Not many would argue that West Point is not one of the most artistically rich communities in north Mississippi.
It is not just the citizenry’s love for art that drives events like the Prairie Arts Festival each fall. It’s the literal raw talent that so many in the community possess and express.
The unique blend of paintings, drawings, potteries, films, music etc. drive the love of art in this town.
It has also driven the West Point/Clay County Arts Council to start the first “Art Walk” in West Point.
The Saturday, April 13 event hopes to kick off what should be the town’s third major art festival throughout the year, to go along with Prairie Arts and the Howlin’ Wolf Blues Festival.
“West Point is absolutely filled to the brim with some of the greatest, most-revered artists that our state has to offer….so what better way to showcase our local talent and to welcome other artists from our state to our downtown than to begin a new tradition in our town by starting an art walk,” said Monte Brasfield, President WPCCAC. “Out arts council in West Point is dedicated to continually striving to promote the arts in our community through many venues….and this is just one of the many exciting new programs we are offering our citizens this year….We are anticipating a HUGE success”
The Art Walk will take place in the Historic Downtown area of the town, starting at the McClure Building at the corner of Commerce and Broad Streets. It will stretch the length of Commerce all the way to Main Street’s corner.
“I am so excited to be involved in helping to “spotlight downtown West Point” by promoting the art walk,” said arts council member Kathy Dyess. “This newest venture created and sponsored by the arts council will help to spotlight our downtown businesses as well as spotlight local and state artists. This is our first effort to bring the finest professional artists and their works into our downtown area, and I hope this event shines a positive light on the arts, the artists and the stores.”
A variety of businesses will host two to three artists for the day, allowing them to display their work inside of their stores.
Unlike the Prairie Arts Festival, which takes place in September, this event will be more centered on the visual arts, rather than craftwork.
There will also be no food and drink vendors nor a kids section.
According to the arts council, the artists involved must adhere to criteria supported by local, state and regional arts councils.
The event stems from a meeting which took place a year ago this month where the WPCCAC set forth a five-year strategic plan to improve and showcase the arts in this community.
This involves education as well as making art more widely accessible. The renovation of the McClure Building for artwork and an expansion of the Howlin’ Wolf Museum plays into the wider accessibility.
18 local businesses are signed up to host. The event will start at 10 a.m. And will end at 3 p.m.
120 local, state and regional artists were invited free of charge to showcase their work and to help promote downtown businesses, many of which are registered artists with the Mississippi Arts Commission.
“The grassroots arts-based community development program (MAC) works to help ensure access by residents in communities all over the state of Mississippi to high quality arts programs,” said Vickie Burris. “I truly believe that the arts can be a highly effective tool for social and economic development on the local level. This Mississippi Arts Commission grant supports our community by helping to bring this event to our town. With the implementation this spring of the art walk, West Point is well on the way to artistic success.”
The Art Walk will also feature performing artists for entertainment, located at different locations throughout the day to provide background music.
The main performance will be by “Hana Lena” (formally “Nash Street”) at Central Stage at 7 p.m. Tickets for this performance will be available in early March.
The Ritz will open for lunch and offer a “special” Art Walk lunch, and the Arts council will sell home-made lemonade in the Culin-Arts Courtyard…
Art Walk T-Shirts designed by Lewise Jackson, Tricia Smith and Ed Rice will be available for purchase.