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 www.msa.k12.ms.us or can be requested over the phone, by email: admissions@mde.k12.ms.us, 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 www.LRMA.org.

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 www.LRMA.org.