Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
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:
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.”
Born in Greer County, Okla., in 1937, and raised in Dallas, Wheeler trained as an aerial photographer at the U.S. Navy Photo School in Pensacola and served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. From 1960 to 1972, he worked at the Dallas Morning News, where he shot the Dallas Cowboys in their early glory days.
Wheeler earned his bachelor of science and master of science degrees from East Texas State University and was a doctoral student in American Studies at the University of Texas. While at UT, he did a study of the residents of Cactus Courts, a derelict motel in Austin. This was published in Third Coast Magazine in March 1983. Wheeler taught photojournalism at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., from 1975 to 1977, and at the University of Southern Mississippi from 1977 to 1998. He still maintains close relationships with many former students. Several summers working on the offshore oilrigs resulted in a documentary, "Black Gold," which was shown at the Meridian Museum of Art in 1995.
Ed and wife, Kathy, have been fortunate to travel in recent years to Maine, Colorado, the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners area, the length of Florida to Key West, and Alaska. These trips involved many a U-turn to capture striking images of natural beauty and Americana.
Photographer/sociologist Lewis Hine, whose work helped pass child labor laws, was an inspiration: “I wanted to show the thing that had to be corrected: I wanted to show the things that had to be appreciated,” and “If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” – Lewis Wickes Hine
The gala is also the reception for the Museum’s annual Membership Show.
“This exhibit means a lot to us,” Cherry said. “For our members, it’s one of the special privileges of being a member. For us, it’s a wonderful chance to show off their artistic talents.”
Members exhibiting during this show are:
Orville A. "Shorty" Anderson; David Barr; Linda Baxter; Norma Bordeaux; Linda Bruister; Terry Cherry; Susan Clark; Denise Dengler; Blanche Gaddis; Kris Gianakos; Joy Greer; Shirley Griffin; Jill Hammes; Larry Harris; Neil Hatten; BJ Hatten; Susan Huey; Wanda Hunter; Marsha Iverson; Bob Jeffares; Rosemary Kahlmus; Patricia Kent; Alex Loeb; Wanda Luke; Jan Mardis; John Marshall; Doris McKinney; Ruth
McMullan; Linda Muñoz; Charlie Muñoz; Jeanne Poetker; and Mousie Richards.
The exhibit will remain on display through Feb. 1, 2014. Regular museum hours are from 11 a.m. -5 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday.