Crusin' into Fall!
- story by Ana Balka, photos by Ellis Anderson
This month’s Second Saturday Art Walk shares the stage in Old Town with the biggest event of the year: Cruisin’ the Coast! Thousands of car enthusiasts will visit the streets of Bay St. Louis all week and into the weekend. Savvy Art Walk enthusiasts know to come Saturday and check out Cruisin’ the Coast’s festivities late in the afternoon, and then stay for the evening’s Art Walk activities. Live music on the streets, art openings at galleries, restaurant specials and shops are open late – many serving refreshments.
Two businesses are highlighted each month. October features Gallery 220 at 220 Main Street, and Southern Accents at 125 Main Street.
Second Saturday column
Other Second Saturday Happenings!
112 S. Second Street
The Bay St. Louis Trio will be performing classic rock and blues outside beginning at 5pm.
Inside the Bird, artists Marsha Prejean, Robert Waldrop, Kat Fitzpatrick, JJ Foley and Dani Davis will be showing their art throughout. Take a look around after ordering one of our famous "Mockingburgers" (beef or veggie) and a cold brew. Cooler weather is anticipated, perfect for sitting out under the stars! Join us!
McCardell and Currier own the distinctive art deco building, and by now most locals know the story of how they hastily made repairs after hurricane Katrina and hosted a Second Saturday gathering only weeks after the storm devastated the coast. The event was so healing, the couple opened their doors every Saturday evening for the next several months, giving exhausted survivors an opportunity to come together as a community, and giving local artists a venue to show and sell their work. The artists involved became a collective, grew in number, and today flourish as a group of mutually supportive talents under one roof.
For the Second Saturday Art Walk in Bay St. Louis each month, the Gallery features one or two artists. October’s featured artists are Barbara Beaudry Brodtmann and Janet G. Densmore. Second Saturday this month will be especially exciting, with the influx of visitors in town for Cruisin’ the Coast, which runs October 4–11. Stop in, say hello, and view work that spans an array of mediums and styles from the artists in the Gallery 220 collective.
Barbara Brodtmann knows watercolor. The local painter, one of Gallery 220’s featured artists for October, not only paints in watercolor on canvas and paper, but also conducts workshops at businesses and and private functions.
Brodtmann has been introducing others to the benefits of painting for a long time, and these days her teaching revolves around one-day workshops with businesses like the Beau Rivage.
She also does classes for private parties like bridal showers, instructing students - who come from all experience levels - on color, materials, and methods. Sometimes, she says, the most exciting results come from people who have never painted before, who come to a class with no preconceived notions, inhibitions, or hangups about their skills.
Brotdmann’s own artistic practice goes piece by piece, rather than in terms of bodies of work. She is motivated by light and color, and finds inspiration in nature and the marine life on the beaches and in the marshes of the Gulf Coast. She loves animals: crabs, alligators, frogs, and birds are frequently her subjects. She has a special affinity for pelicans, and the portrayals of these majestic birds that she currently has on display in Gallery 220, while describing the birds’ intricate beauty in vivid color and detail, hold the animals in solemn esteem against dark backgrounds that also reveal complex, layered depth. These are not whimsical bird paintings, but respectful portraits of living creatures.
Whether painting an evening sky or a commissioned portrait of someone’s grandchild, writing the story of a New Orleans voodoo priestess or editing video for trial attorneys, Janet Densmore is going for one thing, and that’s the truth – the truth of that thing, drawn from a place of truth within herself.
The painter, writer, videographer, documentarian, and former performance artist and artists’ model works out of her studio in the Bay Artists’ Co-op, doing commissioned portraiture as well as her personally inspired pieces from oils and pastels.
Densmore is also compiling a body of work she will complete in the coming months that will include paintings, drawings, and 3-D assemblages exploring themes around identity and today’s technological culture.
Everything that Densmore does seems centered on the same concepts that drive her visual work. “Being creative, I think a big hurdle is to convince yourself that you’re worthy,” she says. Whatever you do, she says, “You don’t have to be technically great as much as you have to be great at articulating essentially who you are as a human being, because that’s different from everyone else, and it’s special."
125 Main Street
Becky says she plans to get a new shipment of goods in prior to the influx of auto enthusiasts October 7-11 (Cruisin’ runs October 4-11, with the biggest crowds hitting Bay St. Louis that Wednesday through the weekend), which also encompasses Bay St. Louis’s Second Saturday Art Walk. The store currently stocks a variety of gift items and home decor like candles, silver serving bowls, trays, and utensils, plaques and art to hang on the wall, onesies and other baby gifts and clothing, and a large selection of T-shirts, tea towels, clutches and tchotchkes.
While Becky says Cruisin’ the Coast certainly brings increased business to Southern Accents each year, what she really looks forward to is the fun that she and her husband have during the big event. “We set up a tent out front and sell T-shirts and things out there,” she says, “and we’re almost like a drive-through. We sell cold drinks, so sometimes one of the cars driving by will stop, and we’ll take it to them!”
Also this month for Second Saturday, Southern Accents will host music from about 4 p.m. as local guitarist/singer Kelsey Moran sets up in front of the store. Local favorite Moran sings and plays a great selection of classic rock and country with a mean, hollow-body Ibanez guitar.
Shubert has other big plans for Southern Accents. Before the end of the year she and Randy will expand into the space next door, effectively doubling their showroom, and broaden inventory to include women’s clothing, with shirts, pants, skirts, scarves, legwear, and jewelry. Becky says she will make some changes to the current inventory, but will continue to stock their best-selling gifts, T-shirts and other items in what is the current space.
Becky, a mother of five (four girls and one boy), says her daughters will be helping her select inventory for the new expanded area. She is excited to embark on the process with her girls, who are in their late teens and twenties. “They give me really good ideas,” Becky says.