USM professor, grad receive art grants
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 00:09
Last July, the Mississippi Arts Commission rewarded $1.48 million to artists and art organizations all across the state. Forrest County was well represented, with 15 of the 17 separate grants given to applicants from Hattiesburg. Two of the grant recipients are Betty Press and Kyle Goddard.
Betty Press has been a photography professor at the University of Southern Mississippi since 2003. She has spent 20 years exploring different parts of Africa, eight of which were in Kenya. Press traveled with her husband, covering multiple events on the continent. He reported, and she photographed.
Throughout her travels, Press compiled a portfolio that included pictures from Cuba, Trinidad, Nicaragua and Sierra Leone. She also took many pictures of the daily lives of Africans, which was published in her book I Am Because We Are: African Wisdom in Image and Proverbs.
After receiving a fellowship for her book, Press is planning to make her next project about Mississippi.
“It’s a way for me to explore Mississippi, as I’m not from Mississippi,” Press said in an interview. When asked what subject matter she is looking for, she said, “It has to have some visual interest. Something that might tell a Mississippian something new and different about their state. I really want to see how people see their state and their history.”
Press’s new book will be available in May 2013. To find out more about Press and her work, visit her website at www.bettypress.com.
The other grant winner is Kyle Goddard, a painter, veteran and USM graduate. He is primarily a self-taught artist currently working in a gallery and previously ran his own. Unlike Press, Goddard was rewarded for his overall body of work.
“I realized all my work was about shape and more about technical drawing problems, not color problems,” Goddard said. Much of this current paintings involve sharp lines and dark colors.
“When I was doing my work at school, I was the only black and white artist there.”
Goddard will be using his grant money to start a series of 13 to 20 paintings.
“It [the series] is for the sake of the visual interaction,” Goddard said, which he described as “concrete-abstraction.” His art is currently on display at Oddfellows Gallery and will be exhibited this December.
To find out more about state grants or fellowships for artists and for a complete list of grant winners, visit http://www.arts.state.ms.us/.