Pascagoula High School will be home to new $14.7 million Performing Arts Center

Pascagoula-Arts-Center-Rendering Pascagoula High School will be home to new $14.7 million Performing Arts Center

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Pascagoula-Gautier School District recently began construction on the new Performing Arts Center on the Pascagoula High School grounds. When completed, it will be the most high-tech performing arts center on the Gulf Coast besides the Hancock Performing Arts Center in Hancock County. The center will cost $14.7 million and will be owned by the school district.

Construction has already begun and is set to be completed around Christmas 2019, according to Wayne Rodolfich, superintendent of the Pascagoula-Gautier School District. 

The center will have a surround sound movie projection system, a rear projection system with the ability to digitally project a backdrop, space for a 160-piece band on the stage as well as proper floor capacity for dance performances. It will have more than 700 seats with wider seating than traditional performing arts centers, three classrooms, a catering kitchen, warm up rooms and a beautifully designed foyer area. The entire building will be able to be operated by an iPad.

All of these add up to many uses for the center including youth and children’s groups showing movies, orchestra and band performances, dance shows, church groups, banquets, large-scale meetings, and many more. Rodolfich said the goal is to make the space available to anyone in the community that wants to use it.

“It’s just going to be a game changer for this community,” Rodolfich said. “We saw this as an opportunity not only to improve the quality of life for the children of our district but also to improve the quality of life for the people of Pascagoula, Mississippi.”

It was important to have the center on the school’s campus so that the students can walk to it from the school and that certain classes can have class in there during the day.

“We’re trying to build venues around our children,” Rodolfich said, adding that having the center on the school’s property will make it easier for them to secure the facility and maintain it.

The Performing Arts Center is part of the PGSD’s Strategic Plan. It has been discussed for years and now the school is moving forward. In fall 2017, the school district asked for a 4-mill tax hike to pay for the facility. This was put on hold in September but reinstated in March 2018.

“It’s a time where Pascagoula needs to put as many amenities in place as possible. It’s a great investment,” Rodolfich said. “That facility will be here for years to come for children and adults, and it will really be an asset to this community.”

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Blues at the Beach Continues This Friday

Blues-at-the-Beach-Crowd-Use Blues at the Beach Continues This Friday

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The next Blues at the Beach show will be held on Friday, May 11, at Pascagoula Beach Park from 6 to 8 p.m. with local band Slick Radio performing. The show is free and open to the public.

This is the seventh year for Blues at the Beach programming and attendance has steadily increased each year. The monthly events held annually during the summer months are planned by Emerge Pascagoula as a way to help the local community kick off the weekend.

“It’s a free music event to bring locals of all ages out into the community as well as to showcase some of Pascagoula’s great outdoor venues,” said Landon McCarty, Emerge Pascagoula co-chair. “It’s a great transition on Fridays between work and a night on the town.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair and can bring food, beverages, and spirits to the show. The events are family friendly.

This year’s summer schedule kicked off in April with the Truitt Williams Band. June’s show will feature Ric McNaughton from Mobile on June 8. On July 13, Black Water Brass will be playing, and Deuces Wild will play on Aug. 10.

Emerge was formed under the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s Pascagoula Area Council. Emerge exists to recruit, develop, connect, retain, and empower emerging leaders to improve the quality of life in Pascagoula by advancing the group’s interests into real changes that will make the city a better place to live, work, and play.

For more information on upcoming shows and locations, find Emerge Pascagoula on Facebook. You can also email to get on the monthly newsletter list.

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1699 Weekend of Discovery: Celebrating Our Heritage

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Ocean Springs – In 1971, a group of dedicated citizens formed the 1699 Historical Society in order to preserve and celebrate the unique culture and history of Ocean Springs and the surrounding Gulf Coast.

Every spring, the Society stages a dramatic reenactment as the showcase of its annual “Weekend of Discovery.” The event brings to life the April 1699 story of Pierre LeMoyne Sieur d’Iberville and his armada of ships sailing into Biloxi Bay. Commissioned by King Louis XIV to explore the shores of the upper Gulf of Mexico, he and his expedition crew first discovered Ship Island before stumbling upon a high, defendable bluff, known today as Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Stopher Haug, chairman of the event this year, believes it’s important to help the public realize the significance of the landing. “I think that the culture and the heritage and influence that the d’Iberville landing had on the Gulf South in 1699 is essentially equivalent to the Jamestown landing in the Northeast back in 1603,” said Stopher. “So we’ve worked hard to try to get that message out and bring the history to life.”

The weekend kicks off Friday night with the Mary C. House Party featuring the Mardi Gras Indian Collective from New Orleans. Admission to the event is free, but donation opportunities abound with a full bar, art auction, and a Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament. Festivities resume Saturday morning and include a 5K race, kids fun-run, paddleboard races, pet parade, a regatta at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club and will wrap up with the 1699 d’Iberville reenactment. Haug says he hopes everyone goes back home having had a great time at the event, but also with a greater knowledge and appreciation for the significance of the 1699 landing. “One thing that we would like folks to be aware of is that we’ve partnered with the Vancleave Live Oak Choctaw, who descend from original native Americans that were here in 1699. We’ve been working with them to try and bring more authenticity and historical accuracy to the reenactment this year and to recognize their culture and contributions as well.”

Everyone is invited to join in this exciting time and become a part of this commemorative celebration!

Learn more by visiting

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Business of the Week: The HannaBerry Workshop

hannaberry Business of the Week: The HannaBerry Workshop

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Ocean Springs – The HannaBerry Workshop is a multi-disciplinary design and fabrication studio, founded in Jackson, MS by collaborative artisan team – Sarah Qarqish and Morgan Welch. Since first opening their doors in 2013, the two artists have focused on creating fine art and furniture by blending fresh new ideas and technology with traditional design and fabrication practices. The Workshop also dabbles in graphic design, architecture, cabinetry, interiors and signage; all of which can be customized to suit your need or preferences.

Recently adding “husband and wife” to their list of partnerships, the design duo says the success of their business is a direct result of teamwork and good communication. “Everything that comes out of our studio has been created by the both of us,” says Morgan. “Usually our best work is a result of Sarah having a crazy idea that I have to engineer; and then we work together to make it a reality.” Depending on the scale of the project, the team will spend anywhere from several days to several weeks in the shop; researching, sketching, and gathering the materials needed in order to begin fabrication. Any number of techniques may be used during the production of a HannaBerry design – utilizing new, cutting-edge technology, as well as century-old techniques in order to perfect their heirloom quality works of art. As with most artists – and married couples – Sarah and Morgan approach their work and design processes from very different perspectives.

Not always see eye-to-eye, the pair says they have had to learn to embrace each other’s passions when collaborating on a new piece together. “We both know utilizing each other’s strengths and being aware of each other’s weaknesses is essential in keeping things running smoothly,” said Sarah. “Where we end up when we meet in the middle; that’s when we know we’ve created something special.”

As frequent visitors of Ocean Springs, Sarah and Morgan have always felt a pull to the area; a “calling from the coast” one may say. When it could no longer be ignored, they finally decided to answer that call and relocated to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to expand their studio/workshop. The couple has been beyond grateful for the wonderful reception they’ve received from both the creative community and the public. It didn’t take long for the pair to connect with other local artists and designers, providing them the opportunity to collaborate on several projects designed for the public here on the coast.

“The organic designs and patterns we create within our art and furniture seem to really fit the coastal atmosphere here. Our work has often been described as having a shell-like design, so we have had fun exploring the idea of our furniture being out in public places here in town,” said Sarah. “We’re excited about the impact living on the coast could have on our life and work… we’re just getting started here!”

Learn more about The HannaBerry Workshop here!

Remember to support your local artists and businesses! We are proud they call Jackson County Home!

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Spring Arts Festival: Herb, Garden & Art

The annual Spring Arts Festival in downtown Ocean Springs celebrated its 25th year last weekend. Over 150 vendors participated and, while the numbers are still being calculated, it is estimated to have had around 15,000 visitors. The event is looked forward to each year by festival-goers from near and far as well as the local gardening and art communities.

“We are so proud of the amazing turnout of 150 vendors and Nearly 15,000 visitors this year.  The turnout numbers are still being calculated. The weather was amazing and our community and visitors alike were able to get out and find unique arts, crafts and get their green thumb ready for Spring! -We were excited to introduce new vendors and a variety of demonstrations.” ~ Cynthia Dobbs Sutton, Ocean Springs Chamber – Mainstreet – Tourism Bureau

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Jackson County Campus hosts “Sight & Sensibility: A Lady’s Perspective” Art Exhibit

The MGCCC Jackson County Fine Arts Gallery announces the opening of the exhibit “Sight & Sensibility: A Lady’s Perspective” by Saucier, Mississippi, artist Sherry Carlson.  The exhibit will be open to the public March 8-April 19, with an opening reception at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 8.

Carlson received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alabama, and is the past president of the Gulf Coast Art Association. She is extremely active with several regional art organizations and events, and is currently represented by The Pink Rooster Gallery in Ocean Springs.

artwork-wc-Frida-at-the-Door-206x300-2 Jackson County Campus hosts “Sight & Sensibility: A Lady’s Perspective” Art Exhibit

“Frida at the Door” by artist Sherry Carlson

“My work reflects an intimate interaction within my immediate community and home,” she said. “People, objects and nature are interpreted by the relationship we share.  A rich history is reflected in rusted and worn surfaces, skin imperfections, textures and surfaces. Some of these are seen so frequently in passing that they cease to be acknowledged in real life, settling into the background with nature overtaking and changing them.  I seek to see my surroundings in different lights, to appreciate their histories and character. Through stopping to capture the moment in paint, I hope to slow others down enough to take notice of who, what or where exists right in front of them.”

She works mostly in watercolor on a mid-weight cold-pressed Arches sheet. “The fluid and transparent nature of the medium allows a view of previous histories of color, and the surface can easily be given a faux impression of texture or a physical scraping,” she said. “Detail is last and can be left to the viewer’s imagination. Composition, darks and lights, then color take precedence.  Even with busy subjects, I strive to have a calm, comfortable, familiar feel to my paintings. They are meant to have the viewer linger, have sensations of ambient noise, want to touch them.”

While she prefers plein air painting, many of her pieces originate from photographs or thumbnail sketches. “My teaching and art groups have honed my ability to tune out external distractions while zoning in on the sensations I wish to keep in the paintings. The ultimate goal is for the viewer to feel what I felt about my subject while I was creating the painting.”

The Jackson County Campus Fine Arts Gallery hours are 9 a.m. -3 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information, contact Marc Poole at 228-497-7684.

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Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor

wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor

Original post from Southern Miss Now. Courtesy of David Tisdale.

From a young girl doodling on her notepad to shaping steel as an art student at The University of Southern Mississippi, Kelsey Wishik has engaged in creative action as long as she can remember.

That creative action earned Wishik, a multimedia artist from Ocean Springs, Miss. a prominent place in the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) fifth installment of its exhibition series, titled “Heavy Metal – Women to Watch 2018” after being chosen by a national jury to be the state’s representative for the event.  

According to a news release from the NMWA, “Heavy Metal – Women to Watch 2018,” set for June 28 – Sept. 16, will feature “contemporary artists working in metal to investigate the physical properties and expressive possibilities of metalwork through a wide variety of objects, including sculpture, jewelry, and conceptual forms.” The exhibit also “engages with the fluidity between ‘fine’ art, design, and craft categories, whose traditional definitions are rooted in gender discrimination.”


“Women to Watch” is presented every three years in a collaboration between the museum and its national and international outreach committees.

“I feel honored and humbled to be a part of this incredible showing,” said Wishik, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from USM in 2014. “It has added a lot of heat to a fire of inspiration already burning [in me] to keep creating, learning, and mastering my craft and skills, and reminds me that we are all ambassadors of culture, in a way.”

wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor
wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor

The exhibition provides Wishik the opportunity to show several of her pieces, alongside a published statement of her work. She will attend the opening reception to connect with other contributors and facilitators, and speak to an international forum the next day about her work and artistic vision. 

“It’s a unique opportunity to share not only my academic studies and technical skills, but my insights, inspirations, passions, and hopes for future projects and potential collaborations,” Wishik said. 

Reflecting on her still young career as an artist, Wishik looks back at her childhood doodling and the stories and songs she wrote that for her gave life a narrative quality, as the genesis for her success.

“Even as a kid, just walking around, I saw so many things speaking through life, through other people, and through nature,” Wishik said. “Some of these fascinations became content for early work, but it was when I discovered abstract art and surrealism around the age of 13 that I became deeply enamored with creating art, and experimenting with what I was capable of through poetry, art, and music.

“Creating art is how I process and revere my experience. Sometimes I apply it for the sake of sheer curiosity, because studying something brings you closer to understanding it. Other times, creation comes with the sense of purging, that I am letting something go, or even inviting something in.”

Wishik loves all the materials she works with in her art for different reasons, but is most enamored with the steel medium. “Something that seems so rigid, hard, and cold can actually yield to being shaped, changed, and warmed quite easily,” she said. “Working with steel is my humble study of this concept on a small scale. I enjoy being able to apply considerable force to something, and shape it with my intention as well. I get that out of the steel fabrication process.”

wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor


Wishik points to American sculptor and printmaker Lee Bontecou as a role model. “Her work is fantastic and otherworldly,” she said. “It shows great contemplative power and evidence of many years of immersion into her fascinations and self-education of those forms.”

After attending Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Wishik transferred to Southern Miss, where she received several scholarships that included the Fred A. Waits Scholarship; the Trustmark Bank Arts Scholarship; the Thelma Johnson Arts Scholarship; and the William Clark Art Scholarship.

Wishik said USM’s “incredible facilities, which offer a breadth of possibilities in many mediums” and proximity to home influenced her decision to choose the university.

“I’m proud of the work I did at USM in steel, because I really took the opportunity to immerse in the studio environment, and take advantage of the resources of both studio and creative community,” she said. “I was able to explore creative work processes in clay, metals, wood, fabric, foam, plaster, and many other materials. It helped me grow my skills quite quickly.”

Jennifer Torres, professor of art at USM and a mentor for Wilshik, said her former student is “exemplary, full of talent and intelligence.”

“What makes her exceptional is the way she attacks life as a whole, and explores the world without regard for boundaries or limitations that others might impose,” Torres said. “She is such a shining light and great example of what we wish for all our students to be, as well as a great ambassador for our program and the University as a whole.”

For Wishik, art isn’t contained on a canvas or in a studio – it’s everywhere. “The world is art. The world is in constant flux — a constant act of transformation and reflection of forces at work,” she said. “The word ‘art’ aside, we are creating at every moment. We can’t help it. We interact with our environment and impress upon it through our thoughts, actions, and speech.

“I think when the art process becomes true magic is when we invite it in intentionally. The process of creating can cultivate concentration, develop our emotions and empathy, and encourage abstract thought.”

Wishik’s advice to current and aspiring artists is to avoid artificial restrictions that suffocate creativity. “Focus your mind and intention where there is vastness, space to roam and imagine – do not waste your mind’s capacity on that which is decided for you without exploration or work, including unexplored limitations, doubts, or self-defeating mindsets,” she said. “These are some key truths I’ve found, and applicable in any setting.”

Learn more about and view Wishik’s work at For more information about the National Museum of Women in the Arts, visit
For information about the USM Department of Art and Design, visit 

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MGCCC Jackson County Campus Fine Arts Gallery opens “Seasons” art exhibit

IMG_2015-300x263-1 MGCCC Jackson County Campus Fine Arts Gallery opens “Seasons” art exhibit

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The MGCCC Jackson County Campus Fine Arts Gallery is proud to announce the opening of the exhibit “Seasons” by Mississippi artist Terry Cherry.  The exhibit opened to the public on January 11 and will run until February 22.  An opening reception will be held on Thursday, February 1 at 12:15PM.

Cherry, a native of Lubbock, Texas, received his education at East Mississippi Community College, Mississippi State University, and Mississippi College.  He is one of the Southeast’s premiere watercolor painters.  An accomplished workshop instructor, demonstrator, lecturer, and juror, Terry currently teaches at East Mississippi Community College.

A signature member and two-time president of the Mississippi Watercolor Society, Cherry has had his work featured in one-man shows, group exhibitions, competitions, and outdoor festivals throughout the country, he has exhibited in such varied venues as Watercolor USA, the Mississippi Watercolor Society Grand National, the Texas Watercolor Society, Terrance Gallery (New York, NY), Arts in the Park (Meridian), the MMA Bi-State, Watercolor Southeast, the Southern Watercolor Society Annual Juried Competition. He received the John Gaddis Award in 1993, Mississippi Museum Purchase Award in 1992, and the Mary Jane Whittington Award 1989 in the Mississippi Watercolor Society’s Grand National. He has also received the Ashland Oil Company Award from the Kentucky Watercolor Society’s “Aqueous” Annual Juried Competition.  His work has been selected for the touring exhibitions of the Texas, Georgia, and Kentucky Watercolor Societies. 

“Art has the ability to inhabit the spirit of all of us. Why else do we desire to make it or possess it?  Art moves us or it’s not art,” Cherry said. “Lately I have tried to embrace the eclecticism that has always gone on in my imagination.  Over the years, I have worked in several different media and approaches to making art, but have usually just shown one or two at most.  I strive for unity in each individual piece, but am not as concerned about how they relate to each other.  It is my hope that because I am the one doing them that there will be unity there. “

The MGCCC Fine Arts Gallery hours are 9 a.m. -3 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information, contact Marc Poole at 228-497-7684 or

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WAMA to Host 5th Annual Craft Beer Tasting Event

23154944_785458024983074_6310180869034845302_o WAMA to Host 5th Annual Craft Beer Tasting Event

Community members craving a unique place to enjoy local beer, art and music can attend the Walter Anderson Museum of Art’s annual craft beer tasting event set for 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18. 

Now in its fifth year, WAMA Director of Development Corey Christy said the event has been a great opportunity for the museum.

“People get to come into an environment they might not have considered before and get to check out local beers they may not be aware of,” Christy said.

Christy added that the event was initially developed five years ago to expand the museum’s membership base to a younger crowd and for people to understand that museums are for everyone.

“There are folks out there that view museums as ‘hoity toity’ or something for the upper crust,” Christy said. “That is not what Walter Anderson was about. He created art that was intended to be enjoyed by the community at large, and we feel this event plays into that spirit.”  

The event will feature live music, great locally crafted beer and the art of Walter Anderson. Not only will attendees enjoy local craft beer, they’ll have the opportunity to learn about it from those who make it. Tickets are still available and are $15 each for members and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased online here. Participants must be 21 years of age or older to attend.

Christy said the event is a great marriage of arts of all kinds and that attendees will have a truly unique experience.

“By attending the event, you are supporting one of the premier cultural institutions in the state and region,” Christy said. “You’ll also hear some great music and try new brews from local breweries as well as local home brewers. It can also be a good topic of discussion for your next Tinder date.”

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View, Shop and Create at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art Holiday Open House

22218399_1674780182533776_9203585289705593439_o View, Shop and Create at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art Holiday Open House

Walter Anderson block print

Families needing a break from shopping during the Ocean Springs annual holiday open house on Friday, Dec. 8 or Saturday, Dec. 9 can stop by the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.

Corey Christy, director of marketing and development for WAMA, said the museum decided to join with the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce’s annual holiday open house initiative for the first time this year, creating a new experience for visitors.

“We do after hours events all the time,” Christy said. “This year, we’re excited to participate in the holiday open house event.”

Christy said WAMA will have a variety of special deals on shop items and memberships and also activities for children. WAMA is currently running a special “give one, get one” membership special, allowing people to purchase a membership for themselves as well as getting one to give to someone else.

In addition, Christy said the museum’s popular $5 poster sale will continue, as well as the sale of the 2018 WAMA calendar for $15.

Those who want to view the current museum exhibitions can do so for $10. Christy said there’s a special exhibition called Atomic Alternatives, which includes block prints of Walter Anderson. According to the WAMA website, Walter Anderson carved these linoleum blocks during the 1940’s while he was living at Oldfields, his wife’s family home in Gautier. He transformed the attic of the house into his studio, carving images into battleship linoleum. His large-scale linoleum block carvings directly correspond to the period when Allied forces dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, to effectively end World War II.

Children will also be able to create their own block prints at the block print holiday card station.

On Saturday, Dec. 9, the open house will include pop-up coffee and biscuits from the Ocean Springs local business The Greenhouse on Porter.

With art, activities and special deals, Christy said there is something for all members of the family.

“People can come support the arts,” Christy said. “It’s also a great opportunity for people to relax their minds and get away from the hustle and bustle of shopping.”

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