Art Adventures in the Bay
Bay St. Louis teaching artists are part of a growing trend called "experience vacations" - where visitors take home new skills along with fun coastal memories.
- story by Lisa Monti
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The Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center
The 7,500-square-foot facility at the corner of Washington Street and Central Avenue, houses a state-of-the-art pottery studio with eight wheels, multiple electric and Raku kilns and handbuilding equipment. There’s also a yoga/dance studio, metalworking shop and multimedia maker space.
Steve Barney, the CAC’s director, has ambitious plans to make it a destination for snowbird artists. “There is a large demographic of semi-retired professionals in colder climates who are avid artists and are looking for opportunities to combine studio time with a mid-winter coastal retreat,” he said.
Barney is teaming up with Kevin Jordan, owner of Gulf View properties, to offer all-inclusive two- and four-week artisan retreat packages. Guests will be housed in Jordan’s guesthouses, studios and vacation homes within a block or two from the CAC.
“We will pick them up at the airport and provide them with everything they need to be a Bay artist in residence at the CAC,” Barney said. A typical day includes morning yoga, studio instruction, a midday group meal and open studio.
In addition to pottery and metalworking classes, artists can explore other mediums such as stained glass and silkscreening.
Local transportation options include a shared golf cart and fleet of beach cruiser bikes. Weekend excursions into New Orleans and other coastal destinations are planned. The first artisan retreat package is scheduled for January 13–February 17, 2018.
“Interest in our artisan retreat programs has been strong and we expect this program to grow slowly over time as word gets out,” Barney said.
For those not requiring accommodations or are interested in special arrangements, the CAC offers customized packages to visiting artists.
To book a spot in the 2018 retreat or for other information about CAC programs, email Steve Barney email@example.com or call/text 228-342-7668.
Regan Carney is an acclaimed potter who produces functional fine art in clay in her studio in the Bay Artists’ Coop at 415 S. Necaise Avenue. She received a BFA in 1980 from Tulane University and has made and shown clay art in Santa Fe, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Biloxi, Ocean Springs and Bay St. Louis.
Her work is widely featured, including locally in Gallery 220 and the Lawson Studio. Carney teaches beginner through master level classes at the coop.
“I am happy to teach any level in general or specific techniques. I teach both throwing on the wheel or handbuilding functional ware or sculptural forms. Usually throwing takes the most amount of time,” she said.
To make the experience the best it can be, Carney requires at least three weeks’ lead time to set up a private workshop for one up to six students.
“I need to know the level of expertise, if there is any, and if there is to be a focus.
I also need to know how long they are going to be in the area and how much of that time do they want to spend in the studio,” said Carney. Her workshops have been two days to six weeks. “Communication is key with this kind of workshop,” she said.
For more information, call 228-216-0210.
To take a peek at the variety of creations hatching at 102 Blaize Avenue (across from the Duck Pond), visit the Facebook page for The Nest – A Comfy Place to Create.
Karen Anne Renz