Arts Alive - February 2020
- Story by Steve Barney, photos by Ellis Anderson
Every March, spring fever hits as the flowers bloom, the windows open, and the Bulldogs-Tigers baseball game plays on the radio. Another sure sign of spring in Old Town Bay St. Louis is Arts Alive.
For the last 18 years, Arts Alive has been produced by the local non-profit arts organization, The Arts, Hancock County. It started as a modest tour of artist studios and has evolved into the capstone arts and culture event of the year in Hancock County.
This year’s festival takes place on Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22 in Old Town Bay St. Louis. As always, Arts Alive is free, open to the public and full of surprises, featuring an eclectic mix of arts and crafts for sale, unique artisan experiences, hands-on activities, and live performances.
is sponsored by
Janice Guido, owner of Bay Life Gifts and Hancock Chamber Board tourism liaison, stated, “Arts Alive has become one of the most important and profitable events of the year for retail shops and restaurants in Old Town Bay St. Louis – even better than Cruisin’ the Coast.“ Guido adds, “Many visitors are so captivated by Bay St. Louis that they choose to relocate here.”
Festival-goers aren’t the only ones to take notice. Arts Alive is gaining a national reputation among exhibitors, and artists from as far away as Maryland, Florida and Texas are signing up to make Bay St. Louis a stop on their spring tours of the best art shows in the Southeast.
New artists’ applications are coming in daily, with many local artists returning from last year exhibiting and demonstrating work in every medium and genre imaginable, filling the streets of Old Town BSL. (Click here to register for an artist booth.)
- Through a partnership with the Main Street United Methodist Church, many new activities will be hosted on the church’s property.
- Join Captain Longbeard and Lady Claiborne from BSL’s own Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse for some mini-golf and pirate-themed crafts.
- Look for live demonstrations of popular dishes by local celebrity chefs.
- Instagram phenoms The Traveler Broads will be back with their whimsical artist awards.
- Make sure to bring your lawn chair to the Shoofly Magazine Community Stage and sing along with local favorites Kelsey Moran, Hadley Hill, the Electric Sheep, Hattiesburg based artist and singer-songwriter Thomas Jackson and others. On Sunday, you never know who might show up for the Open Mic session; last year, Delta Blues icon Lucious Spiller captivated the crowd.
- An expanded Makerspace is geared toward the next generation of artists, with activities designed to integrate Art into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), creating STEAM. Youths are invited to try their hands at throwing a pot on the wheel, programming a 3D printer, making a drum, learning about organic gardening and participating in hands-on art activities hosted by local organizations.
- Bring a blank T-shirt or other fabric to screen print your own Arts Alive t-shirt or banner on our four-screen press.
- At Ruth’s Roots community garden, help paint more public trash receptacles for the beachfront and throw some tags on the graffiti wall, try a yoga/meditation workshop and help paint rocks for the pathway.
- Join in a live painting throw-down with the Coast’s best: Lucinda L’Enfant, Micky Arnold, Andrew Switzer, Greg Noll and Scheronne Herrington.
Arts Alive 2020 Overview
Saturday, March 21, 10 am – 8 pm
The artist showcase closes down for the night at 5 pm on Saturday, but the Arts Alive fun continues into the evening with Bellydance performances featuring Pandorium Dance Company and fire dancing by The Priestess Sisters, accompanied by the syncopated rhythms of the Bay Ratz Marching Battery.
The Saturday night After Party, hosted by 100 Men DBA Hall($10 admission) will feature the finest drag kings on the Coast from 9 – 11 pm.
Sunday, March 22, Noon – 4 pm
Through the generous support of local businesses including Lazy Magnolia Brewery, The BSL Restaurant Group, the Shoofly Magazine and many other businesses and individuals, we are able to produce and promote this free community celebration.
Look for more detailed information and festival schedule in the Shoofly Magazine in March. For more information on sponsorship, volunteering and general festival information visit www.hancockarts.org.