Different art sales are examples of service avenues

Published 5:00 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

By Wayne Andrews

The past weekend’s three arts sales approached how the arts impact the  community.

The Powerhouse hosted a portion of an estate sale. Colby Kullman had been an active participant and supporter in the LOU community.

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During his lifetime he invested his talent, time and support into launching programs that are now staples of the community such as the 10 Minute Play Festival.

He assisted the Arts Council for years running a community-wide writing program. Through his work at the University he influenced theatre, writing and made an impact on numerous students.

He was also an avid collector of art, pottery and baskets. His collection was sold at The Powerhouse generating donations and support for those community programs he helped build during his lifetime.

Artist April Johnson provided that her art studio and supplies assist young artists. A MFA graduate from the University of Mississippi whose creative energy explored painting, drawing, printmaking, and bookbinding.

Her new supplies provided students in Bruce, Oxford, Gordon Center in Abbeville, and the Arts Council Art Truck program with supplies. The donation included basic supplies like pens, pencils and paints but also exotic supplies like rice paper from Japan providing students with hands-on experiences with different materials.

The Arts Council was also able to direct specialized materials to emerging local artists from print-making ink to jewelry-making supplies. These local artists inspired and appreciative of their gifts are making works for the annual ornament auction to return the gift to the arts council

Finally, two local community members had been seeking a way to showcase community members who have a creative side business or a business that does not include a retail storefront.

Through connections made with the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce, the Arts Council and the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors the first Lucky Finds Market launched this week.

The idea behind the market was proposed by Michelle Emmanuel as a recurring place for small businesses to showcase their work. That the opportunity to set up a pop-up shop creates the opportunity for new customers to find a home or online-based businesses.

The market launched with fifty vendors, and a waiting list of twenty more, and over 500 attendees trying to find that one-of-a-kind locally-made item – that lucky find. These events spark not just experiences for the community but are visualization of how ideas can create ongoing impact in our community.

Kullman’s contributions to our community are felt in the people who participate in Theatre Oxford or the writing groups such as Oxford Comma that support new writers.

His art in gracing others homes will remind them of how rich our community is because of his contribution. Mrs. Johnson’s gift will assist other artists, inspire support between fellow artists, and by the Arts Council being a connector deepen the relationship between the community of artists and their local resources.

Challine Barnes and Nicole Miller, the organizers of the Lucky Finds Market, have created a space for crafters, makers, and home-based businesses to find their community generating economic growth in Lafayette County.

There are numerous ways you can impact the community. It might be gifting items from a hobby you no longer engage in. It could be donating the sale of items as you downsize to a community organization. It could be providing the skills to organize a community wide project.

Ask your local community organization to help you think about all the ways you might be able to create the community you imagine.

Wayne Andrews is director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.