Many of you enjoy live music. Live art, too can be just as exciting. Events that highlight both forms are scheduled this week, with a worship musical tonight at Parker Memorial Baptist Church in Anniston and interactive art demonstrations at Talladega’s Heritage Hall Museum this month from Monday through Friday. Both are free events.

Worship musical tonight

Music benefits us in incredible ways, according to an article in the June issue of Reader’s Digest. It decreases levels of stress and has been used for centuries as a healing tool.

Music can be even more meaningful in a church setting because the words and melodies are inspiring. Such is the case this evening at Parker Memorial Baptist Church at 6 p.m. when combined choirs from Parker Memorial Baptist and DeArmanville Baptist lift their voices to present “God Will Make a Way” by composer Don Moen.

The choirs, soloists and orchestra become instruments of praise as they sing songs of hope such as “Open Up the Heavens” and “I’ll Say Yes.” There will be both recognizable hymns and newer sacred music, according to Don Gober, minister of music at Parker. Soloists include senior pastor Mack Amis, Greg Stone, Renee Wheatley and Jay McElroy. Everyone is invited.

Live art at Heritage Hall

Art Bacon will paint for all who come to the Heritage Hall Fireside Gallery in Talladega, as he talks about his craft and answers questions. His live art provides an insider’s look into his variety of techniques and subjects of choice. He will be in the gallery Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. throughout August.

Bacon’s favorite subjects are people whose experiences show in their faces, he said, as well as old barns, old cars and covered bridges.

“I hope that everyone will drop by and stay as long as they like,” Bacon said. “I particularly like answering questions about my work. In fact, I gain as much from my audience as they do from me.”

Come, if you are an art enthusiast or want to know how a painting is created. Or enroll in his classes from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesdays for eight weeks (the first class was Aug. 7) if you curious about what it takes to become an artist or need help in deciding which direction to go in studying visual art. Classes are $20 each.

Time spent with this homegrown Alabama artist promises to be valuable, according to museum director Valerie White. “Dr. Bacon has been a teacher and an artist for a very long time,” she said. “An artist of his acclaim would normally charge more for his classes and would be less generous with his time and skill.”

Bacon has been a professional artist since the early 1970s, but was attracted to art in elementary school. He is a scientist, too, having started out as a biology student at Talladega College. Art, however, was his passion, and he constantly used his drawing and painting abilities is any way he could, creating posters, backdrops for college plays and later for Town & Gown Theatre in Birmingham.

One of his primary career achievements was his role in saving Talladega College’s accreditation, according to a 2007 article in Southern Living.

Bacon earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in zoology at Howard University. After a year of postdoctoral research at the University of Miami, he returned to Talladega College, where was named chairman of the division of natural sciences and mathematics.

After retiring from academia in 2008, Bacon has continued to paint, draw, work in his studio overlooking a lake in east Alabama, and spend time with students.

His work has been shown at galleries in Washington, D.C.; Berkeley, Calif.; New York City; Atlanta and West Palm Beach, Fla.

In May of 2017, Bacon was one of eight Alabamians honored by the Alabama State Council on the Arts in its “Celebration of the Arts” event. He was recognized for his collective contributions to the arts in our state.

When children see Bacon’s demonstrations, they seem captivated, especially when he selects a child from the audience and sketches him or her on canvas. “They love this,” Bacon said. “They ask, ‘How old are you?’ and ‘How much do you charge for your work?’”

Besides working with acrylics, watercolors, drawings and ink washes, Bacon also writes poetry.

For his role in the civil rights movement, a marker on the Anniston Civil Rights Trail at the Southern Railway station bears his story.

He has been busy, always, yet art has been central to everything he has done, Bacon said. “I really don’t know how I could function without it.”

If bringing a group to the live art demonstrations, please call White ahead of time at 256-761-1364. Heritage Hall is at 200 South Street E. in Talladega.

Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at herveyfolsom@yahoo.com.