Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Art Class later this week

This class is not yet full, but it's filling up quickly. Join us for our annual holiday art class:

Thursday, December 17 3:30 - 5 p.m. (Grades K - 6th) Museum Annex

Children will make funky soda can angels, amazing pop-up holiday cards, and pretty painted ornaments.

Cost for this class is $15 for LRMA members, and $20 for non-members.

Call us at 601-649-6374 to sign your little artist up!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Hours

The Museum will be closed for the holidays on:

December 24, 25, and 31


January 1

Guest Blogger: Holly Green

At the Museum

With the arrival of the holidays, you may find yourself looking for a place to take respite from the hustle and bustle of activity that accompanies this very busy time of year. You may also be looking for ways to entertain your out-of-town guests. The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, in historic downtown Laurel, is perfect for both.

Whether you or your guests enjoy American, European or Asian art, Native American basketry, English silver, or have more modern tastes, there is something for everyone at LRMA.

In the Lower Level Galleries beginning December 15, there will be an exhibition pulled from our very own vaults. Recent Acquisitions: 2004 - 2009 celebrates the additions to the LRMA collection made possible by the generous support of the community. Included in the exhibition are important works by Mississippi artists William Dunlap and Ethel Wright Mohamed; two baskets by Native American weaver Pat Courtney Gold, and the first addition to the Japanese Ukiyo-e print collection in many decades, The Dragon King’s Palace (1858), a triptych by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

As it is the Christmas season, make sure you step into the Reading Room to view the beautifully decorated Christmas tree and the exquisite crèche at its base. These sixteen figures are made of dense cedar and were carved by an elderly Mayan Indian living in the hills of south central Guatemala. They were commissioned and purchased, piece by piece, from 1980 - 1981 by LRMA patron Jean Chisholm Lindsey, who then donated them to the Museum.

In the LRMA Library, you can find books on most any artist or art form imaginable. Take a moment to browse the shelves for something that peaks your artistic interest, find a quiet place, and spend an afternoon reading.

The staff at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art appreciates your patronage and participation over the past year and welcomes you to visit your Museum and take part in the exciting events and educational arts programs in 2010. We wish you and yours a beautiful holiday season and a healthy, happy New Year!

The Museum is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street in historic downtown Laurel and is open 10:00 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1:00 until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, call LRMA at 601.649.6374 or visit the Museum’s website,

- Holly Green is the Director of Marketing at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Guest Blogger: George Bassi

At the Museum

by George Bassi, Director

As with most things in our lives, we tend to divide up the calendar year based on sporting activities, school, holidays and family events. For us here at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, our year always includes the excitement in November and early December of planning the annual museum gala.

LRMA will celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of New Orleans at our annual black-tie gala on Saturday, December 5. Gala Chairmen Deborah and David Ratcliff promise a memorable evening of delicious food, lively music, and fabulous decorations to raise money for the Museum’s education and exhibition programs.

Highlighting the evening will be the Live Auction under the leadership of chairmen Mary Ella and Clay Johnson. Bidders will have the opportunity to purchase artwork by Bill Dunlap, Lucy Mazzaferro, Greg Gustafson, Patterson Barnes and Ginny Futvoye. The Live Auction also features two exciting week-long trips to the private residences of Lessley and Bobby Hynson in Ireland and Sara and John Hendrickson in Nantucket. Jewelry will include a stunning Judith Ripka gold and diamond cross necklace and an exquisite multi-colored string of pearls. Completing the Live auction is a beautiful table designed and crafted by Walter Bailey.

Pam and Jack Ward are serving as Silent Auction chairmen and their committee of 13 couples is gathering more than 100 auction items in six categories. Included are vacations, private dinners, jewelry, artwork, antiques and just about anything else on your Christmas list.

The gala is the museum’s primary fundraising event, raising almost 15% of our annual operating budget in this one night. But it is not all business– this is a night to laissez les bons temps rouler! The evening features a gourmet dinner inspired by New Orleans cuisine and dancing with the music of The Triple Lindy, featuring Laurel native Wes Brooks. Be on the lookout for mimes, ostrich plumes, a second-line and maybe even Chris Owens.

The fun begins with the annual Preview Party on Thursday, December 3. This event is sponsored by the LRMA Guild of Docents and Volunteers and highlights the many auction items up for bid. Katie Sullivan is serving as chair of this event, and the Guild will prepare a menu of delicious Big Easy treats to start the bidding.

Of course, an event of this magnitude takes a host of volunteers, and LRMA is fortunate to have great committee chairmen helping us out. Included are Jo Lynn McLeod as Decorations Chair, Ann Ellis and Betty Harper as Auction Display Chairs, and Diane Thames as Food and Beverage Chair.

Tickets are now on sale for this December 5 event, and you can call the Museum at 601-649-6374 for more information.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sunday Concert Series: November 15

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra present the second installment of their 2009-2010 Sunday Concert Series on Sunday, November 15 at 3 p.m. in the LRMA American Gallery. Harpist Kimberly Houser along with guest flutist Katherine Kemler will perform music by Godefroid, Debussy, Houser, Tournier, and Piazzola in a program titled “Dances with Harp.”

Kimberly Houser has performed on the harp since she was eight years old. She began her study in Portland, Oregon, performing her first full recitals and freelancing in high school. She received her Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees from the University of Arizona while on full scholarship. Houser continued her study under Catherine Michel, principal harpist of the Paris Opera. She has performed at The World Harp Congress, The American Harp Society Convention, and the Soka City International Festival in Japan. She has toured Mexico, Japan, Prague, and Puerto Rico. Houser spent three years as principal harpist with the Billings Symphony in Billings, Montana while she taught both privately and through Montana State University. She has served as principal harp for the Columbia Symphony in Portland, Oregon and was on faculty at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, where she taught music theory, history and appreciation. Her first solo CD, Pure Harp, was reviewed in the October/November 2006 issue of Fanfare Magazine. She is a Professional-in-Residence at Louisiana State University.

Katherine Kemler is Professor of Flute at Louisiana State University, flutist with the Timm Wind Quintet, and a regular visiting teacher at the Oxford Flute Summer School in England. A graduate of Oberlin, she received her Master of Music and D.M.A. degrees from State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Kemler has taught master classes and performed solo recitals at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China, Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts, Beijing Concert Hall and taught master classes at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. In 2006, she was a guest artist at the Slovenian Flute Festival and in the summer of 2007 she performed and taught at the Festiv'Academies in France. She was featured on the cover of Flute Talk Magazine in December of 2006 and also on the cover of the Flutist Quarterly, the official magazine of the NFA, in 2003. Dr. Kemler has appeared as soloist with the British Chamber Orchestra in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, and with the Orchestra Medicea Laurenziana throughout Italy. She made solo broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and National Public Radio and has recorded CDs with Centaur Records, Orion, and Opus One labels.

This Sunday Concert is sponsored by Tim Lawrence of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC in Jackson and is free and open to the public.

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street in historic downtown Laurel. For more information, call 601-649-6374 or visit the Museum’s website at

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fourth Grade Tours

On October 20th and 22nd, about 800 fourth-graders visited the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. As part of their unit on Native American history, they toured our Basket Gallery; learned about the three kinds of weaving (coiling, twining, and plaiting) and handled baskets of each type; did several hands-on art activities; watched Choctaw dancing; and saw a demonstration of Choctaw rivercane weaving. The weather held out, so we were able to use the front lawn for the activities and the demonstrations, and a lot of the classes went to Gardiner Park (behind the museum) to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Reminder: Moe Brooker exhibition closes November 8!

This Sunday is your last chance to view the exhibition Moe Brooker: Carelessly Exact.

The exhibition Eudora Welty in New York will be closing soon after, on Sunday, November 15. From now until then, you may find one section of the Welty show has been taken down. This is because our construction project is causing one wall of that gallery to vibrate on occasion, and on those days we have to take those pictures down. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Field Trip to Stennis Space Center

This week the LRMA staff took a field trip to Stennis Space Center in Southwest Mississippi. We are gearing up for the exhibit NASA|ART: 50 Years of Exploration, featuring 65 artworks commissioned by NASA over the last fifty years, which will open on April 8, 2010. The exhibition is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and NASA in cooperation with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

We started with a driving tour of the immense facility, which in addition to testing rocket and shuttle engines, is host to a number of other federal agencies and contractors. We saw NOAA, weather buoys, and the enormous test stands, and more. Stennis even has its own daycare, mini-mart, gas station, fire station, medical clinic, and several cafeterias to serve its thousands of employees.

We then visited the Stennisphere, a museum/hands-on activity center which presents the history of the area, the space center, the shuttle, and more. Several members of the staff did a fine job of, *crashing* the space shuttle in the simulator.

George and other members of the staff enjoyed the space suit:

We were hoping they had an extra space suit to lend us for photo ops, but alas, they do not.

We were all impressed by the enormous scale of the engines tested at the center:

And, finally, we had a great meeting with members of the Education, Outreach, and Public Affairs staff, who have a lot of great programming ideas for us. We have big plans for the programming around this exhibition, and we are looking forward to partnering with the folks at the Stennis Space Center.

Guest Blogger: Lizabeth Brumley

At the Museum

Halloween is now behind us and it’s time to begin thinking about the holiday season. If you are looking for unique gifts, stop by the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Gift Shop where we have a wide selection of gifts for young and old. For the children we have books and educational games and toys. Browse our offerings of Mississippi-crafted works including hand-turned pens by Dr. Steven Nowicki, hand-blown glass from Sweetwater Studio, and hand-painted ceramic birds from Wolfe Studio, as well as beautifully woven Choctaw baskets. We also carry a collection of stationery items and books both of local and artistic interest. New items are arriving daily in anticipation of the holiday season. We welcome you to stop by and shop in the Gift Shop of Mississippi’s first art museum surrounded by beauty, history, and fine art. Remember to mention your LRMA membership when making purchases at the Museum Gift Shop to receive a discount on your selections.

For a special treat, join us at our annual Shop Open House on November 24th from 10 am to 5 p.m. Come shop and enjoy special discounts, free gift wrapping and delicious refreshments provided by the Museum’s Guild of Docents and Volunteers. From 10 a.m. until noon, local writer Karen Rasberry will be signing copies of her new collection of short stories, Travelers in Search of Vacancy. Jewelry maker Robbin Lee will also be returning for a trunk show of her freshwater pearl and sterling silver jewelry also between 10 a.m. and noon. The ever-popular chef and author Robert St. John will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 1 sign copies of his latest book entitled Dispatches from My South.

The LRMA Gift Shop is now a consignment vendor for Mississippi Magazine which features articles and recipes from around the state. Come in and get your copy today.

The Museum is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street in Historic Downtown Laurel. For more information about the Museum and Gift Shop, call 601-649-6374 ir visit the Museum website at


Lizabeth Brumley is Shop Manager and Visitor Services Coordinator at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Monday, October 19, 2009

At the Museum: October Days are Flying by at LRMA

October is promising to be the busiest month of 2009 for the education department at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. On October 3, we held our annual Heritage Arts Festival on the front lawn of the Museum. We had our biggest crowd yet, and everyone enjoyed the free art activities, music, and beautiful weather. We hope that next year will be even better.

This past week, we had a visit from a wonderful Mississippi artist, Dot Courson. Ms. Courson is from Pontotoc, Mississippi, and creates beautiful landscapes in oil. She spoke at our October Art Talk on Thursday and held a one-day workshop on Friday. It was a great experience and we hope to have her back again.

This Tuesday and Thursday are going to be exciting days at LRMA because we are conducting our Fourth Grade Tours Program. For years, the Museum held its Third Grade Tours Program in the fall of the year but is gearing the program for fourth graders this year as this age level studies the state of Mississippi and Native Americans. The Fourth Grade Tours Program will introduce approximately 800 local students to our By Native Hands Basket Collection, as well as allow them to experience a Choctaw weaving demonstration and a dance by Choctaw dancers. The students will enjoy immersing themselves in Native American culture while creating art activities to take back to the classroom.

Is this all that we have on the schedule this month at LRMA? Of course not! On Thursday, October 29, we will hold our Trick Art Treat Halloween Art Class for children in grades K5 through sixth. The class is from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in the Museum Annex. Call the Museum today for prices and to reserve your child’s spot in this spooky class! If your children are home-schooled, don’t forget about our Home School Fridays, which will take place this month on Friday, October 30. This is a great opportunity for your child to create a fun and free craft and to socialize with other home-schooled children. This event is from 1- 4 p.m. in the Museum Annex. If you have any questions about any of the programs offered by LRMA, please call the Museum at (601)649-6374. We have something for everyone at LRMA, so come by this month!

Angela King is Education Outreach Coordinator at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Workshop this Friday: Dot Courson

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will offer an oil painting workshop by artist Dot Courson for beginning to intermediate level painters on October 15 - 17 in the Carriage House Studio. Times for the workshop are 6 - 8 p.m. (Thurs. Oct. 15) and 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. (Friday, Oct. 16 and Sat., Oct. 17).

Pontotoc artist Dot Courson, whose work has been featured throughout Mississippi, will lead this 3-day workshop. Through demonstration and instruction, the class will teach the elements of painting landscapes in plein air with a focus on trees in landscapes. Workshop participants will be instructed on basic compositions, design, and use of color in the southern landscapes. There will be lectures, slides, demos, and a closing critique of the students’ work.

Instruction will cover simplifying subject matter, values, color, and composition. Students will paint from their own landscape photographs and are asked to bring four or five of their own original photographs of landscapes. Participants should obtain a supply list upon registration. The workshop will be limited to 12 participants. The cost is $80 for LRMA members and $100 for non-members.

Call the Museum at 601.649.6374 to register for the workshop.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Art Talk, October 15

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art presents artist Dot Courson as its next ArtTalk speaker Thursday, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Lower Level Lecture Hall. Free and open to the public. For more information call 601.649.6374 or visit

For more information about Dot Courson,visit her website at

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

At the Museum: Albert Bierstadt

If you have been watching the Ken Burns series about our National Parks on
PBS, you’ve heard about artists traveling on many of the earliest expeditions to the parts of the American West that are today part of the park system. One of the artists in the LRMA collection, Albert Bierstadt, traveled with Colonel Frederick Lander’s government-sponsored expedition to map an overland route to the Pacific. In fact, Bierstadt’s career arc was enormously influenced by his participation in that expedition.

Born in Prussia, but raised in the United States, Bierstadt knew from an early age he wanted to be an artist. Unfortunately, it is almost universally acknowledged that his early work as a self-taught artist was really quite awful. It wasn’t until he studied art in Europe as a young man that his skill and talent developed sufficiently to match his ambition. He studied in Düsseldorf under Emmanuel Leutze, the American history painter best known for the iconic painting, “George Washington Crossing the Delaware.” He traveled widely and returned to the United States an accomplished and successful landscape painter in the European mode.

Until his Western travels, Bierstadt’s scenes of Europe and America were serene, luminous, and to some extent pastoral. This would change when, in 1858, he joined Lander’s exhibition. Bierstadt and several other members of the expedition did not stay with Lander all the way to California. Instead he opted to stop in Wyoming and spend the summer sketching in that wilderness. Shortly thereafter, Bierstadt launched a career built on large canvases depicting dramatic scenes of the then-exotic American West. From 1863 to 1883, Bierstadt commanded the highest prices of any American painter, living or dead. He would return to the West multiple times throughout his career, always sketching and preparing for yet another grand statement, usually a sweeping sunset in technicolor setting over the Rockies.

However, in between trips to the West, Bierstadt also visited the White Mountains of New Hampshire for sketching trips. It was on one of these trips, probably between 1857 and 1869, that he would have originated the idea for the Museum’s Bierstadt, “Autumn in New Hampshire.” The Museum’s painting harks back to Bierstadt’s early serene European style, rather than the drama and grandeur of his popular paintings of the American West. By the 1860s, New Hampshire was well-settled and thoroughly populated; it was nowhere near as wild and untamed as the Western half of the continent. The misty mountains in the background are barely visible behind the bright oranges and greens of the autumn foliage of New England. For Bierstadt, New Hampshire was something like home, whereas Wyoming was exotic, dangerous, and distant. Wyoming wasn’t even a state until 1890, years after Bierstadt’s visit; New Hampshire, after all, was one of the original thirteen colonies. Hence Bierstadt’s use of his more traditional mode of painting for this New England scene, which he was probably painting alongside his Western works.

“Autumn in New Hampshire” has been part of the Museum’s collection since it was donated in 1926 by Lauren Rogers’ grandfather, Lauren Chase Eastman. Mr. Eastman had purchased the painting in 1911, not too long after Bierstadt’s death. It hangs in the Museum’s American Gallery today.

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Sunday. For more information about exhibitions, tours, and programming, call 601-649-6374 or visit

Jill R. Chancey, PhD, is curator of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Heritage Festival coming up!

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel is hosting HERITAGE FESTIVAL this weekend, October 3. It is FREE! We have free art activities, free pizza, music by the Cowboy Blues Band, Choctaw dancers, and more. Saturday from 10 AM-2 PM on the front lawn. (Rain site: Sawmill Square Mall)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Interested in Southeastern Indian basketry?

Our registrar, Tommie Rodgers, will be speaking at a symposium on basketry in Natchez in November. This looks like an excellent program, with something for the collector, the weaver, the museum professional, and anyone with an interest:

2009 Southeastern Indian Basketry Symposium

Co-sponsored by the National Park Service, Northwestern Louisiana State University,

and the Mississippi Department of Archives & History

Except where noted, all sessions to be held at the

Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, 400 Jefferson Davis Blvd., Natchez, MS 39120;




Grand Village of the Natchez Indians (GVNI)

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Informal reception with food and refreshments, display of baskets borrowed from local owners.


GVNI (coffee, bottled water, snacks provided)

9:00 a.m. Welcome and introductions – Jim Barnett, Mississippi Department of Archives & History

9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Informal panel discussion on marketing:

Janice Sago, Sales Shop Manager, GVNI

Kimble Marshall, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing, Alcorn State University

Deborah Cowart, Unit Manager, Eastern National Retail Outlet, Natchez National Historical Park

10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Break; informal discussions among weavers

11:00 – 11:45 a.m. Informal discussion on split-cane baskets:

Dustin Fuqua, Cane River Creole National Historical Park

Hiram F. “Pete” Gregory, Northwestern State University (LA)

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch (catered on-site)

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Informal group discussion on cane propagation research:

Rachel Jolley, Ph.D., Mississippi State University

Dr. Jolley wants to hear from weavers about desirable cane attributes.

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Break; informal discussions among weavers

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Tour of the Grand Village (Jim Barnett)

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Informal discussions among weavers

4:00 – 6:30 p.m. Dinner on own (numerous restaurants available)

6:30 p.m. Basket Conservation Workshop (public invited to bring baskets)

Cindy Gardner, Director of Collections, Museum of Mississippi History, Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Tommie Rodgers, Registrar, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

* Open to the public (free admission) – location will be GVNI or the Natchez Visitor Reception Center auditorium.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14 “Basket Day” Open to the public (free admission)

GVNI (in case of rain, to be held at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center)

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Demonstrations and sales by basket weavers

Linda Farve, Mississippi Band of Choctaw will sell fry bread and Indian tacos; soft drinks and bottled water will be provided to participants and visitors.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Guest Blogger: Mandy Buchanan

At the Museum

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is planning fun, fall activities for children and families.

This fall, we will provide a special program for area home school families. Home School Fridays will be offered once a month and feature a variety of art activities. This "make and take" class is offered from 1 until 4 p.m. September 25, October 30, and November 20. No reservations are required and this class is free of charge for home school groups. We hope families will take part in this new program.

For a spooky, good time, please join us for Trick-Art-Treat, Thursday, October 29, from 3:30 until 5:00 p.m. This class is offered for ages kindergarten through sixth grade. We will make Halloween art projects including a paper mache’ pumpkin, a haunted house collage, and a super cool trick or treat bag. Class size will be limited. So reserve your spot early for this spooky art class!

One of our favorite family fall activities at LRMA is our annual Heritage Arts Festival. This festival has been a Laurel tradition since 1993. The LRMA staff and Guild of Docents and Volunteers are all working hard in preparation for this fun day. The 2009 Heritage Arts Festival is scheduled for Saturday, October 3, from 10 am until 2 p.m. on the LRMA front lawn. The theme of this year’s festival is "The Wild Wonders of Mississippi" with the art activities centered around the Mississippi wilderness and its native animals. We will feature Choctaw Dancers and Choctaw basket weaver, Jessica Thomas. Back by popular demand, The Cowboy Blues Band will be our musical entertainment. At noon, we will serve free pizza and soft drinks. This special day is generously sponsored by The 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 Loblolly Festival, formerly called Laurel’s Main Street Festival, will also take place on October 3rd in downtown Laurel. There will be live music, food, fine arts and children’s activities all within walking distance of the Museum. Laurel’s Historic District and downtown area will be the "place to be" to celebrate the arts and have some family fun!

For more information please call the Museum at 601.649.6374 or visit the Museum’s website at

Mandy Buchanan is Curator of Education at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Guest Blogger: Tommie Rodgers

At the Museum: Critically Thinking with the Artist

If you visit the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in the coming weeks, you will be amazed at the joy of color on the walls of the Lower Level Galleries. The exhibition titled Moe Brooker: Carelessly Exact presents paintings that consist of vivacious blocks of dancing, intense colors creating movement, life and visual tension. Most are created with oil pastels and encaustic (wax and pigment that become liquid when melted).

The painter, Moe Brooker, is the artist and he finds joy in all aspects of his art. He is also a teacher and community worker from Philadelphia, PA who enjoys jazz music and feels a kinship to the colorful quilts created by African-American women. He serves as a deacon at the First African Baptist Church in Philadelphia and considers his time of painting as part of his daily devotion and worship.

His paintings are abstract and created with large areas of flat color and patterns, including stripes and checkerboards. The blocks of color are reminiscent of fabric pieces placed randomly to create visual vibration. Calligraphic squiggles of lines float across the central portion of the image while small blocks of color float across the central portion of the canvas.

While his work gives the impression of spontaneity, Mr. Brooker does have a working plan. His work is defined by the use of shapes, patterns and color that involves intensity, chroma, and value. Those are not easy elements to juggle and the layers can easily create a painting of “mud” if handled without some organization.

Mr. Brooker held a day-long workshop for area artists in which I attended for a brief time in the afternoon. Mr. Brooker has quite a following from his days of teaching at the Mississippi Art Colony. He asked the students to bring along work that was in process or completed work to critique as well as some painting supplies.

The morning was spent warming up with color choices and loosening up the arm. The afternoon was set aside for critique. For those of you who have never sat through a college critique session, you would have had quite an awakening.

“Critique” does not mean that your teacher or advisor will pat you on the back and say “Great Job! Wonderful Painting!” Instead, the teacher might say: “Does that color really work there?” “What were you THINKING?” And, all the while, the student is sliding deeper into his seat and answering with a meek “I don’t know.” Of course, the student is thinking that the teacher is yelling those questions whether they really are or not.

Mr. Brooker’s session was conducted much the same way. This type of critical discussion is really the best way to teach students to improve their art. He was not there to pat the students on the back and say “job well done,” but he was right on target in asking thought-provoking questions. He discussed the good points, recommended other artists’ works to study, and provided other options to change the work and make it better.

One of the most important points that he shared was to paint large areas of color first and pursue the details last. That point is much easier said than done. As most of the artists who participated will agree, it can be scary and disheartening to have a critical discussion about one’s work. A solid understanding of design elements is essential to building on one’s knowledge of art. A teacher who avoids the discussion of them may be one who doesn’t know and understand them himself and he certainly can’t help his students improve or teach them to make critical design decisions on their own.

Moe Brooker: Carelessly Exact will be on display through Sunday, November 8, 2009. The Museum is open from 10:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays from 1:00-4:00 p.m. The Museum is closed on Mondays. For more information, call 601-649-6374 or check the museum’s website at

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Eudora Welty in New York (in Laurel)

Eudora Welty in New York
August 21 - November 15, 2001
Stairwell Gallery

Opening events, all of which are free and open to the public:

5:00 Reading of Eudora Welty's "Petrified Man" by Catherine Nowicki
5:30 Lecture by Welty Scholar Suzanne Marrs
6:30 Reception

Eudora Welty in New York features fifty black-and-white photographs by Eudora Welty, one of the 20th century's greatest American authors. The photographs illuminate the artist's ties to New York City at the outset of her professional career. It includes a re-creation of Welty's first solo exhibition of her Mississippi photographs, mounted in New York City in 1936, as well as a dozen of her New York images, capturing American in the depths of the Great Depression and revealing a compassion and sensitivity towards her subject that became a hallmark of her writing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Book Signing in the Gift Shop this weekend

Book signing by local authors Lori Leger and Cleveland Payne

Saturday, Aug. 22
1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
LRMA Lobby

Lori Leger will be signing copies of
The Night Walker

The Night Walker is a love story like no other. Written for men and women alike, this story takes the reader into the Klamoth Mts. living through the life of Bigfoot who is in fact a shapeshifter. The reader will be whisked away through the trials of murder, poaching, kidnapping It will make you wonder is Bigfoot a real hero or a monster.

About the Author
Lori born in Sep. of 1969, was raised in Richton, Ms. but has lived with her husband and three daughters in Laurel for over twenty years. She has always been intrigued with Indian folklore due to her Grandfather being full blooded Choctaw. She enjoys reading love stories by her favorite author Cassie Edwards. These two aspects along with her interest always being piqued by Bigfoot stories brought her to combining the three into this wonderful new love story full of action, terror, and heartbreak to reach out to all readers, man and woman alike. Lori says her dream is to have people read her books and feel as though they are there themselves.

Cleveland Payne will be bringing his latest book.

About the author:

Cleveland Payne is a lifelong resident of Laurel, Mississippi, and a 1957 graduate of Oak Park Vocational High School where he was a star athlete. As a result, he was inducted into the Oak Park Hall of Fame in July 2000. Payne received his undergraduate degree from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1965.

While at Rust, although majoring in the social sciences, his talent for writing was discovered by his English instructor, who encouraged him to write as much as possible. He enjoyed writing, but with his busy schedule as a basketball player and track star, there was little time to pursue this interest.

His journey as an author started to take direction while completing his graduate work at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) in Hattiesburg. Although he had a wide range of interests, he eventually discovered a great affinity for history and research. In 1982, he became the first student to earn a Specialist in History at USM in the new degree program. His thesis, "Laurel: A History of the Black Community 1882–1962," was refined and published as his first book.

Payne is the author of nine other books. They include The Oak Park Story: A Cultural History (1988), A History of Black Laurel (1990), From Kemper to California—The Long Journey (1992), The Road to San Antonio: The Journey of Career Airman Johnny Hearn (1995), Laurel Remembrances (1996), The Defining Moment (2000), The House on the Boulevard (2002), and The Silver Pendant (2006). The Long Drive (2008) is Payne's tenth book and is his fourth novel featuring his adventurous protagonist, Slim McCall.

On February 14, 2000, his hometown of Laurel honored him with the Millennium Medallion in recognition of his lifelong commitment to illuminating the beauty of life in Laurel through his lyrical writings and memoirs.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Looking Forward to Fall at LRMA

It’s hard to believe with the August heat still going strong, but fall is right around the corner. The kids are back in school, football season will be underway soon, and there are new and exciting programs happening at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Home School Fridays will start up again this month, with the first class on Friday, August 28. These free classes are for home schooled children of all ages, and take place on the fourth Friday of every month from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. in the Museum Annex. This is a great time for kids and parents to socialize and create a fun art project.
There are two wonderful new shows up at LRMA right now. The first is Moe Brooker: Carelessly Exact, which features large, colorful, abstract works by African-American artist Moe Brooker. Mr. Brooker is a working artist, and visited the museum last week for a lecture, workshop, and the opening reception for his show. You can see these impressive works on display in the LRMA Lower Level Galleries until November 8. Starting at the end of this week, you can also enjoy Eudora Welty in New York, a show of photographs taken by Eudora Welty. This show commemorates the 100th anniversary of Eudora Welty’s birth and will be available for viewing in our Stairwell Gallery until November 15.
Next week, on August 25, the LRMA Guild of Docents and Volunteers will host its annual Guild Membership Coffee. This invitation-only event is held each year to introduce potential Guild members to current members and to acquaint them with the purpose of the LRMA Guild. The Guild is a vital part of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, with members volunteering for virtually every event held at the museum throughout the year. The Guild Docents also give tours every day that the museum is open. If you are interested in more information on how to join this prestigious organization, please call the museum at (601) 649-6374.
Pottery classes will be offered for children and adults this fall at the museum. The children’s pottery class will be on Tuesday afternoons in September, beginning on September 1 and running through September 22. Children who are currently in Kindergarten to 6th grade can participate. Kids will learn the basics of working in clay, both hand building and throwing on the potter’s wheel. The class will be from 3:30 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. in the Carriage House Studio on Seventh Street. Adults can enjoy pottery this October on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. This class will be taught by local ceramic artist Byron Myrick and participants will work exclusively on the potter’s wheel. For more information about any of these programs, or to sign up for a class, call the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art at (601) 649-6374.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fall Children's Pottery

If you are looking for a great after-school activity for your child this fall, sign them up for Children's Pottery at LRMA! This is a fun opportunity for your child to create original art. Participants will create hand-built projects as well as learn to throw on the potter's wheel. The class will be held on Tuesday afternoons beginning on September 1 through September 22. It goes from 3:30-5:00 P.M. in our Carriage House Studio on Seventh Street. If you are interested in registering your child, just call the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art at (601) 649-6374.

Monday, July 27, 2009

MISSISSIPPI INSTITUTE OF ARTS & LETTERS: Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition

As part of the 30th anniversary celebration of the Mississippi Institute of Arts, LRMA has organized an exhibition featuring MIAL award winners in Visual Art and Photography over the past 30 years. The exhibition will be a virtual "Who's Who" of Mississippi artists, including William Dunlap, Sam Gilliam, Birney Imes, Mildred Wolfe, Maude S. Clay, Eudora Welty, Wyatt Waters, and Charles Carraway. Your chance to revisit three decades of some of the best artists Mississippi has to offer is almost over! The show closes on Sunday, August 2.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sister Cities Artist Exchange: Laurel, MS and Shelby, NC

“Sister Cities Artist Exchange”
June 11 - August 2, 2009

This summer, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and the Cleveland County Arts Council of Shelby, North Carolina have organized a juried cooperative exhibition. The Shelby County Arts Council will host an exhibition of Laurel & Jones County artists, while the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will exhibit artists from the Shelby, North Carolina region. Shelby, North Carolina adopted Laurel as its sister city following Hurricane Katrina, and were involved in recovery efforts. Although the idea for this exhibit evolved from this relationship, art that thematically focuses on Hurricane Katrina is not the intention. The purpose of this exchange is to showcase a variety of artforms and artists from both areas. For the LRMA’s exhibition, Shelby County Arts Council invited selected artists to submit works, and co-curators Mark Brown and Jill Chancey selected works from those submissions. The resulting exhibition features a wide variety of works, including textiles, pottery, painting, and works on paper.

This exhibition closes in less than two weeks! Don't miss your introduction to a whole community of artists little-known here in South Mississippi.

The Cleveland County artists chosen for this exhibition are:

Susan Carlisle Bell
David Caldwell
Ray Clemmer
Hal Dedmond
Susan Doggett
Pat Edwards
Lynn Eskridge
Harriette Grigg
Sally Jacobs
Ron Mechling
Ron Philbeck
Bonnie Price
Chrys Riviere-Blalock
Paula Amanda Spangler
Kay Young

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

July Fourth Holiday

Please note that the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will be closed on Saturday, July 4th, 2009.

At the Museum: Connecting to Collections

In mid-June, approximately three hundred library and museum professionals converged on Buffalo, New York, for a conference sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency. I was one of the curators who met with and learned from conservators, collections managers, archivists, librarians, administrators, volunteers, and board members from across the nation. The goal of the conference was to raise awareness and develop strategies for conserving America’s material heritage, from great paintings and sculpture to Revolutionary War flags to the archives of community organizations.

The IMLS conferences on collections were inspired by the 2005 report, “A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections (HHI),” a project of Heritage Preservation and IMLS, which revealed that our collections of objects, documents, digital material, and living collections are not only essential to America’s cultural health, but are also imperiled and in need of swift protective action. The study’s findings, announced in 2005, are sobering. HHI concluded that almost two hundred million objects held by archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, and scientific organizations in the United States are in need of conservation treatment; sixty-five percent of collecting institutions have experienced damage to collections due to improper storage; eighty percent of collecting institutions do not have an emergency plan that includes collections, with staff trained to carry it out; and forty percent of institutions have no funds allocated in their annual budgets for preservation or conservation.

Fortunately, although LRMA has some objects needing conservation, we do have safe storage, an emergency plan, and a modest budget for conservation and preservation. Here at the Museum, we hold artworks and local history archives in trust for the public, and we take very seriously our responsibility to ensure that they exist in good condition for future generations. To do that, we give priority to providing safe conditions for the collections we hold in trust; we have staff assigned specifically to the care of collections; and we take responsibility for providing the support that will allow these collections to survive. These general policies are in keeping with the recommendations of the Heritage Health Index.

The term “conservation” often brings to mind images of a laboratory with a conservator painstakingly testing paint chips, restoring lost paint, or re-weaving textiles. I learned at the conference that many young conservators credit the movie “Ghostbusters II” and Sigourney Weaver’s character’s job as a painting restorer for their first awareness of the profession. However, the term also more generally refers to the safe storage of artworks in museum-quality materials in a building with a controlled climate, good security, and art-safe lighting. Many of these elements are invisible to the general public, but they are a central concern for those of us responsible for the well-being of collections. They can also be rather expensive, which is why so many collections across the nation are at risk. Preserving our nation’s heritage is expensive and time-consuming, but all around you are library and museum professionals dedicated to doing just that.

For more information about the Heritage Health Index, visit the website Information about the Institute of Museum and Library Services can be found at

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Sunday. For more information about exhibitions, tours, and programming, call 601-649-6374 or visit

Jill R. Chancey, PhD, is curator of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Guest Blogger: Mandy Buchanan

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Education staff is busy preparing for the many classes and art activities to be offered at LRMA this summer for children and adults.

We are offering a five-week oil painting workshop with artist David Wilkinson. This class is offered for middle school to college-aged students. This workshop begins Wednesday, July 1 from 9:oo am until noon and will continue every Wednesday morning in July.

Artist Sharon Howard will be teaching an introductory still life painting class for adults. These classes are offered Tuesday and Thursday mornings July 21,23,28 & 30 from 9 am until 11 am.

Summer Art Camp will be offered July 14 - 17 for children in grades Kindergarten- 6th grade. Grades K-3 will be meet from 10 a.m. until noon and grades 4- 6 will meet from 2 until 4 p.m. The theme for this year’s camp is “Under the Sea.” Participants will create colorful sea art including sea shell pottery, fish sculptures, mosaics and seascape paintings. For prices and additional information on these classes, please call the Museum at 601.649.6374.

The LRMA Education staff is still offering Free Family Art on Wednesday afternoons through July 1 from 1 until 4 p.m. in the Museum Annex. No reservations are required for this activity. Don’t miss out on this fun make-and-take art program!

Mandy Buchanan is the Curator of Education at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Southern Miss Chidren's Center Playground Mural

Angie King and Mandy Buchanan recently completed a mural in Hattiesburg. Click for pics and more info!

Guest Blogger: George Bassi

Next Saturday, the cultural eyes of Mississippi will be focused on Laurel and the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art as we host the 30th anniversary celebration of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. The celebration not only includes an awards dinner but also an exhibition featuring MIAL award winners in Visual Art and Photography over the past 30 years.

Drawn from both public and private collections, this exhibit will be on view June 13 – August 2, 2009, at LRMA and will be a virtual “Who’s Who” of Mississippi artists, including works by William Dunlap, Sam Gilliam, Birney Imes, Mildred Wolfe, Maude S. Clay, Eudora Welty, Wyatt Waters, and Charles Carraway. The list of award recipients is a strong reflection of the talents of Mississippians and the artistic heritage of our state.

The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters was founded in 1978 by a few discerning individuals, including former Governor William Winter and Dr. Cora Norman, both of Jackson; Dr. Aubrey Lucas and Dr. Noel Polk, both of Hattiesburg; and Mrs. Keith McLean of Cleveland. They knew that among Mississippi's greatest riches are our artists, writers, and musicians, who must be supported, nurtured, and recognized.

The prestigious awards, first made in 1980, are presented in seven categories: Fiction, Non-fiction, Visual Art, Musical Composition (Concert), Musical Composition (Popular), Photography, and Poetry.

The Institute's juried competition is one of a kind in the state. Carefully selected judges, chosen from out of state, are prominent in their fields. Supported by Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning, MIAL is privately funded, self-perpetuating, and non-profit.

Those being recognized this year include two Lifetime Achievement winners: painter Marshall Bouldin and writer Elizabeth Spencer. Other 2009 MIAL winners include Howard Bahr (Fiction), Steve Rouse (Music Composition – Classical/Concert), 3 Doors Down (Music Composition – Contemporary/Popular), Douglas A. Blackmon (Nonfiction), Jane Rule Burdine (Photography), Brooks Haxton (Poetry), and H. C. Porter (Visual Arts).

A highlight of the events on Saturday will be readings and book-signings at 4:00 p.m. by this year’s winners in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, and visual art, as well as the two lifetime achievement honorees. The readings and signings will be held in the Museum lobby and are open to the public.

The MIAL Awards Dinner will be held at LRMA this Saturday, June 13, beginning with a reception at 5:30 p.m. in the Lower Level Galleries followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the American Gallery. Tickets for the Awards Dinner are $50 per person; call the museum at 601-649-6374 for more information.

George Bassi is Director of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adult Education Summer Classes

Parents have been busy signing their children up for our summer art classes at the museum, but don't forget to sign yourself up for something fun, too! Starting on June 2, local teacher and artist Sharon Howard will offer a four-day adult oil painting class. Participants will learn how to paint a landscape in oil. She will teach another four-day class the last two weeks in July in which participants will again work in oils, this time creating a still-life. We are also offering an adult ceramic class in June, taught by Byron Myrick, JCJC instructor and member of the Mississippi Craftman's Guild. The class begins on June 9 and will meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-8:30 for three weeks. Mr. Myrick will teach participants how to create hand-built vessels with interesting textures. Don't miss your chance to work with this acclaimed Mississippi artist. Come on by the museum and spend your summer with us!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Free Family Art and Homeschool Friday

This Friday will be the last Home School Friday until August. We're winding down the school year and getting ready to gear up for the summer here at LRMA. For those who are looking for something to entertain the kids this summer, don't forget about our Free Family Art Wednesdays in the museum Annex. You can stop by any time between 1 PM and 4 PM, beginning on June 3 to create a free make and take art activity. The last Free Family Art will be on July 1. Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Guest Blogger: Angie King

Looking Forward to the Summer at LRMA

With just two weeks of school left, children and parents around Jones County are looking forward to summer and the opportunities it brings. At the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, we have plenty of activities for adults and children to enjoy this summer. The official LRMA kickoff to summer will take place on Friday, June 5, when we will host Blues Bash on the front lawn. A ticket to this evening event includes a barbeque dinner from the Smokehouse of Laurel, free soda, and hours of great music and dancing on the front lawn. This year’s entertainment will be Don McMinn and Nighttrain. Tickets are $20 for museum members and $25 for non-members. Call the museum at (601) 649-6374 to reserve your ticket, and be sure to pick up a t-shirt as well.

In June, we have a full schedule of classes for all ages. Every Wednesday in June, and continuing through July 1, the education staff will offer a Free Family Art activity for children in the museum Annex from 1-4 P.M. This is a great opportunity to just walk in and make a free art activity to take home with you. For children who are entering kindergarten through sixth grade, we offer a four-day pottery camp where kids can learn how to create ceramic art pieces and throw on the pottery wheel. Adults can also explore clay with notable local artist and JCJC instructor Byron Myrick in a course that runs for six evenings throughout the month. Also for adults, we are offering a four-day landscape oil painting course taught by local artist and South Jones High School art teacher, Sharon Howard.

The month of July has more in store for art lovers. Students from middle school to college can sign up for a fun five week oil painting class with artist and Southern Miss professor David Wilkinson. Participants will learn basic oil painting and mixed media techniques. Younger children, from kindergarten to sixth grade, will love this year’s “Under the Sea” Art Camp. This four-day camp will feature numerous projects, including painting and collage. At the end of the month, Sharon Howard will offer another adult oil painting class, this time to learn how to paint a still life. This class is designed for the beginner, or to expand a student’s knowledge learned during the first oil painting course.

All summer long the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art has something to offer for people of all ages. If you are staying in town this summer, we have a class for you, or you can stop by just to enjoy the art. To find out times and costs for art classes, please call the museum at (601) 649-6374 or look on our website at

Angie King is Education Outreach Coordinator at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Guest Blogger: Allyn Boone

An outstanding permanent collection, nationally significant exhibitions, and an award-winning education program have made the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art one of the best mid-sized museums in America. And, unlike many museums in the country, LRMA provides broad access to its artwork and programs through a generous policy of open admission and free activities.

The Museum’s founders felt that LRMA should be a gift to the community, and they wanted to ensure that no one would be turned away because of cost. Since opening in 1923, LRMA has never charged an admission fee, and most of its programs and activities are open to the public at no charge.

This practice is possible in part because of the generosity of LRMA members. Membership levels range from $15 for a Student membership to $2,500 for Laureate members. Each category offers specific benefits, and there is a membership category to fit every budget.

LRMA members receive personal invitations to exhibition openings, studio classes, trips, lectures, concerts, and other activities offered by LRMA. Some membership categories receive discounts on trips, education classes, and Museum Shop purchases, while others receive complimentary tickets to the annual LRMA Gala.

All members receive a subscription to the LRMA newsletter, which is an excellent source of information about the Museum and its collection, exhibitions, and programs. Additionally, members have the satisfaction of knowing that their contributions enable LRMA to introduce thousands of children each year to the transformative power of the visual arts.

A new program called Adopt-a-Bus allows LRMA members to help school groups visit the Museum. In conjunction with their membership donation, members can make an additional contribution which is used to provide transportation stipends for schools bringing students to the Museum for tours and activities. The LRMA Adopt-a-Bus fund ensures that school children are able to visit LRMA despite rising transportation costs.

Membership is the cornerstone of LRMA support. From caring for the collections to presenting masterworks by legendary artists to creating learning opportunities for children and families, membership allows LRMA to achieve the level of excellence for which the Museum is known throughout the country. We consider our members to be our partners, and we invite you to join with us for an exciting year of top-quality collections, exhibitions, and education programs.

For more information about LRMA membership, please call 601-649-6374 or visit the LRMA website at

Allyn Boone is Director of Development at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

At the Museum: Thomas Sully, Portrait Painter

One of the leading portraitists in 19th century America was Thomas Sully (1783-1872), whose Ideal Head (c.1850) hangs in the American Gallery at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Sully was born in England but emigrated to the United States at age nine. He studied miniature painting with his elder brother after a failed apprenticeship in accounting, and went on to study briefly in England, but was primarily self-taught. There were no art academies in the U.S. in his youth, so he learned by copying the works of others. In fact, an early work was a copy of one of Gilbert Stuart’s famed portraits of George Washington. Like Stuart, he became a painter of presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and John Quincy Adams. He also, famously, painted a young Queen Victoria shortly after her ascendency to the throne of England in 1837. Perhaps even more famously, it is his portrait of Jackson that we see on the U.S. twenty-dollar bill today.

Sully was a hard-working and level-headed businessman, and very prolific both personally and professionally. The over 2,500 paintings he produced supported a family of nine (three step-children and six more). Although Sully never attended formal art training, both Gilbert Stuart and Benjamin West served as mentors. West, an American expatriate living in England, took the young Sully under his wing, wrote letters of introduction, and promoted his career wherever he could. West’s two portraits in the Museum collection, Mr. J. Fall and Mrs. Magdalen Whyte Fall, date to rather earlier than West’s interaction with Sully, but are typical of West’s work. West’s decision to paint his subjects in the dress of the day rather than imaginary Greco-Roman attire was revolutionary at the time. Sully followed this trend in most of his portraits, but the young woman portrayed in Ideal Head wears a dark green velvet drape that treads the borderline between classical and contemporary. Sully, like Stuart and West, was attentive to the individual features of his sitter. However, he did write that, “...I know that resemblance in a portrait is essential; but no fault will be found with the artist (at least by the sitter) if he improve the appearance.” Always the businessman, Sully knew that pleasing his sitters - and perhaps their vanity - was essential to building up his clientele. The Museum’s sensitive image of a young rosy-cheeked woman, draped in velvet and seated before an idealized landscape, may have been a commissioned portrait, but if it was, her name has been lost to history. On the other hand, this may be one of a number of works Sully produced depicting “ideal” physical types. Unless and until we know the sitter’s name, this work is titled to reflect that possibility.

Thomas Sully lived and worked in Philadelphia, then the largest city in the United States. He was influential in the development of his younger Philadelphia contemporary, John F. Francis, whose Still Life With Strawberries and Cream (c.1850) also hangs in the Museum’s American Gallery. Francis began his career as an itinerant portrait painter but decided to specialize in still life. He was also friendly and collegial with the Peale family. Charles Willson Peale assisted him by introducing him to Gilbert Stuart and other important American painters. His younger brother, James Peale, painted the Portrait of Nicholas Brewer II in the Museum collection. These interconnections may seem like strange coincidence, but in fact America was a much smaller place, and the art world even smaller.

Jill R. Chancey, PhD, is curator of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Adult Pottery Class in April

Don't forget that Mother's Day is right around the corner, and what could be better than a hand-made gift? Beginning next week, on April 7, LRMA will hold an adult pottery class throughout the month of April. The class will be held on every Tuesday evening in April from 5:00-7:00 PM in our Carriage House Studio. This class is a lot of fun and is great for people who have never worked in clay or people who are experienced. We will make hand-built clay projects as well as work on the pottery wheel. Mandy Buchanan and Angie King will instruct this four-week class. This is a fun and relaxing way to spend your evenings, so join us at adult pottery and get your hands dirty!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

For even more pics from Tuesday

The Impact covers the story, too!

And a few more from the Laurel Leader-Call

More Spring Break photos: Audubon Zoomobile and Smokey the Bear

Smokey the Bear made an appearance!

The Audubon Zoomobile folks came to visit with two snakes, a parrot, a hedgehog, and a rat for kids to look at and maybe even touch. This snake had beautiful iridescent scales:

Spring Break Art Festival

The weather cleared up and the sun came out just in time for all to have a grand time at the Spring Break Art Festival, which happened to also be on St. Patrick's Day. The theme was Green: green for the Irish, and green for the environment.

The Blues Rangers rocked the house, er....rocked the *lawn*:

Most people made hats out of recycled newspaper, but these kids opted for paper airplanes instead:

Guild member Allison Travis helps young visitors decorate their lucky shamrocks:

Mandy Buchanan (pictured) and Angie King painted faces:

Becky Jackson, Brittany Avera, and Jo Lynn Helton run the Bottlecap Necklaces table, where kids recycled decorated bottlecaps:

Monday, March 09, 2009

Spring Break activities here at the LRMA

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art plans Spring Break Activities -

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will hold a Spring Break Festival Tuesday, March 17 from 1 - 3 p.m. on the Museum's front lawn. The Audubon Zoomobile is making a return visit this year and will showcase a variety of exotic animals and the Blues Rangers from DeSoto National Forest will provide music. Art activities will feature recycled materials such as newspaper hats and decorated paper owls, and a St. Patrick's day shamrock activity. The festival is free and open to the public and intended for the whole family.

The Museum will also hold its annual "Spring Break Art Break" classes March 18 - 20 for children age kindergarten through sixth grade. Recycling will be the theme as participants create cereal box art, soda can piggy banks, and other recyclable treasures. The schedule will be 10:00 a.m. until noon for kindergarten through third grade and 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. for fourth through sixth grade. Classes will be held in the Museum Annex. Cost is $35 per child for LRMA members and $45 for non-members. As space is limited, reservations will only be held with payment. For more information or to register for classes call the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art at 601-649-6374.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Guest Blogger: Tommie Rodgers

More on Fakes and Forgeries

In my last article, I discussed my encounters with fake artwork and the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art’s investigation into two paintings acquired in the early 1990s along with works on paper offered as recent gifts. I would like to continue the discussion of why forgers forge.

The issue of forgery has been a quiet subject in the museum community until recent times. Museums across the country have accepted fakes into their collections for decades. Every museum from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art have fallen victim to forger’s attempts to be included in these fine art collections. Staff members have had to learn to be investigators and to pursue their own investigations of questionable artwork.

Forgers are not unlike other criminals in that they may get their rush from the act of deception. While there are self-proclaimed artists on every street, the forger’s own art usually has been rejected somewhere along the way. The forger then begins to pursue vengeance with his scams of smoke and mirrors.

The desire to be praised and recognized as a fine artist drives them to do whatever it takes to be included in a reputable museum or to see their work sold alongside artists of national or international recognition. To those forgers, money is not the issue, although it may play a role in their activities.

To others, it’s all about the money, and the money seekers are not really interested in creating the finest quality. They are more interested in a quick job to get quick cash.

There are some typical characteristics of forged artwork. Most are small in size and are claimed to be executed by artists who are marginally recognizable. The theory is that one would want to forge work by an artist who has already been accepted in the art market but one would not want to go overboard by creating works in the name of an internationally recognized artist such as Monet or Picasso. This mistake would send out red flags to the masses and experts would discredit the work quickly. The IRS is also more likely to audit donations with high dollar values.

Forgers may begin like most artists do in their training. Drawing is the most basic of training with painting and sculpture being more difficult to master. Not only does the forger have to learn to execute a quality painting, but they have to research and know the artists materials and techniques and how they were used, before they begin. This all takes time, research, and experiments.

There are numerous publications that discuss ways in which forgers work and why they pursue their craft. For instance, a newly published book called The Forger’s Spell by Edward Dolnick discusses the experimentation that Han van Meegeren performed during the 1940s trying to replicate a 17th century crackled surface. He experimented with a mixture of Bakelite (the first plastic invented in 1907 by Leo Baekeland), turpentine, linseed oil and pigments and made numerous failed attempts at baking the painted surface, each time hoping for the experiment to work.

One day he left his home and the oven unattended for an extended period of time. When he returned, he found that the painted panel experiment worked. He was overjoyed to see that it was possible to create a forgery of a 17th century painting by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer.

According to Dolnick, an oil painting will not only dry but harden. Drying can takes weeks but hardening can take years, even up to a century. A newly executed oil painting can be rubbed gently with a cotton swab soaked with rubbing alcohol and the color will appear on the swab. A completely hardened oil painting and a painting created with Bakelite will show no color in this test. Van Meegeren was aware that he needed to pass this first hurdle in his quest to create a convincingly-faked Vermeer.

Van Meegeren fooled experts, museum directors, and wealthy collectors as well as officers of Hitler’s regime. He went so far as to purchase a 17th century painting from an antique store, scrape off the old paint and began a new painting using the Bakelite material. Of course, he had other tricks up his sleeve to further age the newly baked plastic. As World War II came to an end, so did van Meegeren’s secret. His trial began in October of 1947 and van Meegeren died on December 30, 1947, at the age of 58. He never served a day of his one-year sentence.

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

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mississippi Art Faculty winners

Best in Show:

Brent Funderburk, Mississippi State University
Nightwatch, 2006

Awards of Excellence:

Chatham Meade, William Carey University
Yellow Springs Pink, 2007

Albert Sperath, University of Mississippi
African Rain, 2006

Christopher Brady, East Central Community College
Ray, 2008

Please note: All images are copyright the artists; DO NOT REPRODUCE WITHOUT PERMISSION. Thank you.