Beauty in Nature | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Beauty in Nature

Photo by Courtesy Tougaloo Art Colony

Now in its 16th year, the Tougaloo Art Colony is a week-long indulgence in the visual arts. Tougaloo is proud to be the only Historically Black College or University offering such a residential program, which is open to educators, artists, students and art lovers of any walk of life who want to participate in creating visual art. This year's colony offers four studio experiences centered around the theme Going Green in 2013: in each workshop, led by artist instructors from around the country, participants will work from nature or recycled media.

Rachel Ballentine, of Sardis, MS, will lead the clay studio. Ballentine digs her own clay for pottery and incorporates the use of items from natur in raku firing. In the printmaking studio, Gail Shaw Clemens from New York will teach non-toxic printmaking as well as a 3-D printmaking process. With LuzViMinda Calo of Chicago, participants will create life-size sculptures out of moss. "We're excited to have Calo return to the Colony; she loved the experience so much on a prior visit that she was eager to return," says Colony Director Johnnie May Gilbert. Frank Robinson of Memphis, a returning instructor, will teach painting and mixed-media with recycled trash.

In addition to studio workshops, the week of the colony marks the opening of three exhibits in the Bennie G. Thompson Research Center: the Hot Art exhibit, a printmaking exhibit by the STIR artist group, and a new African and Oceanic Art exhibit. The exhibits are free and open to the public. Gilbert adds, "Whether you want to make art or simply be around creativity, the Colony offers something for everyone."

The Tougaloo Art Colony runs July 14-19. Registration is $25, and tuition is $400. The Mississippi Arts Commission will provide tuition assistance for any Mississippi artist who contacts MAC by June 1. A full Colony schedule and registration are available at or by calling 601-977-7839 or 601-977-7743.

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