of the Black Belt: A Cultural Survey of the Heart of Alabama (2015), co-authored by Valerie Pope Burnes. Both were published by the University of Alabama Press.

Robin has participated in two exhibitions at the Georgine Clarke Gallery of the Alabama State Council for the Arts, both featuring photographs from Visions of the Black Belt.  The second exhibition, also featuring photographs by Jerry Siegel and Chip Cooper, traveled to Pietrasanta, Italy this summer as part of a cultural exchange program with the city of Montgomery.  Robin is also represented in the collection of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.

Robin plans to spend his impending retirement photographing the landscapes and townscapes of Alabama.  This small exhibition features photographs of some of the familiar architecture of Leeds, all taken in 2016.

Mr. McDonald’s work will be on exhibit through November 3, 2016.

The Arts Center is located at 8140 Parkway Drive, in downtown Leeds.  The gallery is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and during events.  In case of inclement weather, call the center at 205-699-1892 to confirm opening hours.

Posted in Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

ENCORE: Musical Memories

On Friday, September 30th at 7 pm and Saturday, October 1st at 7 pm we are proud to present ENCORE: Musical Memories.  Tickets for this event are $10.  This is a yearly fund raiser put together by our play director Cliff Keen, Jr. for the Leeds Theatre and Arts Center.  This show will feature songs both from musicals we’ve done here at the Arts Center and musicals we haven’t done here but are familiar to all.  The songs will be performed by familiar faces from our past musical productions.  Come and enjoy a musical evening!  Reservations are not required.  For more information call us at 205-699-1892 or email us at


Posted in music, Performing Arts, Theatre, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

September Leeds Area Open Circle Poets Meeting.

Dear Open Circle Poetry Fans:

This post includes a number of ideas for writing poetry, so this should keep you busy for months! 

• But first, a couple of announcements about “My Favorite Poem” at the Alabama School of Fine Arts this coming Friday, Sept. 23, at 7:00 pm. 1) The writer and curator of fond memories, Jim Reed, will be the M.C., because Mike Royer has a command performance else ware. 2) Our friend, Charlie Kinnaird, is one of the featured readers. Charlie is a member of our poetry group. He wrote “This Is Where I’m From” and brought us the “I Am From” template.

• On October 27 (a Thursday), our poetry group and the Leeds Arts Council will host the quarterly meeting and reading of the Birmingham Arts Journal. We’ll spend a few minutes at next Monday’s meeting to talk about refreshments, decorations, and hospitality.

Ideas for this month’s poetry meeting, Monday, Sept. 26, at 7:00 pm

1) Cats – – One of our poets suggested this topic months ago. Another member (Jonathan) recently adopted two kittens. There’s plenty to write about.

2) QuatrainA stanza or poem consisting of four lines. In the basic form, Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme while having a similar number of syllables. (The poem can be only 4 lines, or it can have many 4-line stanzas as long as each stanza follows the rhyming and syllable pattern.)

Example from

The wind doth blow today, my love
And a few small drops of rain;
I never had but one true-love
In cold grave she was lain.

Another example, “Unspoken Words,” by Paul Callus:

I often scribble in the sand 
The words I find so hard to say
And hope the wind will come along 
And blow them all your way.

3) Where to get more ideas for poems:  (from

  • Listen to a piece of music and write about the images that it brings into your mind.
  • People-watch, eavesdrop, and write about your observations and imaginings.
  • Sit in a park and close your eyes. Notice all of the sounds and smells. Write about them afterward.
  • Keep a notebook next to your bed and write down your dreams at night to turn them into poems later.
  • Make a list of words you think are unusual, then try to use them in poems.
  • Watch an animal and write a poem about what it looks like and what it does.
  • Smell different spices in your kitchen and write about the memories that they inspire.
  • Look through old family photographs and choose some to write poems about.
  • Go on a “field trip” — a museum, the zoo, a greenhouse — to hunt for poetry ideas.
  • Get inspiration from books on an area of science or history that interests you.

Listeners are welcome and necessary!  We’ll have snacks.

Leeds Area Open Circle Poetry Group
Monday, September 26, 7:00 pm

Leeds Arts Center in Downtown Leeds
8140 Parkway Drive, Leeds, Alabama 35094

 Call or email if you have questions.
Joan Dawson – 401-7077

Posted in Poetry, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Fall Fashion Show and Luncheon.

ffsLeeds Arts Council’s annual Fall Fashion Show and Luncheon is just one week away! Lunch will be catered by Laney’s, and we have some exciting door prizes with more coming in every day. Tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, church groups, etc. to help support the Leeds Arts Council by attending! The show is Thursday, September 15th, from 11:30am to 1:00pm. Tickets are $25. Leeds Theatre and Arts Center is located at 8140 Parkway Drive in historic Downtown Leeds; call us at 205-699-1892, or email us at .

Posted in Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

September Artist of the Month.

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Tanna Rose is the Leeds Arts Council’s featured artist in September.  The public is invited to the opening reception at the Arts Center on Sunday, August 28, 2016, 1:30-3:30 pm, to view her beautiful paintings.  Admission is free. ​From her … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Auditions announced!

Bloody Murder logoCALLING ALL ACTORS! – The auditions for Leeds Arts Council’s October Mystery Theatre BLOODY MURDER by Ed Sala will be held on at Leeds Theatre and Arts Center on Monday, August 22 and Tuesday, August 23 at 7:00 until 9:00 PM. The cast is comprised of the following actors: A woman in her 70’s – Lady Somerset; another woman in her 60’s – the maid; a woman in her late 20’s – the innocent ingénue; and another woman in her late 30’s – mystery woman; a man in his late 60’s – The Major; man in his 40’s to early 50’s – a former actor; man in his late 30’s to early 40’s – worthless nephew; man in his early 40’s or 50’s – the dimwitted policeman. There may be some doubling of roles.
The play will be October 14,15,21 & 22 at 7:00 PM and October 16 & 23 at 2:00 PM. Directed by Cliff Keen, Jr.
Leeds Theatre and Arts Center is located at 8140 Parkway Drive in historic Downtown Leeds.

Posted in Performing Arts, Theatre, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Willie & Waylon and Elvis!


The Leeds Arts Council is proud to announce the appearance of Alan Tedders and Terry Padgett as Willie & Waylon and Elvis on Saturday, August 13th at 7:00 pm. The Outlaws are back, with special guest performer Elvis!  Tickets are on sale now so get yours before they’re gone!

Terry started his tribute to Elvis in church after being asked to perform at a widows’ banquet in Leeds, Alabama December 2001. Since then, Terry has performed at many events including street dances, festivals, private parties and grand openings. He has had the honor to perform for Governor Bob Riley at the Leeds Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet at Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. He has also performed several times at the Leeds Theatre and Arts Center.  Terry takes pride in the shows he brings to his audiences. It is the audience that brings life to every show!


Alan Tedders- a long time music and stage professional- took notice of an Elvis Tribute Artist one evening during a fun filled night of karaoke at Lee’s Country Diner in Sumiton. Allen heard Terry sing the well-known theme-song to the ever popular 70’s show, The Dukes of Hazzard. What Terry didn’t know is that Alan was interested in adding a Waylon Jennings to his act and felt Terry had the talent. And thus W & W Productions-The Willie and Waylon Experience was created.


The show at the Leeds Theatre and Arts Center is August 13th at 7 pm; tickets are $20.00. Seating will be around tables with eight people seated at each table. You may purchase individual tickets at $20 each or purchase a table for $160. Reservations and prepayment are required.  Payment may be made by phone using your credit card or in the office with cash, check, or charge.  Office hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 am to 2 pm.

The Leeds Theatre and Arts Center is located at 8140 Parkway Drive in historic downtown Leeds. The theatre is handicapped accessible and has free parking on the street. For reservations, call 205-699-1892, email, or find Leeds Arts Council on Facebook.

Come dressed in your best western apparel and ready to have some fun!

Posted in music, Performing Arts, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Bill Barrow Opening Reception – July 31

Bill Barrow is our featured artist in August.  The public is invited to the opening reception on July 31, 2016, 1:30-3:30 pm, to view his delightful artwork.  Admission is free.


William Franklin Barrow was born October 2, 1936 as Billy, to Robert and LaDelle Barrow in Atlanta, Georgia.  After traveling due to the war and Bob’s profession in the shipyard field, the family moved around until finally settling in Birmingham, Alabama after the war. Bill graduated from Woodlawn High School in 1955, which led him to Auburn University.  After one semester at Auburn, he enlisted in the Navy and spent six years traveling throughout the Pacific.

After his Navy career, Bill returned home and met his future bride on a blind date.  On May 5, 1961 he married Joyce Scogin, to whom he is still happily married.   He returned to college, this time at the University of Alabama, where he graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor’s in Business Management.  He then started his career with the Alabama Power Company, from which he retired in 1990 as the Manager of Inventory Control.  He and Joyce live in Leeds.  They have two daughters, Beth Barrow Dorough and Cathy Barrow Brown, and seven grandchildren.

Bill Barrow was born with a God given talent which he has considered a hobby his entire life.  He enjoys drawing architectural features, still life, and people – especially his grandchildren.  He has volunteered to teach art classes throughout his career, mainly at local churches.

Bill’s medium of choice has always been pencil, which allows him to use shadowing to create depth and texture with precise measure.  He loves being able to use his talent to bring pleasure to his friends and family.

Mr. Barrow’s work will be on exhibit through August 26, 2016.

The Arts Center is located at 8140 Parkway Drive, in downtown Leeds.  The gallery is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and during events.  In case of inclement weather, call the center at 205-699-1892 to confirm opening hours.

Posted in Upcoming Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Leeds Area Open Circle Poets Meeting!

Escape the heat and come to the Open Circle Poetry Group on Monday, July 25, 6:30 (note time change).

Here are suggestions for writing, if you need a jumpstart:

1) Summer heat – It doesn’t necessarily have to be about the weather; there are all kinds of summer heat. Politics?

2) Continue with the “This Is Where I’m From” template and poem.

3) Bring an award-winning selection to read. We are eager to hear Ramey Channell’s two winners from the 2016 Alabama Writers’ Conclave. Congratulations, Ramey. Well done!

4) Bring something that you’re working on. We’re good sounding boards.

“Other Things” – Consider attending these events:

• Thursday, July 28, 6:30 – Birmingham Arts Journal reading and reception (free) at Mountain Brook Emmet O’Neal Library. This is the Hackney Award edition, and Frank Dawson will read his Hackney Award-winning poem. Congratulations, Frank.

Leeds Area Open Circle Poets
Monday, January 26, 6:30 pm – a little earlier than usual

Leeds Arts Center in Downtown Leeds
8140 Parkway Drive, Leeds 35094

Cool refreshments, of course!

Posted in Poetry, Upcoming Events, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Updated information – Oklahoma!


Tonight’s performance of Oklahoma! will start at 7:30 pm instead of 7. Saturday’s performance will begin at 7 pm, and Sunday’s performance will begin at 2 pm. These are our final 3 performances of Oklahoma! and we sure hope to see you all there! Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Reservations aren’t required, but you may call 205-699-1892 to reserve tickets.

Posted in Performing Arts, Theatre | Leave a comment