The Welty Biennial celebrates Eudora Welty as a visionary American: author, photographer, witness and reporter of the state of Mississippi to the world.

In the deepening of the night, the rising sky lifted like a cover …. All kinds of things would rise and set in your own life, you could begin now to watch for them, roll back your head and feel their rays come down and reach your open eyes.   – from June Recital by Eudora Welty

On March 11 Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis, Broadway legend Estelle Parsons, and Obie-winner Brenda Currin appeared at the Poetry Center at the 92nd St Y in New York City in a staged reading of Welty’s short story “Asphodel” in which three gossips, amidst the ruined Greek columns of a plantation, enjoy a funeral picnic. Original music by Choctaw flute master Paul Hacker. Adapted and directed by Welty Biennial curator David Kaplan. See this staged reading, with Ms. Dukakis and Ms. Currin, on June 6 at Millsaps College. For further information Welty Biennial Calendar.

A place that ever was lived in is like a fire that never goes out. – from Some Notes on River Country by Eudora Welty

For twelve weeks, beginning 10 April 2015, the first Welty Biennial will circle out from the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Mississippi, the capital of the state, where Miss Welty was born, grew up as a child, and made her home for the rest of her life. Related events, installations, performances, and contests will take place throughout the city within walking distance of the Mississippi Museum of Art in downtown Jackson.

Classical Mississippi is the theme of the first Biennial. Eudora Welty’s imagination was fed by an awareness of the classical Greek heritage to be found all around her in Jackson, from the columned buildings in her neighborhood, including the Capitol Building, to ruins in a field and the stars in the sky.

The Welty Biennial exhibits include ninety double-exposure photographs by American surrealist Clarence John Laughlin, nine modernist constellation sculptures by James Seawright, and an uptodate interpretation of the sculpture of the Goddess of Mississippi on the Capitol pediment. Events include a concert by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, video on the dome of the Jackson Planetarium, and a dance party at the Welty House Museum. A Snapshot Contest for Jackson schoolchildren aims to pass on Eudora Welty’s vision to a new generation.

All Welty Biennial events and exhibits are free.

Photo Credits