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Two Mississippi artists are focus of Hazard Lecture Series


From left, Julian Rankin, Elizabeth Abston and Carolyn Brown

From left, Julian Rankin, Elizabeth Abston and Carolyn Brown


Jan Swoope



Two significant female painters from the Magnolia State are the focus of the 26th annual Hazard Lecture Series in Columbus. In celebration of the state's Bicentennial, on Monday, Oct. 23 Julian Rankin and Elizabeth Abston will present "Mississippi's Marie Hull." On Nov. 6, Dr. Carolyn Brown speaks on "Today's Lesson: Introducing Mississippi's Kate Freeman Clark."  


Rankin is director of art and public exchange at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, where Abston is curator of the collection. Brown is an educator and author of "The Artist's Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark."  


Both programs, free to the public, begin at 7 p.m. at Heritage Elementary School at 623 Willowbrook Road. 


The series established by George Hazard Jr. and his sisters, Eulalie Davis and the late Florence Winton, in honor of their father, George Hazard Sr., has encompassed three broad rotating themes -- The Voyage of the Mind, The Voyage from the Past and The Voyage of the Artist. They have inspired guest talks by physicists, musicians, surgeons, archaeologists, actors, ambassadors and costume designers, among many others.  


Hazard said, "These talks have a different theme every year, and it's always fun when 'The Voyage of the Artist' rolls around. For these two Mississippi artists have left us some beautiful paintings, and this year's speakers and curators will help us enjoy them." 




The artists 


Marie Hull (1890-1980), born in Summit, became known for her oil paintings, drawings and watercolors, as well as her portraits of many prominent Mississippi figures. Hull was still painting up until a few weeks before her death at age 90. The program in Columbus falls almost 42 years to the day after Mississippi Gov. William Waller designated Oct. 22, 1975, as "Marie Hull Day."  


"We will be displaying a night landscape by Marie Hull on Oct. 23," Hazard said. "We will have slides of some other paintings for everyone to enjoy, along with the presentation of a state Bicentennial flag to Heritage."  


When Kate Freeman Clark (1875-1957) died at age 81, most of her neighbors in Holly Springs were surprised to learn of her talent. Her most prolific period of painting had taken place years earlier in New York. She had put down her brushes in 1924. In her will, Clark bequeathed her home and hundreds of artworks from her New York years to Holly Springs, along with funds to build a "museum of fine and social arts," which led to the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery.  




The presenters 


Rankin was the 2013 Rivendell Fellow at the Rivendell Writers Colony and completed operations and marketing internships with the U.S. Senate and CNN. He was previously director of marketing, public relations coordinator and director of New Media at the Mississippi Museum of Art. His forthcoming book, "Pond Fresh: Color, Crops, and Catfish," is published by the University of Georgia Press.  


Abston holds a master's in art history and organizes exhibitions related to the museum's permanent collection, manages acquisition of new works and contributes to a digitization project that will provide public online access to the permanent collection.  


Brown's first book, "A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty," won the Mississippi Library Association's Award for Nonfiction in 2013. Her 2014 "Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walker" won a special award from the Mississippi Library Association for Juvenile Literature. Her articles have been published in numerous journals. 


Hazard said, "As always, we hope audience members will learn something that sparks their own interest in learning more about the subjects and, this year, about our own state." 


For more information about the free programs, contact Beth Lucas at 662-327-1556 (ext. 211).


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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