We at Cloverly World Headquarters are looking forward to hanging out with some excellent art for the next month or so.

Artworks have filled the corridors and side rooms outside our offices for the past several days. An exhibit called Room Service, featuring Alabama artists, officially opens tonight (Friday, June 14, 6-9 p.m.). Or the exhibit's name may be Showdown. Or it may be both. (Artists like to inhabit multiple realities.)

This is the view from our office door. Featured artist R. C. Hagans created these pieces. Photo by Cloverly Team

Anyway, the show features painter and mixed-media artist R. C. Hagans of Opelika. It also includes works by Brian Arnold, Cole Bryant, Merilee Challis, Ethan D'Ercole, Lauren Frances Evans, Stephen W. Evans, Jenny Fine, Kristy Jane From-Brown, Roscoe Hall, Duane Knight, Alex Kranzusch, Danny Martin, Moses Pressnell, Byron Sonnier, Leah Thornton, Sarah West, and Mary Grace Wolnski. Collectively, they call themselves the Bad Kids Club. Gory Price curated the show.

R. C. Hagans made these works as well. Photo by Cloverly Team

Big Communications, the marketing, advertising, and public relations agency that owns our building here in the heart of downtown Birmingham, put the show together. "John Montgomery, our founder, is very connected with the art scene, not just in Birmingham but in Alabama and beyond," said Luke Williams, operations manager at Big.

Works by R. C. Hagans line the main corridor on our floor. Photo by Cloverly Team

Although Big has regional and national clients, it especially likes to promote its hometown and home state. "Being able to do things like this show helps us say that we have some really amazing things right here in Alabama that people can enjoy," Williams said.

Mary Grace Wolnski says, "I paint to tell about." Photo by Cloverly Team

Cloverly works out of the fourth floor (or, as we like to call it, the penthouse) of the Big building, which was built in 1924. The high ceilings, original wood floors, and stretches of exposed brick walls make it an excellent art gallery as well as an office space.

Duane Knight painted these modern-day pirates. Photo by Cloverly Team

Rumor has it, Williams said, that the building once housed a snake oil distributor. Snake oil probably came to the United States in the 19th century as a traditional Chinese medicine brought by Chinese workers on the Transcontinental Railroad. Purveyors of unregulated patent medicines produced their own versions—usually mineral oil laced with camphor, capsaicin, turpentine, and other substances of dubious medical value.

Ethan D'Ercole trained as an architect and works as a musician as well as a commercial and fine artist. Photo by Cloverly Team

Snake oil peddlers traveled from town to town, selling their miracle cure and then moving on quickly so they wouldn't have to back up their extravagant claims. Hence their enduring reputation for flimflam, even though federal laws and regulations put them out of business by the mid-20th century.

"Beauty is at hand and it is raw," says painter Leah Thornton. Photo by Cloverly Team

The art show will be up till mid-July. Come check it out and visit us at Cloverly. We agree with Big that Birmingham is a city on the rise. We'll show you some of our favorite places in town.

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