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Art in the Park offers showcase of community art talents, family fun

By Sherry Lucas

Art in the Park offers showcase of community art talents, family fun

Art in the Park, March 25 at Lions Club Park in Olde Towne Clinton, blooms with creative action in an interactive, family-friendly art showcase that’s become a highlight of spring.

“Our goal is to educate those who attend, and inspire them to increase their knowledge of arts and the artists right here in our community,” says Jackie Massey, Main Street Clinton assistant.

Art in the Park, a free event that welcomes all, opens at 10 a.m., with artists on hand until 1 p.m., and music from Paul Heindl and Hinds Community College (HCC) bands starting around 12:30 p.m. and continuing into the afternoon.

“Art in the Park has quickly become one of our staff favorites,” says Main Street Clinton Director Tara Lytal. “We love the laidback vibe and the opportunity to expose both children and adults to one-on-one interaction with local artists who are showcasing their mediums.” The addition of music from HCC bands is just one more event enticement.

A partnership of Main Street Clinton and the Arts Council of Clinton, Art in the Park is now in its third year and has secured a sponsor for the first time.

“We were thrilled that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi has come in as the event’s first sponsor,” Lytal says. “They have been supportive of our Main Street events over the years, and we believe this family-oriented event is a great fit for both organizations. We look forward to continuing our relationship with them to bring great events to the Clinton community.”

At this event, Arts Council of Clinton members set up art and craft stations on picnic tables under the pavilion near the park’s entrance, and work with community volunteers to teach kids to design and craft their own creations to take home.

At least two hundred children came through Art in the Park last year, says the Rev. Robert Blanton, Arts Council of Clinton president. He estimates attendance doubled in the event’s second year. “We had more artists, too, in the second year,” with many people returning and more folks checking it out for the first time.

He remembers well the enthusiasm and smiles of the younger set when creativity cuts loose— “Kids realizing they can do something, and then when their parents are picking them up, they’re showing off what they’ve done. They’re so proud of it.”

In addition to hands-on crafting stations under the pavilion, Arts Council members and friends will set up in locations throughout the park, performing, sharing or demonstrating their gifts for visitors, he says.

Caricature artist David Jackson, potter MaKayla Sherman, cyber artist Joan Blanton and painter Albert Smathers are among at least a dozen individual working artists from the Clinton community lined up for this year’s event, Massey says. It’s a way to showcase the breadth and variety of creators in the Clinton community. Mississippi College art students will also be onsite, to help out and spur creativity.

The Atmos Stage at the park will come alive with performers, too, including puppeteer T.J. McSparrin and the HCC bands.

Art in the Park provides a good opportunity for children and others to watch and work with real artists, Blanton says, adding that it’s also a good time to become annual members of the Arts Council. Also, in a cooperative effort, anyone purchasing a signed and numbered Wyatt Waters or Bob Dunaway print for $150 will receive annual memberships in the Arts Council of Clinton, Clinton Brick Street Players and Main Street Clinton.


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