JACKSON, MISS.- The Mississippi Museum of Art
announced the fifteen artists selected for inclusion in the 2014 Mississippi Invitational exhibition. The artists, all residents of Mississippi, are Carolyn Busenlener, Pearlington; Adrienne Callander, Starkville; Neil Callander, Starkville; Shawn Lee Dickey, Columbus; Marcus Frazier, Natchez; Lou Haney, Oxford; Chatham Kemp, Hattiesburg; Ruth Miller, Picayune; Don Norris, Hattiesburg; Anne O'Hara, Jackson; David Jason Pressgrove, Jackson; Andrew Smith, Oxford; Gregory Walker, Jackson; J. Marcus Weekley, Gulfport; and Millie West, Oxford.
Initiated in 1997, the Mississippi Invitational surveys recent developments by contemporary visual artists living and working across the state, and includes work in diverse media. The 2014 exhibition marks the ninth iteration and is on view from November 1, 2014, through January 25, 2015.
"For me, it was a transformative experience to travel the state from Holly Springs to Pearlington in pursuit of recent art by such talented creators," said Roger Ward, MMA Deputy Director and Chief Curator. "Mississippi is genuinely blessed to be the home of so many brilliant artists."
This year's process began with the Museum's call to artists for sample images of their work. One hundred fifteen submissions were considered by guest curator Carla Hanzal, an independent curator and writer, who most recently served as the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, a position she held for ten years. A recipient of a Truman Scholarship, as well as a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Hanzal is currently a trustee of the International Sculpture Center, the publisher of Sculpture magazine. She identified twenty-four applicants for in-person studio visits and, after six days of statewide travel, narrowed that number to the final fifteen.
"This was a unique opportunity for me to become better acquainted with one of the most creative and artistically diverse regions of the country," said guest curator Carla Hanzal. "Mississippi is surely one of the richest states with respect to art and the making of art. It is astonishing."
In addition to exhibiting in the Mississippi Invitational exhibition, all fifteen artists are eligible to apply for The Jane Crater Hiatt Artist Fellowship. The fellowship was created in 2005 by Jane Crater Hiatt and her late husband Wood (1930 - 2010) in response to the need to nurture and invigorate the arts in the state. A grant of up to $15,000 is awarded to one artist who may use it for study with an individual artist or in a studio, workshop, or residency setting; to pursue projects which further artistic development and support the realization of specific creative ideas; to purchase supplies and equipment; to conduct research; and to travel. The artist is then required to donate one original work of art to the Museum from at least five works created during the two-year grant period. This year's fellowship recipient will be announced at a private reception for the exhibiting artists on Friday evening, October 31.
According to Jane Hiatt, "The idea for this fellowship grew from my years of listening to artists and learning what a difference mid-career travel and study can make in an artist's vision, skill, and scope. Wood and I wanted to foster that. And we wanted to enhance the Mississippi Museum of Art's relationship with artists living in the state."
Presenting sponsors for the exhibition include the Hiatt-Ingram Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson/Jane Hiatt and Yates Construction. This exhibition is partially funded by a grant through the Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division.
"The Museum is thrilled to present the Mississippi Invitational once again," said Betsy Bradley, MMA Director. "We are so grateful to Jane Crater Hiatt for her vision, for her ability to translate that vision into a meaningful reality, and for her genuine love of artists and their art."