It may be one of the oldest galleries in the state, but with 20+ artists working in different media, this Bay St. Louis Gallery stays on the cutting edge.
- story by Lisa Monti
photos by Brenda Comer, Ellis Anderson and courtesy Gallery 220
McCardell and Currier organized the artist cooperative a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina displaced artists along the beachfront. They also own and operate the popular Clay Creations, located just behind the gallery showroom inside the building which is known for its colorful tree mural on the south side and the Coke sign painted on the north wall.
Joanna Slay, a mixed-media and mosaic artist, joined the cooperative in 2012 and teaches quarterly workshops there. She now handles public relations for the gallery, which is filled with works of 27 local artists.
There are paintings, photos, pottery, jewelry, sculptures and other creations filling the gallery walls and shelving. Some of the artists teach classes in painting, pottery and mosaics, and most take commissions. It’s been described as “an epicenter of creative energy.”
“We have such a diverse group,” said Slay. “We have artists of all ages, from their 70s on down to their 20s. It’s a great place for young artists to start out and for retirees who have time and energy to focus 100 percent on their work and to show their work as well.”
Slay said there is a waiting list of artists who want to be a part of the vibrant cooperative. That’s a sure sign of both the local art community’s vitality and of Gallery 220’s reputation for quality content. “If there’s space available and the caliber of work is up to the gallery’s standards, they will be accepted,” Slay said of prospective members.
Because the cooperative is more than a visual gallery, members staff Gallery 220 one day a month, greeting and helping customers. Artist Barbara Brodtmann manages the work schedule and front desk duties.
That personal interaction with the artists makes shopping a special experience for art fans. Member artist Janet Densmore says the personal connection gives the collectors “an opportunity to participated and express their own creative imagination.” That’s something unique to visiting the cooperative that shoppers won’t experience in generic stores.
This year, Gallery 220 started featuring an artist or two each month, displaying their work in the north window as well as in prominent spots inside the Art Deco building.
The featured artist for May is Pam Marshall, a watercolor artist who is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, along with the Mississippi and Louisiana Societies. In addition to the window display, you can find Marshall’s new work on display inside the gallery during the Second Saturday Art Walk on May 14.
The South window will change seasonally, Slay said. The current theme “Around the Bay” features a large colorful canvas painting by Amy Kramer that showcases the easy lifestyle the Bay is known for. The canvas will be auctioned on June 9 during the Second Saturday Art Walk.
All proceeds will go to MAP (Music, Art and Practicality) of Hancock County. This organization offers a 4- to 6-week summer camp that is free to qualifying students. Children learn everything from set design to acting at a performance at the end of camp. Tickets are $5 and available at the Gallery and through MAP organizers.
Slay says Gallery 220 provides support to the local arts community and encourages the artist spirit. “We have camaraderie here, “ she said. “This is a good place to start if you’re a new artist or if you’re getting back in the market. We try to encourage each other and promote each other’s work. It’s just unbelievable.”
220 Main St.
Bay St. Louis
Open 11a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday