Over the years, The Shoals has gained an incredible reputation within Alabama and beyond as a Southern musical hub that has fostered the talents of some of the country’s greatest musicians. Visitors come from all over to get a glimpse of the places tied to such greatness, recreating photos in front of landmarks such as Muscle Shoals Sound Studios at 3614 Jackson Highway, home of the Swampers.
While the area’s musical reputation is well-earned and highly recognized, the talent within The Shoals extends far beyond the realm of music. The Shoals is home to high-profile talent across industries from architecture and art to food and fashion. The area boasts not only a number of impressive names but, perhaps more intriguingly, a wealth of talented makers that have flown under the radar in recent years. The area’s creative energy is palpable, making The Shoals the ideal place of residence for those who appreciate the arts.
Possibly one of the first of the notable artistically-driven figures leaving their impact on the area is none other than renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Many are familiar with Wright’s incredible architectural prowess. As undoubtedly one of the most famous architectural minds of the 20th century, it is an honor that Wright’s Rosenbaum House would call Florence home. Built in 1939, the house on Riverview Drive built for the Rosenbaum family as a primary residence, is the very first of many houses built by Wright in the Usonian style. A technical marvel in many ways, the City of Florence graciously accepted the 1999 donation of the property that has now been open to the public as a museum for over 20 years.
While The Shoals’ history is undeniably rich with musical and artistic excellence, there are many that have tapped that same creative vein in recent years. One of these notable creative minds is Billy Reid. Now calling Florence home, the talented clothing designer is known for the impressive way in which he curates a unique “lived-in luxury” brand. Reid draws inspiration from the area, and that influence can be seen throughout each of his collections. With much of his work being tied to his experience in the South and the company’s headquarters being located in a historic former bookstore in downtown Florence, there is a sense of local authenticity throughout the brand that can’t be overlooked.
As for the area’s talent that is on track to gain a great deal of notoriety, there are a number of incredible makers supplying the area with unique handmade goods that give each home a local flair. In the case of maker Robin Wade, the surrounding area is not only important in concept but critical in producing his product. Wade is the owner of Robin Wade Furniture, a local furniture shop that prioritizes celebrating our natural world, maintaining a sense of wonder, practicing and promoting sustainability, and sourcing all materials locally among other important tenets. With each piece made one at a time and resulting in an entirely unique, one-of-a-kind product, Wade is a shining example of combining love for the area with creative and technical excellence. His pieces can be found drawing awe within homes and spaces throughout the state.
Home to an endless supply of impressive and inspiring creativity and culture, The Shoals not only lives up to its historical reputation as a place of creative genius but continues to impress with local talent around every corner.