Mississippi Art Colony: 75th Anniversary Exhibition
through February 18th, 2024
The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is proud to host the Mississippi Art Colony 75th Anniversary Exhibition and to share the rich artistic heritage of the Colony.
Beginning at Allison’s Wells in Way, Mississippi in the fall of 1948, the Mississippi Art Colony started a tradition of artists and teachers meeting together to paint, study, and critique each other’s work.
Since its founding, the Colony has met in five different locations within the state: Allison’s Wells (1948-63), Stafford Springs Lodge and Dude Ranch in Heidelberg (1963-70), the Pinehurst Hotel in Laurel (1970-73), Camp Henry Jacobs in Utica (1973-2021), and Lake Tia-O’Khata in Louisville (2021-present).
Curated by Colony members Kim White and Byron Myrick, this exhibition consists of 33 works covering a wide range of media and subject media, and the list of artists includes a virtual “who’s who” of Mississippi artists from the last 75 years.
The Mississippi Art Colony was born in 1948, at historic Allison’s Wells in Way, Mississippi. It was Spring, and Mrs. D. C. (Leith) Latimer was strolling the grounds with Hosford and John Fontaine, owners of the resort, and Karl and Mildred Wolfe, well-known artists. Leith Latimer exclaimed “Wouldn’t this be a grand place for an art colony!” All five agreed with enthusiasm, and the project was off and running. Allison’s
Wells was indeed a “grand place” for an art colony. A pavilion for painting was available, of course. There was the hotel for housing, with a fine dining room serving delicious food. There was a fish pond, a swimming pool, and horses for riding. The first workshop took place in October of 1948. Director/Instructors included Karl Wolfe, Mildred Wolfe and Caroline Compton. Twenty people took part in the opening session.
LRMA has had a long relationship with the Colony through the decades and has hosted numerous exhibitions—including the 50th anniversary exhibition of the Colony in 1998. Of course, that relationship was the strongest when the Colony was held in Laurel for three years (1970-73) in the Pinehurst Hotel in downtown Laurel which provided a studio in basement space that had formerly been a rathskeller. More than once there were drop-ins from the alley demanding beer! The city of Laurel was most hospitable, entertaining the artists at wonderful parties and hanging Colony shows at LRMA during this three-year span.
We are grateful to the many lenders to the exhibit and the members of the Mississippi Art Colony, past and present, who helped shape this exhibit and our state’s artistic heritage.
Moe Brooker (1940-2022), Ancient Futures II, 2008, Mixed media on panel, LRMA purchase with partial funds from Esther and Clinton Pearson in memory of Laura L.H. Pearson and Plummer Pearson, 2009.7
John Armistead, Eggville, Miss, 2023, Oil on linen, Private Collection
Marie Hull (1890-1980), Bright Fields, 1969, Oil on canvas, On loan from Trustmark