Bay St. Louis artist Kat Fitzpatrick was one of three spokespeople representing Mississippi in a new video just released by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The video is part of a series, "The United States of Arts," created in celebration of the organization's 50th anniversary.
The video also features musician Shardé Thomas and author/chef Robert St. John, who also serves on the board of the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC).
Malcolm White, who has recently returned to the helm of MAC, said "As the new (old) Director of MAC, I was pleased to see Kat represent Mississippi and the NEA/Katrina collaboration we all worked so hard on back in 2005/06.
"Only the coast arts community, so elegantly portrayed by Kat, can possibly understand the emotional, regenerative powers of the arts demonstrated in post-storm resilience and revitalization that transpired on our salty piece of soil."
Fitzpatrick expressed gratitude to the local arts community, MAC and NEA for being part of the video project.
"I feel honored being chosen as a voice to speak about the experience of NEA and MAC support after Katrina," she said in an interview from her studio.
"The thing about Bay St. Louis is that through community, we were able to uplift each other and get back on our feet. One person can't do it alone.
"In everyday life, we don’t get to see how important we are to one another. So I wouldn’t trade my Katrina experience for anything. It was one of the defining experiences of my life. It made me appreciate living in a place where people participate in community on a day to day basis."
Talking about the creative environment in "the Bay," Fitzpatrick said, "My mother used to tell us that 'you make your own fun.' In Bay St. Louis, you can really see that in action. There's a sense of playfulness and inclusiveness in our activities and events.
"I wouldn't live anywhere else."
For more information on Kat Fitzpatrick's work go to www.katfitzpatrick.com