ART.BSL Podcast - July 30, 2021
- by Steve Barney
The Fourth Episode of the ART.BSL Podcast features an interview with Ellis Anderson, publisher of the Shoofly Magazine, and a visit with the Mystic Krewe of The Seahorse’s own Captain Longbeard and Lady Claiborne.
- by Steve Barney
The third exciting podcast in the new ART.BSL series features one of the most dynamic volunteers in Hancock County; the first inaugural Cardboard boat race; and the Smithsonian traveling art exhibit in Waveland.
- by Steve Barney
Launching in July: a new weekly podcast focusing on the Coastal arts scene and its importance to the local economy.
On June 5-6, mural designs by local artists will be painted around Old Town as part of a new celebration of the arts.
- by Steve Barney
Did you miss Mardi Gras this year? You’ll have another chance to celebrate in May at a gala to kick off a capital campaign for The Arts, Hancock County!
- by Steve Barney
Dr. James Inabinet continues on a decades-long journey to understand and articulate what it means to be human. His upcoming discussion at 100 Men Hall delves into his quest.
What: “Becoming Fully Human”
Where: Tin Shed porch, 100 Men Hall, 303 Union Street, Bay Saint Louis, MS
When: Friday, April 23, 7–8:30 pm
Open to the Public
Free, but more event info here.
A new documentary by a Pass Christian filmmaker takes an unflinching look behind the scenes of a five-year statewide battle.
- by Ellis Anderson
Thanks to a generous benefactor The Arts, Hancock County has a new home, a building with a legacy of remarkable creativity.
- story by Steve Barney
- photos by Ellis Anderson
The addition of more original paintings by the late Alice Moseley significantly expands the collection of the museum named in her honor.
- story by Steve Barney
Local artists were financially stranded when COVID-19 left them without an audience for their work. The MAC CARES program brought relief.
- Story by Steve Barney
He’s one of the heppest cats on the Gulf Coast - meet visionary artist, acclaimed musician, teacher, dad and uber-geek Steven Harper.
- 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.