In retirement, Birmingham executive achieves career dream as artist

From Keith Thomson at on August 13, 2013, on SABR member Garth Potts:

The Kid Who Can Draw. There’s one in every class, thought of by everyone else as special for his talent. Growing up in Buffalo, New York, in the 1950s, Garth Potts was that kid. Hoping to draw professionally, he studied fine arts, ultimately earning a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1972. But following graduation, he got no farther than drawing caricatures in malls.

“I had dreamed of make a living at it, and I didn’t,” Potts, now 66, recalls with a characteristic chuckle. “But I was fortunate to have something else to make a living at.”

Buffalo’s Jewish Community Center hired him to run teen programs, the first of his seven JCC postings, all over the United States. The tour culminated with a 22-year stint at Mountain Brook’s Levite Jewish Community Center, where he served as executive director.

Upon retirement in January, he returned his attention to drawing, meanwhile rekindling his boyhood love affair with baseball. Using brush markers — pens with a supple pressed-fiber tip that produce lines ranging from spiderweb-fine to blocky — he blends a classic cartoon style with that of Norman Rockwell. Of his baseball work, Potts says, “I’ve just always loved drawing the uniforms, the gloves, and all of the equipment, and of course the players themselves.”

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Originally published: August 14, 2013. Last Updated: August 14, 2013.