By Mickey Howley
I’ve managed it twice this winter. Escaping the cold in the Valley. Not by driving to south Florida or lounging on Mexican beaches or sailing the trade winds in the Caribbean. But by going to snow covered mountaintops. Yep, last week at 10,000 feet and with deep pack snow under my boots, again it was warmer than Water Valley.
Now before you go thinking — hey, that Main Street job pays pretty good — it was a sympathy trip courtesy of my younger brother on the occasion of me turning undeniably old. The point is — it has been a very cold winter, at least here. But spring is coming and kicking off the spring art season in the Valley are creative events you’ll want to see.
This Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. right on Main Street, the art galleries will be popping. At Yalo Studio, J Clayton’s, and Bozarts Gallery new shows will be open. New work by local artists with national and regional recognized like Jane Rule Burdine, Paula Temple, and Cindy Aune. Come out and prowl Main Street and hit all three galleries. It promises to be a hip cool night and not a cold one.
The following Friday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. there will be “An Evening with Broken Accordions.” I’m not talking junkyard ready Hondas here, but musical squeezeboxes with keys. Often quoted in the New York Times and local man about town Snooky Williams had this accordion collection, how he ended up being the collector king of worn out squeezeboxes is a long story. But Snooky gave away the accordions to local musicians Mark Yacovone and Reiko Yamada. And Mark and Reiko figured out how to play them in the “as found condition.” Reiko even composed a piece especially for the “broken” ones. It is going to be more than a musical treat. Snooky, local photographers Andres Gonzalez and Carolyn Drake and historian Nicolas Trepanier are all part of this collaborative performance to be held at Bozarts.
These creative evenings are just a small part of why Water Valley is a featured town in Mississippi’s Year of the Creative Economy. Events like these coming ones are not your run of the mill stuff for small towns. Not at all. The creative life and what it can do for a town’s Main Street is why the Mississippi Arts Commission loves the Valley. And it is not just art for art’s sake, because that energy is part of the creative economy here mixing with the regular economy. And that makes the whole town an interesting and fun place to live. So see you downtown soon.