Community Gallery

Each month, our community gallery features new exhibitions of original works created by local and regional artists in our Gallery @ Room 1927, located at 6 South Joachim Street (next door to the Saenger Theatre). The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Any artists are eligible and may submit a proposal for consideration. Exhibitions are usually displayed from the first Wednesday through the last day of each month.

In addition to our traditional gallery, we are now also accepting proposals for quarterly exhibitions in our window display cases, located between Room 1927 and the Saenger Box Office. If you are interested in creating a window installation, email director@mobilearts.org.

Join us on the second Friday of each month during LoDa ArtWalk for our exhibition receptions. Meet the artists, see their work in person, and create a personal connection with what is on display. Our gallery is open to the public Tuesdays - Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those that are vaccinated are not required to wear masks in the gallery. View our extended Virtual Gallery program, implemented during the 2020 quarantine, online here. View our current and recent exhibitors below!

Our Community Gallery program is made possible thanks to the Daniel Foundation of Alabama and the J.L. Bedsole Foundation. To sponsor an exhibition, please see our Sponsorship Information.

2024 EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

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Exhibition schedule is subject to change.*

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

February: 2024 Visual Arts Achievement Program & Young at Art

The Mobile Arts Council is pleased to host the 2024 District 1 Visual Arts Achievement Program and Young at Art! Those eligible for District 1 include public and private schools Baldwin, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe, and Washington counties. Every student who receives a District Award will be recognized in the State Awards from the Alabama State Council on the Arts online. Entry categories include craft, drawing, painting, photography/new media, printmaking, mixed media, and sculpture.

The Visual Arts Achievement Program provides opportunities for students in grades 6 through 12 to be recognized for their contributions to the visual arts at the local and state levels. Only one entry per individual student will be eligible. Teachers may submit up to 7 entries total. View the statewide schedule, including scholarship opportunities for students on ASCA’s website here. The District 1 juried exhibition will hang from February 3rd to February 25th.

Concurrently, Young at Art is for 5th grade students and below, and not included in the juried competition. This exhibit will be hung at JPAR Gulf Coast, located at 318 Dauphin St. Teachers working at one location/school may submit no more than 5 entries total, and teachers working at more than one location/school may submit up to 7 entries total. These entries must be equipped to hang (with a wire, sawtooth hanger, contact strips, or some other way that does not stick out of the top of the artwork). Unlike VAAP, this show is also open to private lesson teachers.

IMPORTANT DATES:

  1. Due to Mardi Gras parades, the gallery will close at 4:00 p.m. Thursday & Friday, February 8th & 9th, and remain closed through Tuesday, February 13th.
  2. The Region 1 awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, February 25th from 1 to 3 p.m. at the MAC gallery.
  3. The State awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 11th in Montgomery.

Contact Sydney Cramer at scramer@mobilearts.org or 251-432-9796 for more information. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday – Friday & 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday.

PAST EXHIBITIONS

January 2024: “When the Sky Looks In” by Annieo Klaas & “Sometimes You Get Shown the Light” A Poet’s Explorations in Watercolor & Ink” by Vernon Fowlkes

When the Light Looks In showcases how sunlight shines softly through the clouds, casting shadows off window blinds and the flowers in the windowsill. They add a shimmery layer on top of this open window, this steaming, breathing, fresh-baked loaf of a painting, open and reaching with its canvas weave and brushstrokes, attempting to grasp out at the sky or- open out to it? It is the shape of a window, and it holds an invitation to enter another world in the same way that a window does. You can step through it with your eyes, lie down, and daydream in it in the same way that you would with a window. But it is not a window, just like Magritte’s pipe was not a pipe. So, the sun-shadows of the window blinds and flowers become the hints that break the illusion, the ephemeral travelers that go where we cannot.

Annieo Klaas is an oil painter that grew up in Dakar, Senegal and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Seattle, Washington at Cornish College of the Arts in 2015. Her work is a part of the Fred Hutch Cornish Collection in Seattle, Washington, as well as other personal collections across the US and in Senegal. She was commissioned as part of a team to create a permanent outdoor mural for InCity Properties’ “The Local” at 422 Summit Ave E in Seattle, WA in 2015 and is now based in Mobile, AL. Selected group exhibitions include: “NEU DAWN 6” Curated by Courtney Matthews for the Alabama Contemporary Art Center (Mobile, AL, 2023) and “Atmospheric Perspective” curated by Sarah Bernhardt at Intersect Arts Center in St Louis, MO (Oct-Nov 2022).

Sometimes You Get Shown the Light explores how, at certain moments, the world seems to radiate its own light. Accentuated by shadow and silhouette, everything appears imbued with luminescence. The largely semi-abstract pieces in this exhibition are an exploration of that idea. We can also imagine that, when viewed, this luminosity sits inside the observer as well, not just metaphorically, but both biologically and philosophically.

A relative newcomer in the visual arts, Mobile native Vernon Fowlkes has been a poet for 50 years, and in 2022 began exploring a new avenue of creativity in semi-abstract landscape painting with the dynamic media of watercolors and India inks. “I’m intrigued by these water-based media and how they can actively participate in the creative process with their movement and flow in such a way that a painting can suggest, even dictate, its final form. There’s a parallel here to my approach to poetry, too: experimenting with combinations of collected words and turns of phrase to see what they might produce on their own, and following the poem’s suggestions as to what it wants to be. It’s the dynamic nature of watercolor and ink that is its own kind of poetry to me. As with my poems, my paintings are an exploration of associative leaps. Light and shadow replace sound and silence to reveal landscapes of the mind that have called themselves into being.”

November 2023: Coastal Clay

Coastal Clay features an eclectic collection of ceramic artworks by 24 local artists. Curated by Phillip Counselman, this collection represents a variety of artistic styles, techniques, and use of materials. This exhibition will be featured in the MAC Gallery throughout the months of November and December. The gallery will be closed November 22nd – 25th for Thanksgiving and December 23rd – 30th for Christmas break.

Featured Artists

Angie King, Abigaile Bell, Brenda Bledsoe, Bertice McPherson, Bronco Sloan, Dawson Morgan, G. Khalsa, Georgia Jones Godwin, Harlan T. Schwall, Jacob Burkardt, Janet Hinton, Johnathan Maddison, Karin Hutchins, K. Dreta, Laura Jurjevich, Maria Spies, Marilyn Foley, Megan Carry, Shelly Leigh, Steve Burrow, Steven Dark, Suzie Bowman, Sydney Cramer, and Zach Sierke.

October 2023: American Society of Botanical Artists, Louise Estes, & Henry Evans

This October, MAC features 3 new exhibitions: Square in Mobile? You Must Be Kidding! from the American Society of Botanical Artists, Homage to Louise Estes, and Homage to Henry Evans. These exhibitions feature botanical art in various mediums from local, national, and international artists.

The American Society of Botanical Artists provides a thriving, interactive community dedicated to perpetuating the tradition and contemporary practice of botanical art. Square in Mobile? You Must Be Kidding! is a small works exhibition featuring 66 works from as many artists, and is open to all registered attendees of the 2023 ASBA Conference. Contemporary botanical art grows from long established traditions, integrating the history of art and the sciences of botany, horticulture, medicine and agriculture. Knowing this history adds to their pleasure in viewing botanical art today. As artists their vision is expanded, and skills enhanced by studying the work of their forebears. For observers and collectors, appreciation matures with a greater understanding of the traditions and evolution of the genre.

Louise Estes (1923-2017) was inspired by the beauty she found at Bellingrath Gardens and Home in the 1960’s and 70’s, where she meticulously recreated her favorite specimens of camellias, roses and other beautiful flowers in naturalistic watercolors. She painted more than 200 Bellingrath-inspired watercolors, many of which are on display at Bellingrath. Several of her works were featured on many of  Bellingrath’s  mailings. From her earliest years, she said, “I always loved to paint,” enrolling in art classes whenever she could. At age 16, she won a scholarship to study art in New York City at the Traphagen School of Fashion. In 1959, she and her husband, Bill, moved to Mobile from Opp, Ala. Her son, John, remembered accompanying her on her drives to Bellingrath, where he would explore the Gardens while she selected blooms to paint. “I remember being self-conscious” as his mother picked flowers, he said, even though she had permission to do so. Mrs. Estes’s naturalistic watercolors have been exhibited at the National Arboretum (Washington, D.C.), the Arboretum at Cheekwood (Nashville), Callaway Gardens (Pine Mountain, Ga.), Bellingrath Gardens and Home, and many other galleries, as well as by organizations including the Garden Writers of America, Men’s Garden Club of America, the American Rose Society, and the American Camellia Society. Two of her camellia watercolors hang in the State Dining Room of the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery. In 2010, a selection of her paintings was exhibited at the Mobile Arts Council. Mrs. Estes’s painting of “Iris” was included in the 6th International Exhibition of Botanical Art and Illustration at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at the Carnegie Mellon University and remains in the permanent collection. In 1986, she was commissioned by the American Rose Foundation for a series of limited edition prints of her paintings of the “Dainty Bess,” “Touch of Class,” and “Europeana” roses.  In 1992, the Mobile Rose Society dedicated its annual Rose Show to her. Mrs. Estes was also named the Official Artist of the World Rose Society and she has had an award-winning rose named for her. Mrs. Estes died on September 28, 2017, at the age of 94.

Henry Evans (1918-1990) began making botanical prints in 1958, depicting some 1400 subjects in 31 years.  In that time, he was accorded more than 250 one-man shows in many countries around the word and, almost every state in the union. Admired by art lovers and naturalists alike, Henry’s work reveals a style intriguingly personal and botanically faithful, unerring in its feeling for rhythm and design.  Self-taught as a printer, botanist and artist he developed a unique style and technique.  He drew directly from living subjects, and all subjects were portrayed life-size.  He used linoleum as a printing surface and an 1852 Washington Hand Press to make the prints. All of the work was done by hand.  All of the materials that were used were of the best quality, and all of the editions were limited.  Each linoleum-block print was numbered, dated and signed by the artist.  After printing, the blocks were destroyed. Henry Evan’s linocuts are found in the great print collections of the Albertina in Vienna, the Library of Congress in Washington, and the New York Public Library, in various museums and libraries across the country, and in a number private collections in America and abroad. Henry Evans wrote and illustrated books and magazine articles, talked before groups both here and abroad on printmaking (including a stint of lectures for the State Department in Europe and the Middle East), and along with his wife Marsha, met the public in their galleries in the Napa Valley and San Francisco.  From 1974, Marsha worked on shows and gallery arrangements and did most of the presswork on the prints.  Henry selected the subjects, made the drawings, cut out the blocks and mixed the colors.  It was, in the best sense, a husband-wife-team.  Among numerous publications, the artist’s most important books and portfolios include The State of Flowers of the United States (1972); Botanical Prints: With Excerpts From the Artist’s Notebook (1977); and California Native Wild Flowers (1985). Some of the more notable exhibitions of Henry Evans’s prints have been held at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh, the National Arboretum in Washington, Northwestern University at Evanston, The Royal Horticultural Society in London, the Field Museum in Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, McGill University in Montreal, the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the  California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, and the Los Angeles County Museum.

Special thanks to Dr. Todd Lassaigne, Executive Director of Bellingrath Gardens and Home for the generous loan of Louise Estes original drawings.

Special thanks to Dr. Bill Barrick, Executive Director Emeritus of Bellingrath Gardens and Home for the loan of Louise Estes Camellia prints and Henry Evans prints.

These exhibitions will hang in MAC’s Gallery @Room 1927 from October 5th through October 31st, 2023.

2023 Annual MAC Members’ Show

The 2023 Annual MAC Members’ Show features 69 artists in a variety of artistic mediums and styles representative of our area. Unlike our typical month-long exhibitions, this show will be featured in our gallery throughout the months of August and September! We will announce the awards, sponsored by the Dempsey & Litchfield Fund, on August 11th during LoDa ArtWalk.

Prizes for the MAC Members’ Show will be awarded as follows:

Best in Show – $500

2nd Place – $300

3rd Place – $250

Dempsey & Litchfield Award – painting, photography, or drawing specifically focused on the greater-Mobile area – $200

Members’ Choice Award – $150

Honorable Mention – $75

Honorable Mention – $75

Do not forget to cast your vote for the Members’ Choice Award! Each MAC Member is eligible for one vote. Voting concludes at midnight on Friday, September 1st. The winner will be announced on Friday, September 8th during LoDa ArtWalk. You MUST have an active Mobile Arts Council membership by September 1st for your vote to be eligible.


This year’s judge is Paulette Dove. Paulette received her B.FA. And M.Ed. from Miss. University for Women and William Carey College. Her Education included “Water Media Encounter at Louisiana Tech University, Savannah School of Art and Design, Mary Todd Bean workshop at the Bascom Museum in Highland, N.C. She has taught many years in Biloxi, West Virginia and Mississippi Gulf Coast College. Paulette has also served as an educator at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art and Walter Anderson Museum of art in the past. Paulette prefers to work mostly in acrylic, mixed media and pottery. Paulette is a native Biloxian and has been painting and exhibiting on the gulf coast for many years. She is a member of the Ocean Springs Art Association the Singing River Art Association, President of the South Mississippi Art League and board member of Mississippi Art Colony. Her work has been displayed throughout the South. She currently works from her “Side Door Studio” located in Biloxi, MS. “…pattern and texture found in my work is meant to evoke images and thought of untold stories. I paint, literally and figurative from past experiences using symbols as central figures to create a common language…” 

Participating artists include Amanda Youngblood, Amelia Weeks, Ana Gabriel Rel, Anna Cherry, Barbara Cobb, Barbara Spafford, Brian Tan, Bryant Whelan, Carol Wiggins, Carolyn Joseph, Cherrelle Jefferson Smith, Cheryl Nicholls, Christopher Murray, Crystal Jackson, Curtis Clark, Daniel Domenzain, Debbie Davis, Debi Parnell, Durand Seay, Elizabeth Brooks, Eric Achenbach, Eric Boone, Frank Ledbetter, Frank Vogtner, Freddie Blache, Ginger Woechan, Hazel Pitsios-Luther, Janie Brown Johnson, Jim Laugelli, JoAnn Cox, Joe Sims, Juli Day, Karen McGahagin, Karen House, Kathryn Sims, Kathryn Cariglino, Kathy Sowder, Katie Kaufman, Katie Thompson, Kay Spencer, Kelly Estle, Kimberly Zuckley, Kym Vanover Brown, Laurie Schaerer, Leslie Elmore, Louis Tooker, Lynne Weeks, Marty Graw, Mayssam Iskandar, Micah Mermilliod, Mike Carmichael, Mike Kittrell, Nancy Goodman, Philippe Oszuscik, Phyllis Henson, Ragan Windsor, Renee Wallace, Rudolph Villarreal, Savannah Mercer, Soynika Edwards-Bush, Susan Rouillier, Stephanie Bromley, Stephanie Zaputil, Steven Dark, Tarrell Portman, Tim Vaught, Ty Tover, Vernon Fowlkes, and Walter Dedrick.

The 2023 MAC Members’ Show will hang in MAC’s Gallery @Room 1927 from August 8th through September 30th.

July Exhibitions: Mobile Opera Costume Guild, Deborah and Louis Bassett, & Via Health Class Group Show

Stop by MAC’s Gallery @ Room 1927 from July 6th until July 28th to see three new exhibitions: “The Fabric of Opera: Costuming for the Stage,” “Allow to Zigzag,” and “Tones of Contrast.” Gallery hours are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Tuesdays – Fridays and 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturdays. We will stay open until 9 p.m. on ArtWalk night, July 14th!

“The Fabric of Opera” explores how the Mobile Opera Costume Guild makes magic out of the ordinary. Primarily using donated fabrics, notions, and embellishment, the MOCG creates fabulous costumes. In the hands of the Mobile Opera Costume Guild castoff draperies and extra upholstery fabric become elegant gowns, dashing jackets, capes, aprons, and vests that are a treat for the artists who create them and a delight for the audience that views them. Featuring 20 costumes created by the Costume Guild through the years.

“Allow to Zigzag” features the work of Deborah & Louis Bassett. Deborah is a multidisciplinary and multi-media artist based in Pensacola, Florida. She works with 2D materials, photography, printmaking, and conceptual/performance art. She has studied visual art with professional artists in Boston, MA and Pensacola, FL through group and private instruction and has worked in fine art galleries in Cambridge, MA, Pensacola, FL, and New Orleans, LA. Louis has been making art since he was a toddler and able to hold a paintbrush. He has recently completed third grade and continues to make art, especially fantasy, in addition to writing poetry and screenplays, reading Japanese anime, learning to play the trumpet, and playing sports. Books containing all Allow to Zigzag prints and poems available for purchase.

“Tones of Contrast” gives opportunity for the artists and audience to explore dimension. Faces have significant dimension, and this exercise was to discern and display it by using tonal value from light to dark to interpret and convey “dimension” using recycled paper as primary medium. With the enormous supply of printed matter, it provides a way to recycle creatively what would otherwise be deemed wastepaper. It provides a new tool for artists and viewers to “see dimensional contrast” while embracing an ecologically useful philosophy.

June Exhibitions: Juneteenth: A Celebration of Black Artists & PRIDE

Stop by MAC’s Gallery @ Room 1927 from June 6th until June 30th to see the Juneteenth: A Celebration of Black Artists and PRIDE exhibitions, featuring Mobile-area Black and LGTBQ+ artists and allies! Gallery hours are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Tuesdays – Fridays and 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturdays. We will stay open until 9 p.m. on ArtWalk night, June 9th!

Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Participating artists include Brandin Stallworth, Charles Washington, Cherrelle Jefferson Smith, Colin Al-Greene, Kay Williams, Leo Ferreira, Linda Angelina Stevens, Margaret Richey, Terri Foster, and Ty Tover.

On June 19, 1865, about two months after the Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Va., Gordon Granger, a Union general, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African Americans of their freedom, and that the Civil War had ended. General Granger’s announcement put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued nearly two and a half years earlier, on Jan. 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln. The holiday is also called “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day.”

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is an annual celebration of the many contributions made by the LGBTQ+ community to history, society, and cultures worldwide. Participating artists include Ben Kaiser, Colin Al-Greene, Charles Washington, Ginger Woechan, Harmony Barnette, Leo Ferreira, Liberty Barnette, Marnée Wiley, Mayssam Iskandar, Rachel Evans, Sarah Rutledge Fischer, Savannah Mercer, Ty Tover, Vanessa Quintana, and Walker Ladd.

In most places, Pride is celebrated throughout  June in commemoration of its roots in the Stonewall Riots of June 1969.The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. By the time the Stonewall Riots ended on July 2, 1969, the gay rights movement was no longer a fringe issue largely ignored by politicians and the media, but front-page news internationally. Initially, the last Sunday in June was celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” in the U.S., but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation the “day” soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.

The Mobile Arts Council strives to foster a diverse and accepting culture, and we hope that these exhibitions will highlight many of the wonderful Black and LGBTQ+ artists in the Mobile area.

May Exhibitions: National Photography Month Exhibition

Stop by MAC’s Gallery @ Room 1927 from May 6th until May 30th to see our National Photography Month community exhibition, featuring 30+ area photographers! Subject matter and mediums range from studio portraits and landscape photography to silver gelatin prints and cyanotypes. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Tuesdays – Fridays and 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturdays. We will stay open until 9 p.m. on ArtWalk night, May 12th!

Participating photographers include: Angela Montgomery, Anna Cherry, Barbara Spafford, Cheryl Nicholls, Chris Bryant, Daniel Domenzain, E J Wright, Frank Lee Roberts, Guy Llewellyn, Gwen Ainsworth, Hallie Zimlich, Jacquelyn Burns, Joe Sims, Julie Andel, Katherine Anne Robertson, Kim Lovvorn, L.A. Alston, Laurie Schaerer, Leonardo Ferreira, Magen Pierce, Matt O’Brien, Micah Mermilliod, Michael A. Smith, Mike Carmichael, Mike Kittrell, Nikki Shaw, Ransom Phelps, Stephanie Zaputil, Stevye Murray, Walter Dedrick, and Yancey Leeth.

This month’s exhibition is sponsored by Avelo Airlines and Mobile International Airport. Stop by and see their booth along with our vendors during LODA Artwalk on May 12th – they will be giving away two round-trip tickets to Orlando!

April Exhibitions: A Ménage à Trois & Not Without Water

This April, MAC’s Gallery @ Room 1927 will feature two exhibitions: “A Ménage à Trois” by Frank “Chip” Mayes and “Not Without Water” by Pier Hardin.

Frank “Chip” Mayes began painting in 1960 and is a painter of Oils, Acrylics, and Designers Gouache. He enrolled in college as an art major. Being one of the first graduating seniors from the University of West Florida, he founded the traditional Senior Portfolio Review and Show. Chip became well known in the Florida area and was supported by the community with patrons placing regular commissions. After graduating, he left for independent studies in Europe for an extended period of time. He has studied all over the world. Upon returning to the States, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and currently lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

“Giving time to painting is an act of faith. To this world it will hardly appear noble, purposeful, praiseworthy; and yet, painting reincarnates in every generation. James Whistler put it like this, ‘We have then but to wait–until with the mark of the Gods upon him–there come among us again the Chosen–who shall continue what has gone before.’ I, Frank, the artist say, I am a painter, a visual story teller, and an observer of people, places, and things.”

Not Without Water depicts the environments that could not exist without water. Surreal and abstract forests, bog plants, cypress knees, swamps, mythical caves, carp, lily pads, insects, and frogs—water is their source of life, just as it is ours. Reflected clouds on a pond surface, a meandering stream that courses underground, a hollowed cave—all are evidence of water’s complex and vital omnipresence. The recurring lines, shapes, and patterns observable in the plants and animals that thrive in or at water’s edge define Pier Hardin’s aesthetic sensibility, and hold her in thrall at the miraculous connectedness of nature. Pier’s paintings tend to put the viewer closer to the subject, and often have no horizon lines in sight. This magnified tete-a-tete with a pitcher plant or a frog swimming to the surface of a pond often results in an intimate point of view. The bold colors she chooses express extremes of darkness and light, frequently lending a surreal or fantastical mood to the subject matter. She uses organic line and careful placement to move the viewer’s eye intentionally about the compositions, just as water moves us with rhythm and fluidity. As a Mobilian, a proximity to water has profoundly shaped Pier’s understanding of beauty and mystery. She hopes that her oils and watercolors reveal a reverence toward the biodiverse world of nature that exists in Mobile’s estuary systems. These primordial places where tides meet streams continuously bind Pier in their spells.

“Life in us is like the water in the river.” – Henry David Thoreau

These exhibitions will remain in the MAC Gallery @ Room 1927 until Saturday, April 29th. Contact Sydney Cramer at scramer@mobilearts.org or 251-432-9796 for more information. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday – Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday.

March Exhibitions: Not Without Water & Blue Mind

This March, MAC’s Gallery @ Room 1927 will feature two exhibitions: “Not Without Water” by Pier Hardin and “Blue Mind” curated by Kathy Martin

Not Without Water depicts the environments that could not exist without water. Surreal and abstract forests, bog plants, cypress knees, swamps, mythical caves, carp, lily pads, insects, and frogs—water is their source of life, just as it is ours. Reflected clouds on a pond surface, a meandering stream that courses underground, a hollowed cave—all are evidence of water’s complex and vital omnipresence. The recurring lines, shapes, and patterns observable in the plants and animals that thrive in or at water’s edge define Pier Hardin’s aesthetic sensibility, and hold her in thrall at the miraculous connectedness of nature. Pier’s paintings tend to put the viewer closer to the subject, and often have no horizon lines in sight. This magnified tete-a-tete with a pitcher plant or a frog swimming to the surface of a pond often results in an intimate point of view. The bold colors she chooses express extremes of darkness and light, frequently lending a surreal or fantastical mood to the subject matter. She uses organic line and careful placement to move the viewer’s eye intentionally about the compositions, just as water moves us with rhythm and fluidity. As a Mobilian, a proximity to water has profoundly shaped Pier’s understanding of beauty and mystery. She hopes that her oils and watercolors reveal a reverence toward the biodiverse world of nature that exists in Mobile’s estuary systems. These primordial places where tides meet streams continuously bind Pier in their spells.

“Life in us is like the water in the river.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Blue Mind” is a term used by scientists to refer to the healing power of water and the benefits it has for emotional health and physical wellbeing.  Evidence shows that being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, more connected, and better at what you are doing. All the artists in this show live on the water, and are inspired by its presence in their daily lives. Whether it is the trickle of a stream, the crashing waves of the ocean, or a colorful sunset over the Chesapeake Bay, the sights and sounds of a body of water are woven into each of the creative minds of this group and influence their work in a powerful way.  Participating artists include Jan Finn-Duffy, Janie Brown Johnson, Renee Wallace, JoAnn Cox, Susan Rouillier, Kathy Martin, Susan Downing-White, Janie Zetsch, and Anna-Marie Babington.

Contact Sydney Cramer at scramer@mobilearts.org or 251-432-9796 for more information. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday – Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday. The gallery will be closed Saturday, March 18th.

February Exhibitions: Visual Arts Achievement Program & Young at Art

This February, MAC’s Gallery @ Room 1927 will feature two exhibitions: The District 1 Visual Arts Achievement Program and Young at Art.

The Visual Arts Achievement Program provides opportunities for students in grades 6 through 12 to be recognized for their contributions to the visual arts at the local and state levels. View the statewide schedule on ASCA’s website here. The District 1 juried exhibition will hang from February 4th until the awards ceremony on Sunday, February 26th from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the MAC Gallery.

Those eligible for District 1 include public and private schools Baldwin, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe, and Washington counties. Every student who receives a District Award will be recognized in the State Awards from the Alabama State Council on the Arts online. All entries, in person and virtual, must be submitted online. Private studios are not eligible to submit work. Entry categories include painting, drawing, 3-D/craft, sculpture, photography/new media, and printmaking.

Concurrently, Young at Art is for 5th grade students and below and not included in the juried competition. These entries must be equipped to hang (with a wire, sawtooth hanger, contact strips, or some other way that does not stick out of the top of the artwork). Unlike VAAP, this show is also open to private lesson teachers.

Contact Sydney Cramer at scramer@mobilearts.org or 251-432-9796 for more information. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday – Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday. For special Mardi Gras hours, the gallery will close at 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, February 16th and 17th, and remain closed through February 21st. All normal business hours will resume Wednesday, February 22nd.

The Artys is an annual awards program that celebrates the important contributions that individuals, groups, and businesses make to the Mobile cultural community. Finalists have been announced in the remaining nine award categories, with winners to be announced live at the event.

Artys attendees will enjoy a night of celebration, complete with food, drinks and entertainment in many forms. A jazz trio comprised of John Milham, Chris Spies, and Chris Severin will play, with performances by Mobile Opera and Joe Jefferson Players throughout the ceremony.

Photo Gallery