Arts Alive - February 2020
- Story by Steve Barney
When challenged, the Gulf Coast creative community responded to the urgent need for protection with a lot of organization and hard work - in their usual enthusiastic fashion.
- Story by Steve Barney
A sure sign of spring in Bay St. Louis is the annual Arts Alive festival, getting bigger and better every year. Here's a preview.
- Story by Steve Barney, photos by Ellis Anderson
The annual juried exhibition and holiday party sponsored by The Arts, Hancock County brings together some of the Gulf Coast's brightest creative talents.
- Story by Steve Barney, President, The Arts, Hancock County; photos by Steve Barney and Ellis Anderson
This year Paulette Dove, a fiercely competitive annual contender in the exhibition, puts on the juror hat and has the difficult task of selecting entries and awarding prizes.
Paulette Dove, who will serve as juror for this year's exhibition.
Dove is a native of Biloxi and has been painting and exhibiting on the Gulf Coast for many years. She is a member of the Ocean Springs Art Association, president of the South Mississippi Art League and board member of the Mississippi Art Colony. She received her BFA and MEd. from the Mississippi University for Women and William Carey College.
Dove’s education includes workshops at Louisiana Tech University, Savannah School of Art, University of West Virginia, and Marty Todd Bean. She has many years of experience teaching, demonstrating, and exhibiting in Biloxi schools as well as at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, the Ohr-O 'Keefe Museum of Art and the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.
In her painting, sculpture, and costuming, Dove lives by the words of artist Mark Rothko: “Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risk.”
“My life as an artist is like being a gambler,” she says, “working with risk— and not always winning the bet of a successful piece.” She concludes, “You must be willing to lose and continue.”
The Arts is honored to have Dove, one of the best-known and most celebrated contemporary artists on the Gulf Coast, as juror this year.
In October, she and fellow artist Michelle Allee gave a captivating and insightful presentation to a packed house at the Arts monthly membership meeting. This provided a rare opportunity to learn about the jurying process and get inside the juror’s head to learn about what it takes to be an award-winning artist across all media. Allee also demonstrated a do-it -yourself framing process and tips for finalizing and presenting your work.
This year’s show has drawn artists from New Orleans, Slidell and across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, featuring a breathtaking array of diverse works in genres across two and three-dimensional mediums.
When asked about this year’s entries, Dove says, “This year’s show is an interesting collection of art work, from the novice artist to highly acclaimed seasoned veterans.” Dove encourages viewers of the work to “critique, celebrate and find a connection.”
Whether one is a lifelong professional artist or a novice, being accepted into this highly competitive exhibition is a major accomplishment. Throughout the jury process, Dove took copious notes on each entry and is eager to share her insights with aspiring artists. This provides a unique chance to get candid feedback and insights for artists to improve their work, with a strong focus on the fundamentals of design.
Click on the thumbnails above to view some of the other impressive entries in the
The festivities kick off with Christmas on Coleman starting at 4 pm, presented by the City of Waveland. Christmas on Coleman features six giant holiday greeting cards painted by local students who are working as interns for The Arts.
The event will include a variety of family-friendly activities, from caroling and face-painting to pictures with Santa and craft-making. A parade takes place at 5 pm, then the juried exhibition and holiday party kick off at 6 pm at the Ground Zero Museum.
Click on the thumbnails above to view some of the extraordinary entries in the Photography category.
On Saturday night, $1,300 in cash prizes will be awarded to artists in the following categories:
The exhibition continues at the Ground Zero Museum until December 14. Museum hours are Tuesday thru Saturday, 10 am until 3 pm.
Click on the thumbnails above to view some of the entries in the
2019 Exhibiting Artists
The juried exhibition, awards and holiday party would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors: Ground Zero Museum, City of Waveland, Rum Kitchen, Compton Engineering, Ann Madden Photography and Design, Bay Town Inn, The Mane Salon, and our media partners: The Shoofly Magazine and The Sea Coast Echo. For more information, visit The Arts, Hancock County website at www.hancockarts.org.
An inaugural event for writers, aspiring writers and illustrators brings together some of the Gulf Coast’s most talented and noteworthy storytellers, including literary superstar, Jesmyn Ward.
- by Steve Barney
The event is not targeted only to seasoned professionals; aspiring writers and artists are especially encouraged to attend. Promoting engagement and participation, the Exchange will provide a friendly environment to ask questions and get advice from experts working in the trenches, get creative and have some fun.
Ducomb added, “The goal is to create an open exchange between those with a desire to create and those who can mentor and coach them in the process.”
The library reached out to an interdisciplinary team of community stakeholders, including The Arts, Hancock County, the Hancock Performing Arts Center, the Shoofly Magazine and the Hancock County School District to develop and produce the ambitious program. Additional support for marketing the event came from Visit Mississippi and the Hancock Tourism Bureau.
Earlier this year, Ocean Springs author Johnnie Bernhard presented in Bay St. Louis as part of the libraries’ ongoing speaker series. Bernhard is a traditionally published author and winner of multiple prestigious awards for her fiction. Bernhard’s work has appeared in newspapers and magazines, both nationally and internationally.
Ducomb shared with Bernhard the vision of a unique gathering of writers and artists from across the Mississippi Coast. Bernhard had actually been trying to get a literary event going on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for some time. She enthusiastically joined the planning team, recruiting other well-known authors and adding panel discussions. Publisher pitch sessions were added as well, giving unpublished authors the invaluable opportunity to receive critical feedback from editors and prospective publishers.
Bernhard explains, “I always thought when I was an unpublished writer, if the dream came true for me and people actually read my work, that I would find a way to pay it forward by sharing what I learned in my journey to become a traditionally published author.”
Going beyond author presentations, the Exchange includes a variety of workshops in a number of disciplines encompassing writing and the visual arts. On Friday afternoon (November 22), Lazy Magnolia Brewery will become an art studio with hands-on workshops focused on book illustration at the intersection of literature and visual art.
From 1:00-2:00 pm, Melissa Carrigee will share her experiences and facilitate a workshop on illustrating children’s books. Her first book, “I Dream of Dragons,” was written while attending college during an illustration class. Not being much of an illustrator she decided to trace pictures. The story took on a life of its own, and soon it became apparent that writing for children would become a passion. It was written for her young son, Logan, to show him that he could become anything he wanted to be if he dared to dream.
The afternoon continues with a workshop from 2:00-5:00 pm featuring self-published author Albert Ghergich, who has written several books under the moniker John Albert. Ghergich’s stories of the Deep South cross genres of science fiction, horror, comedy and non-fiction.
Ghergich will team up with noted Bay St. Louis portrait artist and illustrator Michelle Arnold. In the session Arnold will work with participants to create illustrations using a variety of techniques and styles for Ghergich’s Mother’s Eye, which features an ancient, mystical Rougarou creature, the last of its kind, driven by a vengeance-fueled rage, who is unwittingly drawn into a supernatural journey where past and present collide.
Back at the Hancock Performing Arts Center, from 3:00-5:00 pm, aspiring writers can review their manuscripts in literary pitch sessions with representatives from Texas Review Press and Dogwood Press, offering a unique opportunity to get direct feedback from experts in the publishing industry.
The first day culminates at 7:00 pm with a free performance featuring an eclectic mix of literature and visual arts. Held at the Hancock Performing Arts Center, this performance is open to the public. In the lobby, well known mural artists from across the coast will be live painting their interpretation of classic scenes from Mississippi literature.
The artists include: Michelle Arnold, Scharonne Herrington, Lucinda Perniciario D’Enfant, Greg Noll and Andrew Switzer. Illustrations created earlier in the day will be displayed as Ghergich reads excerpts from his book, “Mother’s Eye.”
On stage, the Hancock High School Theatre under the direction of Scott Gladfelter will perform a dramatic interpretation of Eudora Welty’s classic “Where Is The Voice Coming From?”
Building on the “homegrown” theme, the evening will also preview videos produced by local school groups comprising a 360-degree videographic “quilt” of the communities in Hancock County. The work is the result of a grant from the Mississippi Museum of Arts’ Center for Art and Public Exchange (CAPE), enabling a residency for Jackson State professor Mark Geil.
“The metaphor of a community quilt,” Geil states, “is to explore the varied narratives and histories of Hancock County. The project will explore what is special, vital and challenging about living in Hancock County, while capturing the amazing vibrancy of our communities.”
On Saturday, November 23, the program is focused on the nuts and bolts of storytelling, writing and editing from some of the region’s best fiction and non-fiction authors.
Johnnie Bernhard will lead an in-depth seminar entitled, “Fiction and the Editing Process.” Margaret McMullen will discuss the process of memoir writing and will read from her new memoir, “Where The Angels Lived: One Family’s Story of Loss, Exile, and Return.”
A recipient of a 2010 NEA Fellowship in literature, a 2010 Fulbright at the University of Pécs in Pécs, Hungary, and the National Author Winner of the 2011 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, McMullan is the author of nine award-winning books.
The afternoon continues with a panel discussion entitled “Writing About What You Know” led by award-winning area author and publisher Ellis Anderson of Ellis Anderson Media (The Shoofly Magazine and French Quarter Journal), Anderson’s book, Under Surge, Under Siege, chronicles life in Bay St. Louis in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Anderson will be joined on the panel with Pass Christian author Rheta Grimsley Johnson. A former syndicated columnist for King Features Syndicate of New York, she has won numerous journalism awards. The author of eight books including Poor Man's Provence: Finding Myself in Cajun Louisiana and Hank Hung the Moon and Warmed Our Cold, Cold Hearts, she wrote the only authorized biography of "Peanuts" cartoonist Charles Schulz. Currently she writes for French Quarter Journal and serves as the publication’s editor.
The panel also includes Louisiana author and Texas Review Press editor Dr. J Bruce Fuller. Fuller is a Louisiana native whose books include “The Dissenter's Ground,” “Lancelot” and Flood, and his poems have appeared at The Southern Review, Crab Orchard Review, McNeese Review, Birmingham Poetry Review and Louisiana Literature, among others.
The Homegrown Literary and Arts Exchange builds up to Saturday night’s keynote presentation by Jesmyn Ward, with a lecture, book reading, Q&A and book signing. This lecture is free and open to the public.
Ward has been called “the new Toni Morrison.” She is the first woman and first person of color to win the National Book Award twice, joining the ranks of William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, John Cheever, Philip Roth and John Updike. Her writing, which encompasses fiction, nonfiction and memoir, is “raw, beautiful and dangerous.”
Ward’s novels, primarily set on Mississippi’s gulf coast, are deeply informed by the trauma of Hurricane Katrina. Ward edited the critically acclaimed anthology The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, a New York Times bestseller. Her newest novel, the critically acclaimed Sing, Unburied, Sing, won the 2017 National Book Award. Sing has been called “a searing, urgent read for anyone who thinks the shadows of slavery and Jim Crow have passed” (Celeste Ng).
Sing was named one of the best books of 2017 by The New York Times, Time, The Washington Post and Publisher's Weekly. Sing was also nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Aspen Words Literary Prize.
An associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University, Ward received the 2016 Strauss Living Award and a 2017 MacArthur Genius Grant, and was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people of 2018. She is the winner of the 2019 American Voice in Literature Award.
For more information and to purchase tickets for the workshops, visit the Homegrown Literary and Arts Exchange website at https://hancocklibraries.info/homegrown.
The evening sessions, which are free and open to the public, will take place at the Hancock Performing Arts Center, 7140 Stennis Airport Road, Kiln, Miss. 39556.
Fri., November 22, 7pm: Literary and Visual Arts Performance
Sat., November 23, 7pm: Jesmyn Ward lecture, book reading, Q&A; book signing
The article’s author, Steve Barney, is the president of The Arts, Hancock County.
A novel video project explores the rich and varied histories of our communities.
- by Steve Barney, president, The Arts, Hancock County
The project is based on a brainstorming session held in October 2018 at the Hancock Performing Arts Center (HPAC). The session was facilitated by visionary storyteller Julian Rankin in his capstone project with the museum, before taking on the role of Executive Director of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs.
In the session, residents from across Hancock County shared stories, challenges and aspirations; capturing a diverse set of opinions about the past, present and future of Hancock County. A wide range of topics were discussed spanning: development and economic access, community narrative, the arts and diversity and equality. Such as:
Professor Geil's residency focuses on the creation of a 360-degree videographic "quilt" of the communities in Hancock County.
“The metaphor of a community quilt”, Geil states, “is to explore the varied narratives and histories of Hancock County.”
He adds, “The project will explore and document what is special, vital, and difficult about living in Hancock County; at the same time, capturing the vibrancy of our communities by asking community members to show what is alive and amazing about where they live.”
This project is using novel technology; specialized 360-degree cameras. The cameras record a 360-degree view using two lenses that each capture a 180-degree view and then stitch the two sides together.
As a result, everything above, below, and on all sides of the camera is recorded simultaneously. Geil explains; “the technology itself invites playing close attention to the landscape. Even places that are inherently familiar are seen differently.”
Educators from several Hancock area schools are participating in the project, including West Hancock Elementary School, East Hancock Elementary School, Hancock North Central Elementary School, Hancock High School, Hancock Middle School, and North Bay Elementary School.
Students from these schools will make artwork and participate in activities engaging the themes of, “what I love about where I live, the kindness of others, and the most beautiful thing I’ve ever known.”
In addition to the stories being produced by the school groups, the general public has the ability to participate as well. On September 26 and 27, open sessions will be facilitated for members of the community to tell their stories. Everyone is encouraged to participate and tell your personal story on camera.
The success of the project depends on community involvement and the inclusion of wide range of thoughts and perspectives. The public sessions are Thursday September 26 at the Bay St. Louis Public Library and Friday September 27 at the Kiln Public Library.
Both sessions run from 1pm - 5pm. Drop in anytime during these sessions to come tell your story on camera. If needed additional sessions will be scheduled for October to make sure every voice is heard and captured.
The results of the project will premiere at the Inagural Homegrown Literary and Art Exchange taking place at the Hancock Performing Arts Center in Kiln. The Homegrown event kicks off on Thursday, November 21 with a free keynote presentation by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.
Friday, November 22 includes a day filled with interactive workshops for writers, visual artists and literary lovers; culminating in a live performance at 7pm, where the Hancock Community Quilt videos will be shown to the public for the first time, in a celebration of place and history.
After the premiere, the videos will be placed in a centralized online repository that can be shared across communities, and across the globe, via the internet. The videos will be accessible to view via smartphone, 3D viewer or web browser, providing opportunities to foster community dialog and exchange.
At the conclusion of the project, the equipment purchased with the grant will remain in the community to be shared by The Arts, Hancock County, libraries and area schools as an educational resource.
Steve Barney, president of The Arts, Hancock County, explores the creative economy of the Waveland Lighthouse with this unique community sculpture project.
- story and photos by Steve Barney
A few local residents criticize the design and worry about it attracting transients who can charge their phones, take a shower and hang out in the shade. Naysayers predicted elevation and insurance requirements would make future Coleman Avenue development untenable.
But no matter how you feel about the structure, the lighthouse has quickly become an iconic symbol of post-Katrina Waveland.
Through the efforts of internationally renowned artists Erica Larkin Gaudet and Mitchell Gaudet and the City of Waveland, the mayor’s vision is indeed coming to fruition.
Erica has had her metal sculpting studio up and running for over a year now in the previous Waveland Business Center building, now operating as Studio Waveland + Gallery - a state-of-the-art, 3,000-square-foot gallery and exhibition space.
In the past year, Studio Waveland has produced eight exhibitions featuring local, national and world-class artists. These contemporary art shows bring hundreds of fine art aficionados from the local area, New Orleans, the North Shore and across the Gulf Coast.
The building’s financial control was recently turned over from the federal government to the City of Waveland. Now the Gaudets are working towards the development and construction of Mitchell’s glass casting studio (Studio Inferno) by installing his giant glass furnaces in the facility. This move, which represents a $250,000 capital investment, will establish one of the most important glass and metalworking facilities in the region.
This spring, Kiln artist Mary Nelson was making a ceramic sculpture of a lighthouse she visited in North Carolina. At the time of the Waveland ribbon cutting, the idea came up….“Why don’t we make a sculpture of the Waveland Lighthouse?” Not daunted by the challenge, Nelson enthusiastically began design and fabrication.
Once she began working on the project, Nelson quickly realized the complexity and magnitude of iconifying this 60-foot-tall, multi-level complex structure in clay. Built on piers with staircases, railings and elevator shaft, she wanted no detail was left out – including Mayor Mike waving from the balcony - trading in his signature red tie for a blue tie to match the lighthouse roof.
Nelson, a Mississippi coast resident since childhood, works for the Port of Gulfport. She explains, “My love of art comes from learning to accept I don't have to be perfect and that I am my biggest critic.
"This lighthouse sculpture project has given me new confidence as an artist, as I’m learning to let go. Even if it doesn't go as planned, oftentimes the result is better than the original idea.”
Mary enlisted her mom, Teri, to help with the project. Mary and Teri came to ceramics at the Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center through a connection with Linnae Scheel, who had been teaching art classes and workshops from the barn behind Dempsey’s Restaurant in Kiln.
Everyone in the Tuesday night class pitched in to help complete the sculpture in time for Destination Waveland’s Fourth of July party. During the celebration, visitors marveled at the sculpture and got a chance for a unique selfie with the lighthouse in front of the lighthouse.
On August 6, the Nelsons, representing the BSL Creative Arts Center and The Arts, Hancock County, will formally present the sculpture to the City of Waveland.
Mayor Mike Smith says, “I think it’s amazing, the time and detail… It looks exactly like the real thing.” He added, “It shows how iconic this structure is to the City of Waveland.”
The city plans to build a museum-quality display case and viewing area within City Hall, where the sculpture is anticipated to become a tourist attraction on its own.
The sculpture is already being booked for traveling exhibitions, including the Gulf Coast Model Railroad Museum, Mississippi Welcome Center and other locations, in an effort to promote Destination Waveland and The Arts, Hancock County.
The Waveland Lighthouse meme is extending to the digital world as well.
A prototype is being developed by Katrina Niolet and Miguel Davalos II of You're Perfect Studio, Mississippi's first digital arts co-op.
According to Katrina, “Using video game technology, the lighthouse is being modeled in a photorealistic, interactive 3D environment.”
She adds, “We’re excited to bring this iconic landmark to life in the virtual world!"
This scientist has made a career of mapping the ocean floor, while creating art from the fascinating creatures who lives there, using the ancient craft of gyotaku.
- Story by Steve Barney
Holly has always been fascinated by creatures in the water. She grew up in Michigan and spent her childhood on the water where her father owned a bait shop on the shore of Lake St. Clair.
Later, she studied marine science at Coastal Carolina University. It was in college at a job fair where she learned about the work going on at the Naval Oceanographic Office based at Stennis Space Center, on the Mississippi coast.
NAVOCEANO is the largest subordinate command within the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, and has a fleet of six state-of-the-art research vessels collecting data to support military and civilian mariners.
“When I learned about NAVOCEANO, I was sold,” Holly says. “I packed my bags and moved to Mississippi. I wanted to be on those ships and spend my life at sea.”
Holly is a hydrographer, and she maps the sea floor by using specialized SONAR devices. SONAR uses acoustic “pings” which bounce off the sea floor, and then she measures the echos. The measurements provide the raw data used to compile detailed nautical charts.
Today, Holly uses a sophisticated R2 Sonic 2024, a high resolution multibeam sounder, with full coverage over the sea floor. Much of Holly’s time is spent looking at a computer screen and analyzing streams of data. Sometimes the unexpected appears on Holly’s computer screen, including uncharted shipwrecks and plane crashes, artificial reefs and debris fields. Holly marvels at the local ecosystems that attract marine life of all sorts.
She looks forward to going out to sea where her creative passion comes alive. Holly learned the technique of Gyotaku from boyfriend Scott Johnson. Johnson used to be a “Hell Diver.” He still enjoys free diving under oil rigs to spear fish and then prints them on rice paper with sumi ink.
Holly walks the beach a lot on the hunt for freshly killed fish. “I look at the eyeballs and see how fresh they are, and give them the sniff test,” Holly said.
Recently, Holly began offering live demonstrations of fish printing at the seasonal Mr. Atticus Night Market sponsored by the Mockingbird Café and The Arts, Hancock County. Public demonstrations in an uncontrolled environment offers Holly a host of challenges.
Holly explains, “The fish I had was on ice overnight and it’s necessary to wait until the surface moisture stops condensing, or else the water smears the ink.
“Once it’s the right temperature and the condensation stops on the surface. I stuff the gills with a paper towel to prevent water seeping out. I pin the fins out so they don’t lay against the fish’s body to ensure a good print off the fish.”
In May 2019, Holly participated in the “Under the Flower Moon” experience at La Terre Bioregional Center and Art Studios in Kiln, Mississippi. Along with her fish prints and live Gyotaku demonstration, Holly created a site installation bringing the ocean to the woods.
“When jellyfish are swimming together it is called a bloom,” she said. “I wanted to create a magical scene with jellyfish bobbing in the wind.”
To create the jellyfish sculptures, Holly “upholstered” plastic bowls and used ribbons and beads as tentacles attached to mini Slinkies with battery powered fairy lights. The installation was breathtaking.
Ann Madden, vice president of The Arts, Hancock County, said, “Holly’s illuminated jellyfish were so dreamlike and magical, it made you wonder if you were on land or undersea. Her artistry, composition and colors are so beautiful and interesting.”
Madden added, “Holly marries art and science in a simple but sophisticated way that creates a wide appeal. She is generous with her time and expertise and is one of the loveliest, most approachable artists I know.”
In 2014, Holly purchased Lil’ Tuggle II, a tugboat rumored to have sunk in Lake Pontchartrain during Hurricane Katrina. For the last four years, Holly has done a full rebuild and restoration, doing a large portion of the work herself, figuring it out along the way.
Holly is passionate about bringing the boat back to life and making it her mobile art studio. Ultimately, Holly’s dream is to take Lil’ Tuggle II on “The Great American Loop”, making a big circle from Mobile Bay up to Chicago, through the Great Lakes, to the Hudson River, and down the eastern seaboard through the intercoastal waterway.
Along the way, Holly plans to catch fish, paint them (and eat them), then sell her artwork on Etsy. Meanwhile, she’ll be logging hours toward her Captain’s license while living her water world dream.
Permanent gallery space at Century Hall an attractive, welcoming venue for local artists and art lovers alike.
- Story by Dena Temple
In 2005 the building suffered at the hands of Hurricane Katrina, and after a three-year renovation it was reincarnated as the Shops of Century Hall.
The Century Hall building is a formidable yet inviting structure. A wide porch and balcony grace the façade, beckoning visitors to explore the eclectic shops inside. As you cross the threshold into the vestibule, the scale of the building is evident: sturdy, hand-hewn beams crisscross above and around you, and the comforting aroma of aged timbers beckons you to enter – and explore.
Once inside, decisions must be made immediately: Do you follow a short flight of stairs that lead up, or the stairs that lead down to the lower level? Both levels feature tasteful antiques, original art and home décor items, but a glance upstairs reveals an austere white room: Gallery Edge at Century Hall. We ascend the stairs, anticipating what’s in store.
Gallery Edge started as a collective of ten artists. Spearheaded by Bay St. Louis artist Kerr Grabowski, the space was converted into a gallery. The collective disbanded a year later, but Susan Peterson, manager of the Shops of Century Hall, didn’t want the space to revert back to retail.
“Susan wanted to make sure the space remained an art gallery,” explains Stacey Johnson, an artist from Biloxi whose ceramic art is featured in the gallery. “She has given it the time and energy it deserves, and thanks to her, local artists have a beautiful venue to display their work.”
Susan Peterson continued, “We wanted to expand the opportunities in the area for contemporary artists. Bay Saint Louis has a thriving art community, and we wanted Gallery Edge to play an important role in that.”
Gallery Edge will be open late on the third Friday of each month for special exhibits highlighting the work of one featured artist. These showcases allow the artists to display a broader representation of their work rather than just a few key pieces.
“It also gives the artists a chance to talk about their work and make that human connection,” added Peterson.
Susan revealed another surprise at the Shops of Century Hall: a third level of retail shops is preparing to open soon. This bright, newly renovated space features walls adorned with elegant reclaimed Victorian-era tin (from the building’s original ceilings). It’s a fitting backdrop for the antiques, collectibles and décor items on display within.
There is little question, however, that Gallery Edge is Peterson’s passion.
“When someone walks into the gallery for the first time and makes an emotional connection with one of the pieces, I know we made the right decision in keeping this a gallery space,” she says. “I’m excited to be here every day. Not many people can say that about where they work.”
There are currently works of 16 local artists on display at Gallery Edge:
The Shops of Century Hall
112 S. Second St.
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
Hours: 10-5 Tuesday-Saturday, 11-3 Sunday
The 17th annual Arts Alive celebration in Bay St. Louis will feature a new Makerspace, where hands-on demonstrations are the highlight and children are the focus.
- story by Dena Temple
Hands-on Activities featured at the Arts Alive celebration, March 23 & 24, Old Town Bay St. Louis
“Tapping into the natural creativity and curiosity of children unleashes potential that translates into success later in life,” explained Ivey. “We want to help our children grow into adults who will have the skills to work in tomorrow’s high-paying jobs. That is the foundation of the ‘STEM’ program, which focuses education on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as a foundation for tomorrow’s tech jobs.”
However, focusing on career prep doesn’t have to mean neglecting the arts. “A well-rounded education is the best preparation for success,” she continued, “and when the arts are incorporated into STEM education, students learn to think creatively, which helps their problem-solving abilities. Let’s call it “STEAM” – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.”
Fifteen area non-profit organizations will participate in children’s hands-on activities that demonstrate how the arts can enhance the STEM curriculum. Participants include the local chapter of the NAACP, the Mississippi Master Gardeners, the Hancock County Library and the train museum.
Studio Waveland creators Erica Larkin Gaudet and Mitchell Gaudet look back at their first year on the coast. “We've been successful,” Mitchell says, “with a lot of support from a lot of people.”
- story by Denise Jacobs, photos by Ellis Anderson
“The secret is getting out," he continued. "Artists from across the country are recognizing the robust environment and community resources we have here to develop, promote and support both established and emerging artists."
The artistic, entrepreneurial Gaudets find community-building through art “inspiring and exciting.”
“This is what we’ve always done,” says Mitchell, founder of Studio Inferno. “We develop distressed or underutilized properties into multifaceted cultural arts centers. This often includes other artists’ studios, a gallery, flex spaces for theatre and workshops.”
Mitchell adds that neither he or Erica are the type to work in isolation. They thrive in situations where their personal studios are buzzing with the energy and creativity that’s a natural payoff from having fellow artists working nearby.
Since February 2018, Studio Waveland & Gallery has opened its space to host glassblowing workshops, bring-your-own dinner parties, gallery exhibitions, yoga classes, and a host of other special events.
In January 2019 alone, Studio Waveland hosted the Hancock Arts Juried Show Deux, an exhibition featuring many talented artists from Hancock County; a coffee and art film screening by Hunter Cole, NOLA artist and scientist; and a black-light Phosphorescence and Fluorescence Exhibition.
The Gaudets say that Waveland Mayor Mike Smith and other public officials have been "super supportive" of the studio. Before they relocated, Smith visited the Gaudets in their Arabi complex and understood the positive impact the couple could have in Waveland. Alderman Jeremy Burke says the city is already reaping benefits from their presence.
"Erica and Mitchell have been powerful drivers of the transformation in the local community by increasing vibrancy," said Burke. "They are bringing a buzz to Coleman Avenue that Waveland hasn't seen before."
For the time being, Erica manages the business and creative side of Studio Waveland. She’s had plenty of experience. In 1991, after graduating with a degree in sculpture from Loyola University, she founded Toulouse Street Studio, where she taught metal sculpture in addition to creating her own pieces and a striking line of furniture.
Studio Waveland is the new home for her studio, where she fabricates and shows her hand-sculpted steel artwork, like the Lines of Strength piece, shown above.
Mitchell continues to work primarily out of Studio Inferno in Arabi, Louisiana. He compares the couple’s working dynamic to a weird multi-headed beast: “There’s me and my Studio Inferno. Then Erica’s career and her artwork. And then there’s Studio Waveland, which is where we hope to crash-land together.”
The vision involves incorporating Studio Inferno, an elaborate art space and glass foundry owned and operated by Gaudet since 1992, first situated in the New Orleans’ neighborhood of Bywater and currently in Arabi, Louisiana.
Moving a melting furnace (that holds 600 pounds of molten glass) and cooling ovens is not something the couple takes lightly, because of the difficult logistics and the enormous investment of time and money involved. Yet the Coleman Avenue building (designed by local firm Unabridged Architecture) lends itself to the couple’s vision.
Mitchell says, “The architecture of the building is perfect. Even though it’s relatively new, it has a rawness that lends itself to what we’re trying to do.”
Also, he adds, “The fact that Erica and I both fell in love with this building is unbelievable. We both have very strong opinions, but we agreed completely on this building!”
Aidan Pohl is a young singer/songwriter/musician from a talented family who grabs every opportunity to perform. He’s fresh out of the recording studio and is shopping around his new demo, hoping to make music his career.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ann Madden
Playing music isn’t new to Aidan - he’s being doing since he was a toddler when Santa brought him a tiny piano one year and a small drum set the next. He also took violin lessons at a young age and took piano lessons in elementary school, earning the highest marks in competitions. In addition to piano, he plays the ukulele and guitar.
You may have seen him with The Pohl Family band, playing in Old Town on Second Saturday. It features all of his siblings - Aubrey, Marion and Sadie - and dad, Richard. Their set list leans heavily toward bluegrass.
Aidan has also been a member of the WINGS Performing Arts Group at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. He entered the Bay High talent show every year and was named Most Talented his senior year. On a recent trip to New York for a Broadway audition, he drew a crowd at Grand Central Station while playing for a music promoter.
He's performed at the Mockingbird Cafe and other local and nearby venues and events. Recently he has been playing with the RENEW praise band at Main Street Methodist.
Songwriting, though, is something Aidan just started doing when he was attending college in New Mexico and found “an amazing music scene there.” The environment inspired him to write his own songs.
“I think moving away to New Mexico just had a big effect on me and part of it was feeling lot of things I never felt before that pushed me over the edge to write.”
In October he competed in Gulf Coast Idol, singing an original song. Judges compared him to Harry Chapin and other heavyweights and called his storytelling impeccable. He was voted a Fan Favorite winner with the second highest vote count.
Aidan finds the makings of songs just about everywhere. When he worked as a waiter at the Buttercup, he would use his iPhone to save ideas he got from his observations and interactions with customers. There were “endless notes of so many things” that lead him to write in lyrics.
His conversational lyrics have a “soft rock-ish” sound that falls somewhere between John Mayer’s songs and pop punk rock artists.
His favorite artist is Ed Sheeran, who’s singing/songwriting talents and performance skills he admires.
When Aidan resumes his studies in the spring at the University of Memphis, he’ll major in musical theater. And now that he’s got some songs recorded, he’s hoping to draw some attention in the professional music world so he can record more music with a band of his own and shoot video versions.
“I’m really ready to move to a city and play music on the street or wherever I can,” he says.
A Louisiana artist beloved for her dynamic paintings opens a new Bay St Louis gallery and launches a new children's book.
- story by Denise Jacobs
“If I see something in a dumpster that I need,” she says, “I will get in the dumpster and dig it out. I have no shame.”
Originally from Louisiana and greatly influenced by the musical culture of New Orleans, Curtis has a collection of work that includes the original artwork for three French Quarter Fest posters featuring Pete Fountain, Kermit Ruffins, and Little Freddie King.
Also, she was commissioned to create the 20th annual Blues Masters at the Crossroads poster, the Satchmo Summer Fest poster, and two Legendary Blues Cruise official posters.
For as long as she can remember, Curtis has been creating.“My love of art has been lifelong,” she notes. “I remember drawing a duck when I was two years old—a tiny, little picture of a duck. I still remember the smell of graphite and the way the pencil felt in my hand.”
Curtis earned her first degree in art education and her second in art design. Her father has been her lifelong mentor. “He was an outdoorsman, and as we walked the woods, my father would draw my attention to the outdoor world. He would point to a crow and ask me what color it was. I’d say black, and he would say, ‘Look again when the sun highlights the feathers.’”
With a built-in appreciation of both nature and animals, she enjoys painting animals as much, if not more, than people (making her the perfect sponsor for the Shoofly Magazine's Shelter Stars column).
“Animal faces captivate me,” she says. “Some people say that if you’ve painted one golden retriever, you’ve painted them all, but that’s just not true. If you study animals, you will find that they are all different. The distinction might be as small a thing as a bump on the nose, but it is not insignificant.”
Painting pet portraits is rewarding for the peace they bring to clients whose pets are no longer alive. When Curtis paints the portraits of animals still living, she visits the animals and takes photographs to guide her painting. Then, for the cherry on top, clients are encouraged to bring their pets in for the final stage of the pet portrait, the addition of the pet’s paw prints.
The artist has made her own imprint on New Orleans, where she taught art in the greater New Orleans area and implemented an art-based curriculum, Artworks, through the New Orleans Museum of Art. In 2004, Curtis went into art full time, opening a gallery on Magazine Street in 2014, which she operated for four years before falling prey to the charms of Bay St. Louis.
“The move to Bay St. Louis, finding a home at Century Hall, and finding a house for my husband and me took three months,” Curtis says, noting that everything “fell into place for us.”
“Bay St. Louis is the perfect fit,” she notes. “It’s art friendly, and I’ve always loved it.” Also, the Bay is a perfect middle ground for traveling to Gulf Shores, Alabama, where her husband, children’s writer Perry Guy, runs a kayak rental business, and to New Orleans, where Curtis teaches art lessons to private clients as well as to women housed at the New Orleans Family Justice Center (via her church’s prison ministry).
It’s a lot to balance, but Curtis says that whatever she’s doing, art is on her mind.
“If I’m running errands,” she says, “or doing something mundane, I’m thinking through my layout, my color palette, the potential size of a project.”
Curtis’ latest project, The Mardi Gras Boat Parade, is a collaboration between herself and Perry Guy, illustrator and writer, respectively. The children’s story reflects Curtis’ childhood love of Beatrix Potter. Guy has written a song by the same name as the book, as well. To order The Mardi Gras Boat Parade online, visit Tami Curtis's website.
As Curtis looks to her future in the Bay-Waveland area, she would like to begin offering private art lessons here. “When you create something yourself, something with personal meaning,” she says, “you can come home at the end of a hard day, glance at it, and find peace.”
Two young creatives are putting Bay St. Louis on the map for software development with a video game they're crafting: StageMechanic.
- story by Lisa Monti
Two other games are in development, and Niolet and Irkalla are getting a hand from a small group of volunteers. “While Catherine and I are the main contributors to our projects, we absolutely depend on, and thank, our volunteers,” Niolet said.
Others are welcome to join in the game-developing venture which operates on a not-for-profit model. “We are extremely open to people who want to get involved, and we don’t care about their background. We’re trying to design projects for people with no experience but have a desire to learn,” Niolet said.
Recently, You’re Perfect Studio took part in a contest hosted by Game Jolt to develop an entire game in only a week. Their entry – Just for the Halibut! – is an arcade-style fishing game. In only a week they developed all the graphics, music, programming, and even AI.
Just for the Halibut! and the StageMechanic games are being developed using an open-source software model, which allows anyone to make changes to the game and build off it. “You can get under the hood and see how it works and modify it,” Niolet said.
She said the You’re Perfect Studio’s open-source games are family friendly, completely free, and do not contain ads or data collection, but users have the option of supporting further development through a pay-what-you-want model on their Game Jolt page or by subscribing to You’re Perfect Studio on Patreon.
Niolet is also in the process of developing two projects based on ancient Sumerian mythology and culture. One is an HD action/maze-navigation game that allows players to choose non-violent gameplay options and is being developed in conjunction with Sumerian language, architecture, and cultural experts, she said.
The other is being developed as a free course to be held at the Bay St. Louis Public Library. “The course will center on a 5,000-year-old Sumerian board game known as The Royal Game of Ur and will target more mature learners interested in how modern technology can be used to preserve history using the library’s recently acquired 3D printer,” she said.
Niolet probably didn’t realize it at the time but her own career path was set early. “When I was really young - maybe 5 or 6 - my uncle started teaching me software development,” she said.
Niolet eventually settled in Houston, managing the U.S. operations of a Swedish software company, but the high pressure job took a toll. “I was traveling constantly and never home,” she said. “I got burned out and just wanted to wash dishes for a living.”
After a couple years working in local restaurants including the Mockingbird Café, she said she slowly regained the desire to enter the software industry, leading her to start working on games in her spare time and then founding You’re Perfect Studio.
Niolet still uses her restaurant experience, volunteering weekly at Starfish Cafe where she can “absorb” the non-profit’s emphasis on community involvement. The restaurant teaches students work and life skills, volunteers help with the operation and its customers pay what they want to support the Starfish Cafe mission.
“I’m hoping to bring some of their values of community, education, and pay-what-you-want to video game development,” she said.
Niolet looks at her new gaming venture not as a business quite yet but more like a partnership with volunteers. The grassroots approach and an open attitude means that age and experience aren’t factors. “My 7-year-old nephew is one of my testers,” she said.
Niolet said she and Irkalla are exploring the potential benefits of incorporating as a non-profit, allowing them to formalize their commitment to community involvement and education.
“I’m trying to do something different, not just trying to make a bunch of money,” she said.
Learn more about You’re Perfect Studio and help support their community involvement:
Download and follow the progress of You’re Perfect Studio games:
Dale Pohl thrives by sharing the joy of making art with children, both in and out of the classroom.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos courtesy Dale Pohl
When they were done, Pohl dutifully circled back to clean up the creations so neighbors wouldn’t be inconvenienced. They weren’t. Instead, she said, “People came running out and said ‘No, stop, don’t touch it.’ ” They had become instant fans of the ninja art.
During the camps, the students can come up with their own ideas for their creations and revise them again and again until they’re happy with them. “They can explore and I can let them,” Pohl said of the sessions.
Pohl’s sessions are designed for ages 5-8 and 9-12. “After that, they want to come back and help,” she said.
In the past, Pohl has offered special sessions like the one last Christmas for 7th to 9th graders where they made holiday cards, frames, ornaments and free style pieces. Ladies night out printmaking parties and kid’s birthday parties also are big hits, Pohl said.
She’s looking to do more adult workshops as time permits between her family (including the four Pohl children), her school schedule and her own art.
Watch for more special art events on The Nest’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/thenestbsl/
A band of seasoned jazz performers continues to make their merry mark on the coast with music from bygone days that somehow never grows old.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
The repertoire of this talented team is mainly the traditional variety of jazz, but they also showcase the sounds that were popular during the 1930s through the 1950s.
Consider their collective resumes: They have played in supper clubs, on Bourbon Street, in elegant hotels in New York and Miami, aboard cruise ships, in the Catskills, London pubs, at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. They’ve played with Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson and the Dukes of Dixieland.
A few of the original members are still playing with the Stompers, including Schnur, a retired professor and dean, who plays the tuba, upright bass and sings.
Ron Simpson plays guitar and banjo. He’s performed in clubs in London, Chicago, Toronto and plays every year at the New Orleans Jazz Festival.
Drummer Hugh Barlow has played jazz, fusion and rock across the country and has earned raves from top drummers for his recordings.
Sadly, the band’s piano player, Ralph Martin, who played in Miami and New York hotels, as well as cruise ships in the Mediterranean, passed away recently.
But band continues to evolve with the addition of top notch musicians.
Chicagoan Chris Krueger, a retired Marine Corps band leader, plays trumpet, cornet, fluegelhorn and sings. John Hester, a retired chief bandmaster who had a career in the Navy, sings and plays trombone.
“It’s a great group,” Schnur said. “I’m really pleased with the musicianship of the group.”
Schnur, who played trumpet early on and and got back into music playing the tuba, said he and the other band members have so much experience performing that they forego any practice sessions.
“We just get our instruments out and we play,” he said. “It’s all in our heads.”
The Stompers songbook is heavy on traditional jazz, big band sounds and old standards with some contemporary music in the mix. Fans can easily find a lot to like when the group performs such favorites as St. James Infirmary, Fly Me to the Moon, the Girl from Ipanema and Stardust. Songs by Miles Davis are in the mix as well.
Schnur recounts an endorsement given to the Stompers by a successful local businessman who said, “I’ve got to go to New Orleans to get some of my friends and bring them here so they can hear some real New Orleans jazz.”
The Stompers recently unveiled their first CD with a celebratory release party. The 11 tunes on “Do You Know What it Means” are all instrumentals, leaving the door open for a followup with vocals. “We’ll save that for the next one,” Schnur said.
If you want to buy a CD, that’s easy, Schnur said. “You can come to the Silver Slipper to hear the Coast Stompers and we’ll be happy to sell you one.”
The Coast Stompers perform at the Silver Slipper Jubilee Buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first and second Sundays of each month (see the Shoofly Magazine Community Calendar for exact monthly dates).
The group also is available for special events such as weddings and parties, and you may have heard them play at a Second Saturday artwalk. They prefer to perform with all members, but “sometimes we break into smaller groups, as the occasion presents itself,” Schnur said.
To book the Mississippi Coast Stompers, contact:
The annual ArtsAlive! event in Bay St. Louis is no average art festival - it's a hands-on learning experience geared toward the next generation of artists. Peek behind the scenes and check out the 2018 schedule of events!
- by Denise Jacobs, photos Ellis Anderson, Brenda Comer
ArtsAlive 2018 Schedule
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
In the new MakerSpace tent on the corner of Second and Main, a whole lot of hands-on “making” with upcycled materials will be going on. Activities include drum-making with Bay Ratz Marching Battery Director Brian Wilemon; screen printing with Kerr Grabowski; basic wiring, soldering, LED lighting, and control with David Schwartz; and clay ocarina flute-making with Rosie Demoulin.
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.
“The next generation” isn’t just an expression; Barney can put names and faces to those future artists.
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.”
“Success,” Barney muses, is “dependent on community involvement and the generous sponsorship of local businesses and individuals.” For their part, individual businesses will host and sponsor a wide diversity of artists in partnerships that are sure to benefit artist and business alike.
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.
“The traction of people who like art is gaining momentum,” says Barney. Astoundingly, over 400 people regularly attend family-friendly First Fridays at the Lazy Magnolia Brewery, events that feature local artists, sometimes in demonstration mode. In fact, the March 2 event included 12 artists from Arts, Hancock County.
“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.”
Barney views the buttons that are being sold this year as a mechanism for those in the community who want to support the arts as another way of giving back. For its part, Arts, Hancock County will distribute buttons to next-generation artists at both CASA and the Boys and Girls Club. As Barney says, “Even $20 pays for materials for hands-on activities for four kids”
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.
Mosaic artist Elizabeth Veglia is best known for her award-winning public mosaic projects - extraordinary pieces of public art. Now she's focusing her artistic energies on smaller scale works of art-to-wear.
- story by Denise Jacobs, photos by Lisa Loth
Elizabeth’s jewelry collections will be on sale at Bay Life Gifts in celebration of its grand opening at The Shops of Century Hall (112 S. Second Street, Bay St. Louis) beginning February 2. Elizabeth will be also be available to discuss her process of making jewelry at Bay Life Gifts on Second Saturday, February 10.
In the past, Elizabeth stood to assemble the mosaics for a project, then in the installation phase, she worked in the hot sun, on her knees, elbow deep in a bucket of mortar. In the present, she sits in her studio, a spare bedroom shared as an office area with Billy, her long-term life partner.
And in this small space, the magic happens. Here Elizabeth meticulously designs unique hand wrought jewelry using semi-precious stones, silver, and bronze—small materials, small storage space and small tools.
“At this time, all my mosaic supplies and tools are in storage,” she says, “And making jewelry is a welcome and lightweight creative counterpart to making mosaics—wonderful for now! And painting, I have always painted, and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of room.”
Most recently, Elizabeth has been spinning and twisting silver and bronze wire around semi-precious stones like Labradorite, Apatite, Agate, and Amethyst in the process of creating necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Listening to the stones and feeling their energies results in a blending of her creativity and the stone’s attributes.
One collection is heavily influenced by the fluid, watery Caribbean blues of Aquamarine, Amazonite, Chalcedony, Lapis Lazuli, and Jade. At the other end of the spectrum, the Primal Collection features contrasting blacks and whites. Elizabeth also works with crystals. “I am so glad that crystals are popular now,” Elizabeth says. “I love the sparkle.”
As to the transition in art forms, Elizabeth possessed many “transferable skills to work with.” She taught herself what she needed to know, beginning with beading, and moving on to wire creations. She plans to eventually learn to solder and set stones.
At this time, her creative space has transitioned from the 700-square-feet studio in a Bay St. Louis property she and Billy sold in June, to a small house. Earlier in the year, the couple sold a home on Rotten Bayou that they had lived in for 13 years, a place that included a 1,600-square-foot studio.
Elizabeth says that downsizing feels good. “We have a living room, a kitchen, one bathroom and two bedrooms. My part of our shared space is perhaps 50 square feet.” She laughs and says the move has been a test of their long-standing relationship.
“Could we share a bathroom? Yes, we could.”
“Could we work together in one room, this jeweler and her contractor/realtor partner? Yes, we could. Sharing a small space is a testament to our relationship.”
And, as to the art, life in transition has offered Elizabeth the opportunity to focus on the solitary artistic mode of a jeweler and sometimes painter. It suits her.
Elizabeth’s collections will be on sale at Bay Life Gifts in celebration of its grand opening at The Shops of Century Hall beginning February 2. Elizabeth will be available to discuss her process of making jewelry on Second Saturday, February 10, and later in March. Check with Bay Life Gifts for updates and details.
Plan to be dazzled.
A trio of artistic leaders and businesspeople have ambitious plans to grow The Arts, Hancock County to enhance creativity, local culture - and the economy.
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
One of Barney’s more recent community projects, the Magnolia Bayou STEM art project, worked with the local Boys & Girls Club to create a video and multi-media exhibit.
Madden is a designer and professional photographer, in addition to being co-founder of the Bay’s Smith & Lens Gallery, 106 S. Second Street, BSL. Madden and her business partner, Sandy Maggio, have garnered national attention for the Bay by creating two events celebrating the birthdays of women in the arts. Frida Fest, held in July, honors Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, while Dolly Should in January, focuses on singer-songwriter Dolly Parton. Both events have been poular area business boosters.
Barney says that plans are already underway for a raft of new and updated programs in 2018. He says that the long-range goal is to create partnerships with the Chamber, the Old Town Merchants Association, and local governments - collaborations that will promote economic development throughout the community.
For instance, a series of public art projects are already in the works with the Hancock County Board of Supervisors. Barney’s also working on plans to host a one-day “economic/arts summit,” to explore ways The Arts can coordinate efforts with other organizations to attract more visitors, residents and businesses over the long haul.
Look for Arts Alive! – a popular multi-media event that takes place in March (March 24, 2018) – to get a face-lift this spring. Produced by The Arts in coordination with Old Town merchants, this year, the event will bring more fine art to the streets. The film festival segment, introduced last year will be expanded as well.
The juried exhibition for The Arts members will be moved to a higher visibility venue (TBA).
“We’re going to focus on more hands-on demonstration type things for the 2018 Arts Alive,” says Barney. “For instance, I’m also working with artist Vicki Niolet to do a big Steampunk build-out. In real time, we’ll actually be welding together a kinetic sculpture while people watch.”
Also on the table is a tour of artist studios in the fall, and more arts workshops.
“We’re having more classes offered here at the Bay Creative Arts Center all the time,” Barney says, citing everything from pottery classes to flower arranging workshops. “It’s part of a bigger initiative to bring snowbirds down here for the winter for artists in residence opportunities.”
Barney points out that local B&Bs and vacation rentals will benefit by the endeavor, as well as local shops and restaurants.
Membership benefits will be making a huge stride forward in 2018, according to Barney. The Arts is updating its website, integrating more social media and streamlining the members community – making it easier for artists to join and sign up for committees or events.
“We have big social media initiatives planned, including Instagram “takeovers,” and artist of the month features,” Barney explains. “Donna Martin will oversee our gallery exhibitions, standardizing the system to manage gallery openings at the Waveland City Hall and other venues. Our educational outreach will also be expanding.”
Barney says that the Magnolia Bayou project has already borne positive and long-lasting fruit: The Arts has teamed up with the Raw Oyster Marching Club to bring a weekly after-school arts program to the local Boys & Girls club.
To join The Arts, Hancock County, click here! You can even pay online.
When ten of Mississippi's top contemporary artists open a cooperative gallery in the heart of Old Town Bay St. Louis, expect to find work that's exciting, fresh and a far cry from ordinary.
- by LB Kovac
The group of artists had no firm outline for their gallery, but they managed to sketch out a few details in one long meeting. It’s an uncommon story in business for the things to progress so quickly. At the end of one night, they had a check for rent and a killer name: Gallery Edge.
ExpeThe gallery is only three months old, but it is already creating big buzz. Gallery Edge has already hosted three show openings – spotlighting of the works of Kat Fitzpatrick and Bill Nelson, as well as a group show with works from all the artists. It's now in the middle of its final show for 2017.
And even bigger things are on the horizon in 2018. Expect to see the unexpected at Gallery Edge.
“Since this is a not-for-profit gallery, we make experimental work that wouldn’t work in a normal gallery setting," says Grabowski.
Grabowski, herself a renowned fiber artist and originator of the “deconstructed screen printing” method, has been a fixture at area galleries and art shows for years.
In the past, Grabowski made a name for herself with her wearable art, but the pieces she is currently working on are not always so functional.
“There is a freedom in having our own space,” she says.
The ten artists, whose styles are incredibly distinct, have a palette of art styles, and personalities, that blends well. Marian Knobbe, Bill Nelson and JJ Foley, all are masters of paint. But their subjects run the gamut –smooth Mississippi coastal landscapes, soft and feminine figures, bold and evocative shapes.
Kat Fitzpatrick specializes in encaustic, a type of “painting” that has been used by artists since as early as the 1st century BC. Fitzpatrick uses melted beeswax mixed with pigment to apply color to her canvases. The applied beeswax can be sculpted on the canvas before drying, producing vibrant images that have as much in common with oil paintings as they do metal sculptures.
Stacey Johnson creates fully-realized sculptures using metal, clay and wood. Vicki Niolet, Mary Hardy and Joey Rice incorporate mixed media into their works.
Finally, Elizabeth Schafer is heavily influenced by music. Her paintings incorporate paint and musical artifacts, like CDs and cassettes, in order to demonstrate the relationship between auditory and visual arts.
Grabowski says, “The cool thing about this gallery is that it is all of us together.”
And, like any good work-in-progress, the gallery is constantly changing. “Every month, we refine it a little bit more,” Grabowski says. “It’s like that old quote… Marking art is walking the edge. Good art happens at the edge.”
Gallery Edge’s current show, which hangs until December 23, represents work from all ten artists. Check the gallery’s Facebook page for upcoming shows, special art market pop-ups and new exhibits.
Gallery Edge will be open in Century Hall six days a week, closed Monday.
Gallery Edge Artists:
(most names link to websites where you can see samples of their work)
Two artists with a proven track record of helping revitalize New Orleans neighborhoods through arts centers they've created may soon be moving to Waveland.
- story by Ellis Anderson
Waveland Mayor Mike Smith says that he’s visited Studio Arabi twice and both times was “amazed” by what he saw.
“They [the Gaudets] have their own studios, but they also lease out spaces to other artists,” said Smith. “I can see how what they’ve done has revitalized the community there. They’re proposing doing the same thing in Waveland. I’m really excited about the possibilities.”
Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke agrees.
“Coleman Avenue has never really come back after Katrina,” Burke said. “This could breathe new life into Waveland. It’s the outside-the-box project that we’ve been looking for.”
The building under consideration was completed as the Waveland Business Center in 2012. The 10,000-square-foot facility has a striking contemporary design (by Bay St. Louis firm, unabridged Architecture).
Although a few tenants have come and gone and three businesses currently lease small sections of the building, Mayor Smith says that for the most part, the business incubator has not been utilized as was originally hoped.
Earlier this fall, Waveland published calls for proposals to lease the entire facility. The Gaudets, who have been scouting out Waveland for some time as a possible location for their next project, thought the Coleman Avenue building met all the requirements for another thriving arts center. They submitted a bid. It turned out to be the only one.
But Mayor Smith is not disappointed. “My expectations are high for this particular proposal.”
Smith says that he hopes the bid will be formally accepted at the first Alderman’s meeting in December (December 5th). Then negotiations will be entered into for the lease, which could be finalized later in the month. All parties stated that they hoped the Gaudets – under their Studio Waveland, LLC - would have possession of the building by the first of January 2018.
“The minute we sign the lease, my wife is packing the truck and moving her studio over,” said Mitchell Gaudet. “Or rather I’ll be packing the truck and she’ll be telling me what to pack.”
“We envision a quick build-out and then beginning our programming in March or April. We’re already arguing over what the theme of the first art show will be,” he said, laughing.
“We see this also as a place where the public can interact with workshops and classes and lectures and art openings, with a cool gallery space. Nothing hoity-toity.”
Since the city built the incubator in partnership with other government entities, they won’t own the building in entirety for another year. According to Mayor Smith, that necessitates a one-year lease at this time.
The Gaudets are hoping that after the initial year, they’ll be able to secure a longer lease that would warrant the $120,000 investment required by the Gaudets to build-out and equip the building for Mitchell’s glass-making.
“Erica will move her studio over this first year,” said Gaudet. “And then we’ll move over full time… If we can really crush it that first year, we can create more live-work spaces in the area. It could be huge. We’re really excited.”
Gaudet says that the New Orleans art community is buzzing as well. Bay St. Louis is already seen as a popular arts center and the Waveland facility would add to Hancock County’s reputation as an arts destination.
The Gaudets have already driven artist friends over for tours. Gaudet points out that New Orleans and the Bay-Waveland area are “sister cities of sorts,” so many people in the city already have familiarity – and fondness – for the area.
“There are still a few hurdles ahead, but they’re getting smaller,” said Gaudet. “We’ll do whatever it takes. I’m already growing a beard and mustache to look more like George Ohr.”
Meet Mitchell Gaudet