Art ‘worked’ for local arts council

Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2008

As Picayune grows, so does its appetite for cultural and artistic events. Here now to whet those appetites is the Greater Picayune Arts Council, GPAC. Their mission was brought to the forefront at “Art Works” 2008. The success of the event proved that the county is indeed hungry for more!

While artistic and cultural events have always bloomed throughout the year in Pearl River County, interest in a greater variety of said events has been on the increase since the community hit its recent growth spurt. GPAC was created solely to help enrich and nourish the existing events, while at the same time, helping to oversee new ones. A thriving artistic community translates to a thriving community in general.

“Art Works” 2008, fulfilled several roles for GPAC and Pearl River County. It served as a fundraiser for the newly formed organization. It celebrated local artists of all types, putting their talents in the spotlight. It showcased local art forms. It showed how “ART WORKS” for a community.

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The latter statement was definitely made clear by the number of young students whose talents were highlighted last weekend. Anne Taylor, who participated in the event with her group the Picayune Piecemakers Quilt Guild, said she was impressed by the number of young people she saw invited to participate in “Art Works.”

These youthful artists not only got a chance to exhibit, but they also performed live demonstrations throughout the day. For instance, painter Jenna Lee of Pearl River County was on hand with her art teacher, Ginger Lee. She had a lot of her watercolors on display. Homeschooler, Nick Fremin of Picayune, was on hand demonstrating his art piece, a winged dragon, which he created by working with local pottery shop owner, Chris Huffman. The Picayune Junior Art Club, under the direction of art teacher Sally Edwards, participated in the event by offering face painting.

Other features of the day including live quilting demonstrations, bead work demonstrations, wood carvings, miniature pottery (unbelievably small pieces fired in a kiln), door prizes were handed out and attendees got the chance to bid on local art during a silent auction.

GPAC members were thrilled with the turnout.

“There have been lots of people coming and going all the time,” said Buddy McDonald, GPAC member and local attorney.

“We got a lot of bids for the silent auction… it’s a good crowd and it’s for a good cause,” said Sylvia Stanton, GPAC member and local artist. Stanton participated in the event by helping with the organization of the silent auction and demonstrating her oil painting techniques throughout the day.

GPAC’s mission is working to promote the arts in all regional educational systems, it is an advocate for the region’s cultural sector encouraging participation in and equitable access to cultural programs while promoting integration of diverse cultural amenities into community development. The message is clear: “Art works to promote education, diversity, family fun, personal growth, economic and community development.”

If you missed this exciting event hosted by GPAC, don’t fret. Other new and exciting events are looming. Be sure to stop by GPAC’s booth during the Fall Street Fair, November 1 and 2, OR stop by their booth during the Piney Woods Heritage Festival at the Crosby Arboretum, November 14 and 15, to learn more.

For information about upcoming GPAC events or to find out how to become a GPAC member, call 601-569-2138, e-mail or visit See how ART can WORK for you too.