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ArtsAlive! Teaching Artists to spark creative fire this weekend
By Echo Staff
Mar 18, 2014, 17:30

Ever want to learn how to paint a landscape? Find out how a piece of clay becomes a bowl? Discover how a portrait artist can capture a person’s character? For free?
From fiction writing tips to watercolor painting, to pottery techniques, the Teaching Artists of ArtsAlive! 2014 will be sharing the excitement of creation with the public in Old Town Bay St. Louis on Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Produced by The Arts, Hancock County in partnership with local businesses and sponsors, the festival is actually comprised of several events taking place simultaneously and involving visual, literary, musical, and culinary arts. The star of the multi-faceted event is the Artists Showcase, featuring 57 artists showing their work at 20 host Old Town businesses. Eighteen of those artists have taken on the role of Teaching Artists for the day and will be sharing their experience and techniques in time slots from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (for the Teaching Artist Schedule, see the ArtsAlive! printed program or look under “Info” at www.ArtsAliveGulfCoast.com ).
Artist Pamela Tripp and her husband Dale Simmons will be showing their award-winning pottery work at Century Hall (112 South Second Street) during ArtsAlive! From 1 – 2 p.m., Pam will demonstrating the delicate art of surface design, using raku pottery created by Dale.
Tripp talked about the “extreme makeover” that changed ArtsAlive! this year from a studio tour to a multi-media celebration of the arts centered in Old Town Bay St. Louis. Tripp said she’s glad to be one of the premier “Teaching Artists” for the event.
"The new ArtsAlive! is a terrific concept,” said Tripp. “It’s getting more students involved and offering more chances for people to learn how art can enrich their lives.”
“Throughout Old Town there’ll be many opportunities for viewing and participating in a whole range of creative endeavors. We look forward to sharing our art and invite the public to visit us at Century Hall."
One example of new student involvement is the Student Art Exhibit for Middle and High School students (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Longfellow Civic Center, 122 1/2 Court Street). Hundreds of dollars in cash prizes will be awarded, with the winners being announced at 10:30 a.m. on the day of the event.
During the “Aspiring Writers” contest at the Literary Showcase (100 Block of Main Street, in front of Bay Books) elementary, middle and high school student writers will read their works aloud (starting at 11 a.m.), also competing for hundreds of dollars in prizes.
“This is not your average art show, says The Arts president Cynthia Mahner, smiling. "Think of it as sort of an ‘American Idol’ for the arts. People can come out and cheer on their favorite artist or student.”
For instance, at the Mockingbird Café, singer-songwriters will perform throughout the afternoon, competing for cash prizes. The “Play-Offs” for finalists are slated from 6-8 p.m. that evening, as the ArtsAlive! finale.
In the “On the Spot” fiction contest at the Literary Showcase at Bay Books, writers are given just three hours to write a short-short story about a specific topic, announced that morning. They’ll read their stories aloud to audiences from 3–5 p.m.
During the “Southern Sweets” culinary competition at the Starfish Cafe, celebrity chefs will judge desserts created by local cooks based on presentation, originality and taste. Top winner takes home a $250 cash prize. After the formal judging, 50 lucky People’s Choice judges get to sample the desserts and vote for their favorites (judges badges passed out on first-come-first-serve basis). A special Juried Art Exhibition for artists will be open to the public at 200 North Beach Restaurant, second floor, from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., March 20 – March 30. Even the Bay St. Louis Little Theatre is getting into the act, producing a fun theatre tableau with actors bringing to life the characters from a famous painting. Performances are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on the steps of the Hancock County Courthouse. For complete details about ArtsAlive! with map and schedule of Teaching Artists, go to: ArtsAliveGulfCoast.com.


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