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.