Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guest Blogger: George Bassi

The summer months are upon us at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, and that means lots of visitors traveling through the area, including people from Ireland, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands just this past week. Summer also brings lots of children and adults taking part in art classes either here at the Museum or in outreach activities throughout the community.

One of our more popular summer art activities is Free Family Art Day, which will be held on Wednesday afternoons, June 4 through July 2. At any time from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., children and their families participate in free “make and take” hands-on art activities with different themes each week, including origami, animals, collages and printmaking. No registration is required for these Wednesday afternoon classes, which attracted more 150 people each week last summer.

Of course, summer at LRMA would not be complete without our popular Blues Bash, which will be held on Friday, June 6, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. It is hard for me to believe that this will be our 15th annual event, which we have moved from mid-August to early June this year.

Blues Bash started in 1994 as a way for LRMA to celebrate Mississippi’s blues heritage and attract younger audiences to the Museum. Held in conjunction with the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the first few events brought in blues musicians from around the Mississippi Delta. Originally staged on the Museum’s front lawn, the event now encompasses the front lawns of LRMA and the Rogers-Green House as well as the closing of 5th Avenue.

Past performers include a who’s who of blues talent, including James “Super Chikan” Johnson, Blind Mississippi Morris, Kind Edward and Walter “Wolfman” Washington. This year should prove to be another crowd-pleaser with Mississippi blues guitarist and singer Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry. Born in Abbeville, Mississippi, Perry has 35 years of entertainment experience, including performances at the Apollo Theater in New York City and the Palladium in Hollywood. A regular at Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Perry hosts a weekly blues television show, Blues Trekkers, in Oxford, Mississippi.

Tickets to this year’s Blues Bash are on sale now for $20 each at the Museum (601-649-6374). Besides a night of soulful blues music, you also get a barbecue dinner by The Smokehouse of Laurel and beverages from Southern Beverage Company and Coca-Cola of Laurel. Other sponsors are BancorpSouth, Cellular South, Ellis & Walters Dental Care, Gholson Burson Entrekin & Orr PLLC, Kim’s Chrysler Toyota, The Koerber Company, Stinson Petroleum Company, Laurel Leader-Call, Rock 104, and WDAM-TV.

I hope you will bring a blanket or lawn chair and join us for a night of Mississippi Delta Blues under the oak trees of the Laurel Historic District.

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