Street Talk

Art Crawl Gives Look Inside Working Studios

By Mickey Howley

Not this Friday but the next there will be a new event in town. The Water Valley Arts Council is hosting the first Studio Crawl. Crawl may seem a questionable term when paired with art, when I think of “crawl” it brings to mind going in attics and under houses and in tight spaces where its it either damp and dark or hot and humid, but always tight and dirty. That’s the connotation of crawl for me, not a good one, but that is about to change. This crawl will be different. This crawl will be fun.

The Studio Crawl on Sept. 18 kicks off the art season in Water Valley. You say you did not know art had a season? Well it does. The art season usually goes from September through May, why it roughly follows the academic year is academic. It just does. In places where there is an art community, like the one developing in Water Valley now, there are normally three big coordinated season events where the whole community participates.   An opening event like our Studio Crawl starts the season, there is a holiday season event, and often there is a season closing event in May.

Here’s how the crawl works. There are eight different venues on the night of the crawl. All are within easily walkable distances from one another. And while there is no set route, the general starting point will be Bozarts Gallery at 403 N. Main and the ending point will be the White Star at 14 S. Main. You can hit any or all of the six studios at your own pace. Attire will be formal to informal with emphasis on the “artsy” and eclectic. In all, there will be 13 artists showing between the gallery and open studios (nine of whom live in Water Valley) as well as art students from Imagination Station.

Music and refreshments start at 6 pm at Bozarts and you pick up a map for the crawl there.   The studios will be clearly marked, and the public is invited into the artists’ studios or homes.

This all may be art for art’s sake —  but, don’t underestimate the economic power of art. In New Orleans, I have seen the power of art change skid row into the trendy Warehouse Arts District and my old rough and tumble Irish Channel neighborhood into the Magazine Street shopping district; these are some of the hottest places in town now.  

In Mississippi, look what art has done and is doing for places like West Point, Ocean Springs, and Bay St. Louis  (dare I say Taylor). This type of improvement does not happen overnight; it needs lots of community support over time, but it does happen. Sept. 18 in Water Valley will be a step or crawl in the right direction.

The Farmers Market is still going on until Oct. 3. That’s four Saturday mornings left, plus it is still open on Wednesdays from 4 to 6, for picking up the Valley’s freshest and tastiest produce.  Yalobusha pumpkins are in now (that’s right, home grown with long stems and not trucked in from Texas) and there are still plenty of watermelons, too. It is still plenty hot enough to enjoy a cool melon.

Last weeks survey had a tie between a deli and bakery for new retail businesses desired for Main Street. Go to www.watervalleymainstreet.com to vote on your favorite style of art.

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