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Although Horses Faced Grim Outlook Photographer Captures ‘Spark In Their Eyes’

Equestrian photographer and Water Valley native, Kim Boyd Vickrey will be exhibiting her work at Bozart’s Gallery on Saturday, June 7 starting with an artist talk at 6 p.m. and reception at 7 p.m.

Andi Bedsworth
Contributing Art Writer


Art takes many forms. There are performing arts and visual arts and even films which are a combination of the two. In the visual arts category, there are many types. Photography is a visual art that we are all familiar with as many of us have cameras on our phones now and take our own photos almost daily. Art is said to be a reflection of society, but I also think that art can be a way to bring our communities together for a cause.
Right now, Yalobusha County has a cause worthy of people coming togeth-er–the horses that were rescued recently because of starvation and neglect need nourishment and care. A Water Valley native who makes her living as an artist has made it her mission to be a part of their recovery.
Kim Boyd Vickery is an associate professor at Arkansas State University who was born and raised in the Valley and often comes back to visit as her parents, Sue and Irby Boyd, still make Water Valley their home. She has long had a passion for horses and even has one of her own.
Her love for horses and her artist training came together when she started lessons with a trainer who showed horses. As she went to these shows, she began taking photos of the magnificent horses. This led to sales of her images and eventually prompted her to find groups of other horse photographers.
These friendships have opened up many doors for her including attending workshops and conferences where she has been able to photograph horses all over the world. Her travels have taken her to Portugal, France, Spain, and even to California, where she has taken pictures of Hollywood stallions.
Her work as a professor teaching graphic design and photography has given her opportunities to take these trips to further her professional development. She even plans to go to Istanbul in the fall to capture more images of horses.
A chance reunion with college friend, Stephanie Huggins Billingsley, led to a renewed friendship and a discovery of a common interest in horses. Billingsley runs Mule Shoe, a horse rescue and sanctuary near Greenwood and also takes care of horses at her private farm in Madison.
It was this friendship and social media that tipped off Vickery to the appalling situation brewing in a pasture in Yalobusha. Although, she was not able to help physically in the rescue, Billingsley was.
Stephanie along with Doll Stanley of the group In Defense of Animals were part of the large group of people who came together to rescue the horses from near starvation. Many of them are now recovering with Kelly Vance in Carroll County. The Yalobusha Sheriff’s department was an integral part of the mission as were many others.
Billingsley, also a photographer and graphic artist, approached Vickery to help her raise money for the horses by taking photos of them to sell. The two went out and took photos of the herd. Many of the animals are not use to being handled and were skittish and aloof, but after hours of shooting, they came away with some hopeful images. Even though many of the photos show the neglect and near starvation, Vickery says you can see the “spark in their eyes”.
The images will be on display at Bozarts Gallery on Saturday, June 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. The evening kicks off with an artist talk by Kim Boyd Vickery at 6 p.m., and a reception follows. There will be framed prints, matted prints and 20 books of images available. The books are small and include about 30 pages of photos printed on recycled paper. They will be on sale for $35 each. Please be a part of this effort to help the horses. Vickery says they hope to raise at least $1,000 to aid in their recovery.
The gallery is pleased to host this special event and welcomes everyone to come out to show how art can bring people together for a cause worthy of our attention.

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