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Fine arts and fun flourish at Prairie Arts


Dispatch Staff Report



The Prairie Arts Festival Fine Arts Competition attracts some of the South''s most talented artists, and 2011 will be no exception, pledged Martha Allen, executive director of the West Point/Clay County Growth Alliance. More than 35 fine arts applications have been accepted, and additional entries are expected for the Sept. 3 event. 


"Festival attendees can expect to find beautiful paintings, sculptures, photographs, hand-made jewelry and pottery, as well as a variety of objects made from glass, fiber and wood in the Fine Arts vendor section in Sally Kate Winters Park," said Allen. 


The Fine Arts Competition awards $5,000 in cash and purchase prizes in the categories of Painting (oil, acrylic, watercolor); Mixed Media, Graphics, Drawing; Photography; Sculpture and Pottery; Handmade Jewelry, Wood, Glass, Fiber.  


The "Best in Show" winner is a purchase prize and will become part of the Prairie Arts Festival collection, to be housed in the future arts center planned for the McClure building.  


All fine arts vendors are juried into the festival, and artworks must be originals. The juried awards are funded in part by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 


Entries and winners of the Fine Arts Competition will be displayed the morning of Sept. 3 at the gazebo in the park. The awards ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. 


The Fine Arts judge for 2011 is Scott Baine, head of the East Mississippi Community College Art Department, Golden Triangle campus. He also serves as a digital faculty consultant for McGraw-Hill Higher Education, where he shares personal experiences using the Connect Art platform via webinars and conferences with art educators across the nation. Baine also serves as vice-president of the EMCC Faculty Association. 




Fun for all ages 


The Prairie Arts Festival, held each year on the Saturday before Labor Day, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., is a celebration of community, with local food, a 5K run, classic car show, multiple stages with live music and more than 400 exhibitors that include some of "the best artists and craftsmen the South has to offer," said Allen.  


The Festival, a tradition since 1978, has been awarded numerous awards by the Southeastern Tourism Society and has been recognized for 12 consecutive years as a Top 20 Event in the Southeast. 


Vendor applications and festival information can be found at or call 662-494-5121. The festival''s Fine Arts Competition is sponsored by the West Point-Clay County Arts Council.  


Festivities begin Friday, Sept. 2, at the 16th Annual Howlin'' Wolf Memorial Blues Festival at the West Point Civic Center. Gates open at 4 p.m.; music begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Contact Richard Ramsey at 662-605-0770 for more music fest information.



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