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Exhibit in Biloxi to bring artists into community


In days gone by, a quilting bee drew participants from miles around to someone's house, where they gathered, put together a quilt and shared fellowship and, quite often, food. It was a rare chance to get together and bond their individual gifts to create a cohesive work of art.

Artists participating in Perspective 360 aren't making a quilt in the literal thread, fabric and batting sense, but they are bringing their own "quilting squares" of art to Negrotto's Gallery in Biloxi. The opening reception for Perspective 360 will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 25 at the gallery, 2645 Executive Place, Biloxi, with exhibition dates from Feb. 25 to March 12.

Artists from the Coast and region are submitting 12-inch-by-12-inch works to be included, said Julia Reyes, art director, and Brandy Waltman, gallery coordinator.

"It's not limited to 2-D," Reyes said. "We'll have pottery and mixed media, too. It's more like an installation.

"It's celebrating African-American history, but we've left it open. We've asked artists to tell their personal narratives in the works," she said. "There are no parameters. We've included students and children; no age limit."

Several local and area professional artists are participating in the exhibition, including Pat Odom, Richard Haugh, Mary Hardy, Ellen Ellis Lee and Johnna Bush of Grove Hill, Ala.

"We're hoping for 20 artists, at least, with about one to four pieces per artist," Waltman said.

Because it's an open exhibit, Reyes and Waltman don't know yet how many pieces will come in.

"It's a little scary, but exciting, also," Waltman said with a laugh. They are planning to start the installation on a wall facing the front door of the gallery and extend it to adjoining walls -- in essence, creating an artistic patchwork quilt.

The gallery describes the intent of Perspective 360 as "an exhibit intended to bring the community together and create a contemporary dialogue about African American history, culture and themes pertaining to personal narratives revolving around race, gender and social issues. In creating a quilt-like display of works by various artists, it is our hope to celebrate diversity through story telling using visual art."

At the opening reception, Zac Fellman of Blackwater Brass band] will provide music. The reception is open to the public.

For more information about Perspective 360, contact Negrotto's Gallery at 388-8822.