Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Hours

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will be closed in observance of the Christmas holiday on Friday, Dec. 24 and Saturday, Dec. 25. The museum will be closed in observance of the New Year's holiday on Friday, December 31 and Saturday, January 1.

Don't forget that we have an excellent gift shop that just might meet your last-minute holiday shopping needs!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Take Time to Appreciate

Bruce West, Reverend Dennis with Candelabra

Bruce West, Mrs. L. V. Hull #3

photo: Bruce West

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will present Take Time to Appreciate: Photographs of Mrs. L. V. Hull and Reverend H. D. Dennis by Bruce West on display in the Lower Level Galleries December 15, 2010 through February 23, 2011.

Bruce West has been documenting the rural landscape and culture of the Mississippi Delta and surrounding regions for the past thirteen years. West takes simple and direct portraits of the people he visits and photographs each year, including the two artists highlighted in this exhibition, Mrs. L. V. Hull (c. 1943-2008) and the Reverend H. D. Dennis (b. 1916). The title for the exhibition comes from a sign created by Hull, a folk artist from Kosciusko, Mississippi, and speaks of West’s primary objective as a photographer. The Reverend H. D. Dennis, “Spiritual Advisor to the World,” is an independent preacher in Vicksburg, who has transformed his wife Margaret’s grocery store into a one-of-a-kind non-denominational church. In his list of the ten most significant architectural sites in the South, noted American architect and MacArthur Fellow Samuel Mockbee described Margaret’s Grocery: “Built by Reverend H. D. Dennis, its crude materials and methods of construction place it in an ethereal state of being and perpetual sense of beauty.” While documenting Dennis’ creative and spiritual work, West says the photographs “also offer a meditation on the rigors, torments, and joys of the life of an ascetic and affirm the possibility of an authentic life.”

West has received grants from the NEA, the Ford Foundation, and the Polaroid Corporation. His work is included in many collections, including the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and others. He has exhibited in New York City, Germany, the Netherlands, and across the United States. He is currently Professor of Art at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.

The exhibition is generously sponsored by BancorpSouth, Laurel Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Kia, Mississippi Power Co., and Sanderson Farms.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gala, Gala, Gala

We are going to be closed to the public on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, December 3, 4, and 5th. However, we will be here! Our annual Gala is this Saturday, and we need the whole three-day weekend to prep, to party, and to clean it up.

Gala preparation actually started months ago, with committees asking for auction item donations, shopping for big-ticket auction items, planning menus and decorations and party favors... but this week, we ramp up into high gear. Before Thanksgiving, we cleared the lower level galleries of art and put up category signs, and then put out tables for silent auction.

Today, Monday, we are starting silent auction display in those galleries, and clearing art out of the Stairwell Gallery. Not to worry, though: we still have plenty to see in all of our permanent collection galleries. Volunteers and staff are busily gathering all of the auction items into one place, working on decorations (Mandy and Angie outdo themselves every year, it seems), and coordinating everyone from caterers to florists and the Guild ladies who host the auction preview party. It's a hectic week, and an important one for us.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gala is coming very, very soon.

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will hold its annual fund-raising event The Azure Ball: A Grecian Island Fantasy on Saturday, December 4. Highlighting the evening will be the Live and Silent Auctions, featuring paintings by some of the region’s best-known artists, trips to exotic locations, exquisite pieces of jewelry, and more.

Gala attendees will dine on a menu of authentic Greek delicacies presented by Nick Apostle of Nick’s Restaurant in Jackson. Apostle came onto the dining scene in 1983 and has since set the benchmark for Jackson restaurants. Nick’s was the first Mississippi restaurant to receive Wine Spectator’s "Award of Excellence," and has repeatedly been named "Best Fine Dining" establishment by Mississippi Magazine. Nick’s has been featured in Ford Times Magazine and in Delta’s Sky Magazine as Jackson’s best restaurant for the business traveler. Nick’s executive chef Steven D’Angelo trained under Chef Emeril Lagasse at NOLA and Emeril’s in New Orleans. He has had national media exposure with segments on Good Morning America, CNN, and Food Network’s Emeril Live. Both Apostle and D’Angelo bring careful attention to every culinary detail as well as a fresh approach to incorporating regional foods.

Later in the evening, those in attendance will enjoy music by The Triple Lindy. Based in Hattiesburg, The Triple Lindy consists of Brandon Webb, Ben Jones, Wes Brooks, and Joey Odom. The band has performed together for the past 15 years in and around the state of Mississippi, playing a wide selection of music from swing and oldies to blues and classic rock. Each member of the band has live entertainment experience going back as far as 20 years playing events with national and internationally known touring artists.

LRMA members at the Sponsor ($100) level and above may purchase tickets to The Azure Ball. Tickets are $100 each and include an invitation to the Auction Preview Party on Thursday, December 2.

For more information or to reserve a table for the Gala, please contact the Museum at 601.649.6374 or

Monday, November 15, 2010

LRMA Shop Open House - great holiday shopping!

Kicking things off from 10 a.m. until noon, co-authors Charline McCord and Judy Tucker, along with illustrator Wyatt Waters, will sign their new book Christmas Memories from Mississippi. Neil White, editor of Mississippians, will be on hand to sign copies of this new book. Sarah Grafton of Wolfe Studio will showcase a selection of exquisite hand-painted birds.

Among the special gifts will be Whitt glass bowls, vases, and bottles, Old 61 Frames, and an array of double-weave Choctaw baskets. The Museum Gift Shop carries a wide selection of books including the LRMA Guild’s cookbook A Taste of the Guild, as well as notecards and other stationery items. There will be many unique items for children including nostalgic toys, books, and other stocking stuffers. For a gift that will commemorate a visit to the Museum, there are LRMA t-shirts, canvas totes, handbooks, and mugs.

The event is open to the public. Free gift wrapping will be offered to Museum members.

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventh
Street in downtown Laurel. For more information call 601.649.6374.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Walt Grayson at LRMA on Thursday, November 18

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will present ArtTalk on Thursday, November 18 at noon in the Museum’s Lower Level Lecture Hall. Author Walt Grayson will be the featured speaker and will discuss his newly released book Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories. A book-signing will follow immediately after ArtTalk.

Walt Grayson was born and raised in Greenville, Mississippi. He was an announcer for Greenville radio station WJPR while in high school. His first television experience came as a weekend weather fill-in and an occasional travel feature reporter, while working full time in radio at Jackson's WSLI.

Grayson joined the WLBT-TV team as a weather anchor in 1984. He takes viewers on a "Look Around Mississippi" weekly on WLBT and also hosts Mississippi ETV's Mississippi Roads program. He has been inducted into the Associated Press Mississippi Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Grayson writes a monthly newspaper article for the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi. He is also author of three books: Jackson the Good Life, and Looking Around Mississippi with Walt Grayson, as well as Looking Around Mississippi Some More with Walt Grayson.

Art Talk, sponsored by West Quality Food Services, Inc., is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to use the North Garden Entrance and bring a sack lunch. Desserts and beverages will be provided. For more information, call LRMA at 601.649.6374 or visit the website

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Guild Members

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art welcome new members to its Guild of Docents and Volunteers. Pictured left to right are:

Sharon Loving, Nancy Musgrove, Chick Occhipinti, Judy McGlothlin, Delight Jefcoat, Betty Dupuy, Melinda Youngblood, Cynthia Welborn, and Diane Long. New members not pictured are Linda Johnson, Rosemary Patrick, Peggy Wedgeworth, Nancy Cox, and Kent Miller.

For more information about the LRMA Guild contact 601.649.6374 or

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Art Talk is coming up on October 21

October 21, Noon, in the Lower Level Galleries

October's Art Talk features Gil Hoffman and Tony Howe, co-authors of the newly released book Yellow Pine Capital: The Laurel, Mississippi Story, an account of the era when Laurel was the lumber production capital of Mississippi

Book-signing to follow Art Talk.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

October 7th - Come to LRMA to learn about the Mississippi School for the Arts

The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) will be holding an Information Event for interested students and parents Thursday, October 7th from 5:30 p.m. till 7:00 p.m. at The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art – 565 North Fifth Ave. – Laurel, MS. The event will be in the lower level galleries. Please enter through the north garden entrance. Come and go as you please between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The Mississippi School of the Arts is an eleventh and twelfth grade visual and performing arts residential, public high school located in Brookhaven, MS. Students not only meet and exceed the traditional Mississippi high school curriculum, they receive special instruction in visual arts, vocal music, dance, literary arts and theatre. Students interested in MSA apply their sophomore year. Last years graduating class received more than $2.6 million in scholarship offers for college.

For more information call 601-823-1300. Applications to attend MSA are available online at or can be requested over the phone, by email:, or at the Information Event on October 7th . Application deadline for the 2011-2012 school year is February 1, 2011.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sunday Concert, October 3: James Martin

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will present "Continental Soul", a Sunday Concert on October 3 at 2 p.m. in the LRMA American Gallery featuring baritone James Martin.

Martin has won critical acclaim for his performances in opera, musical theater, and concert as a versatile singer/actor and entertainer, with a wide artistic repertoire. He has appeared with leading musical organizations throughout the United States and abroad, including opera companies of Mississippi, Chicago, San Francisco, Santa Fe, St. Louis, New York, Toronto, Strasbourg, Basel and Oslo. Martin has performed at the music festivals of Marlboro, Ravinia, Aspen, and Tel Aviv; and made concert appearances with New York’s Continuum, Summergarden, Joy in Singing, the American Composers Orchestra, Meet the Composers, the New York Festival of Song, Lincoln Center’s African-American History and American Songbook series. Some of his operatic roles include Mozart’s Figaro and Don Giovanni and Pistola in Verdi’s Falstaff.

He received a Bachelor of Music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and his Master of Music from the Julliard School. Martin is adjunct instructor of voice at Millsaps College, artistic consultant for the Hattiesburg Civic Chorus and Concert Association, and co-founder of the Mississippi Vocal Arts Ensemble.

His program "Continental Soul" will feature American and English songs by composers including Ralph Vaughn Williams, Virgil Thompson, Duke Ellington, and Barry Manilow.

This Sunday Concert is presented by the Hattiesburg Civic Chorus and Concert Association and sponsored by the Cooper-Neill Music Fund. The concert is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Changing out the galleries soon!

Well, the Pink Panther exhibit is closed, and we start packing it on Thursday. De-installing an exhibit isn't just taking pictures off the wall. Our Registrar does a condition report for each artwork first, which is a careful inspection to make sure everything is in the same condition it was in upon arrival. Then we close the gallery, wrap up the artwork, pack it back into its original crates, and label it for pickup. Then we have to take down labels, remove nails, spackle and paint nail-holes, remove the educational materials, tally up the results of the visitor survey, and take down any signs.

To put up the next show, we first have to unpack and condition-report the objects. For Domestic Landscapes, the next show, we also create text panels, labels, and a wall sign. All of the artwork comes into the gallery and leans against the wall; then we move pictures around until we like the order and arrangement. Then we hang artwork, labels, a sign, produce a visitor survey and possibly an educational activity table, and adjust the lights (which means Todd has to climb up and down the ladder about a million times).

We usually take anywhere from one to three weeks for a gallery change, depending on how complex the installation is, and how large the exhibition will be. Now that we have fancy new upstairs bathrooms, we can just lock down the Lower Level Galleries and get to the business of art handling, without having to escort visitors to the downstairs bathrooms.

Even with the Lower Level Galleries closed from now through September 30, there's plenty to see in the permanent collection galleries and the Stairwell Gallery.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Heritage Arts Festival 2010

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

This year’s theme, "Made in Mississippi," will feature art projects including Walter Anderson-inspired ceramic pots, artist demonstrations, and face painting. Musical entertainment will be provided by The Grayson Capps Trio.

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guest Blogger: Tommie Rodgers

At the Museum: Our Favorite Things

If you haven’t visited the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art since the “NASA|ART” exhibition earlier this summer, you have missed out on seeing some of our old favorites that are installed in the Stairwell Gallery. It’s not unusual to see these friends hanging in the galleries from time to time but this exhibition has a twist.

Customarily, our curator selects works from the permanent collection and decides which items to include as well as determines their location on the wall. ”Our Favorite Things: Works from the American Art Collection” features works chosen by various members of the LRMA staff including our building superintendent, development director and library cataloguer, to name a few.

There are nineteen paintings and works on paper on display and of those, half are from Mississippi or have lived in Mississippi during their lifetime. Of the two pieces by Laurel artists, Amorita Gordon and Billy Ford, Gordon’s “Still Life with Red Lilies” was selected by Librarian Donna Smith. Her statement reveals her thoughts of the cold weather where she spent her childhood. She states the “painting is like a huge burst of spring and summer combined, with its own assurance of sunshine and happiness.”

Former Intern Nancy Wright enjoys “Misty Day” by Billy Ford and shares that “Ford paints with the colors of blue and focuses on the subtleties of the color instead of a recognizable subject. His fluidity of paint and abstract use of form allow me to focus on what I feel rather than what I am being told to feel.”

Mississippi photographer Birney Imes evokes other thoughts in Director of Marketing Holly Green. Green states that, “there is something very honest about photography...when you shoot black and white film, you get down to the bare bones of it all - clean lines, contrast between light and dark, positives and negatives. This photograph is beautiful to me because of the proximity Imes is granted, showing that he obviously has the girl’s complete trust.”

Visitor Services Coordinator Liz Brumley is reminded of the sense of home in the works of Mississippi watercolorist William Hollingsworth. “These two small watercolors of Hollingsworth’s depict the comfort and joy found in the familiar. ‘The Filling Station’ could be the one down the road from my grandmother’s home,” Brumley writes.

Laurel native Allyn Boone, the museum’s Director of Development, conveys her impressions of “The Bather” by Alice Neel in her words, “I love the colors in the artwork, particularly the green ocean and the blue shadow, as well as the confidence of the young girl in the two-piece bathing suit and floppy hat.”

Angie King, the museum’s Outreach Coordinator, appreciates “Forward Together” by Jacob Lawrence as she states that “Lawrence’s use of movement and color create a very powerful image of the road to freedom” in the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.

My favorite for this season is Miriam Hirsch’s “Wheel of Fortune,” I share that “Hirsch’s painting is full of spinning action, playfulness and child-like whimsy...(the painting) invites the viewer to join in on the unpredictable fun.”

Of course, I can’t share every object in the exhibition but I hope I’ve piqued your interest. Seeing and learning about art doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or too high-brow to understand and we all interpret differently. Educating oneself on the artist, historical events, societal trends, fashions, and economic and political influences of the day will shed light on the subject matter and its treatment by the artist. The viewer’s knowledge of art, emotional interpretation and interest in the subject matter will combine to enhance the interpretation.

I invite you to come by and compare your own opinions with those of our staff members. Would you interpret some of the same ideas?

Our building superintendent sums it all up when he describes “Mackerel” by Marie Hull. “What this represents to me is four of my favorite things: Food, Fishing, Mississippi and Art.” What more can I say?

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September Art Talk: Ellis Anderson

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will kick off a new Art Talk series on Thursday, September 16 at noon in the Museum’s Lower Level Lecture Hall. In recognition of the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Ellis Anderson, author of Under Surge, Under Siege: The Odyssey of Bay St. Louis and Katrina, will be the featured speaker.

Anderson, a writer and photographer, was winner of the 2010 Eudora Welty Book Award presented by Mississippi University for Women in recognition for Under Surge. The book was also noted as an "Editor’s Recommendation," by Barnes and Noble and the Times-Picayune has twice listed the book as one of its "5 Hot Reads." This project was awarded a Fellowship for Literary Excellence by the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Anderson bears witness to the events of Hurricane Katrina by sharing entries from her personal journal, one she began shortly before the storm and continued for more than three years. In Part One – "Under Surge," she details the terror of the storm and the trauma of the immediate aftermath. "Under Siege" follows the plucky community through the next three bizarre years of recovery. The journal entries are interwoven with accounts from other survivors from this close-knit coastal arts community. The book also includes over 50 images by Anderson and photographer Joe Tomasovsky.

An artist and gallery owner before Katrina, Anderson has since served as president of a large community activist organization, giving her a unique insider’s view of the town’s post-storm dilemmas. During the recovery process, she volunteered in numerous community endeavors, garnering recognition as a Hancock County Outstanding Citizen, a Gulf Coast Preservation Hero, and receiving a Heritage Award from the Bay St. Louis Historic Commission. In 2008, she was named Mississippi Public Citizen of the Year by the Mississippi chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Art Talk, sponsored by West Quality Food Services, Inc., is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to use the North Garden Entrance and bring a sack lunch. Desserts and beverages will be provided. For more information, call LRMA at 601.649.6374 or visit the website

Friday, August 27, 2010

Internships at the LRMA

The LRMA offers internships in four departments: Curatorial, Marketing, Education, and the Library. We are happy to partner with colleges to help students meet the requirements for college credit.

For more information and the application, visit our website:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guest Blogger: Angie King

At The Museum: Jump into Fall Classes at the Museum


In September, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will start fall off right with some great art classes for everyone in the family. Beginning on September 8, After School Art Lessons will be offered every Wednesday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. through November 10 in the Museum Annex. This ten-week class will introduce children in K5 through sixth grade to different kinds of artistic media, from paint to clay to metal embossing. Each child will take home a new project each week. The class costs $90 for Museum members and $120 for non-members. Call the Museum now to reserve your child’s spot at (601) 649.6374.

If your child wants to get messy and have fun, sign them up for our Kids’ Pottery Class on Tuesdays in September. The class will meet in the Carriage House Studio on Seventh Street beginning Tuesday, September 7 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Children in K5 through sixth grade will learn to create beautiful works of art in clay with hand building techniques and on the potter’s wheel. This class costs $35 for Museum members and $45 for non-members. Reservations are required so call today as this class fills up quickly!

Home School Fridays have begun again for the fall. This is a free, drop-in class that takes place in the Museum annex from 1 - 4 p.m. Once a month for home-schooled students in any grade. Each month participants can make a different art project and take it home. Come and create great artwork while meeting new friends. Fall dates for Home School Fridays will be September 24, October 22, and November 19. Reservations are not required - just come and have fun.

For adults, we offer an opportunity to make a unique piece of jewelry in Jennifer Myrick’s Precious Metal Clay Jewelry Class. The class will be held Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m. Until 2 p.m. In the Carriage House Studio. Ms. Myrick is a local jewelry artist who makes her own creations from scratch. She will teach participants how to use precious metal clay to make totally unique pieces. Each participant will walk away with at least one finished piece. A light lunch will be provided with the class. The cost is $50 for Museum members and $60 for non-members. Call to reserve your space. For more information on this class, or on any of our great educational programs, please check out the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art website at or call the Museum at (601) 649.6374.

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

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Firefighters' & Police Tour

Once a year, we invite the local police and fire departments for the "behind-the-scenes" tour of the Museum. We like to remind them where the entrances, exits, gas shut-off, and so forth are. How do you get into the attic? Where's the electrical panel? What's in the basement? All those things, we hope, will help them do their job if we ever have an emergency. We certainly enjoy their visits, and we hope they do, too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

LRMA Guild Membership Coffee coming soon

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Guild of Docents and Volunteers will hold its annual membership coffee on Tuesday, August 24, from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. at the Museum.

The coffee offers an opportunity for guests to learn more about this integral part of the Museum. Guild members are actively involved in many facets of the Museum from assisting with annual events such as Heritage Festival, Gala Preview Party, and Rogers-Green House fund raiser to giving tours and assisting the Museum staff.

Patti Slocki is chairman of this year’s membership coffee and Lou Bankston is membership chairman for the Guild.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Museum and the Guild may attend the coffee. For more information call Holly Green at 601-649-6374.

For more information about the Guild.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

School is back in session...

Summer vacation is if only the summer temps would go away, too.

If you're a teacher, be sure and check out our educational resources at and contact one of our education curators if you have questions. They have lots of activities planned for the school year, including Heritage Festival in October, Very Special Arts Festival for kids with special needs, a Spring Break Art Break, and more. Keep an eye on the website and the blog for classes and programs for kids and teachers.

If you're a parent, let your childrens' teacher know that we are here, ready and eager to partner with them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In the Stairwell Gallery: "Our Favorite Things"

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art presents Our Favorite Things, on view in its Stairwell Gallery now through November 2010.

This exhibition was curated by members of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art staff. Each staff member was given the opportunity to visit the Museum vaults and choose his or her favorite contemporary work(s) from the American collection for this show. The exhibition also features labels written by staff members explaining why or how they made their selections. Jill Chancey, PhD, LRMA curator said "The goal of this exhibition is to remind visitors that every exhibition at the Museum is the result of a whole team of people behind the scenes working together."

Featured artists range from Mississippians Birney Imes and Walter Anderson to Fairfield Porter and Alice Neel, and works in various media including photography, lithography, painting, and woodblock print.

Image: Birney Imes, III, Girl and Dog, 1983.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


It has been my observation that people who grew up in Laurel remember, at the very least, two things from the Museum collection: the second-smallest basket in the world, and the suit of armor. The tiny basket is currently on display in the drawer full of miniature baskets in the Basket Gallery. The suit of armor, which was in the European Gallery when I arrived, has been moved to the Reading Room. (His sharp, spiky lance in close proximity to our European paintings made me nervous.)

Spike, the suit of armor, has been in the museum's collection for many decades, and is a relic of the time before the LRMA had a defined collections management policy. Today, we only collect items that fit into one of our five collecting areas, but when the museum was new, all sorts of things came into the collections from all over the world: Chinese snuff bottles, Baroque tapestries, Sevres porcelain, and, well, Spike. Although he doesn't really meet any of our collecting guidelines any more, we keep him on display because he is such a fond memory of so many Laurelites.

It's hard to get a good picture of him - he's both dark and reflective, and the Reading Room is a bit dim, but I did my best. Be sure and stop in the Reading Room and say hello to Spike next time you visit.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

At the Museum: Fairfield Porter

The recently re-installed Stairwell Gallery features contemporary American art from the Museum collection selected by members of the staff. Each staff member was given the opportunity to visit the vaults and choose a favorite work from the American collection for this show. The goal of this show is to bring a new perspective into the galleries, and remind our visitors that every exhibition at a museum is the result of whole team of folks “behind the scenes.”

One of the paintings selected, Fairfield Porter’s The Tennis Game, is a perennial favorite with visitors. Acquired from the artist in 1973, the large oil on canvas depicts a game of doubles on a tennis court surrounded by rich green foliage. The setting was the Porter family’s summer home, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine. The concrete tennis court, which had been built just before World War I, provides a pale color field upon which four figures are distributed. Porter began working on this composition during the summer of 1970, but did not resolve it to his satisfaction until two years later. One often thinks of tennis as a fast-moving game, but Porter’s figures are static; this is clearly a pause in the game. The figure farthest back is preparing to hit the ball; it hovers, suspended in mid-air, just above his racquet. The nearest figure (in blue) is not yet in the bent-knee position one would expect from a player preparing to return. This is a casual summer set between family members, and the languid feeling of the canvas reflects that. Porter subtly uses the repetition of the ovals of the racquets (and their shadows) to draw the viewer’s eye back into the canvas. He also contrasts the geometry of the net and the fence with the irregular vertical forms of the trees and the figures. This is a painting that seems simple, but is complex enough to bear up to prolonged scrutiny.

Porter’s work, often called “Figurative Expressionism,” followed directly upon that of a slightly older generation of artists, the Abstract Expressionists. They rejected representational imagery in favor of pure composition, color, line and gesture; whereas Porter and his contemporaries, such as Elaine de Kooning and Larry Rivers, opted to use the figure, the landscape, and other imagery as neutral elements of the composition. This is not a picture about personalities, interpersonal drama, or even the identity of the players, whose faces remain anonymous. This is a picture about the relationship between greens, whites, and blues; the complex interaction of the vertical and diagonal lines; and the feeling of the rest and relaxation of summering on a remote island.

In a way, The Tennis Game feels like the immediate descendant of Claude Monet’s Parisian vacationers, lounging at the beach side or playing croquet in the dappled shade. Porter, like Monet, depicts the tranquil leisure time of affluent city-dwellers. Another painting in the Museum collection, Kate Freeman Clark’s Return from the Shore, (currently hanging in the American Gallery) depicts exactly the same kind of summer leisure, albeit sixty years earlier. This subject matter - the everyday stuff of modern life, things of no great political or historical import - was very much the emphasis of the French Realists, who inspired the French and American Impressionists, to whom both the Abstract and Figurative Expressionists, such as Porter, acknowledged their debt.

Fairfield Porter’s The Tennis Game, and eighteen other works in the exhibition “Our Favorite Things,” will be on display in the Stairwell Gallery until November of this year.

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

Fairfield Porter (1907-1975)
The Tennis Game, 1972
Oil on canvas
A Lauren Rogers Museum purchase in part with funds from Mississippi Arts Commission, 73.78

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Rogers-Green House

Visitors to the LRMA and Laurel locals may have noticed that the house across the street from the Museum is often the site of parties, receptions, weddings, and other social gatherings. The Rogers-Green House, built in 1903, was the home of Lauren Rogers, passed from his parents to their relatives Eleanor and Gardiner Green in 1950, and the Greens left the house to the LRMA in 2003.

Today, four full-time staff members have offices upstairs, and the ground level rooms are used for museum meetings and events. Although the Museum itself is not available for private functions, the Rogers-Green House is. We are quite busy during the late spring/early summer wedding season, and have hosted high school reunions, rehearsal dinners, baby showers, wedding showers, Christmas parties, and a variety of meetings.

For more information on rentals, call our Events Coordinator, Angie Jolly, at 601-649-6374.

For more information on the Rogers-Green House:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Guest Blogger: Mandy Buchanan

Giving Laurel a Hand

The children of Laurel are getting an exciting new outdoor educational space. A classroom garden is being created near Oak Park School for area students to enjoy. Lauren Rogers Museum of Art has partnered with the City of Laurel to create an outdoor sculpture as a centerpiece to this new space.

The project began with the Museum Education staff casting the hands of students from Oak Park and Stainton Elementary Schools in cement. The hands will then be attached to a large metal tree our staff is preparing that will be installed in the center of the garden.

We are so excited to see this work of art come together. Watch for upcoming information about the opening of this new educational space.

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

Image: left to right, Angie King, Todd Sullivan, and Mandy Buchanan

Monday, July 19, 2010


Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel has been awarded a $34,400 grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC). This grant is a portion of the $1.64 million in grants the Commission will award in 2010-2011 and will be used for general operating support. The grants are made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Organizations across the state who receive grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission continue to prove that arts programs are vital to the success of their community. The grants awarded by the Commission provide funding for the staging of festivals, theater performances and many other arts-related activities,” said Malcolm White, Executive Director of MAC. “The arts provide a positive environment for learning, both in the classroom and in communities. Arts funding has a significant multiplier and for every dollar spent in the creative sector, eight dollars are realized in the local economy. That’s a good investment for any business.”

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is the only collections-based art museum between Jackson and the Mississippi Coast, thus playing a significant role in South Mississippi as an art education resource, field trip destination, and a venue for nationally significant traveling exhibitions. LRMA has been accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1972.

The Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, serves the residents of the state by providing grants that support programs to enhance communities; assist artists and arts organizations; promote the arts in education and celebrate Mississippi’s cultural heritage. Established in 1968, the Mississippi Arts Commission is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, the Phil Hardin Foundation, Mississippi Endowment for the Arts at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and other private sources. The agency serves as an active supporter and promoter of arts in community life and in arts education. For information from the Mississippi Arts Commission, contact Susan Dobbs – 601/359-6031 or

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Indelible (P)ink: The Pink Panther and Popular Culture

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art presents Indelible (P)ink: The Pink Panther and Popular Culture, on display July 22 through September 19 in its Lower Level Galleries.

The exhibition will open Thursday, July 22 with a lecture at 5:30 p.m. by exhibition curator Barbara Rothermel, Director of the Daura Gallery and Assistant Professor of Museum Studies at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia. A “Pink Panther Party” will follow from 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Animation’s coolest anti-hero with the grooviest theme song ever, the Pink Panther was created by Friz Freleng for the opening title sequence of Blake Edwards’ 1963 film, The Pink Panther (MGM/United Artists). The movie starred Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, out to catch the thief of a legendary diamond called the pink panther. Accompanied by Henry Mancini’s mod jazz beat, Freleng’s animated Pink Panther sauntered suavely across the silver screen, straight into superstar status. This hip cat of unparalleled sophistication debuted on NBC-TV in 1964, captivating audiences in 140 cartoon shorts. A second series debuted in 1984 and continued for the next decade. This exhibition is a blast from the past, spying on the Pink Panther as an example of popular culture while uncovering his contribution to 20th century animation. The artifacts in this exhibition are in the Daura Gallery’s permanent collection, purchased through the Lauer Fund.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Community Bank, Chas. N. Clark & Associates, Ltd., Laurel Bone & Joint Clinic, and Scruggs Photography.

Image: Cel from Service with a Pink Smile, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc., 1993.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Asian Gallery re-opens

The LRMA Asian Gallery, which has been closed since April, is now re-opened. The gallery has been used for the last few months for storage of crates from the exhibition, NASA|ART: 50 Years of Exploration. Now that those crates are packed and shipped off to their next destination, the Japanese Prints are again on display. Education Outreach Coordinator Angie King curated this selection, which consists mostly of prints with images of animals in them.

While we ordinarily exhibit only Edo period prints, she selected one print from the Meiji period, and one from the Modern period. These prints clearly reflect the Western European influence that entered Japan in 1858, at the end of the Edo period. Also on display are our newest print triptych, The Dragon King’s Palace: The Three Treasures Presented to Tawara Toda Hidesato by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), and a rare preparatory drawing for a triptych that was never produced, The Hour of the Snake by Utagawa Toyokuni (1769-1825). We know this particular image was never made into a print, because the preparatory drawing is destroyed in the process of making a woodblock print.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Guest Blogger: Holly Green

With any organization, whether "for profit" or (as in our case) "not," numerous players are necessary to make it work. Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is open to the public six days a week and is kept running on a daily basis by a staff of 10 full-time and five part- time employees. We are the faces you see most often, but there are two other groups who are tireless champions of this beloved institution. They deserve, at the very least, an official pat on the back via my little article today.

First, LRMA is governed by the Eastman Memorial Foundation Board of Directors, named for Lauren Eastman Rogers’ grandfather, Lauren Chase Eastman. The Board consists of 15 members who also serve on the Museum’s operating committees such as Collections, Programs and Exhibitions, Property, Personnel, and Finance. These committees, along with the full Board, meet quarterly in addition to participating in many of the Museum’s events throughout the year.

We have just wrapped up two busy weeks of committee and Board meetings, so it is quite fresh on my mind just what this dynamic group of individuals does for us. We are often commended on the involvement of our Board members and their belief in and commitment to the Museum. Their outstanding leadership has helped to bring LRMA to the level of excellence it is known for in the museum world today.

The second group, equally important in its own way, is the Museum’s Guild of Docents and Volunteers. Once again, LRMA is known for its strong volunteer program, a tradition that goes back several decades. We now have more than 100 volunteers and docents in our Guild, which is impressive for a small town. Museums in much larger cities have far fewer volunteers and docents.

Our docents give tours to huge numbers of school children each year, as well as collegiate art students, travelers passing through, and visiting dignitaries. Volunteers can be seen painting faces and stringing beads at our "front lawn" festivals and helping to shepherd children through the galleries. They often come on short notice when we call for assistance with a Museum mailing and bring a positive attitude with them, I might add. We are also blessed with some wonderful cooks in the Guild and are lucky enough to enjoy their culinary talents at many of our events. We are certainly grateful for all the gifts they possess and unselfishly share with us.

Both the Museum’s Board of Directors and its Guild of Docents & Volunteers give hundreds of hours of their time to the Museum each year. I fear we don’t say it often enough, so, from this Marketing Director and on behalf of the entire LRMA staff, thank you all for caring about "our" Museum. We truly appreciate all you do.

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

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guest Blogger: Tommie Rodgers

At the Museum: Collections Database Now Online

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is pleased to unveil its newly redesigned website, It has a crisp, clean look as well as additional information concerning the Museum, its collections, classes and events. You can keep up with us on a daily basis through Facebook and Twitter as well.

If you need to do art research for your classes or you’re an art lover who just can’t get enough of the Museum’s collections, you will enjoy the access you can have to all of the Museum’s art.

Thanks to a $10,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Museum was able to purchase equipment and hire a part-time cataloguer to photograph, scan images, and compile data from the accession records, the artist files, the Museum’s library and the Internet. This compiled information resulted in a well-completed catalogue within the Past Perfect Collections Database system for the Museum staff.

The Museum hired Anna Smith, a former intern, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Museum Studies, to compile the information for accessibility. She worked directly with Curator Jill Chancey and Registrar Tommie Rodgers. Since the position was temporary and created just for this grant, the system will be maintained by the curator and registrar.

The Past Perfect Collections Database allows staff to create accession and deaccession records, loans, condition reports, appraisal records, as well as track locations, create exhibit lists and perform research using specific parameters (i.e., Mississippi artists, works on paper, Choctaw baskets, etc.)

The completion of the two-year project now allows the Museum to share selected non-confidential information with anyone who has access to the Internet. This availability means that our local school children, college students, academic researchers, as well as people from all corners of the globe have equal access to any object that the Museum has accessioned into its collection.

When one views a catalogue record, they see an image of the artwork and pertinent data such as artist name, title, date, size, medium, technique, credit line, accession number, provenance, and related publications.

Each image is watermarked with the Museum’s name printed across it in faded letters. This marking is intentional and prevents viewers from downloading or using the images for publication purposes. Anyone interested in using an image from the collection must contact the Museum directly for permission and pay the related fees associated with reproduction rights.

One must also contact the copyright owner when obtaining permission to use an image. While the Museum owns the objects in its collections, we do not own copyright to many of them. In fact, we do not own the copyright on most images created after 1940 so the researcher will need to obtain the copyright permission from the artist or entity representing the artist’s estate. To access the database of artwork, go to the Museum’s website, click on "Collections," then click on "Collections Database." Work can be searched by a keyword or a researcher can perform a random image search.

To request images and permission to use them, click on "Collections," then click on "Rights and Reproductions." Under this heading, one can download the Fee Schedule and the Image Request Form.

I hope everyone will take advantage of the research options now available. We thank the National Endowment for the Arts for their financial support for this project.

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

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Only 2 weeks left to see NASA|ART at LRMA

NASA|ART: 50 Years of Exploration will be on view at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Mississippi through June 27. The exhibition is organized by SITES and NASA in cooperation with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

NASA’s historic triumphs and pioneering legacy are well known to millions, but the inspiring rocket launches, moon landings and planetary explorations also have had an impact on the imaginations of America’s leading artists. As the space agency celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) presents "NASA ART 50 Years of Exploration," featuring 72 works from artists as diverse as Annie Leibovitz, Nam June Paik, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol and William Wegman. Drawn from the collections of NASA and the National Air and Space Museum, the exhibition includes drawings, photographs, sculpture and other art forms and media. These works – ranging from the illustrative to the abstract – offer unparalleled insight into the private and personal moments, triumphant victories and tragic accidents that form the storied history of NASA.

For example, in Henry Caselli’s When Thoughts Turned Inward, the artist captures the serene, almost spiritual moment before takeoff, when an astronaut must prepare mentally for a mission. In Chakaia Booker’s Remembering Columbia, the tragedy and pain of the lost Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew are transformed in the twisting tire remnants preserved from one of the shuttle’s earlier missions. Andy Warhol melds Buzz Aldrin’s historic steps on the lunar surface with the unbridled exuberance and flashiness of the 1960s in his neon-lighted Moonwalk silkscreen.

The works featured in the exhibit date from the inception of the NASA Art Program in 1962, when NASA administrator James E. Webb asked a group of artists to illustrate, interpret and elucidate the space agency’s missions and projects. Since then, painters, musicians and conceptual artists have been with NASA every step of the way, strolling along launch pads, training in flight simulators, talking with engineers and technicians and visiting with astronauts before and after their flights.

NASA ART 50 years of Exploration
, a companion book published by Harry N. Abrams in 2008, complements the national traveling exhibition.

NASA was established by Congress in 1958 "to provide for research into the problems of flight within and outside the Earth’s atmosphere, and for other purposes." The agency is headquartered in Washington, D. C., with 10 field centers and other facilities across the nation. NASA’s mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.

The National Air and Space Museum, composed of the flagship building on the National Mall in Washington and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., is home to the world’s finest collection of flight artifacts. From aircraft and space vehicles to engines, art and models, the wide array of the museum’s holdings tells the story of the history and technology of air and space exploration. The museum is also a key resource for research into the history, science and technology of aviation and space flight.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D. C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at

This exhibition is generously sponsored locally by Cellular South Foundation, Southern Metals Company of Mississippi, The Pruet Companies, RAPAD Drilling and Well Service, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi, Jefferson Medical, Merrill Lynch, and Robison Tire Company.

Educational programming was partially funded through a Smithsonian Community Grant, funded by MetLife Foundation and administered by the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service, which is used to strengthen the connections between museums nationwide and their communities.

Image: Robert T. McCall, Apollo 8 Coming Home, 1969; Oil on Canvas, 40 x 49. Courtesy Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Friday, June 11, 2010

Guest Blogger: Angie King

Summer Fun at LRMA

Summertime is here at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, and the Museum is offering classes for everyone. Free Family Art is open to families with children of all ages. This program will take place every Wednesday in June from 1 - 4 p.m. in the Museum Annex. Families can stop by during this time to complete the week's art activity and take home what they have made. Parents are asked to stay with their children. Registration is not required.

In the month of June, Mark Brown, JCJC art instructor, will teach a found object sculpture class for an age range of junior high to adult. The class will meet on Tuesday and Thursday nights, June 8, 10, 15, and17, from 6 - 8 p.m. in the Carriage House Studio on Seventh Street. Participants are encouraged to bring at least one object from home that has personal significance to incorporate into a sculpture. Other items, such as wood, fabric, twine, wire, string, and metal can be brought to the class to use as well. Participants will learn various sculpture construction techniques. The cost for this class is $40 for Museum members and $50 for non-members.

Children have the opportunity to learn about making clay art in our annual Pottery Camp. This four-day camp will be held on June 15, 17, 22, and 24 in the Carriage House Studio. Children going into grades K5-3rd are encouraged to come from 10 a.m. Noon and children going into 4th - 6th grades should sign up for the afternoon session from 2 - 4 p.m. The cost for this camp is $35 for Museum members and $45 for non-members.

On Saturday, June 12, LRMA will host a Jewelry Workshop with Ellisville jewelry artist Robbin Lee. The workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Carriage House Studio and will introduce participants to basic jewelry making techniques. The class is open to ages junior high to adult and will cost $10 to register. All materials will be bought directly from the artist at the workshop, so participants can choose materials to fit any budget. Everyone will leave with a finished piece of jewelry.

These are just a few of the exciting art opportunities that are being offered this summer at LRMA. For more information on any of these programs, please call the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art at (601) 649-6374 or check our website at

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

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Daddy Rich Blues Band to play at LRMA Blues Bash

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will hold its 17th Annual "Blues Bash" Friday, June 4 from 6:30 - 10:30 p.m. on the Museum front lawn. This year’s event will feature The Daddy Rich Blues Band.

"Daddy Rich" (Richard Crisman) is a musician and songwriter hailing from Clarksdale, MS, and is currently an instructor at the Delta Blues Museum Arts & Education Program. The Daddy Rich Blues Band plays a mixture of original and popular blues numbers from the Delta, Chicago, and Hill Country styles and has released two CDs, both having received airplay on Commercial, College, Internet, and Satellite Radio stations. The band has also made television appearances on Gene Simmons Family Jewels on A&E, Little People Big World on The Learning Channel, and The Golf Channel.

Blues Bash tickets are $20 and include a barbecue dinner from The Smokehouse of Laurel. Tickets may be purchased at the Museum or by contacting 601.649.6374 or by Wednesday, June 2. Guests should bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy the fun. In case of rain, Blues Bash will be held at the Cameron Center.

Blues Bash is sponsored by Southern Beverage Company, BancorpSouth, Cellular South, Eagle Transportation, Ellis and Walters Dental Care, Gholson Burson Entrekin & Orr, PLLC, Kim’s Chrysler Toyota, The Koerber Company, Roy Rogers Body Shop, Coca-Cola of Laurel, Laurel Leader-Call, Rock 104, and WDAM-TV.

Proceeds from Blues Bash support the Museum’s education program. To purchase a ticket for Blues Bash or for more information, call LRMA at 601.649.6374.

For more info about Daddy Rich, visit his website:

Monday, May 24, 2010

LRMA Guild of Docents & Volunteers Awards Luncheon

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Guild of Docents & Volunteers held their annual awards luncheon Tuesday, May 18, in the Museum's European Gallery.

Officers for 2010-11 are (left to right) Sharon Walters, Treasurer, Louise Welborn, Past President, Cynthia Sheppard, 1st Vice President, Allison Travis, Secretary, and Rosemary Norton, President. Not pictured: Janet Blouin, 2nd Vice President

Guild members who contributed 100+ hours to the Museum in 2009-10:
(seated l to r) Sharon Walters, Gay Morgan, Sarah Walls, Jean Holt, Catherine Nowicki.
(standing l to r) Faye Rogers, Louise Welborn, Allison Travis, Dianne Dudley, Patti Slocki, Cornelia Harrell, Mary Anne Sumrall, Lila Chancellor, Carolyn Mulloy, Cynthia Sheppard, and Becky Dalton. Not pictured: Lynn Busby, Margaret Ann Fortenberry, Sarah McMurry, and Sydney Swartzfager.

Guild members who contributed 50+ hours to the Museum in 2009-10.
(seated, l to r) Nan Abernathy, Jeanelle Smith, Lou Bankston, and Mary Beth Welch.
(standing l to r) Ellen Winter, Donna Applewhite, Billie Mapp, Peggy Melvin, and Susan Garrett.
Not pictured: Marilyn Biglane, Janet Blouin, Joan Brumfield, Jessica Carr, Pat Holifield, Jimmie Leone, Rosemary Norton, Sherry Shows, Ann Cameron Stone, Katie Sullivan, Dave Ann Wheat, and Debbie Yoder

Thursday, May 20, 2010

LRMA offers Free Family Art classes

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will hold Free Family Art classes every Wednesday in June from 1 - 4 p.m. in the Museum Annex. Participants will create a different project to take home each week in this come-and-go class. This summer’s classes will feature guest artists Sean Star Wars, Mark Brown, and Terrell Taylor. The classes are free and no reservation is required.

For more information about summer activities at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art contact 601.649.6374 or visit

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blues Bash 2010

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will hold its 17th Annual "Blues Bash" Friday, June 4 from 6:30 - 10:30 p.m. on the Museum front lawn.

This year’s event will feature The Daddy Rich Blues Band from Clarksdale, MS. Tickets are $20 and include a barbecue dinner from The Smokehouse of Laurel. Tickets may be purchased at the Museum, or by contacting 601-649-6374 or by Wednesday, June 2. Guests should bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy the fun. In case of rain, Blues Bash will be held at the Cameron Center.

Blues Bash is sponsored by Southern Beverage Company, BancorpSouth, Cellular South, Eagle Transportation, Ellis and Walters Dental Care, Gholson Burson Entrekin & Orr, PLLC, Kim’s Chrysler Toyota, The Koerber Company, Roy Rogers Body Shop, Coca-Cola of Laurel, Laurel Leader-Call, Rock 104, and WDAM-TV.

Proceeds from Blues Bash support the Museum’s education program. To purchase a ticket for Blues Bash or for more information, call LRMA at 601-649-6374.

photo: Left to right: Ed Simmons (The Koerber Company), Rick Burson, Shirley Moore, and Noel Rogers (Gholson Burson Entrekin & Orr, PLLC), Cody McDonald (Southern Beverage Company), Ray Palmer (BancorpSouth), Debbie Blakeney and Tom Colt (Rock 104), Robin Holmes (Ellis & Walters Dental Care), Lisa Lowe (Cellular South).

Guest Blogger: George Bassi

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art has been under construction! For the past several months, we have been facilitating the construction of new public restrooms as well as the construction of a new museum website.

The completion of a new addition for public restrooms in the upper level of the Museum was much anticipated. The approximately 700 square foot space is located off the stairwell gallery on the Museum’s main floor and features large restrooms and a separate family restroom. I know that this space will be utilized by tour groups and visitors for generations to come.

Of course, adding to a building of historical significance like the Museum is always a challenge. The Museum’s Board of Directors took great care in making the addition appropriate while providing modern amenities for our visitors.

Special thanks go to Board members Mike Foil, Bill Mullins and James Wray Bush as well as LRMA Building Superintendent Todd Sullivan for their efforts in making this project a reality.

Also under construction this spring has been the re-design of the Museum’s website,, by Burton’s Computer Resources of Laurel. Under the direction of LRMA Director of Marketing Holly Green, the new, expanded site will be up and running by the end of May with numerous features and more information. Besides a new look, the site will include two new areas of interest, social networking and a searchable collections database.

The Museum will be providing regular updates through Facebook and Twitter as well as continuing the Museum’s blog, Live from LRMA. The LRMA website will provide options for viewers to become fans of the museum through these two social networking sites, and we will be providing current information on Museum events, activities and news.

As part of a two-year digitization project funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, our entire collection will soon be on-line and easily accessed. Under the guidance of LRMA Registrar Tommie Rodgers and Curator Jill Chancey, the museum employed Anna Smith beginning in 2008 to digitize the collection. The LRMA website will contain a searchable database with images of every item in the collection as well as basic information about each object. This search tool will be invaluable for teachers, students and the general public– truly bringing the LRMA collection to the world.

George Bassi is Executive Director of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

LRMA will show Discovery Channel video series

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art invites the public to view When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions on consecutive Tuesdays May 25; June 1, 8, 15, and 22 at 2 p.m. in the LRMA Reading Room.

In conjunction with its current exhibition NASA|ART: 50 Years of Exploration, LRMA will show the landmark series which details 50 years of the National Air and Space Administration. There is no charge to attend the series.

Narrated by award-winning actor Gary Sinise and presented by the Discovery Channel, When We Left Earth is the incredible story of humankind’s greatest adventure, as it happened, told by the people who were there. From the early quest of the Mercury program to put a man in space, to the historic moon landings, through the Soyuz link-up and the first un-tethered space walk by Bruce McCandless, this is how the space age came of age.

"The story of NASA is really America’s story. People coming together with grit, audaciousness and determination to go—quite literally—where no man had gone before," said John Ford, President and General Manager, Discovery Channel. When We Left Earth is a story of great human courage, innovation and groundbreaking science and technology. We are proud to have played a part in preserving NASA’s film archives so that future generations can celebrate this glorious past and dream and build an even brighter future."

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is a private, non-profit organization operating for the benefit of the public. The Museum is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street in historic downtown Laurel. The galleries are open from 10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 - 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. For more information call 601-649-6374 or visit

Photo: The mighty Saturn V rocket lifts off. It was and still is the largest, most powerful rocket ever built and launched.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Summer Studio Classes at the Museum

Pottery Camp for Kids will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays - June 15, 17, 22, and 24 from either 10 a.m. until noon or 2 - 4 p.m. in the Carriage House Studio. Children must be entering K5 through 6th grade in the upcoming school year. Participants will be introduced to wheel-throwing, pinch, coil, and slab-building. Cost is $35 for members and $45 for non-members. Pottery Camp for Kids will be led by LRMA Education staff.

A Found Object Sculpture Class will be led by Jones County Junior College art instructor Mark Brown on Tuesdays and Thursdays - June 8, 10, 15, and 17 from 6 - 8 p.m. in the Carriage House Studio. Participants (ages Junior high to adult) should bring string, twine, wire, wood, metal or fabric from home. Cost is $40 for members and $50 for non-members.

A Jewelry Workshop will be taught by jewelry artist Robbin Lee on Saturdays, June 12 and July 10 from 10 a.m. until noon in the Carriage House Studio. Participants (ages Junior high to adult) will learn basic jewelry-making skills and leave with a finished piece. Cost of $10 per session plus cost of materials can be paid directly to Robbin Lee.

Summer Art Camp will be offered in two sessions this year. Participants may sign up for either July 13 - 16 or July 20 - 23, both from 10 a.m. until noon. Children must be entering K5 through 6th grade in the upcoming school year. "Art Detectives" will explore metal embossing, impasto painting, figurative ceramics, and printmaking. Cost is $45 for members and $55 for non-members. Summer Art Camp will be led by LRMA Education staff.

To register for the classes contact the Museum at 601.649.6374 or As class sizes are limited, reservation will only be held with payment.

Monday, May 03, 2010

At the Museum: Hester Bateman, Silversmith

One of the five collections at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is our British Georgian Silver Collection, which features silver objects related to the service of tea made during the reigns of the English kings George I, George II, George III, and George IV (overall, 1714-1830). During this period, the British began to import tea from China, and by the 1730s, it had superceded those other exotic imports, coffee and chocolate, as Britain’s favorite fancy beverage. By 1720, it had become the most expensive of all household goods due to enormous import taxes, and so it was kept locked away, carefully monitored by the lady of the house, and the serving of tea was a luxurious process requiring elegant equipment, from kettles to sugar tongs. By the end of the century, however, the taxes had been lowered, and the working classes’ usual afternoon drink, beer, had become rather more expensive. By 1800, nearly everyone in Britain was devoted to tea drinking, and it remains a staple of the British culture today.

The rise in tea’s popularity at first inspired its early adopters to buy imported Chinese tea equipment, but demand soon outstripped supply, providing Britain’s craftsmen and craftswomen with a considerable financial opportunity. Early British silver and porcelain was often inspired by Chinese designs, but soon British silver took on its own design vocabulary.

It was into this environment that the young Hester Bateman (née Needham) came of age. Born in 1708, she married a goldsmith, John Bateman, in 1730, and soon John Bateman’s workshop became a family business. The term “goldsmith,” at that time, referred to nearly anyone in the metal trades, from dealers to burnishers, regardless of which metal was actually being worked. It was in her husband’s workshop that Hester Bateman learned the trade and craft of silversmithing, as did all of her children but one. Little is known of her early life and work, as any work she did in her husband’s shop would have been marked with her husband’s trademark. If he sub-contracted to another, larger shop, that smith would then put his mark over Bateman’s. Because of the collaborative nature of the craft workshop, we know little of Hester Bateman’s creative development. Not until her husband’s death in 1760 did Hester’s creative vision dominate the workshop. She registered her own trademark in 1761; only widows of men with trademarks were allowed to do this. Single women and married women had to work under a man’s trademark. Because of this, it is uncertain how many women worked in the silver trades during the Georgian period. At least forty women registered trademarks during Bateman’s lifetime, but hundreds more worked in the trade without name recognition.

Bateman’s style tended to the Neo-Classical, the dominant style of the late 18th century. She borrowed decorative motifs from Greek and Roman precedents, and chose austere, elegant forms rather than richly decorated rococo forms, a popular style imported from the European continent. Her signature decoration of thin-line beading accented the forms without obscuring them. Within a decade of taking over the business, Bateman was tremendously popular, selling to the rising middle classes (as tea became more affordable) as well as to the usual silver patrons, the church and nobility.

There are sixteen pieces of Hester Bateman silver in the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art collection, ten of which are on display in the Silver Gallery. All exhibit her elegant, Classical forms and decoration and her attention to detail and craftsmanship. They include asparagus tongs, a sweetmeat basket, a very fine teapot, and a sugar basket. One might wonder about asparagus tongs at tea, but the British tradition of “High Tea” was something like a light mid-afternoon meal, and therefore included both sweet and savory items, such as soups and vegetables. The British Georgian Silver Collection came to the Museum in 1972 as a gift from Thomas and Harriet Gibbons, who once owned and published the Laurel Leader-Call.

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.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Free Family Art this Friday , April 30

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art offers a Free Family Art class this Friday, April 30 in the Museum Annex from 2 - 5 p.m. for children of all ages. The class will be led by Meridian Junior College art instructor Terrell Taylor, printmaker, and will include a printmaking activity based on the current LRMA exhibition NASA|ART: 50 Years of Exploration.

The class is free of charge and no reservation is required. For further information contact LRMA at 601.649.6374 or

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April Art Talk: Stephen Kirkpatrick

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will present Art Talk on Thursday, April 22 at noon in the American Gallery. In celebration of "Earth Day," the speaker will be wildlife photographer and author Stephen Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick's appreciation of nature began in childhood. His fascination with nature became a full time career when his father gave him his first camera in 1981. Since then, Kirkpatrick has published more than 2,900 photographs in books and magazines, including National Geographic Adventure, Sky, Skin Diver, Audubon, Gray's Sporting Journal, Natural History, Ducks Unlimited, Outdoor Photographer, BBC Wildlife, National Wildlife, and Sports Afield.

Kirkpatrick has published eleven pictorial coffee table books. His latest, Among the Animals: Mississippi, is his first children’s book. Kirkpatrick’s other titles include Images of Madison County, 25 years of shooting in his home county, Mississippi Impressions, a unique, pre-Hurricane Katrina look at Kirkpatrick’s home state, and Wilder Mississippi, a look at the state’s scenery and wildlife. Romancing the Rain, A Photographic Journey into the Heart of the Amazon was shot over nine years in the jungles of Peru. Kirkpatrick’s near-fatal experience on an ill-fated 1995 Amazon expedition is recounted in the gripping book Lost in the Amazon which was translated and published in Portuguese in 2008. The books Mississippi Impressions, Romancing the Rain, Wilder Mississippi, and Lost in the Amazon were written by Kirkpatrick’s wife, author Marlo Carter Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick’s work has earned international acclaim, garnering awards in several national and international photography competitions. Lost in the Amazon was the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association’s 2007 Book of the Year. Romancing the Rain was a winner in the 2003 Benjamin Franklin Awards and in the Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards, and was the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association’s 2003 Book of the Year.

Kirkpatrick’s coffee table book Wilder Mississippi was the winner of the 2002 National Outdoor Book Award and the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association’s 2002 Book of the Year. Kirkpatrick won first place in the National Wildlife Federation’s "International Photography Competition" in both 2007 and 2008. He also has twice been named a winner in the prestigious International Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition held in London, England.

Kirkpatrick is in demand as a featured speaker for national conferences and conventions. He has appeared on the syndicated television programs "Wild Things" and "At Home Live," the Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club," The Outdoor Channel's "Adventure Bound Outdoors," and on several PBS and outdoor network specials.

Art Talk, sponsored by West Quality Food Services, Inc., is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to use the North Garden Entrance and bring a sack lunch. Desserts and beverages will be provided. For more information, call LRMA at 601.649.6374 or visit the website

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So this is cool....

SomaFM's "Mission Control playlist:

According to Soma FM:

Mission Control: Celebrating NASA and Space Explorers everywhere

Live Space Shuttle STS-131 Shuttle Mission Coverage. (Astronaut sleep periods are from aproximately 9am-5pm pacific time so there isn't much activity during that period.)

Soma is playing space-themed music, interspersed with reports on the mission.

Temporary gallery closing

The Japanese Print gallery will be closed through the end of June.

Scholars and researchers, as always, are welcome to call and make an appointment with the curator or registrar if you need to see a particular work.

Come on in, the art is fine!

NASA|ART: 50 Years of Exploration is now wide open and ready for visitors. We had a great turnout to the opening reception last Thursday, and hundreds of visitors on Saturday for the free family art (and science) day. Come ready to spend some time with some of the great artists of the 20th century: Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Norman Rockwell, just to name a few. Bring your 3-D glasses to view Stephen Sprouse's dress made with Mars Rover imagery. Sit down and enjoy a video performance by the Kronos Quartet. There's even a "make your own galaxy" art activity. This show has a little something for everyone, young and old. We even have a special bonus exhibit of autographed astronaut photos and memorabilia in the Museum lobby, thanks to a generous loan from a private collection in Hattiesburg.

The exhibit is open through June 27, so do come and see us. As summer approaches, I like to remind people: it's free, and it's air-conditioned.

For more information about the show, visit our Exhibitions page.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday Concert Series: April 18, 2010

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will present the Sunday Concert Series along with the Hattiesburg Civic Chorus and Concert Association on Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m. in the LRMA American Gallery.

The concert Romantic Visions will feature the Impromptu Piano Quartet playing works by Felix Mendelssohn and Antonin Dvorak. The quartet is composed of USM faculty members - Stephen Redfield, violinist, Hsiaopei Lee, violist, Alexander Russakovsky, cellist, along with Jones County Junior College faculty member Theresa Sanchez, pianist.

Redfield performs with the baroque duo Haupt Musik. He has made solo appearances with numerous orchestras and has been featured in chamber music programs throughout the United States and abroad in Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Europe, and the Far East. His major teachers were Dorothy DeLay and Donald Weilerstein. He studied baroque violin with Lucy van Dael in Amsterdam. Redfield performs regularly with Santa Fe ProMusica and the Oregon Bach Festival and Sunriver Festival orchestras. As a concertmaster and soloist with the Victoria Bach Festival, his performances have been produced on CDs and broadcast on National Public Radio. This season he was a soloist with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and will soon be featured in Michael Daugherty’s "Ladder to the Moon," based on the life and art of Georgia O’Keeffe.

Lee has appeared as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician spanning three continents. A native of Taiwan, she received her fundamental musical training in Taipei, completed her master’s degree at Columbia University and holds a doctorate in viola and chamber music performance from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Her principle teachers include Masao Kawasaki, Catharine Carroll, Lee Fiser, Larry Fader and Ting-Hui Chen. She was previously a member of the viola faculty of the Starling Strings Project at the University of Cincinnati and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.

Russakovsky studied cello at the Leningrad Conservatory under renowned professors Emmanuel Fishman and Anatoli Nikitin. He received his bachelor’s degree from Jerusalem Rubin Academy, where he studied with Shmuel Magen, and his master’s degree from the Yale School of Music, studying with Aldo Parisot. He holds a doctorate in cello performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied with Geoffrey Rutkowski and Ron Leonard. A founding member of the Jerusalem String Quartet, Russakovky has performed with the group throughout Israel, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and France, along with numerous solo appearances. Dedicated to playing chamber music, Russakovsky has performed in the Spoleto Festival’s Chamber Music Series in Italy and with the Western Slope Music Festival in Bonefro, Italy. Russakovsky won the Angela and Maurice M. Clairmont Competition in Tel Aviv, the Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation Competition in Santa Barbara, the Charlotte and Alvin Bronstein Scholarship for the Arts from the Ohaj Festival, and the 1999 Career Grant of the Esperia Foundation. His orchestral engagements include Savannah Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, New Haven Symphony and Leningrad Philharmonic.

Dr. Sanchez pursues a varied performing career as a soloist and collaborative musician. She has presented recitals in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and has performed as soloist with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the USM Symphony Orchestra (including Southern Nights, a recent recording) and The Wind Ensemble. Playing with the Meridian Symphony Orchestra, she premiered and recorded Carey Smith’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Sanchez was the founding Artistic Administrator for the Vicksburg International Chamber Music Festival and performed with artists including Viennese baritone Benno Schollum, Alexandre Brussilovsky, Nathaniel Rosen, and Gary Gray. She performed from 2003 - 2006 with the International Music Institute in Pontlevoy, France, and joined the Touring Artist Roster of the Mississippi Arts Commission in 2003. She was previously on the music faculty at William Carey University. She was recently featured on WQXR (New York) Radio’s Reflections from the Keyboard and WMSV Radio’s High Notes.

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

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