One Last Turn Around the Constellations – July 2!

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The stars will continue to shine of Jackson even after the first Welty Biennial comes to a close next week. How? We’ll be planning for the second biennial in 2017! For now, though, please join us for the Closing Reception honoring the amazing art of Jackson’s children as we showcase the Snapshot Contest Winners. We hope to see you on July 2 in the Upper Atrium of The Arts Center of Mississippi, 201 East Pascagoula Street, Downtown Jackson.

The Ladies of Asphodel

Olympia as CoraThe ladies of “Asphodel” with Olympia Dukakis as Cora, Brenda Currin as Phoebe, Sybil Child as Irene. Photos by Ride Hamilton from the June 6th performance at Christian Hall at Millsaps College.Brenda as PhoebeSibyl Child as Irene
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June 6 is the day for Theatre, Constellations, and Olympia Dukakis

Let’s face it:  theatre is magic,  transporting us to another space and time, a place where we can live in the world of Miss Welty in ways that make us gasp, sigh, smile, laugh…in ways that make us feel!  On Saturday, June 6 the Welty Biennial will immerse audience members in 4 different theatrical events.

First, can you imagine drivingThe Enigma 17 hours, in a minivan, being spirited along on the passion of performance?  That is what Stockton University students did and from 10-11:30am on the lawn of the Mississippi Museum of Art we can see the fruits of their labors with a performance of THE GOLDEN APPLES.  

From 12-1pm, THE GOLDEN APPLES will be followed by Greenville, Mississippi native Mimi Garrad’s ART OVERHEAD, a constellations video to music, show on the dome of the planetarium.  You will be transported to another dimension of beauty!

The afternoon, from 2:30-4pm, brings the theatrical wonders of Jackson’s own New Stage presenting a staged reading of Ms. Welty’s CIRCE at the planetarium with constellations rising, falling, and spinning on the dome.

Finally – are you ready? – Ms. Welty’s ASPHODEL, adapted for the stage by Curator David Kaplan, will feature the ethereal talents of Academy Award winning actor Olympia Dukakis, Obie Award winning actor Brenda Currin (you’ll remember her from JUNE RECITAL with the symphony last month), and Jackson’s own Sibyl Child as three gossips, amidst the ruined Greek columns of plantation, enjoy a funeral picnic in honor of an imperious eccentric.  This event is a crowning achievement at The Christian Center at Millsaps College from 5-6:30pm.

Are you there? I am and can’t wait!  Theatre in Jackson is top-notch and The Welty Biennial brings it all together!

MAY 14 – 7:30pm – June Recital – the words of Eudora Welty, the music of Beethoven

Let’s face it, we all know Eudora Welty’s words.  They seep into our souls from the very first turn of a page.  I can remember passages from her stories, One Writer’s Beginning, On Writing.  We see the sky and feel the power of nature in “As his foot touched shore, the sun sank into the river the color of blood, and at once a wind sprang up and covered the sky with black, yellow, and green clouds the size of whales, which moved across the face of the moon.”  Beautiful!

And, May 14 beginning at 7:30pm, in the Art Garden of the Mississippi Museum of Art, under the blanket of a sultry sky, June Recital, a collection of Ms. Welty’s stories, will be set to Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto played live onstage, performed by Brenda Currin (story-teller) and Phillip Fortenberry (pianist) in the Art Garden of the Mississippi Museum of Art.  The combination is startling, moving, and funny.

In 1979 Brenda Currin andjune recital_brenda David Kaplan began adapting Eudora Welty’s work for the stage. Performing at midnight on the set of Vanities, the adaptation, then titled Sister and Miss Lexie, opened in June 1980. Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote:

The actress has tapped right into the writer’s stream of consciousness … The words pour out of her like music.

Five years later the performance was revived at The Second Stage in New York. John Simon wrote in New York Magazine

Miss Currin looks, move and sounds sovereignly right …  David Kaplan has staged with an unblinking eye for visual detail and a sharp ear for sonorous effect.

June Recital, and the first part of the evening also performed by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, are free and open to the public so bring a blanket, a lawn chair, or pull up a piece of deep, green earth…feel the wind…and enjoy!

Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Concert – Thursday May 14

Is there any better way to be swept up in music than enjoying an evening under the stars with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra?  I think not!  For me, there is something that takes over all of my senses when an orchestra performs outside.  The heat of a sultry evening mingles with music that floats to my ears.  If I close my eye, I not only hear but I can feel the vibrations of many instruments coming together in beautiful harmony.  Under my feet grass tickles my toes and the aroma of flora adds a lushness to the evening.  It is perfect magic and you can be immersed on Thursday, May 14 at 7:30pm in the Garden of the Mississippi Museum of Art when the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra performs with Obie-winning actor Brenda Currin and pianist, and Columbia, Mississippi son, Philip Fortenberry.

Armstrong Middle School visits the Welty Biennial


When Starkville, Mississippi’s Armstrong Middle School teacher Mikel Franklin brought a group of students to the Mississippi Museum of Art last week, they weren’t expecting to visit the Welty Biennial.  But with one peek down the hall and around the corner into the exhibit, the students were intrigued.  What drew them in?  The amazing graffiti art of Armando Staton.  I mean, let’s face it, how many exhibits actually allow a graffiti artist to paint on their walls?  The Welty Biennial does and both teacher and students loved it.  Pictured here with Mikel Franklin are students:  Mia Robertson, Sommer Shmulsky, Helen Peng, Alyssa Outlaw, Miari Franklin, and Austin Parks.


A capital unveiled!

In architecture, a capital is the topmost element of a column.  And, at the Ruins of Windsor in Mississippi’s Claiborne County, capitals sit almost 44′ off the ground to top the twenty-three Corinthian columns.  But at The Welty Biennial, a capital sits on the floor, at eye level, in a rich color, with ornate details, as something of true beauty.  Here we see the Capital being unpacked to move into the place where it will live for the next three months.  In the background you see one of the quilts from the 27th Annual Mississippi Cultural Crossroads Quilt Contest.14661_378517535679402_1073628853410142086_n

Meanwhile at the factory


Photos above from inside the factory where the the replicas of the columns from Windsor are being manufactured. Photos below the sonar scanning at Windsor that makes the replication possible.

Scanning at WindsorScanning Windsor

Below, Miss Welty’s subtle self-portrait as a shadow at Windsor.

Ruins of Windsor 1937-1940  photo by Eudora Welty © Eudora Welty, LLC; Courtesy Eudora Welty Collection, Mississippi Department of Archives and History