Former Fort Deposit teacher returns to Calico Fort

Published 4:32 pm Friday, April 14, 2023

Calico Fort Arts and Crafts Fair participant Mary Croley is getting ready to sell her work and visit with her longtime friends at the Fort Deposit event April 15-16.

“Oh the people,”she laughed. “People that I taught in schools at Fort Deposit, and their children and grandchildren come back to Calico every year. I’m 80 years old.”

Croley sells original paintings in mediums including oil, acrylic, and alcohol ink paintings on tiles and synthetic paper. She loves painting animals, especially horses, and landscapes. As for her style, Croley said it is mostly realism, but she is interested in many styles.

“One time I belonged to a group called experimental artists, and that worked just fine with me because I do a little of this and a little of that and just have a lot of fun doing my work,” Croley said.

She said she enjoys walking around Calico seeing other artists’ work,too. 

“Even if I look at someone who does woodwork, and I’m a painter, I think I still learn from looking at their work,” said Croley.

It’s that fascination with artwork that Calico Fort organizer Frieda Cross says keeps her, and thousands of others, heading back to the Ft. Deposit arts and crafts festival.

“This world is full of talent”, Cross said while pointing out a cross made by Calico Fort artist Mark Coleman. Cross also pointed to a wooden bowl that Tommy Gamble created,

“He took one single piece of wood and made this bowl,” She said.

Walking through her office, Cross shows artwork by many of the regular Calico Fort artists, especially a selection of pen and ink sketches showcasing historic Fort Deposit for the 20th Anniversary of Calico Fort. She also showed off work done by a craftsman involving shells and medals.

“There are just so many ideas and talents. Who would have ever thought of taking these shells and making art? That’s why I love Calico Fort,” said Cross.