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Oxford and Lafayette County’s Yoknapatawpha Arts Council to host Christmas Ornament Auction

It’s time for the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council’s annual Christmas Ornament Auction.

The event, which features work from over 100 artists, is free to members and will take place this Thursday at the Powerhouse. All are welcome to join, and memberships start at $35.

Wayne Andrews, YAC director, says the auction is a wonderful way to support local artists.

“This is our longest-running event, and people come from all over to be part of it,” Andrews said. “This year, the committee decided to keep things fresh with some new items.”

The auction features a variety of ornaments, hand-crafted by local artisans. This year it will also feature three wreaths from local craftsmen and ornaments designed by Oxford and Lafayette County High School students.

Teachers Ebony Johnson and Thomas Grosskopf say they were excited to introduce their students to the event.

Johnson said about 25 of her students participated, crafting ornaments with materials including wood, drills, hot glue, glitter “everywhere,” paint and ribbon. Each ornament comes with a personalized card and hand-decorated box, as well.

“We threw an ornament party, and I had my students dress up like elves and called it Santa’s workshop,” she said. “The proceeds will help to further the arts in Oxford, how we collaborate with each other, see cultural differences and biases, and how we can build our community and relationships through the arts.”

Taylor Ross, a senior at Oxford High School, drew inspiration from the Ole Miss campus with her Lyceum-inspired ornament.

“I learned about the ornament party through [Mrs. Johnson] and AP Art,” Ross said. “I enjoyed the overall camaraderie and joy that we all had while making ornaments.”

The auction will also include three custom-made wreaths from local artists. One wreath pays homage to Flying Tuks, and is crafted from a flame-printed steering wheel cover. Another, designed by Lucius Lamar, is a disco ball-inspired creation.

In addition to getting students from his class involved in the auction, Lafayette High School art teacher Thomas Grosskopf designed the third, which is a wreath in name only.

“I didn’t want to do the typical round wreath,” Grosskopf said. “Instead, I thought about the kind of weapons Santa might have used in the middle ages to fight Krampus on Christmas eve.”

The design consists of varnished wood and deer antlers and features a hand-carved sword and plaque with golden detailing.

Attendees can also treat themselves to tastings from 11 restaurants, including City Grocery, Billups Breakfast, Stella and McEwen’s.

Last year, proceeds from the auction exceeded $13 thousand and helped fund 320 days of programming. It also helped YAC become the only Mississippi group to present the findings of an economic impact study at the United States Capitol. The study showed that the arts generated $11 million in revenue last year, and Andrews says he hopes contributions to the arts will increase as member involvement grows.

“Events like this are changing the nature of what our community is,” Andrews said. “It’s celebrating it, and we’re looking forward to seeing where we go in 2018.”