One Night Stand at the Ole Miss Motel returns

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Saturday event marks 16th anniversary of popular art show

The annual art show series “The One Night Stand” returns to Ole Miss Motel on University Avenue this Saturday, Oct. 21, from 5 to 9 p.m.

The 16th anniversary of this popular event will feature the works of 10 different regional artists, displaying a variety of mediums, including painting, photography and sculpture. 

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The room-to-room fine art exhibit, which will take up one side of the motel property, is presented by Yoknapatawpha Arts Council of Oxford and the Splinter Creek community of Taylor.  

This year’s roster includes Hollie Chastain, Jai Williams, Lamar Sorrento, Amy Renee Webb, Brittany Boyd Bullock, Church Goin’ Mule, Kate Donovan, Earl Dismuke, James Kane and Susan Mah.

There will also be a benefit to honor Delta watercolor artist John Park Meek, who passed away in July 2023. 

Oxford photographer and writer Erin Austen Abbott got the idea for the event while she was driving around town taking pictures back in 2007, after pulling into the motel parking lot to turn her vehicle around.  

“I was instantly drawn in by the blue doors with the red hearts on them,” Abbott said, about the eye-catching motel doors which were changed shortly after, when U of M hosted the first presidential debate of 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain.

“It had this very old-school vintage feel,” she said, “right down to the metal key.  Also, the way it’s positioned, so you can drive right up to the doors, and walk from door to door on the outside.  I immediately thought it would be a great place for an art show.”

Abbott also recalled how Oxford was rapidly changing at the time, and how different and unique the motel began to seem in the shadow of the new developments in surrounding areas. “So, I thought it’d be a great location, and we’ve been doing it there ever since,” she added.

Each of the 10 artists has his or her own designated rooms, which they will transform into a gallery space for the night. Patrons are free to go from space to space at their leisure and congregate in the middle parking lot area.  

“I’ve always called it a part-parking lot party/part-art show because there’s so many people mingling in the lot, talking to folks they haven’t seen in a while,” said Abbott.  “It just brings out all of those different parts of the State really.”

One Night Stand has also gathered an eclectic mix of attendees from Jackson, the Gulf Coast, and other parts of the Mid-South and Southeast.

Abbott said that what ties the artists together is that they are each “distinctive” in their own way.  “I think that alone makes them really special.”  

A local favorite who will have some current pieces on display is Lamar Sorrento, who has appeared multiple times in the past but hasn’t in recent years.  

Sculptor Earl Dismuke, who has the big red rings on a roundabout on South Lamar Avenue is also among the artists whose work will be very familiar to locals.  

Another highlight will be photographer Susan Mah, who combines visual art and psychological elements into one exhibition.  One of Mah’s inspirations is director Alfred Hitchcock, so her gallery should have its share of Halloween spirit.  

Reflecting on past years, Abbott fondly recalled a local couple that met during one of the shows and continue to return every year. She jokes with them that it’s an annual party in their honor.  

“They love to say that their relationship started with a one night stand. Kind of a fun play on words,” he said.

Although parking at the motel will be reserved only for the regular guests, there is nearby free parking in the OPC/Water Tower lot or across the street during non-business hours.

“First dibs hour” will start at 5 p.m. for the cost of $25 and offers attendees a better chance to buy from their favorite artists, and includes a meal ticket for dinner from the Soul 2 Soul food truck.  

The event is free from 6-9 p.m. and will have coffee, tea, beer & wine available from The Magnolia Coffee Co., out of Water Valley.

“It brings a lot of people together that might not normally be at the same show together,” said Abbott.  “I really love the community that it inspires.”

“I was so honored to be asked by Erin to participate,” said Mah.  “I just love the idea of each artist being assigned their own motel room, which becomes our own personal art gallery for the evening.”