Art council seeks community support at Nov.28 meeting

By NIKKI SMITH,

The Petal Arts Council will host its second meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 5:30 p.m.

The informational meeting will be held at Southern Canvas and will be an opportunity for Petal residents to learn more about the organization and share ideas to promote the arts in the city to bring about a vibrant arts community. 

All artists, artisans and those interested in promoting the arts should plan to attend.

Several Petal residents turned out for the first meeting of the Petal Arts Council last month. The group’s goal is to build a community that supports and actively participates in the arts.

Valerie Wilson, director of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce, said there was an arts council in Petal for some time and that the members did good work in the community.

She said this is why they decided to revive the arts council.

“Petal is so different now, in just those few years,” Wilson said. “There has been an influx of diversity with talents and artistry that we need to embrace and encourage for the sake of our community.”

Plans are in the works for what the group will accomplish. Wilson said the group’s work will depend on the people that take part.

“It will have to be a community effort,” she said. “We can’t just have two or three people accomplish all of this. We need the community to back it.”

Wilson has said she sees the group aiding in downtown revitalization by promoting events, such as pop up art shows or art walks in that area.

“If we could find a place in the middle of town to host something like that, that would be an excellent enhancement,” she said.

Some other ideas for what the art council could accomplish include helping organize or sponsor art exhibits for Mississippi artists or sponsoring scholarships for students pursuing degrees in the arts.

“In Petal, we have excellence in academics, excellence in sports,” said Libby Everett at the first meeting of the council. “So why can’t we have that in the arts?”

Rick Wilemon, curator at the Oddfellows Art Gallery in downtown Hattiesburg, spoke to the 20 to 25 attendees of the inaugural meeting of the arts council.

Wilemon said community support of the arts is important because studies show that in those communities test scores increase, businesses flourish and it allows outsiders to see what a community is all about.

Southern Canvas is located at 500 Old Richton Road in Petal.