Tuesday, August 29, 2006

35 Years???

Attic Gallery celebrates 35 years

On Friday, October 6, 2006 Vicksburg's Attic Gallery will celebrate its 35 anniversary with the opening reception of "35 Years in the Attic," a show created by 36 artists who have been connected to the gallery over those years. Lesley Silver opened the Attic on that exact day in 1971 in the unused second floor space of her husband's downtown business on Washington Street. Remembering the Attic's beginnings, she said, "We had purchased some etchings and other original prints after a trip to California, and they were starting to fill our home, so we cleared out a small area to display them at the top of a staircase hidden in the corner of our gift shop."

The business grew slowly to include work by local artists and all types of fine crafts. In the early 1980's Lesley became interested in folk art and that took the Attic in the colorful, eclectic, direction it reflects now, where paintings, photography, sculpture, fine crafts of all kinds, and more are crammed floor to ceiling and spill across mismatched tables.

"To honor our changes and our longevity we have asked 36 of our artists to each create a piece of art focusing on a specific year to portray their impression of that year in history, in their own life, in their relationship with the Attic, or in any other way, and together these 36 pieces will form a memory quilt of our 35 years of being on Washington Street."

The artist chosen to represent the first year of the gallery, 1971, is Silver's daughter Deborah. The unofficial opening of the gallery occurred when the first packages of art arrived during her fifth birthday party, and a few pieces were bought by mothers of some of the party goers. Meanwhile Deborah has become a professional photojournalist and will exhibit her photography in the show.

Other artists with early years are Dale Rayburn and his wife Mamie Joe who have been associated with the Attic since their years of 1972 and 1973. Deanna Douglas has not been regularly exhibiting work at the Attic, but is a favorite from the early years, and she was happy to create new pieces for this event. Gallery staff, Silver, her husband, Daniel Boone, Jean Blue and Randy Jolly are all contributing.

"I have been lucky to have worked with some of these talented people for such a long time," Silver said. "The artist who was given 2006 is a young man in New Orleans we met this Spring named Adam Dowis. He makes the most incredible lamps out of just about anything, and he seemed to represent the future to me."

"I see what are we celebrating as 35 years of bringing people of all ages, of all cultures, of all races together to tell their story and their passion through art. Did I think about this 35 years ago? No, of course not. I could never have imagined how committed to the people of our region I would become. These decades have been good to us because people: both artists and clients, brought us on this journey. Together we have explored so much, beginning with a few etchings in 1971 and arriving here 35 years later in our "new" over 100-year-old building, where people and art are wrapped and bound together so tightly. My love for the artists, for their tireless energy, for their honesty, for their creativity has grown with each year. I believe in the Attic, in its artists and its supporters. I believe in the importance of art and how it gives us a common bond and a common language. Some of these artists have never met one another, but this is a kind of family reunion for me."

The public is invited to meet the artists and view the works created to celebrate the Attic's 35th anniversary at 7 PM on Friday, October 6, 2006 at 1101 Washington Street. For more information about "35 Years in the Attic" call 601 638 9221.

A complete list of the participating artists and their assigned year follows:
1971 Deborah Silver Stuart, FL
1972 Dale Rayburn Roswell, GA
1973 Mamie Joe Roswell, GA
1974 Jean Blue Vicksburg, MS
1975 Randy Jolly Vicksburg, MS
1976 Deanna Douglas Hattiesburg, MS
1977 Keith Alford Port Gibson, MS
1978 Andy Young Jackson, MS
1979 Daniel Boone Vicksburg, MS
1980 Lois Simbach Marshall, NC
1981 Jimmy Pitts Oxford, MS
1982 Vidal Blankenstein Jackson, MS
1983 Geraldine Nash Port Gibson, MS
1984 Lesley Silver Vicksburg, MS
1985 Fletcher & Carol Cox Tougaloo, MS
1986 Ron Lindsey Clinton, MS
1987 Chad Poovey Vicksburg, MS
1988 Earl Simmons Bovina, MS
1989 Patt Odom Ocean Springs, MS
1990 Elayne Goodman Columbus, MS
1991 Kathy Gergo Vicksburg, MS
1992 Dr. Bob Memphis, TN
1993 Bebe Wolfe Jackson, MS
1994 David Baum Phoenix, AZ
1995 Chris Clark Birmingham, AL
1996 Janet Urrate Mandeville, LA
1997 Ellen Langford Jackson, MS
1998 Kennith Humphrey Vicksburg, MS
1999 Pat Fowler New Orleans, LA
2000 Tony DiFatta Jackson, MS
2001 David Lambert Jackson, MS
2002 Chris London Hartford , CT
2003 Susie Ranager Ocean Springs, MS
2004 Mary Hardy Ocean Springs, MS
2005 Jamie Tate Stoneville, MS
2006 Adam Dowis New Orleans, LA