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Ole Miss Museum hosts Friends’ Conversation panel Saturday

By Christina Steube

University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi Museum will host an afternoon of artist conversations about the sources of their inspiration on Saturday.

“Friends’ Conversations: Oxford Artists Explore the Museum’s Vault” begins at 12:30 p.m. with a panel featuring artists Philip Jackson, Alysia Steele and Jaime Johnson. Each artist explored the museum’s vault with collections manager Marti Funke and has selected inspiring items to discuss.

“We hope that their unique ways of seeing and experiencing their selections from the museum’s collection will inspire participants to engage with the artwork that sparks their imaginations in new, personal ways,” said Debbie Nelson, the museum’s communications coordinator.

Jackson, a UM associate professor of art, is an emerging force in contemporary realist painting. His work has been displayed in numerous national and international exhibitions and is part of permanent collections at museums in Evansville and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

His still life paintings also have been featured on the covers of art publications including Art in America, Southwest Art, American Art Collection and American Artist.

“This event is an unusual opportunity to hear both the artist’s personal vision and discover unique works of art that may otherwise be overlooked or perhaps never seen,” Jackson said. “The painting I have chosen to speak about is one that has been on view in the Seymour Lawrence Collection of American Art.

“By highlighting a painting from this collection, I hope to share observations I have recently discovered to encourage an investigative discussion and generate a renewed interest with a familiar image.”

An assistant professor of journalism at UM, Steele is a multimedia author and award-winning photographer. Her work has been featured in Habitat for Humanity’s 25th-anniversary coffee table book.

In 2004, she was awarded the James Gordon Award for photographic excellence for her assignment inside the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, and she served as photo editor for a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Hurricane Katrina coverage in 2006.

Steele’s book “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom” is a finalist in the 2015 Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards for nonfiction and has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today and other major outlets.

Johnson, an adjunct instructor of foundations at Ole Miss, is an award-winning photographer. Her work has been showcased at the Center for Fine Art Photography, the SOHO Photo Gallery in New York, the New Orleans Photo Alliance and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Her photographs have been featured in magazines including Shots, Don’t Take Pictures, Light Leaked and Seites.

The artists will be joined by Funke on the panel, which will be moderated by Oxford artist Jason Bouldin.

Following a break for lunch and Oxford Pride Weekend, artists will travel to their studios so attendees can visit and ask questions. Directions to the studios will be provided.

Due to limited parking, guests are encouraged to carpool to the studios. To register for the studio visits, contact Nelson at 662-915-7028. This event is made possible by Friends of the Museum.