Storm season isn’t just for meteorologists. The arts inbox is always hit with a gale of autumnal news too robust for the allotted space. So grab your sandbags while we try to fit in the best of it to a single page ostensibly reserved for one column and three small announcements.

The Mobile Arts Council announced a date and changes to its annual Arty Awards. Since 2004, the event honors individuals and organizations for their cultural support and furtherance and have become one of the more highly anticipated events on the calendar.

Last year saw a few changes as it was rebranded, its date shifted from late summer to early December and the selection process revamped. That formula has been tweaked yet again.

The next version will be held Jan. 27, 2017, at 7 p.m. at Alabama Contemporary Art Space (301 Conti St.) where MAC’s Arts Throwdown fundraiser occurred in mid-September. It will undoubtedly prove cozier than last year’s chilly December affair in the Gulf Coast Exploreum courtyard.

The number of awards has expanded yet again. Eleven categories are named this time around: Lifetime Achievement, Patron, Arts Educator, Artistic Innovation, Visual Artist, Performing Artist, Literary Artist, Artistic Design, Business, Organization and Art Soldier.

What’s changed? Last year’s Mover and Shaker is gone and appears to have been replaced with Patron. Artistic Design and Literary Artist are both new.

What warms the cockles of our little heart-ifice most is the appearance of the Art Soldier award. Indications are it is an attempt to award some of our lower-key and more blue-collar contributors who quietly enable the cultural scene.

Each year’s physical award is rendered by a local talent, as glass artist Rene Culler did last go ‘round. This next version is to be completed by Susie Bowman, owner of Fairhope’s Kiln Studio and Gallery.

Last year’s selection process boasted a shift from public nominations then settled by a committee to the inverse. This year finds them going back to the original formula but the committee size has expanded to 13 members from a cross-section of arts entities who will decide final winners.

If you want to make a nomination, head to mobilearts.org where you can follow a link to the appropriate page. Nominations close Oct. 26.

Sponsors this year include Wind Creek Hospitality, the Jake Peavy Foundation, the Hargrove Foundation, Devin Ford Photography, The Southern Rambler, Smith’s Catering and Teague Branding Strategies.

Tickets to the event can be purchased through the MAC website or at its office (318 Dauphin St.). Call 251-432-9796 for more information.

Meanwhile, the Foley Art Center has made some strides for its 50th anniversary. They have a new education curriculum for adults and children with an ever-changing array of six-week classes. The first two classes, Japanese Block Printing and Watercolor Illustration, are currently underway but more are on the way, along with prorated fees for those who join late.

FAC continuously offers a Portrait Class for adults on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The Young Rembrandts class is a recurring six-week program for children, with the latest session underway as of Oct. 5.

With all this in motion, FAC hired Jessica Jackson as director of art education. She is a Fairhope native and Auburn University graduate who studied fine art. FAC recently acquired classroom studio space two doors down from its gallery, in the old Onlooker building.

Mobile Opera told Artifice there are still tickets available for its Oct. 21 and 23 performances of “The Devil and Daniel Webster” at The Temple Downtown (351 St. Francis St.). The spine-tingling historic tale is perfect for refined October thrills in one of the Azalea City’s most mysterious locales.

The Friday show is at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinee is at 2:30 p.m. Ticket information can be found at mobileopera.org or by calling 251-432-6772.

Mobile Opera also announced Elizabeth Bemis, Evan Mazur and David Meredith as winners of the Madame Rose Palmai-Tenser Young Artist Scholarships for 2016-2017. The trio of USA students have a history with Mobile Opera and will perform in gala and recital settings along with educational venues and other productions as part of their scholarships.

Bemis is a senior and repeat scholarship winner; she has performed in supporting roles with the Opera as well as with the chorus.

Mazur, a sophomore, is named as the Susan B. Gardberg Scholar. Meredith, also a sophomore, is the Mobile Opera Workshop Scholar.
Congratulations to all!