Micky Arnold’s work so far on Ruth Thompson’s portrait. 

This month, several local artists are participating in an art contest at Ruth's Roots which will leave the area covered in colorful designs.

Ruth's Roots was established in 2016 and is located on the property of Jim and the late Ruth Thompson. It was the former location of Ruth's Cakery, garden caretaker Elise Deano said.

One of the only things left on the property was a concrete slab, Deano said.

"The price was too high to remove it and it's not super attractive," she added. "But now, it has turned out amazing."

Deano said she commissioned artist Micky Arnold to paint a portrait of Ruth.

The portrait will be surrounded by works of art completed by several local artists including: Tracie Smith, Dale Pohl, Yuki Northington, Ashley Church, Tim Kennedy, Lisa Wilbourn, Milo Stephens, and Lucinda L'enfant.

The artwork is scheduled to be judged during May's Second Saturday event. Prizes will be awarded for first,-second,-and-third-place, Deano said.

"This is a community garden and I want to make it a place that all of Bay St. Louis can be proud of," Deano said. "It's a cool and chill place to hang out."

Ruth's Roots is home to chickens, a beehive, a female rabbit and a weather station, Deano said.

Recently, a koi pond, water fall and chess table with chairs was added, she said.

The garden also has a Little Free Library and non-perishable food bank.

"Everybody is welcome in here," Deano said. "It's always open to the public and I encourage everyone to come."

Kennedy said that participating in the contest gives him a chance to do something with the community and have a large piece of his work displayed for everyone to enjoy all the time. Kennedy works with acrylics and paints landscapes. He said he also paints recycled wood.

"I love donating to charities and love Ruth's Roots," he said. "I'm glad I could be a part of this."

Arnold said she heard about the garden and said she overheard Deano talking about painting the concrete slab.

"I told them I wanted to do that," she said. "It's a wonderful garden that's good for the community. I see kids and their grandparents come to visit."

Arnold – a portrait artist who works mostly with watercolors – said this project is "right up my alley."

"The best was when her (Ruth) husband came to see the portrait and he cried," Arnold said.

Ruth's Roots is a registered 501 (C)3 non-profit and is located at 130 Court St.

Learn more about Ruth's Roots through Facebook and Instagram.

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