Local artists display work at Crosby Arboretum

Published 12:16 pm Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sweet Bay, Conf Jasmine & Blackberry - Mary Murchison

Visitors to the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum can view the work of area artists in the arboretum’s new art gallery.

Located in the recently remodeled visitor center and gift shop, the gallery opened June 21. It displays artwork that celebrates the natural world, and much of the art was made on or inspired by the arboretum grounds in Picayune.

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“The Crosby Arboretum is always seeking new activities for the public to engage in that will allow them to enjoy and explore the wonders of the natural world,” said Pat Drackett, Crosby Arboretum director. “We became increasingly aware that there are many local artists visiting the arboretum who are taking exceptional photographs of the grounds or are using the grounds to inspire their work.”

Drackett says the new gallery will allow visitors to experience unique approaches to “celebrating nature”, as discovered by local artists.

Photographs of nature mandalas made by Mary Murchison of Pearl River County are on display now through Aug. 31. Murchison gathers natural materials, such as flower petals and pinecones, to make the circular patterns that she then photographs.

“We discovered through Facebook that Mary was making some of her mandalas on our grounds,” Drackett said. “Her creations were getting rave reviews on social media, and that’s how we got the idea to display art that was made here or reflected our themes and goals.”

“Some of the circular designs Mary says she is most pleased with are those that she creates quickly and spontaneously. Other arrangements may be very intricate, and involve a great deal of thought, planning, and careful placement. While she creates some mandalas in a natural setting, others will be given a specific background suited to the materials, such as a tabletop or colored cloth.”

Drackett believes creations like these “take us away from our mundane tasks for a moment and allow us to experience the uplifting beauty found in the natural world, as well as the talents of this person who has been steadily and modestly producing such enchanting works of nature-based art.”

Robin Veerkamp and Janet Schlauderaff will exhibit their work together beginning Sept. 1. Veerkamp, of Picayune, specializes in color pencil and pen and ink drawings of landscapes, plants and animals. Schlauderaff crafts gourds into baskets, bowls, spoons and decorative display items

Brian Anderson of Purvis will display his nature photographs from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28.

Exhibits are displayed in conjunction with the seasons of the year, and each is open for three months.

Admission to view the art exhibits and explore the arboretum’s 104-acre site is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and military members, and $2 for children younger than age 12. However, each art exhibit opening event is free to the public.

The arboretum is an educational facility dedicated to preserving, protecting and displaying plants native to the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem. Cultural, scientific and recreational programs are held throughout the year.

For more information about the arboretum and the programs offered, visit http//www.crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu or follow the arboretum on Facebook.


By Susan Collins-Smith
Msu Ag Communications