Meridian Star

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December 8, 2013

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Meridian Museum of Art Holiday Gala

MERIDIAN —     Mark your calendars now! The Meridian Museum of Art will hold its annual Holiday Gala Saturday at the downtown art gallery.

     The gala is a special event that combines the reception for the Museum Members Show with a program that remembers and honors the people who have helped to build and support the Museum over the past 43 years.

     The program will begin at 6:45 p.m. Highlights at this year’s gala will include the honoring of the MMA’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year.

    "Volunteer of the Year is a special award for the museum," MMA Director Kate Cherry said. 

    “We’re not only recognizing one very deserving person. We’re also, through them, expressing our gratitude to every one of the hundreds of volunteers who make the museum and its programs possible,” she said.

    Cherry noted that another element has been added to this year's gala: two artists will have individual exhibits with the Membership Exhibit. Judy Rayner, who just moved back to Meridian with her husband, Warren, will exhibit new work. And, Ed Wheeler, retired Instructor from the University of Southern Mississippi, will exhibit photographs from his travels.

    "We are delighted to add works from these two artists," Cherry said. "We think the community will enjoy all the works that are being exhibited.

    Following is background information on both artists:

Judy Rayner

    Rayner stated the following in her artist's statement:

    “When I attended Meridian Community College when I was in my mid 20s, I had no idea I was any kind of artist and was quite surprised I had any talent. I found my own look along the way and made many different decisions about what I wanted to do.

    "For many years I was a self-taught weaver as that allowed me to work at home and take care of my family. I began as a tapestry artist, gradually turning my focus to fabrics and clothing. During that time I belonged to the Mississippi Craftsmen's Guild, even being on the board. I experimented with color using natural and man-made dyes. Color always fascinated me as did texture. After many years, I was able to work with a well-known potter, which brought the skills I had learned at MCC back in action. I still wove but it became less commercial and I began to only weave for family and friends.

    "Once again I changed direction and after attending classes at Campbell School of Crafts, I began to design quilts and making them for family without being interested in selling. Over the years starting back at college, I won many awards and had a number of gallery and museum shows. These awards started with drawing.

     “As I got older I realized that everyone I met had much more talent than they knew. After an extended illness, during which time I was unable to create, I had a lot of time to think about maybe I would be able to experience the thrill and satisfaction once again. One day my husband found a little book sitting on the bench at the bookstore, and thinking he and I would try this drawing method out, we brought it home and purchased supplies. I fell in love with this approach to art and he did not enjoy it at all.

    "I began to draw constantly. I found my look was different from anybody else’s and I got so much positive reinforcement I decided to seek out a printer and then spoke to Kate Cherry at the museum. The printer Angie at The Angie Denney Agency wanted me to make other things such as cards and ornaments from my original drawings. I went to Kate to talk to her about mounting all of the many originals. I was quite taken back when she asked me to exhibit as the featured artist for December. Many good things have been happening to me very quickly. I draw every day and find it is so relaxing and interesting.

    “What I find so fascinating is that there are no mistakes and you have to incorporate whatever happens as you go along. With no eraser and no mistakes it is a great way for everyone to trust their instincts and be challenged. I find myself evolving with endless possibilities in this art form called Zentangle Influenced Art. I am even beginning to incorporate drawings of people. I pray that everyone enjoys my work as much as I enjoy making it.”


Ed Wheeler

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