SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The 10th annual Sylacauga Magic of Marble Festival ended last Friday, a day earlier than scheduled, due to inclement weather on Saturday.
Every year, people from all over the country come to see Sylacauga’s white marble being made into sculptures. This year, there were guests from Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Florida. There is also a visiting master sculptor who comes from Pietrasanta, Italy every year.
Pietrasanta is Sylacauga’s sister city, and the equivalent of their arts council picks a sculptor to come to the Sylacauga Marble Festival. The sculptor comes all expenses paid, carves a sculpture from Sylacauga white marble, and leaves it at the B.B. Comer Memorial Library to be on display.
The visiting sculptor from this year, Marcello Giorgi, has been carving marble and sculpting since he was a kid. He chose to sculpt Mercury, the Roman messenger god, because he feels as if he is like the messenger from his city. Giorgi has opened a school in Montale, where he teaches the Italian form of sculpting, and said that is what he hoped to show his fellow sculptors at the festival this year.
“The color of Sylacauga white marble is amazing; it is transparent,” said Giorgi. “The composition of the marble is also great. I enjoy working with it.”
There is a room in the B.B. Comer Library where sculptors can bring in past work for display or to sell throughout the festival. Giorgi’s sculpture will be on display at the B.B. Comer Memorial Library for this exhibit.
Craigger Browne, a long time participant of the Magic of Marble Festival, said Giorgi has been one of the nicest and most grateful sculptors to come to Sylacauga.
Browne sculpted several pieces at this year’s festival, one of which was Calvary. “I love the camaraderie and how the sculptors interact. Many have come back for years, this is my seventh festival, so we’re friends. There’s not a lot of us out there, so it’s great when we can all get together. It’s not competitive, it’s all about supporting each other and friendship, sharing tools and techniques, creative inspiration. Everyone checks their attitude and ego at the door, and it’s awesome.”
Browne said he loves how the city has gotten behind rebranding Sylacauga as the Marble City through sculptures and fine art over the last ten years, rather than the industrial side. “Fifty years ago, Sylacauga Marble was a household material, and it’s all over the world in embassies and skyscrapers. They got away from cutting dimensional stone and just started doing the industrial, but the new owners of the industrial quarries have tripled production and the marketing budget is what it needs to be. They have done a great job.”