YAC Hosts Creative Fellowship Exhibition

Ashley Brewer and her son enjoy a watercolor class at the Powerhouse. Photo courtesy of Constance Pierce.

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor

From retired physicians to preschool directors, many Oxford residents—with ties to the University of Mississippi—are creating art for a special exhibition at The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council’s Powerhouse July 5 to July 28. 

The “Creative Fellowship” exhibition is curated by YAC Art Instructor Constance Pierce, with pieces selected by artists from a variety of her art classes.

“I volunteered to organize and curate this particular exhibition because I witnessed such a rich variety of artworks emerging from my class participants,” Pierce said.

Class participants involved in the project are Ashley Brewer, Bobby Kennedy, Kirstie Manning, Susie Pedigo, Susan Phillips, Vicki Stevens, John Takerer and Lynn Wilkins. Their works include watercolor, visual journals, figure drawing, collage/mixed-media and travel sketchbooks.

Pierce said it was important for her to share her class participants’ work with the community so attendees can draw inspiration for themselves.

Kirstie Manning with her art for the “Creative Fellowship Exhibition” at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center gallery. Photo courtesy of Constance Pierce.

All of the featured artists have a connection to the University of Mississippi as either graduates, faculty or staff members, or as a classroom guest speaker, according to YAC.

Kirstie Manning, a staff assistant in the Office of Human Resources at the university, said she is infatuated with those who have impacted African-American culture. Those who have impacted that culture are reflected in her artwork.

“Their lives are a testament to the impact of African-American history and culture on the arts, literature, music and the character of our country,” she said.

The current exhibition is dedicated to the late Victoria Smith for the exuberant creative energy she so generously shared with the other artists in this exhibition. 

“Victoria was a one-of-a-kind imaginative writer and artist and she is deeply missed in our studio,” Pierce said.

From July 16 through the 20, Pierce will be offering an afternoon workshop entitled, “The Magical Creation of a Fold-out Book,” specifically designed for teachers, adults and older teens.

Continuing education credits are available for educators. This weeklong summer class in the Powerhouse art studio will explore the visual collaboration of images and words through creative experiments in monoprint, watercolor, ephemera collage, decorative papers, and expressive text.

Participants will choose thematic content from poetry, lyrics, scripture, or from their own personal writings. No prior art experience is required and novices are welcome.

In conjunction with the July Oxford Art Crawl, the exhibition will host a reception for the artists Tuesday, July 24, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and also during evening events. For directions or more information on the exhibition or classes contact the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council office at 662-236-6429 or the exhibition curator at constancepierce7@gmail.com.


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