• 79°

Reflecting back on the local arts for the past year

As we wind down the year, I have been reflecting on the arts events of 2015.

There were a lot of old standbys and some new traditions started.

The community of Oxford continues to support the arts in a big way, proving that the positive impact will continue next year.

The year started off with an artistic bang during the fifth annual Oxford Fiber Arts Festival which was held at the end of January/beginning of February and brought in people from several states to participate in classes and shop for artisanal-quality goods and materials.

The festival has become popular quickly and visitors of all ages come out due to the great children’s activities and opportunities for learning about traditional arts such as spinning, weaving, basket-weaving and more.

Sponsored by Knit 1 Oxford and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, this annual event will continue to bring visitors in to participate in the creative spirit of fiber arts.

Another highlight of the year includes the installation of the Yokna Sculpture Trail which includes sculptures in Pat Lamar Park, UM campus and the Powerhouse.

The opening occurred on April 23 right in time for the Double Decker festival. Spearheaded by Wayne Andrews, Earl Dismuke and Durant Thompson, this installation in three separate locations has really boosted the presence of public art in our town.

To support this trail in its efforts to bring more sculptures to Oxford, consider becoming a friend of the trail and donating at www.sculpture.oxfordarts.

Also sponsored by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, the Powerhouse Gallery Series and the Arter Limits Fringe Festival brought art to the gallery space and other locations in town.

The monthly art crawl continues to be a success with art installed in various locations including restaurants, galleries, the UM museum and local coffee shops.

North Light Gallery at the Orchard Church has made a big debut with various shows including a recent showing of Jail Art with Angelo Mistilis.

This small gallery with big personality and a great bay of windows is run by a dedicated committee of arts supporters at the church and has made a big impact on the diversity of arts exhibits in Oxford.

Southside Gallery, UM Museum, Oxford Treehouse Gallery, Frame Up and Bozarts Gallery in Water Valley continue to put up interesting and quality shows exposing the town to well-known artists as well as emerging talents.

Expect the same from them in the new year.

Another great development that will be a great asset to our community is the pavilion built on the former Armory building site. Currently run by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, the space will provide a place for concerts, plays, farmer’s markets and other artistic offerings.

With such a great location and open design this venue is already becoming a gathering place for young and old alike.

With all the developments of this past year, it is easy to look forward to a new year filled with artistic doings and collaborations.

ANDI BEDSWORTH is owner of Art To Go, which brings free art opportunities to children in the community.