Arts Council Promotes Steady Rise Of Local Arts
By Mickey Howley
Earlier this month there was a meeting at the Main Street office of the nascent Water Valley Arts Council. Twenty four people came and we ran out of chairs. I ended up sitting on an upside down trash can, but I didn’t complain. I was happy and surprised we had such a showing.
I should have not been surprised. There has been a steady building of arts, both visual and performance, related events in Water Valley in the last years. Betsy Person at Remedial Specialists has put on an art show during the Watermelon Carnival for the last 3 years; Anissa Wilkerson has Imagination Station going strong. There have been one time installations by Bill Warren and Pati D’Amico in store fronts, Lee McMinn had a fine opening and great art show at the Kessinger office and Renasant Bank has a rotating show in their lobby. Bozarts Gallery had their first opening last December.
In the performing arts, Valley Dance has been open for over a year, has 55 students, and is going to have their second review in May. The Chamber of Commerce has their summer concert series and the community band keeps playing various venues. Collectively it adds up to quite a bit, especially when you consider that most of the artists, musicians and participants are local. There is some talent in this town.
The arts and arts councils have made a real difference in some communities throughout Mississippi. Down on the coast, Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs are coming back to where they once were much though the power and collective energy of their art communities. Just to the south of us, Eupora has a great arts council and a downtown renovated city art/performing building. Taylor has built its current reputation largely on their art community. Oxford, with the recently renovated Powerhouse, has a really great space for visual and performing arts.
Water Valley’s Art Council is doing several things. The council will be promoting and supporting the arts. It will integrate arts more into the life of the community. One of the early goals is to organize and find venues for artists to display or perform. Right now the Arts Council is a committee of the WVMSA, but that is until the council gets better established and can then be free standing.
The next meeting is Apr. 7 at 6 p.m. in the Main Street office at 207 Main. If you are interested, please come, I promise we’ll have more chairs.
This last art comment is from the shameless commerce division of Street Talk: Friday, Mar. 27, Bozarts Gallery at 403 Main will have a show featuring new paintings by Megan Kingery and Coulter Fussell with pottery by Yerger Andre. Megan and Coulter live in Water Valley, Yerger lives in Abbeville. The opening reception is from 6 to 9 and open to everyone.
Check out www.watervalleymainstreet.com for this week’s poll on what might be your favorite upcoming event.