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If you drive down State Street in Downtown Jackson this week, headed south, you’re likely to see local artist Jason Jenkins braving the Mississippi heat, paintbrush in hand. When we stopped by to visit him, the beating sun had started to melt into a puddle the graphite that he had been using to outline shapes. Jenkins is neck deep in the creation of a sprawling mural for Martin’s Restaurant and Bar that spans an entire exterior wall. The mural is themed around music, referencing the state’s past and present and incorporating iconic symbols like the Crossroads, the Magnolia, and the Mockingbird.Plans for the finished piece.
“I’m just trying to liven up the community,” said Jenkins. “Give people something to look at.”
Jenkins’ design is tailor made for Martin’s, reflecting the sound-scapes and activity within the building through a colorful, open air rendition that celebrates Mississippi’s cultural traditions.
“I wanted to create a mural that was...
Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2014 by MMA
From time to time, artworks from the Museum’s collection are rotated in and out of The Mississippi Story exhibition. New artworks routinely come on view, freshening up the walls and adding nuance to the exhibition’s artistic narrative. Recently, one such piece was brought out of the storage vault and is now on view to the public.
Harry Calvin Ward’s Krewe of Chicoupoula combines acrylic and collage inspired by the artist’s time living in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. These images are “drawn from memories of my formative years in Bay St. Louis,” says the artist. “These fictionalized remembrances are personal icons that evoke a sense of the time, place, and culture that have shaped my perspective.”
Contained in the piece is a small photograph of 1930s Mardi Gras from the artist’s personal photo album. The name, Chicoupoula, is derived from the Indian settlement that later became the town of Bay St. Louis after being settled by the French in 1699. The Krewe of Chicoupoula...
Posted on Friday, May 16, 2014 by MMA
Last month, descendants of Mildred Nungester Wolfe, artist of the Four Freedoms, and Arlean and Benjamin McClellan Stevens, Sr., the couple who commissioned the piece, gathered together to see the installation at the Mississippi Museum of Art (the Museum) for the first time. The Four Freedoms, now on view in the public corridor at the Museum, is a four paneled mural inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous “Four Freedoms” speech.
Those in attendance represented three generations of the two families; some traveled from as far away as Dallas, Texas. It turned into a reunion of sorts, at the core of which was the impressive mural, now part of the Museum’s permanent collection thanks to the generous gift of Daisy McLaurin Stevens Thoms, Benjamin McClellan Stevens, Jr., Henry Nicholson Stevens, and William Forrest Stevens, the children of Arlean and Benjamin McClellan Steven Sr. The children and grandchildren of the donors joined the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Mildred Nungester Wolfe (1912-2009), including Mike Wolfe, of North Carolina, and Elizabeth “Bebe” Wolfe, who carries on their mother and father’s art-making tradition...
Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 by MMA
This week’s installment of #ArtAroundUs takes us to the Clinton Visitor Center in Clinton, Mississippi, where sculptor, painter, and longtime Mississippi College art professor Dr. Sam Gore spoke with us about a bronze sculpture created to honor Clinton’s military veterans. Called “Fallen Comrade,” it depicts one soldier carrying the limp body of another after a wartime barrage of shrapnel.
“This tells a story – not of war, we don’t want war – but of the responsibility of young people such as these who are called upon or who take upon themselves to be loyal companions; not only among themselves, but to the families they left behind.”
Gore himself was in the service, including what was then called the Army Air Corps, where he was a skilled aircraft mechanic. Some of what he learned during his time in the military has served him well in his process as an artist.
“I believe I’ve been guided, spiritually and by instinct, to do what I do. I believe the engineering part of art – molding metal, bronze, welding – I learned...
Posted on Friday, May 9, 2014 by MMA
In this installment, we highlight artist Dusti Bongé, who was born in Biloxi in 1903. Sometimes called “Mississippi’s earliest Modernist painter,” Bongé originally aspired to be an actress. Her raw talent in painting was noticed by her artist husband, Archie, when she used his paints to create an artwork as a means of apologizing for a lovers’ quarrel. She continued painting, though she never pursued classical training. After Archie died in 1936, Dusti Bonge took over his studio as well as his job as rent collector for the Southern Shell Seafood Factory. On her walks through the camps collecting rent, she carried her sketchbook, and some of her work during this period was directly inspired by the scenes she saw, like the painting below.
You can find Dusti Bongé‘s work on view in The Mississippi Story, along with artwork by her son, Lyle. The two works pictured here were gifts to the Museum’s collection from The Dusti Bongé Foundation in Biloxi, who helps preserve...
Posted on Friday, May 9, 2014 by MMA
By Caitlin Podas, Museum Registrar
If you ever find yourself engaged in conversation with a museum registrar, ask them what their favorite room in the museum is. Chances are, they will tell you their favorite place is the storage room. Storage is a magical place for several reasons. It offers type-A personalities, as most registrars are, a place where they can organize the collection to their heart’s content; it is often the cleanest room in the whole museum; and most importantly, it is where all the treasures of the museum are kept. Unfortunately, it is also one of the places that few other people get to see. Through our blog series, Vault Vantage, our visitors can get a glimpse into the storage vault and see objects that are not typically on view.
As a new employee at the Mississippi Museum of Art, I especially love exploring storage because every time I open a drawer or pull out an art rack I find something new and sometimes unexpected....
Posted on Monday, May 5, 2014 by MMA
In our new blog series, #ArtAroundUs, we find visual arts examples beyond the Museum’s walls. This week, we’re staying relatively close to home, as we spotlight Souvenir of Mississippi, the sprawling artwork by Randy Hayes that marks two of the entryways to The Art Garden. Next time you visit, take some time to examine these photographs for yourself, and think back to the memories and images that make up your own souvenir of the state. As you go out into the world, hashtag and share your photos of visual art with us on Twitter and Instagram, @MSMuseumArt.
Here’s what the artist has to say about this incredible installation.
“Every year, for more than twenty years, I have photographed the Mississippi landscape. Souvenir of Mississippi combines a few of those photographs into a single, imaginary road trip through Mississippi, from the Tennessee border, through the Hill Country, the Delta, River Towns, Central Mississippi, and the Piney Woods to the Gulf of Mexico....
Posted on Friday, May 2, 2014 by MMA
If you’ve visited the Museum, you’re probably familiar with William Dunlap’s Panorama of the American Landscape that greets visitors from its home in Trustmark Grand Hall. It’s one of our ongoing and free public exhibitions. Because of the sheer size, some of the painting’s details aren’t readily apparent from a distance. Here’s another in our series called #DunlapDetails, where we take closer looks at the many small paintings within the whole. Next time you visit, find and share your favorite corner with the #DunlapDetails hashtag!
Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 by MMA