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
John Anderson, president of The Arts, Hancock County, stated, “Carter Church’s creative legacy will live on as The Arts, Hancock County has just purchased his former studio. We are transforming it into a center for community engagement in support of a broad range of artistic endeavors.”
The non-profit arts organization has plans to develop the 2,400-square-foot building into a multi-use facility including gallery/ exhibition space for member artists and community makerspace; hosting artist workshops for all; and mentoring programs for area youth.
The building will also provide meeting space and house the business office for The Arts, Hancock County. Plans are also underway to develop an outdoor art park on the site which adjoins a creek and is covered in a canopy of two registered live oak trees.
According to Steve Barney, executive director of The Arts, “This acquisition is a game-changer for our organization, providing a brick-and-mortar facility to expand our capacity to deliver a wide range of programs and services.
“The transformation of this facility is part of a multi-pronged initiative to revitalize the historic Depot District and provide creative placemaking for the Amtrak Rail visitors anticipated in 2022,” Barney added.
The $180,000 donation from Mamie Hillery is one of the largest gifts ever given to an arts and culture organization in Hancock County. Originally from New Orleans, Ms. Hillery now resides in Bay St. Louis. She is an avid supporter of the arts and also an accomplished multimedia artist herself.
Hillery said, “I am so thrilled to be able to fulfill this dream to provide a forever home for The Arts, Hancock County. In my short time residing in Bay St. Louis, I have already seen the many benefits this organization brings to our community.
"I believe in the vision of the Arts Board to develop this facility into an amazing resource for area artists and the local community.”
For more information about The Arts, Hancock County, to donate and/or to join, see their website.