Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pastel Workshop next week

Landscape Pastel workshop to be held at Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

By Holly Dodd

In conjunction with its upcoming exhibit The Degas Pastel Society’s Twelfth Biennial National Exhibition, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will offer a three-day Landscape Pastel Workshop October 8 - 10.

The workshop will be taught by pastel artist and exhibition judge Terry Ludwig of Denver, Colorado.

Ludwig received his formal art education under William Mosby and Joseph Vanden Broucke at the American Academy of Art in Chicago.

His work has been featured in galleries throughout the Rocky Mountain Region and hangs in many private collections.

Students will work from photographs and on location at the Museum. The workshop will stress drawing skills, values and color.

Cost for the workshop is $275 for Degas Pastel Society members and $300 for non- members. To register contact Darlene Johnson at darlenehjohnson@yahoo.com or by calling 504-392-0215.

Heritage Arts Festival this coming Saturday

Lauren Rogers to host 18th Heritage Arts Festival

By Holly Dodd, LRMA Director of Marketing

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will hold its 18th annual Heritage Arts Festival on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on the museum’s front lawn in recognition of National Arts and Humanities Month.

This year’s festival “Sounds of the South” will celebrate Mississippi’s musical heritage. Art activities will include a music-themed mural, guitar collage, bird puppets, and macaroni tambourines. Entertainment will be provided by the Cowboy Blues Band.

Families are invited to participate in the day of arts and crafts activities. The festival is free of charge, and pizza and soft drinks will be served while supplies last.

In the event of rain, the festival will be held at Sawmill Square Mall.

Heritage Arts Festival is generously sponsored by Laurel Arts League, Neel-Schaffer, Coca-Cola of Laurel, The First, and Hughes, Inc. The festival is also supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission.

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street in Historic Downtown Laurel. For more information, please call 601-649-6374 or visit the museum’s website at www.LRMA.org.

Bronze Sculptures at the Museum

Although the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art’s American and European art collections are best known for their paintings and works on paper, the Museum does have a small but excellent group of representational bronze sculptures on display in the hallway between the lobby and the American Gallery.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil is probably best known today for his public monuments of American heroes such as George Washington and his design of the 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter. However, the Paris-trained sculptor focused almost entirely on Native American subjects from about 1891 to 1910. His Chief Multnomah (about 1904) depicts a man once thought to be legendary; in fact he was a powerful 18th century leader in the area that is known today as Portland, Oregon. This image is entirely speculative, as no portraits of the man himself exist today. Our small bronze is related to one of the two figures in a lifesize sculpture known as The Coming of the White Man which is situated on a hill in Portland, Oregon, overlooking the Columbia River Gorge by which Lewis and Clark had come through the Rockies. MacNeil was also an influential teacher of sculpture at several institutions in New York City.

The Hungarian-born Louis-Paul Jonas began his career as a taxidermist, and then trained at the New York Academy of Design under sculptor Herman Atkins MacNeil. His Chief Eagle Head depicts a Sioux who was a member of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Jonas met him in Denver, which was Buffalo Bill’s home base, and arranged for a sitting. Eagle Head came by his name because of his deep set eyes and keen sense of observation, according to a letter from Jonas in the Museum files.

Anna Hyatt Huntington, like Louis Jonas, was a student of Hermon Atkins MacNeil in New York. She is best-known for her carefully researched animal sculptures. Huntington’s studies of animal anatomy and behavior are evident in her intimate look at an everyday event in a horse’s life, Feeding Time. This work was produced early in her career, when she was only 21 years old. Her work is very much in the academic vein of representational sculpture, rather than in the expressive mode that was more popular in Europe at the time. At the early age of 31 she completed her equestrian sculpture of Joan of Arc, a literally monumental accomplishment. Though troubled by tuberculosis after 1927, she would go on to create medals, small sculptures, and public monuments for nearly 70 more years. She continued to work in lighter media (such as aluminum) and to explore more modernist modes almost until her death at 97.

The academically-trained French sculptor Ary Jean Léon Bitter was a product of the École des Beaux-Arts in Marseille, France. His early works, such as the Museum’s See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil, tend to the representational, while his later works exhibit an fluid Art Deco tendency. He specialized in animal imagery and languid female figures in bronze, though he occasionally worked at a monumental scale as well.

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and on Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free; please call ahead to ensure that a docent will be available for tour groups. For information about LRMA exhibitions and programs, call (601) 649-6374 or check our website at www.LRMA.org

Jill R. Chancey, PhD
LRMA Curator

Are you registered to vote?

Sunday, October 5 is the deadline to register to vote in Mississippi. This *really* means you need to submit your registration by Friday, October 3. For information on how and where to register:

Mississippi Voter Information

Friday, September 12, 2008

Concert this Sunday

LRMA Sunday Concert Series - Sunday, September 14, 2008, 2:00 p.m.

American Gallery

Marcos Machado, double bass. Concerts are free and open to the public. A reception will follow the concerts.

Monday, September 08, 2008

More Arabian photos!

A view of the box office:

A return to the vibrant colors of the twenties - notice the Egyptian scarab:

The lobby is still being repainted. Check out the great light fixture:

Another scarab detail, with a vibrant red wall behind:

The view from the lift, which, I am telling you, was WAY UP THERE:

As you can see, all of the chairs have been removed and will be replaced. As it happens, you can help renovate the theater by "sponsoring" a new cushy chair; click here for details.

This little theater is a terrific example of 20s theater architecture and an important piece of Laurel history. I look forward to visiting in November when the renovation is complete.

Joyce Bradley Painting Workshop

For anyone interested in learning a new hobby or becoming more skilled at an old one, LRMA is offering a painting workshop with Hattiesburg artist Joyce Bradley. Participants will paint along with her as she offers her "tricks of the trade" and her hands-on assistance. Everyone will walk away with their own oil painting and some new techniques to try at home. The class will be held on Saturday, September 27 from 10 AM-2 PM in the Carriage House Studio on Seventh Street. Supplies and lunch are provided in the fee, which is $50 for non-members and $45 for museum members. Joyce is a skilled painter and is excited to share her love of painting with others! Please go to www.theagallery.com to check out some of her work.

A visit to the Arabian Theater

A few weeks ago, several staff members walked down to the Laurel Little Theater's home, the Arabian, to visit. George Jackson and his crew were working very hard to restore the Arabian to its original neo-Egyptian glory. The Arabian originated as a 1920s Saenger-owned movie palace, and was designed by Emile Weil, who also designed the Saenger Theater in New Orleans. In the 1970s, a renovation added a stage and other equipment areas necessary to the production of live theater. The Jim Crow balcony (in other words, for African-Americans only during the years of legal segregation) was repurposed and filled with lighting and other theater equipment, as it was angled too high for a good view of the stage.

The building has seen 80 years of hard use as a movie theater, and then a live theater venue, so a thorough renovation was in order. The folks of the Laurel Little Theater organization have worked hard to raise some money and get this project on its feet. George says they are scheduled to finish in November.

George gave us a ride on the lift, which, frankly, was shaky and tall and terrifying, not to mention on a slanted floor! It gave us a great view of the original wall paintings uncovered during the recent renovations, which were the object of our visit. The paintings had not been visible for decades, as they were covered in a soundproofing material.

In this view, you can see that there are neo-Egyptian decorative paintings directly on the wall, alternating with niches with Moorish arches. Originally, each niche had a painting on canvas, but these have been taken down for restoration. We recommended finding funding to bring in a professional paintings conservator, but for the time being these terrific wall paintings will stay on display for the first time in decades. The canvas pieces will be stored until they can be conserved, and it's likely that replicas will be installed in the niches. This kind of Egyptian-influenced decoration was very popular in the 1920s, inspired by the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1921. Also visible are the fantastic original light fixtures, which are still installed throughout the building:

For more information about this exciting and much-needed project, please visit the Laurel Little Theater website.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Guest Blogger: Tommie Rodgers

At the Museum
At the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, the end of the summer break means the beginning of school, newly installed exhibits, hurricane watching, and emergency responder tours. Certainly since Katrina, emergency preparedness has become a hot topic among Mississippi museums and libraries.

While Katrina prepped us for other emergency issues, we continue to build on our knowledge and refinement of preparedness. We have stocked recovery and cleanup supplies and maintain links to the outside world in case of disaster.

Three years ago, we began offering behind-the-scenes tours to the local fire and police departments. We have just finished the scheduled tours with the Laurel Fire Department and the Jones County Sheriff’s Department. In keeping with the theme of preparedness, the LRMA has recently installed a new security and smoke detection system and is in the process of installing a generator.

We hope the services of these organizations will never be called upon but we know the tours provide an added familiarity with every area of the building for those who might respond should a disaster be in the Museum’s future.

In addition to our visits, we have created a new disaster plan that will aid us in areas of response, recovery and rehabilitation. The Museum will soon participate in a Risk Evaluation and Planning Program sponsored by Heritage Preservation of The National Institute for Conservation.

The Museum is one of only fifteen museums from Mississippi, Ohio, and Texas that were selected to participate in a two-day site visit by a conservator and a local emergency responder. After the visit, a report will be compiled and provided to the Museum with recommendations for improved emergency response and preparation. The museums will provide feedback to Heritage Preservation concerning the process as well as gain valuable advice from these professionals. Our site visit will take place in October and will be led by Vermont conservator Mary Jo Davis and local Jones County Emergency Management Director Don McKinnon.

With the height of hurricane season upon us, it is time to check on supplies for the Museum as well as our homes. We should remember to have important papers in a safe, dry and accessible place; back up important computer documents; keep cars filled with gas; gather supplies of bottled water, canned food, non-perishables, flashlights, a battery-operated radio, batteries and hand sanitizer. Also make sure medications are in supply and take care to have items for special needs individuals such as children and the elderly. Have cash in bills of $20 or less and have a plan to contact out-of-state family members before and after an impending disaster.

In preparation for imminent hurricanes, you may soon see LRMA staff moving paintings into storage and tying down or moving outdoor sculptures. With skylights on the top floor of the building, we are prepared for water leaks with extra garbage cans and “kiddie” pools to catch water.

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is open Tuesdays - Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. Call 601-649-6374 for information or check out the Museum’s website for programs, classes and exhibitions at www.LRMA.org.

Tommie Rodgers is the registrar at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hurricane Update

As you probably are aware, Laurel, MS was in the path of the eastern edge of Hurricane Gustav. We battened down hatches, moved paintings, tied down sculptures, and set our disaster plan into effect over the weekend. Fortunately, except for one leaky skylight, the museum suffered no damage. We had moved artwork out from under that part of the ceiling, so a new coat of wax on the floor will hide all signs that Gustav blew our way.

Laurel suffered high winds, scattered street flooding, a number of tornado warnings, and scattered minor power outages, but we are in much better shape than we were three years ago. We expect wind & rain for the next few days, but the worst is behind us.

I understand that the national media has gone on to other subjects, so I'd like to let our out-of-state readers know that the Gulf Coast, New Orleans, and South Louisiana are still feeling the impact of Gustav. Power is out to thousands of people, street flooding occurred throughout the region, and the entire city of New Orleans is still closed to all but first responders and medical and utility personnel. This means that many evacuees are waiting, wondering what they're going to come home to. Folks from the Gulf Coast are also being discouraged from returning until power is restored and the street flooding has receded.

We'll return to our regularly scheduled museum blogging shortly.