Around Back at Rocky’s Place

By on June 1, 2015

Around Back at Rocky’s Place

Art from the Folk Art Heart – Creating a Visual Legacy Through Personal Experience

The field of American folk art was first defined at the turn of the twentieth century by collectors, professional artists, critics, dealers, and curators whose search for an authentic American art seemed to be finally answered in works that presented a nuanced picture of national identity, faith, progress, ingenuity, community, and individuality. Under the umbrella of “folk art” the field expanded to also include artists working in the present. For the last twenty years, the term “self-taught” has more regularly come to address these artists, whose inspiration emerges from unsuspected paths and unconventional places, giving voice to individuals who may be situated outside the social mainstream. Those individuals have been active participants in the shaping of American visual culture, influencing generations of artists and establishing lively artistic traditions.  – American Folk Art Museum

What do you think of when hearing the term “Folk Art”?  Is it face jugs? Paintings of farm life and days gone by? One-of-a-kind yard art? All of the above? The premier location for folk art in the region is Around Back at Rocky’s Place in Dawsonville, Georgia, a truly colorful gallery.  The gallery opened in 2002 and now represents well over 300 artists, most of whom have been gallery friends for years. The owners became collectors well over 25 years ago. Their passion for this art genre became an extreme hobby that later led them to being pickers for an Atlanta gallery, and then eventually, the establishment of Around Back at Rocky’s Place. For both, the obsession began with a single face jug. For one, it was a Hewell jug, and for the other, it was a face jug by a Meaders family member; both of these names represent the two leading pottery families in Georgia. In addition to showcasing Georgia folk pottery, the gallery also host pieces from the leading potters in Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. There is quite an education to be learned as pottery characteristics, glazes, and features are specific to both the region and the family. While vessels from the South make up the majority of the clay art in the gallery, the gallery also highlights the pottery of an artist originally from the North; his pots represent the face jugs from African traditions and customs, complete with quotes from the slave days. Stop by the gallery to see these unique art pieces, and if you are lucky, there might even be a ‘turner and burner” on the premises to share his story with you.

Around Back at Rocky's PlaceAt Around Back at Rocky’s Place, you’ll quickly see it’s filled with generations’ worth of history from the American South. Also known as “Outsider Art,” among other appellations, these pieces were, and are, created by people who have had no formal training. They learned from their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents; some family traditions going back four or five generations. The folk art is as much about the stories as it is the art. People, aka the artists, would take whatever they could find in their yards, or just about anywhere– broken farm equipment, pieces of discarded wood, broken bottles, clay, and make things to give away. You can trace the history of the American South through the vast number of “Memory Paintings” in the gallery. These paintings represent early rural life with iconic cultural references, most often in bright primary colors. These paintings are not just pieces of everyday life in cotton fields, but many are also visionary in nature as scenes of church dinners on the ground and cold river baptisms come to life.

All are welcome to view the work of some of the South’s leading folk artists in the field, with work comprised of pottery, paintings, woodcarvings, metal sculptures, fiber art, and assemblages; the gallery also has recycled, “green art,” jewelry, books, cards, dolls, and the list could go on and on just like the variety that is characteristic of folk art– there is no set pattern, rule, or regulation.

Saving the best for last, the gallery is the home gallery of the bestselling, and one of the most highly sought after artists in the country, John “Cornbread” Anderson. On any given day, patrons have approximately 200 pieces of Cornbread from which to select the perfect pieces for their collection. Most of his pieces feature animals indigenous to our region, but if you are lucky, you might find one of his rare pieces featuring a political or religious theme.  On occasion, Cornbread will try is hand at pottery and wood carvings. These pieces go quickly out the door!

Around Back at Rocky's PlaceHours are Saturdays,11-5 and Sundays, 1-5, and also by appointment. If unable to see the art live and in person, please visit their website,, where you may learn tidbits about the artists as well as making purchases. Check the website often as it is a work in progress and new art pieces are continually added. Also, don’t forget to “like us on facebook!” We invite you to stop in for a visit and possibly take home a truly one-of-a-kind Southern masterpiece, complete with the story that goes along with it.

Around Back at Rocky’s Place

3631 Hwy. 53 East at Etowah River Road Dawsonville, GA


Hours: Saturdays,11am-5pm

Sundays, 1pm-5pm,

and also by appointment.