Fall Art Walk to hit downtown Saturday

Easels set up at the Art Walk in Downtown Hattiesburg last year were open for artists of any age and skill level to showcase their artistic talents. -Kara Davidson
Easels set up at the Art Walk in Downtown Hattiesburg last year were open for artists of any age and skill level to showcase their artistic talents. -Kara Davidson/Printz Archives

The Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association (HHDA) will present its annual Fall Art Walk in downtown Hattiesburg Saturday.

The event offers an opportunity for the businesses in the downtown area to come together and celebrate the arts scene while showcasing their products and for the people to gather and meet artists of their community.

“It’s an event that allows downtown central businesses to do what’s best for them but operate under one brand,” said Walt Denton, executive director of the HHDA. “Everyone gets to present things that work really well within their businesses but it all happens at once. So it becomes an experience and it benefits the community.”

The Art Walk, which was created more than 10 years ago, was originally a gallery walk, a day-long event that offered the opportunity for all the art galleries downtown to walk visitors through their exhibits.

Now the HHDA orchestrates and promotes the event, which has extended to more than the art galleries and today encompasses many other businesses. For example, restaurants such as the Skylight Lounge, Bianchi’s Pizzeria or 206 Front, will present live music and more.

However, art galleries remain at the center of the event. The A Gallery will feature artists Amy Giust, Ali Stayer and Kim Bennett. The Oddfellows gallery will run a two-day only oriental rug sale.

Katherine Perry, a senior geography major at The University of Southern Mississippi, has worked with the HHDA and enjoys the Art Walk.

“I think the Art Walk plays a valuable role in reminding people that downtown is walkable and easily navigated,” Perry said. “Any excuse to walk around Front Street is welcome. This Art Walk in particular will be cool because there will be a beer garden in the lower floor of the Carter Building.”

Indeed, FestivalSouth and the Hattiesburg Concert Association will be hosting Bachtoberfest, offering a variety of craft beers and featuring the FestivalSouth Chamber Players as well as The Meistersingers at the Hub City Lofts Carter Building on Front Street.

The Hattiesburg Arts Council, located on Main Street downtown, will host a reception from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to present the Mississippi Arts Commission 2015 Visual Artist Fellowship winners.

The award is focused on honoring Mississippi artists who demonstrate the ability to create exemplary work in their chosen field, according to the Mississippi Arts Commission. Nine artists will be represented and some of them will be present to meet the public, as well as MAC president Tom Pearson, according to the council.

Local shops are also jumping in. The Click Boutique and Gallery will show art from Ricardo Moody. The Persnickety Man clothing store will serve wine, a family/kid friendly punch and hors d’oeuvres while showcasing art from Hector Boldo and photography by Kennon Walker.

“It’s all about everybody plugging in, working under one brand and doing what’s best for their own, and us trying to collectively provide a great experience for everyone,” Denton said.