Second annual U40 art exhibition showcases local art

MSU students and Starkville community members gathered together at the Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar for the second annual U40 art exhibition reception. The Starkville Area Arts Council created this reception to exhibit local artists. 

Last Friday, Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar hosted the second annual U40 art exhibition reception created by the Starkville Area Arts Council. Multiple artists’ submissions are currently hanging in the basement lounge area of the coffee shop.

Anyone can submit artwork to this exhibit, as long as the artists are between 18 and 40 years old. These pieces are submitted locally by Starkville community members, high school and college students.

John Bateman, executive director of SAAC, said he has a personal love for art exhibits, and believes the community can benefit from these exhibitions.

"We love to do public art shows because it is a way to introduce the community to new artists and a way to introduce artists to a new audience," Bateman said. "The great thing about exhibits is it could be educational, it doesn’t have to be about selling or buying art–it can inform people, it can highlight cultural events or social issues."

The artwork ranged in colors, meanings and styles. Pure talent is displayed in drawings, sculpture, water color and acrylic paintings. The majority of the artwork has personal or symbolic meanings.

There was a detailed, texturized vampire bat eating fruit. Other pieces were of a woman without a shirt, a bright sunset, an abstract face and many more beautiful works of art.

Many current and future Mississippi State University students were rewarded for their talent and hard work, and are featured in the gallery.

Gracie Conn, an MSU senior fine arts major, created a functional ring pot ceramic sculpture for this exhibit. She enjoys ceramics, and plans to become an art teacher.

"I fell in love with ceramics in high school, with George Ohr being my inspiration," Conn said.

She said she spent roughly 12 hours on her piece, and it is on sale for $150.

An MSU student of architecture, Sidnie Hunt, submitted a large drawing of a bulldog. Hunt decided to make a bulldog because she felt people would want to buy it. She spent about seven hours creating it, and is selling it for $600.

"I do not like the process of creating art, but I love the finished piece and how it makes people feel," Hunt said.

All artwork is available for purchase. Prices range from $75 to $600, and sizes range from tiny drawings to huge paintings. For people with money to splurge on art, Bateman recommends purchasing locally.

"There is a tremendous amount of talent here locally. We have a vibrant, strong, creative pool of artists. It is probably a lot cheaper to buy original art than they think," Bateman said. "People will go to Kirklands or Pottery Barn and buy the framed print, and they’ll spend easily a couple hundred dollars; but then you go look at the things that are for sale here and realize you’re getting something no one else has and you’re supporting local artist. So buy locally."

The SAAC produces many art exhibits throughout Starkville all year round. They host a mix of invited and open submission shows. The Partnership will have a new exhibit of a single artist coming soon to their lobby.

The SAAC also helps artists develop networking skills, and inform artists on how to make profits. They host quarterly business skills workshops, which teach aspiring artists how to sell art, present pieces and provide resources and information.

This art exhibit will be displayed until the end of March and all pieces are available for sale.

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