Arts Alive - August 2015
Thanks, Y'all Art Exhibit
An extraordinary art exhibit opening in Waveland on the 10th anniversary of Katrina embraces - and thanks - those from across the country who came to the aid of local artists after the monster storm.
- by Vicki Niolet
After Katrina, however, the artists of the county were literally stranded in a void with limited opportunities for creating, and no local venues for selling their art.
She organized local Arkansas arts groups, who secured the Clinton Presidential Library for the event, hosted the show, and found families to house the 20 artists who made the trip.
Not only did the Arkansas angels do this once, but also a second time, when a citywide ice storm - crippling Little Rock on the morning of the show - cancelled the first event. Not to be discouraged, the benevolent donors paid twice for airfare, as well as re-publicizing the event, and re-organizing sponsors and host families.
These acts of generosity were repeated in other cities across the country between 2006 and 2007. Arts organizations, guilds, and galleries from Minnesota, Georgia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Pennsylvania hosted exhibits of Hancock County artists. The Washington, DC area alone hosted three separate events in two years.
The main purpose for the exhibits was to offer viable economies that could focus on buying art, not rebuilding walls. Most of the artists sold work at all of the individual shows, many returning home with sizable checks. But when painters, sculptors, photographers, and musicians travelled to these charitable havens they were given a more valuable gift than money.
The escape from “Katrina Fatigue” was an immeasurable boost to morale for the participants. Hosts welcomed artists into their homes with friendships and luxuries such as home-cooked meals and bathtubs with plenty of hot water. In many cases, bonds were established between artists and families that remain to the present day.
“The Arts, Hancock County” now welcomes those artists and families who were so generous, to participate in the upcoming Katrina observances on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
These artists and visitors will experience the legendary southern hospitality in repayment for the assistance they extended to local artists ten years ago. The exhibit, entitled “Thanks Y’all” borrows the phrase from an early statewide campaign recognizing the volunteers who came to our region.
Artists from other parts of the country will reunite with Hancock County artists and display their work in Bay St. Louis for a reciprocal exhibit. While the basis for the event is primarily to express gratitude for their generosity, it will also demonstrate how their actions revitalized the local arts community. “The Arts, Hancock County” will also show the progress we have made with their help since 2005 by hosting a mini studio tour and workshop opportunity for our guests with local artists.
Most visiting artists will arrive late in the anniversary week and leave Sunday. Along with other events, “The Arts, Hancock County” members and visitors will intermingle and reacquaint over the course of several eventful and emotional days.
For more information about the ”Thanks Y’all” exhibit, please contact Vicki Niolet at 228-671-9790, or email@example.com.
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