The Alice Moseley Museum
- by Lisa Monti
Early on, Miss Alice was reluctant to sell her paintings, according to Tim, but all reluctance surely left her at a flea market in Nashville when a man from Kentucky paid $45 each for the first 30 paintings she ever created.
With that $1,350 check, the reticent retired schoolteacher became a professional folk artist.
Miss Alice continued painting on wood or any other material at hand and her works sold quickly. Mose did the framing on some of her work and when one sold, Miss Alice paid him a commission. Some of those frames can be seen at the museum that showcases Miss Alice’s work.
She discovered Bay St. Louis in 1988 by way of an art show and knew she’s found a special place. Miss Alice, at 79, moved to the Bay and settled into her home and studio, where she graciously greeted visitors.
Bay St. Louis has long been home to, and a magnet for, colorful and artistic people.
But even among the many residents who found or honed their creative skills here in the humid and historic atmosphere, only one has a museum dedicated to her work.
Open Monday through Saturday
10am to 4pm
1928 Depot Way, 2nd Floor
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
Phone: (228) 467-9223
Her story is well known locally. Miss Alice took up painting at age 60 and without benefit of art instruction while she cared for her ailing mother. “If my Mom had not been ill, I never would’ve painted,” Miss Alice said. “I think of it as her gift to me.”
The museum exhibits include more than 40 works by Miss Alice, as well as collections of Depression glass, old bottles, Majolica vases and assorted antiques. Visitors to the museum often “discover” Miss Alice for the first time, and they leave with an appreciation of her talent and her generosity. She wanted everyone to see the museum so, she declared there would be no admission fee. Instead, the museum is supported by donations and proceeds from the sale of Alice Moseley prints and books.
Miss Alice’s folk art shows off her humor, with titles including “The House Is Blue, But The Old Lady Ain’t” for her painting of her Booker Street home.
There’s a reference to Elvis — whom Miss Alice knew back in the day — in her work, depicting the King’s rise from a humble Tupelo home to Graceland. It’s called “From a Shotgun House to a Mansion on a Hill.” “Labor versus Management” depicts a stubborn mule and a frustrated farmer in overalls.
“Three Sheets In The Wind” shows a tipsy old man with three sheets hanging on a clothesline in the background. The print is especially popular among “regional drinking establishments,” according to the museum.