Zonta Arts and Crafts Festival Celebrates 40th Anniversary

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The Zonta Club of Pascagoula celebrated their annual Arts and Crafts Festival on Saturday, October 28th. The festival was a huge success and brought out the largest crowd yet, despite the morning’s slight weather issues.

Attendees offered attractions for the young and old, art and music lovers, and commercial shoppers and foodies. It’s also a great event that brings business into the downtown shops of Pascagoula. Another draw of the festival are the two stages of live entertainment that includes performance groups and regional musical acts.

Hundreds of arts and crafts vendors showcased their merchandise in booths throughout down-town plaza in Pascagoula. This year‘s festival was supposed to happen three weeks ago, but hurricane Nate’s landfall that Saturday postponed the annual event.

The festival is hosted by the Zonta Club of Pascagoula, a local chapter of the international organization working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. Funds raised from the festival go to support community service projects that promote the status of women. 

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Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus Announces 6th Annual Young Artist Competition

The Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus has announced their annual Young Artists Vocal Competition for Saturday, October 28 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Jefferson Davis Campus) in Gulfport, Mississippi. 

The competition encourages vocalists ages 15-25  from all surrounding areas on the Gulf Coast (Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone and George County) to try out for the competition. 

Singers must prepare a solo from George Handel’s oratorio, Messiah, to be performed at the competition before an audience. Judges will rate each soloist for vocal techniques and presentation. Winners will receive an invitation to perform their solo with the Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus and Orchestra in December 2017. 

The Young Artists Vocal Competition is part of the Messiah Chorus’ ongoing educational program which seeks to stimulate interest in classical music among young singers. The Chorus hopes to instill the tradition of singing Handel’s Messiah in succeeding generations. 

Scholarships will also be awarded to to further their education or musical pursuits as well as complimentary student memberships with the Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus. 

Over the past five years, winning soloists have received more than $20,000 in scholarships funded in part by grants from the Bacon-McCarty Foundation.

Interested singers can find more information about the competition, including registration forms, at the Chorus website: new.messiahchorus.org. The final registration deadline is October 6, 2017. 

For further information, please contact YAVC Co-Chair, Roseanne Johnson-Fazo, at 228-243-1209.

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Fall Dance Festival 2017

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The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center is presenting the 2nd annual Fall Dance Festival on September 30, 2017 in Ocean Springs, MS!
 
FDF2017 is a day of master classes, networking opportunities and performances that celebrate southern modern dance choreographers and educate the MS Gulf Coast about the art of modern dance.
 
Modern Dance emerged as a rebellion to classical ballet in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Early pioneers of the dance technique stopped wearing corsets and pointe shoes in order to achieve more freedom of movement and expression in their bodies. A new, innovative technique began to form based on both natural and abstract movements of the human body. Modern dance continued to evolve into postmodern dance and finally into what is known as contemporary dance today. With every new generation of dance artists, unique styles and techniques evolved such as free dance, performance art, contact improvisation, release technique, improvisation, dance theater, authentic movement, Gaga, dance on film and many more.
 
Last year’s Fall Dance Festival 2016 was a great success! We had three dance companies from New Orleans, LA (Tsunami Dance, KM Dance Project and Known Mass) teach master classes and perform their original dance pieces. We also presented Leif Anderson and Summer Baldwin’s first duet together, 40 Years Between Us. FDF2016 also included an Informal Choreography Showcase which featured the work of emerging, southern dance artists such as Vaughn Dance, Selah Arts Collaborative, Delarence Collins Dance, Sarah Pitts and Catalina Reyna.
 
Fall Dance Festival 2017 is going to be even bigger than last year! Kelly Ferris Lester, University of Southern Mississippi Associate Professor of Dance, will be teaching a somatic-based dance class and presenting two original dance pieces. One of her pieces, People Issues, incorporates dance, spoken word and interactive props, as a way of investigating societal norms of body image, gender, race and major events in America
 
Sharon Leahy, National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellow, will be teaching a Dance on Film master class and presenting her most recent dance film, Ground Fine. FDF2017 is excited to support the work of Ocean Springs’ very own, Leif Anderson. Leif will be performing an improvised dance piece in the evening showcase and sharing her dance figure drawings in the lobby of The Mary C. during the festival.
 
Other classes include Creative Movement for Kids with local teacher/performing artist, Summer Baldwin, and Modern Dance Technique with Hattiesburg dance artist, Katie Erin Ginn. The festival also provides a platform for emerging artists to meet and learn from established dance artists with a free networking event (Share Dance Meetup) hosted by the Mississippi Dance Leader Alliance. The Share Dance Meetup includes a panel discussion with professional artists from multiple genres of dance including modern dance, dance on film, ballet and dance team.
 
The festival concludes with a Young Artists Showcase for dance artists 17 and under to share their own choreography and a Dance Film + Formal Choreography Showcase which features the work of both emerging and established dance artists in the south.
 
Come celebrate the art of modern dance either by taking a class, seeing a performance or both!  
Buy your tickets today at www.themaryc.org/tickets
 
Sponsored by: Carter & Jordan Law, Robert & Judie Baldwin and Ron Hall
Presented by: The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center 
Founded/Created by: Summer Baldwin
 
 
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What You Need to Know for the Gulf Coast Blues and Heritage Festival

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues and Heritage Festival is back to celebrate 26 years of blues, good food and a great time this weekend.  

The festival will be held on Saturday, September 9 from 12-10 pm at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Pascagoula. The price for tickets are $15 advance and $20 the day of the show. 

The festival features a lively array of southern soul, blues, zydeco, and gospel acts. It originally started in Biloxi, but has outgrown itself and its festival goers to a new location and a new audience. Phyllis Owens, President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues Commission, says the festival has expanded its interest to host younger blues entertainers, as well as younger festival attendees. 

“It seems the crowd is getting younger each year. And that’s what we hope to do-continue the legacy of blues by including young ambassadors of the blues to become more involved”, says Owens.

Over 1,200 visitors are expected to attend this year, with some traveling all the way to the Gulf Coast from cities such as Chicago and Memphis to be a part of the longest running blues festivals in the Deep South. 

The featured artists this year include: André Lee, legendary Carl Sims, Columbus Toy, Yazoo Bayou Band, Donna Renae, Ms. Charli “Creole Diva” and many more. 

“The festival brings people and families together through their love and passion for the blues and is an important social event for many local organizations”, says Owens. “We hope this will serve as a signature event for the city of Pascagoula in hopes to increase interest in music amongst younger audiences in Jackson County,” said Owens. 

If you would like to find out more information about the festival, visit msgulfcoastbluesfest.com

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Chevron Honored For Diversity Practices

MS-Honors Chevron Honored For Diversity PracticesRefinery employee Allison Cook (right) accepts Chevron’s award from ourMississippi publisher Wesley Wells.

For the second year in a row, Chevron was honored for the company’s diversity efforts at the annual ourMississippi Honors Gala in Tupelo, Miss. Over 300 people attended the fourth annual event, which was hosted by ourMississippi Magazine to recognize Mississippi corporations for their efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion. Famed actor John Amos was the keynote speaker for the evening. “We should certainly take pride in the Pascagoula Refinery’s culture of inclusion and diversity,” said Anne Marie Hensley, CIS manager and management sponsor of the refinery’s Inclusion and Diversity Council. “This award is recognition of years of focused effort to build a culture where every individual is valued, empowered and engaged. “We should also view this honor as a reminder that we still have work to do,” Hensley continued. “Clearly, we are on the right track.” For more information about the event, visit www.ourmississippimag.com.

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TONIGHT: Songs and Stories at the Mary C. O’ Keefe Cultural Center

The Mississippi Songwriters Alliance and the Mary C. O’ Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education bring you ‘Songs and Stories: Live Show’.

This week’s performance will be featuring Chris and Camille Wallin. This country duet couple has made a big name for themselves in the music industry and have worked or collaborated with many artists and bands.

Chris Wallin has established himself as one of Nashville’s most sought-after songwriters. Some of Wallin’s biggest hits include, “Love Me If You Can” by Toby Keith; “Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney; “I’m Tryin” by Trace Adkins; “You’re in My Head” by Brian McComas, “Something to Be Proud Of”; “Speed” by Montgomery Gentry and “People Loving People” by Garth Brooks.

In the various road groups she has played, Camille, otherwise known as ‘Hericane’, has opened for The Georgia Satellites, Dr. Hook, Johnny Paycheck, Mel McDaniel, Montgomery Gentry, George Jones, Mark Chestnut, Darryl Singletary and many others. Her song, “All You Gotta Do”, is the theme song for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Dakota.

Chris and Camille will be performing tonight at 7:00 pm and the admission is free. Donations will be accepted. For more information, please contact the Mary C. O’ Keefe Cultural Center at 228-818-2878.

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B.Y.O. Brush offers alternate night out

When the weather doesn’t allow for any outdoor fun, and bowling just seems like it’s been done, what else is there to do when you want a night out in Jackson County? One answer comes in the B.Y.O Brush Studio in Ocean Springs.

Participants can walk into the studio thinking they can’t even draw a stick figure and leave with a masterpiece that they created.

“I’ve always been creative, but I didn’t really know how to teach a whole lot,” said owner Angie Sims. “Now I don’t even paint for myself or anything, but I like to do the instruction, talking to people and helping them realize they can do something they think they can’t do. Most of the classes, they get a blank canvas, and I walk them through the drawing, just starting with simple shapes and walking them through the process.”

Sims didn’t always think she would make her living from painting. 

“I had the gift shop in downtown Ocean Springs for 13 years, The Very Thing,” Sims said. “One night I was with my Bunco group, and I asked if they wanted to do a paint class instead, and things just went from there. I went to school and majored in business education with art. I wanted to go the interior design route. I’ve always been kind of artsy and stuff, but never really painted a whole lot. But then I started doing paint portraits and someone saw what I was doing and said I could make a living off of it. One night I had a class of 30, and that made me realize we needed a bigger space. We’ve been in this location here for roughly 5 years.”

Sims always tries to stress that anyone could participate in a painting event at B.Y.O. Brush, no matter the experience with painting. 

“Part of it was just to kind of get together and loosen up,” she said. “It’s not a structured art class, and wine helps. We allow people to bring whatever drink and some food that they might want, and it helps get people talking and relaxing. I guess what I always keep in my mind is that it’s not really about the painting but more about the challenge. I push people outside the box, and people feel rewarded when they see what they created. Just push yourself outside the box in a lighthearted atmosphere. I like to think we’re selling the atmosphere plus the challenge plus the reward of creating something.”

While participants can bring wine or other alcoholic beverages, this isn’t fun reserved for only adults.

“Almost everyone that tries it comes back; they are hooked on it,” Sims said. “We have a huge following all over the coast and have a bunch of people come from all over. It’s something fun to do, whether it’s with the kids or teenagers or young adults or newlyweds. I work with kids that may have never even seen a paint brush before. I would say it’s good clean fun, but it’s not clean because you’re gonna get paint all over you. We’ve also started doing trivia night and themed painting nights. You don’t have to drink. Just bring something, a jug of water or tea to relax, and hopefully you feel like you’re at home.”

For more information about B.Y.O. Brush Studio, including the calendar of events, visit their website or like the Facebook page.

When the weather doesn’t allow for any outdoor fun, and bowling just seems like it’s been done, what else is there to do when you want a night out in Jackson County? One answer comes in the B.Y.O Brush Studio in Ocean Springs.

Participants can walk into the studio thinking they can’t even draw a stick figure and leave with a masterpiece that they created.

“I’ve always been creative, but I didn’t really know how to teach a whole lot,” said owner Angie Sims. “Now I don’t even paint for myself or anything, but I like to do the instruction, talking to people and helping them realize they can do something they think they can’t do. Most of the classes, they get a blank canvas, and I walk them through the drawing, just starting with simple shapes and walking them through the process.”

Sims didn’t always think she would make her living from painting. 

“I had the gift shop in downtown Ocean Springs for 13 years, The Very Thing,” Sims said. “One night I was with my Bunco group, and I asked if they wanted to do a paint class instead, and things just went from there. I went to school and majored in business education with art. I wanted to go the interior design route. I’ve always been kind of artsy and stuff, but never really painted a whole lot. But then I started doing paint portraits and someone saw what I was doing and said I could make a living off of it. One night I had a class of 30, and that made me realize we needed a bigger space. We’ve been in this location here for roughly 5 years.”

Sims always tries to stress that anyone could participate in a painting event at B.Y.O. Brush, no matter the experience with painting. 

“Part of it was just to kind of get together and loosen up,” she said. “It’s not a structured art class, and wine helps. We allow people to bring whatever drink and some food that they might want, and it helps get people talking and relaxing. I guess what I always keep in my mind is that it’s not really about the painting but more about the challenge. I push people outside the box, and people feel rewarded when they see what they created. Just push yourself outside the box in a lighthearted atmosphere. I like to think we’re selling the atmosphere plus the challenge plus the reward of creating something.”

While participants can bring wine or other alcoholic beverages, this isn’t fun reserved for only adults.

“Almost everyone that tries it comes back; they are hooked on it,” Sims said. “We have a huge following all over the coast and have a bunch of people come from all over. It’s something fun to do, whether it’s with the kids or teenagers or young adults or newlyweds. I work with kids that may have never even seen a paint brush before. I would say it’s good clean fun, but it’s not clean because you’re gonna get paint all over you. We’ve also started doing trivia night and themed painting nights. You don’t have to drink. Just bring something, a jug of water or tea to relax, and hopefully you feel like you’re at home.”

For more information about B.Y.O. Brush Studio, including the calendar of events, visit their website or like the Facebook page.

 

Angie Sims, started in 2012, i had the gift shop downtown ocean springs for 13 years, the very thing, um just by kind of accident asked my bunko group if they wanted to do a paint class and it just started from there and realized it was a lot easier than retail at the time, thought this was going to be a part time thing, got a part time small studio place, did a head count one night and saw 30 people so we decided we needed a biger place went ahead and rented this place been there nearly 5 years, always odne that, went to shcool and majored in business education with art, wanted to go interior design route which i did do that when I had my business, some furniture and lamps so I did interiro design for 10 years in that, always been kinda artsy and stuff never really painted a whole lot for myself, started painting in the very thing, something was going on so i just started painting stuff and selling pet portraits online people would ask me to show them and was suggested to make a living, always been creative didn’t really know how to teach a whole lot but now don’t paint for myself or anything but like to do the instruction thing, talk to people and help them realize they can do something they think they can’t do, most of the classes they get a blank canvas and I walk them through the drawing, start with simple shapes and walk them through, part of it was just to kind of get together and loosen up some peole come by themselves and you can tell they are a little uptight but they leave their fine try to relax some, not a structured art class, take the brush and draw a circle, wine helps allow people to bring whatever drink and some food, get people talking, get a lot of girl groups, never really thought this would be a full time don’t know if I even consider it to be a full-time, i am here full time because we have gotten so big it’s a lot more work now but i’ve got new girls and good girls and traning, actual work isn’t hard just my part as an owner is doing a lot of the steps, paying payroll, what’s gonna sell what’s not gonna sell, (dad made me take business classes not business savvy don’t really keep up with numbers but worked for me) doesn’t feel like a job, i’m very greatful, it’s easy, the whole reward part of it is coming in at night and having a class and they realize they can do something, work with kids and fieldtrips kids maybe have never seen a paintbrush that’s what I like the people and teaching, the challenge is how am I going to relay this to them, guess what I always keep in my m ind it’s not really about the parining but more about the challenge i push people outside the box and people feel rewarded when they see what they created, just want to do something different, not too many things to do, push yourslef outside the box, lighthearted atmosphere, think that it’s in my mind we’re more selling the atmosphere plus the challenge the reward is you actually like what you take, most everyone comes back, are hooked on it, the ability to challenge you, we have a huge folliwng all of the coast, have a bunch of people come from all over, it’s something to do whether its the kids or teenagers or young adults or new adults, would say good clean fun but it’s not clean because you’re gonna get paint all over you, been teaming up with some restaurants, couple restaurants really into networking together and fun to get out of the shop and just something different, started doing trivia night and themes, you don’t have to drink, just bring something, jug of wter or tea to relax and hopefully you feel like you’re at home, push the box, i would have never known i could do this or wanted to do this if I hadn’t pushed the box, if you don’t ever push the box you never know, as far as keeping on top of it, i’ll paint on anything, i saw and old wallet and I thougt i should paint on it, 

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Shearwater Pottery stays alive in Ocean Springs

One of the unique forms of art that calls Jackson County home is Shearwater Pottery, which has continued through the ages thanks to the Anderson family.

“[Shearwater Pottery] was founded in 1928 by Peter Anderson, and Peter founded the pottering doing throwing and glaze ware,” explained Business Manager Beth Ashley. “Then a couple years later his brothers Walter and Mac joined. They designed figurines and decorated pots. We continue on as a family today to make pottery.”

According to the business’s website, Shearwater Pottery is crafted using two distinct clay bodies. First, a white bodied clay from Tennessee is used to create “underglaze” castware. The cast pieces are hand painted or originally decorated. A buff bodied clay made largely from clay obtained from local Mississippi and Alabama sources is used to create thrown, jiggered or cast pieces, and, unless decorated, is glazed with one of Shearwater’s unique glazes.

“We continue to do Walter and Mac figurines, and we have younger generations doing their own decorative ware,” Ashley said. Three of Peter’s four children are still active in the ongoing production of Shearwater Pottery.

Establishments like Shearwater Pottery help continue Jackson County’s artistic history.

“My great-grandmother always wanted to see an art colony on the Coast,” Ashley said. “She had bought this property in 1917 with that kind of goal in mind, so I think it has become an art colony, especially our Ocean Springs community, but in general Jackson County. I think having a business like this go back that long has encouraged other artists as well.”

For anyone interested in Shearwater Pottery, check out the products and workshop at 102 Shearwater Drive in Ocean Springs.

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Museum preserves nationally-celebrated artwork

Tucked away on Washington Avenue in downtown Ocean Springs is the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, one of the many celebrations of Jackson County’s influencers.

According to the museum’s website, Walter Inglis Anderson is celebrated as an American master, whose depictions of the plants, animals, and people of the Gulf Coast have placed him among the foremost of American painters of the 20th Century.

“Here we preserve the works of Walter and his two brothers, Mac and Peter,” said WAMA Director of Development Corey Christie. “I’d say about 90 percent of the museum collection is made up of Walter’s works, but we also host other artists that are in line with his work.”

Currently, the museum is also housing the works of Memphis College of Art students, faculty and alumni. For the past three decades, the group has taken a summer trip to Horn Island in search of inspiration for their art, much in the same way Walter Anderson did during his lifetime.

“It’s a new way of seeing what he might have done were he alive today,” Christie said.

With Mississippi, and the Gulf Coast especially, home to so many notable artists, preserving the works of the Anderson family is a way to keep a part of the city’s history alive.

“Ocean Springs is kind of an art town, and this is kind of where it started,” Christie said. “Not only does the museum preserve the artwork, but it is an asset for the local economy as well. People come from all over the visit the museum, but when they visit, that’s not all they do here. They’ll stay in the hotels or eat at the local restaurants.”

The museum is sponsored by Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, Paddles Up, Jackson County, Ocean Springs Live and Alexander, Van Loon, Sloan, Levens & Favre accounting.

Museum hours are 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. on Sundays. For more details, visit their website.

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LaPointe-Krebs house sees renovations

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One of Jackson County’s hidden gems is undergoing renovations so that it will stay around for generations to come.

Located in Pascagoula, the LaPointe-Krebs house is the oldest structure in Mississippi and the oldest confirmed building in the entire Mississippi Valley.

“We did a dendrochronological study through experts at the University of Southern Mississippi, and the center room dates back to 1757,” said Mack Wixon, Executive Director at the La-Pointe-Krebs Foundation. “Additions to the house were built in 1762 and more in the 1790s. This is also the only surviving tabby structure on the Gulf Coast.” Tabby structures are made with a unique type of concrete that used oyster shells.

“It’s a direct tie to colonial times and a focal point in Pascagoula and Jackson County,” Wixon added. “It’s also one of the most important archeological sites on the Gulf Coast. Evidence on the property has been found of Native Americans, which dates back roughly ten thousand years. The area is virtually unchanged since then, except for the more modern museum that was built in 1986 or so.”

All of these reasons mean that keeping the LaPointe-Krebs house standing is extremely important to the community.

“The house needed attention even before Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” Wixon said. “Restorations have been performed beginning in the 1950s, but now we are trying to address any and all problems the house might have. We finally got a concrete base on it. The west room had sunk down a foot and half, so we raised the entire left side of the house back to level. We’re trying to make sure another storm won’t take the house anytime soon.”

Now that structural improvements are complete, the next phase involves restoring the aesthetic aspects of the house.

“Next we want to address the room, walls, and aspects of the interior,” Wixon said.

While it took roughly a year for the structural renovations to be completed, further renovations are expected to take longer.

“We don’t really have a set date for completion because restoration projects like these can be very expensive,” Wixon explained. “We want to make sure we are doing everything to the best of our ability and using the latest technology, so money is a factor for this restoration. However, if I had to give a ballpark estimate, I would say we hope to have everything finished in two and a half years.”

Even during renovations, the museum is still open to visitors.

“People can visit Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.,” Wixon said.”The house has a real cultural significance that can’t be matched. It features amazing architectural techniques that haven’t been seen in hundreds of years. It’s a colonial gem.

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