Art display in town a very good idea

Published 10:29 am Friday, January 10, 2014

People who travel along West Canal often pass an art display in the storefront of one of the buildings that otherwise stands empty, probably without noticing it.

The display, for those traveling west on West Canal, is in the second block and it has a small GPAC banner hanging at the top of the window. For those who don’t know, GPAC stands for the Greater Picayune Arts Council, a consortium of local arts groups ranging from the visual arts — such as that displayed in the window — to musical, writing and theatre.

This display of art is important for Picayune and Pearl River County and the state of Mississippi.

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Mississippi is rich in arts of all kinds. The state is where both the blues and modern country music were born. Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo. Opera diva Leontyne Price is from Laurel. Actor Robert Earl Jones is from Senatobia. Actress Sela Ward is from Meridian. Actor Dana Andrews was from Covington County. William Faulkner wrote in Oxford. Writer James Street was from Lumberton. Writer Richard Wright was from Natchez. Poet Pearl Rivers, born Eliza Jane Poitevent, was from what is now Picayune.

The list of artists of all kinds from Mississippi is an extensive one for a state with as an historically small population as this one has.

So take the time to go look at the art work that appears regularly in an otherwise vacant store front on West Canal. You may be looking at work by someone who will become known nationally and internationally as one of this state’s great artists.

Also, listen to the Pearl River County band’s performances. Attend the productions of Picayune on Stage and the productions by the theater classes at Picayune Memorial High School and at Pearl River Central. Attend the various productions that will take place at the fabulous new Brownstone arts center on the Pearl River Community College campus. It’s all out there and some of those you see on stage may be the great actors and musicians of tomorrow.