Arts Alive March/April 2018
- by Denise Jacobs, photos Ellis Anderson, Brenda Comer
Geared toward “the next generation of artists,” as Steve Barney, president of the Arts, Hancock County, puts it, the 2018 version of Arts Alive! is an eclectic collaboration of demonstrating and teaching artists, host businesses, sponsors, and community.
The event takes place in Old Town Bay St. Louis on Saturday, March 24, 2018, from 10am - 10pm. The popular celebration of the arts is free and family-friendly.
Giving back is part of the mission of Arts, Hancock County to support local art education. In part, the 2018 Arts Alive! is a manifestation of that mission. It can be seen in this year’s programming. For example, the Student Film Showcase has been created solely with students in mind. Winning films will be shown between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Mockingbird Café.
The Arts Alive! column
Juried exhibition and Patron' Party
530 pm Friday March 23
200 North Beach Restaurant
Arts Alive Artist / Artisan Showcase
Saturday, March 24, 10am - 5pm
Throughout Old Town
Live music til 7:30pm
110 South Second Street
Student Film Showcase
7:30pm - 8:30pm
110 South Second Street
The MakerSpace is also the go-to place for face painting. Then, over at the French Potager on the second block of Main, the Raw Oyster Marching Club will lead an interactive workshop on oyster decoration.
Volunteers of all ages will decorate and paint trash cans along the beach under the artistic direction of Chris Stebley, a successful Ocean Springs artist whose love for the Gulf Coast’s natural beauty shines through in watercolors, block prints, decorated pottery, and murals. Barney refers to Chris a “real exciting draw.”
Arts Alive! is free and open to the public; however, some events, like the Patron's Party and selected hands-on activities, require an Arts Alive! button. A voluntary contribution of $5 will buy a clever and colorful button designed by John Anderson, architect at unabridged Architecture. Buttons will be available all day during Arts Alive! and can be purchased in advance at Mockingbird Café, French Potager, 200 North Beach, and C&C Italian Bistro.
Since the beginning of this academic year, a small posse of volunteers from Arts, Hancock County has met with the next generation of artists at the Bay/Waveland Boys and Girls Club on Thursday afternoons.
The after-school meetings grew out of the 2017 Magnolia Bayou STEM Project via Mississippi State University. You might say that Barney and Ann Madden, the lens in Smith & Lens and current vice president of the Arts, Hancock County, put the “A” in STEAM-based projects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.) With the conclusion of summer, Barney thought, why stop there?
“Maintaining the connection to students is important,” Barney explains, noting that art education has essentially been de-funded in the public schools. For Barney, continued involvement with students is “an opportunity to give back in a really meaningful way.”
Social Chair’s Yuki Northington, president of the Old Town Merchants Association, attributes the success of Arts Alive! to the accessibility of artists to the public: “Arts Alive! is always a well-attended event because customers have the opportunity to speak with each artist directly, and there is always something new to discover. Our town is bursting with artists, and this event is really their time to shine.”
Special funding and volunteer efforts will really apply the shine. The Hancock County Tourism Bureau has made possible “an aggressive plan” to draw more visitors from neighboring markets like New Orleans and Biloxi. The Hancock County Board of Supervisors made the beachfront beautification project possible.
“We’re real excited about this growing partnership with Lazy Magnolia Brewery. Leslie and Mark Henderson have been great supporters of the arts, both personally and through their business.”
Tax-deductible donations can be made online or in person at Mockingbird Café, French Potager, 200 North Beach, and C&C Italian Bistro. Every donation directly enables the participation of those who otherwise would not be able to attend.
Barney encourages would-be volunteers to register online and indicate their volunteer preferences.