For many people art is not only a form of expression but also a gateway to freedom. Even here, in the small town of Oxford, art is becoming an integral part of our community. The growing campus of The University of Mississippi Art Department has produced some renowned artists as well as hosted others as guest artists in residency.
This year, the department of art went back to its roots by hosting an event that in years past brought them much success. The P(ART)Y is actually an art auction that features the work of various artists ranging from faculty, alumni, current students and former students.
“The auction is an event we had done in years past and we recently brought it back because it’s a fun evening that celebrates the arts and raises money for the department of art,” said Associate Professor of Art Brooke White, the event coordinator. “This is our major fundraiser of the year so this event has the possibility to have a huge impact on our department.”
The art department did not only pick the pieces featured, but also enlisted the help of local artists who juried the pieces and picked the best ones for the auction.
The event will combine some of Oxonians’ favorite things: food, drinks, film and, most of all, artwork.
There will be a film shown by Oxfilm, a film society established to promote film making in Lafayette County, following the auction.
On Nov. 7 the silent auction will be going on all day from 9-7 p.m., and all the work will be on display. Thus people can stop by and view and begin bidding on items. There will be a cocktail hour from 5-6 p.m., and the live auction will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. For people who are buying artwork, cash, credit and checks will be accepted. For those who just want to browse and mingle, admission is free.
The money raised during the event will help bring internationally recognized artists to Oxford and campus. Additionally, funds raised from the auction will help maintain Gallery 130 in Meek Hall.
Visual Resource Specialist Ross Turner has worked extremely hard to publicize this event. Utilizing the gameday numbers on campus, Turner went around the Grove talking to Ole Miss fans while they were tailgating and even left PR pieces at their tents during homecoming. The event also has its own Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
“This is something that we really think can be a big success. We are competing with private art schools, like the Memphis School of Art, and holding our own,” Turner said. “We are probably in one of the ugliest buildings, yet we produce some of the most beautiful work.”
This year the department wanted to make the event much larger so they enlisted the help of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and are hosting it at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center.
“We felt this was a unique opportunity to showcase how the university and the community are linked, as many of our local film makers and artists are drawn here by the resources and programs offered at the university, said Arts Council Director Wayne Andrews. “Once they complete their studies, many of them appreciate the supportive nature of the community and want to stay and grow their craft.”
— Ann-Marie Herod