SCAC offers artists an outlet close to home

On a Monday afternoon the week before Thanksgiving, a handful of painters gathered in the Shelby County Arts Council in Columbiana.

They come from across the county and even neighboring Jefferson County for an afternoon of painting with instructor Lynn Dodson.

“I’m just following Lynn around and ended up here,” said Connie Crane, a Trussville native.

Crane began taking lessons from Dodson about 10 years ago. When Dodson joined the SCAC as an instructor, Crane and several other students followed her.

Across the room from Crane was Judy Pinson, who lives in Shelby County. Pinson began painting after she retired and found she enjoyed it.

She also enjoys taking classes, but said she would be unlikely to do so, if she had to leave Shelby County.

“I’ve done all the driving to Birmingham I ever want to do,” she said with a laugh. “They have a hard time getting me to come for lunch.”

The Shelby County Arts Council offers dozens of classes and programs throughout the year, including some free programs in local schools.

To executive director Terri Sullivan, who founded the organization, the best thing about the SCAC is it is one of the few arts centers located in Shelby County.

Sullivan hopes the SCAC will someday be able move to from its current, small office to a custom building in Columbiana.

That’s been the goal since the founding of the SCAC. While the fundraising to build the new headquarters has taken longer than Sullivan had hoped, she remains confident that the new building will happen.

Pinson said she and the other painting students are also looking forward to the day they can take classes in the new building.

In the meantime, the SCAC still offers numerous art and music classes for students of all ages, including pottery, photography, jewelry-making, violin and guitar. If you’re looking for a worthy cause to support this year, the SCAC could be a great one.

For more information about the SCAC, visit

Katie McDowell is the Lifestyles Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 19 or by email at