After more than a decade, the annual One Night Stand at the Ole Miss Motel art show is starting to sound like an affair.
For one night each year, local and regional artists fill selected rooms of the motel with their paintings, photography and other forms of art media. The idea began when Erin Austen Abbott, a photographer based out of Water Valley, pulled into the motel parking lot to gather her thoughts after a day of taking photos.
“I saw all these little red hearts on blue doors, and a light bulb went off,” Abbott said. “What about doing a group art show here, where rooms are transformed into an art gallery for one night? Ah, a one night stand.”
Since 2007, Abbott has hosted the One Night Stand — drawing in more than 2,000 supporters of the arts to Oxford — except in 2008, when the event was held in Los Angeles. Although the L.A. show was successful, with 2,500 visitors and 20 artists, Abbott made the decision to return to Oxford the next year and every year after.
“The motel is its home,” Abbott said.
With only 10 artists in this year’s show, Abbott hopes to create more of a focus on the artists themselves, allowing visitors and potential buyers to concentrate their attention. Abbott chooses the artists for the event through a selection process that begins each November, after the show for that year is complete.
“I try to include a mix of local artists and then out-of-town and state artists that might not have ever shown in Oxford before,” Abbott said. “I try to focus on artists that haven’t had a lot of opportunities to show in a traditional setting previously.”
Jonathan Kent Adams, a One Night Stand veteran and Ole Miss alumnus, will be one of the artists featured Saturday night. Meredith C. Bullock, a painter from Nashville, and Ashleigh Coleman, a photographer from Jackson, are among the other artists featured.
The artists are just as enthusiastic about the upcoming show as Abbott is.
“Having art shows for people to attend in person are so important these days, as our world gets increasingly digital and removed from human interaction,” Bullock said. “My aim for this weekend’s show is to debut my latest work about becoming a mother and losing my mother. I’m interested to see how well I articulate my emotions through my art.”
However, Abbott has had her moments of doubt when it comes to the One Night Stand.
“Each year, I think, ‘Will people still want to come to this event?’ And leading up to the show, I always get really nervous that no one will show up,” Abbott said. “But I’m always wrong, which is a great thing.”
The One Night Stand has had 15,000 attendees since its inception, and that number continues to grow. The attendance is great, but there’s something that means much more to Abbott.
“The fact that some of the artists that have shown in the One Night Stand have gone on have a full-time career making art, have published work in books, are part of so many private collections and so on makes it all worth it,” she said.
The first hour of the show, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., will be an exclusive preview with a $20 admission fee.
“It’s the sneak peek hour, which gets you dinner from Canteen and first dibs to buy art. The art sells fast, so this was a nice offering that I started two years ago,” Abbott said.
Those tickets may be purchased in advance online on Eventbrite. Afterward, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the show is free to all who would like to attend. Oxford Canteen will be selling food during those hours. Patrons are asked to plan for parking, as there will be none available on the premises. However, there are public lots near the Square.