Spring art walk paints downtown
Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 02:04
Downtown Hattiesburg was filled with art, music and cuisine at the annual Spring Art Walk Saturday. Attendees walked Hub City sidewalks perusing paintings and photographs while listening to a bevy of artists performing in the streets and dining on local food. Numerous downtown venues hosted exhibits from artists both local and non-local.
Oddfellows Gallery exhibited the work of University of Southern Mississippi students alongside pieces by artist Dollye Kirk. The Depot presented an opening reception for “The Secret World of Walter Anderson” while Southern Friend Comics featured the work of artist Jose Huet.
USM junior Chase Robbins attended the art walk and said such events help keep Hattiesburg culture alive.
“One of my favorite parts of the Spring Art Walk was definitely the displayed photography from the Camaraderie Photo Club in Bianchi’s Pizza,” Robbins said. “It’s absolutely fantastic to see places like Southern Fried Comics and Bianchi’s bring downtown Hattiesburg back to life, because with events like this, they are going above and beyond to succeed.”
However, this year’s art walk offered more than just art for the Hub City.
The Saenger Theater hosted the annual Roots Reunion concert, sponsored in part by USM’s Center for Oral History & Cultural Heritage, the School of Music’s entertainment industry program and WUSM. Performing acts included L. C. Ulmer, Pine Belt Pickers, Rochelle Harper Band, Mississippi Fred Gee with Catfish John, the Ridge Road Band and the Patchwork String Band. Singer-songwriter Howard Lips served as emcee. Additional music acts performed in downtown streets throughout the art walk.
Click Boutique & Gallery and Twelve Oaks Accessory Garden co-owner Jason Le Viere said the highlight of the event was the Debbie Blackwell Shemper Memorial Concert, sponsored by Benny’s Boom Boom Room.
The concert featured five musical acts, including The Remnants, Sam Silva & the Good, Mark Mann, and Wes Lee.
“The highlight of the art walk was definitely Ben Shemper’s, owner of Benny’s Boom Boom Room, benefit concert,” La Viere said. “I was really excited to see retailers and merchants of downtown Hattiesburg step up and present local artists.”
Senior history major Brittany Murphy said the art walk encouraged locals to keep art in the forefront of Hattiesburg culture.
“Perhaps most exciting to me about the art culture of Hattiesburg is the variety of individuals who participate and show interest in activities downtown,” Murphy said. “It is fun to see and interact with people of all ages and backgrounds when you know they’ve all come together to partake in a common interest such as art. It is nice to see Hattiesburg’s collection of fascinating art, artists, and art lovers.”