Each year, the Brentwood Art Society nominates and votes on candidates for their distinctive Artist of the Year award. Jerry Illers, the founder of The Mad Potters is this year’s recipient. There are many factors consider for the artist who is awarded taken into consideration, which qualify a working artist for this recognition. The artist engages their community in aspects of art awareness or arts education. They also give back to the community in concept, new ideas or arts projects.
The Mad Potter and his family strive to provide an art studio that is family friendly and affordable to all, so the art of pottery can be passed on from generation to generation. The studio also strives to host educational opportunities through on and off-site field trips, so individuals of all ages, especially children, can learn the history and process of creating and painting pottery.
Other primary goals are to give back to the community that supports them and raise awareness for a variety of programs. The community of special needs and those living with congenital heart defects are especially important to the studio. Dylan, the Mad Potter's grandson, has Down syndrome, and his granddaughter, Savannah, was born with Tetralogy of Fallot and has developed severe pulmonary valve regurgitation.
The Mad Potter has worked with numerous groups over the past years. They include Working Wonders, Liberty Union High School District Gateway Program, the Library Art Grant program, The Paint Program, Revitalize adult day program, WeeCare, Golden Hills Christian School, Cornerstone Christian School, 3.21 Life +1 Project, as well as girl scout and brownie troops to help complete their pottery badges.
Illers has also hosted many organizations to help with fundraising, including World Down Syndrome Awareness Day and Congenital Heart Defect Awareness. In his spare time, he enjoys family, camping and boating.
Brentwood Art Society along with city, county and district dignitaries will be present to award Illers with this distinctive honor at the Art, Wine & Jazz Festival on Sat., June 22, at approximately 2 p.m. on center stage at downtown City Park.