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Published on April 23rd, 2013 | by Sarah Reddick

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New Traveling Exhibits at Tunica RiverPark and Museum Opening 4/25

Tunica RiverPark Exhibit to Feature the Convergence of Artistic Styles in the Mississippi Delta

RiverPark Open House Night on April 25

The Tunica RiverPark and Museum will open its new traveling exhibits gallery to the public April 25 with the Delta Artists exhibit. The exhibit features the art of Mississippi Delta natives and residents and takes a special look at the diversity of artists that are inspired by living in the region. An open house the night of April 25 will allow visitors to meet the artists and view the exhibits.

“The opening of the Delta Artists exhibit will be the first time our reconfigured traveling exhibits space will be used,” said Webster Franklin, President and CEO of the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau. “After the 2011 flood in Tunica, the RiverPark design committee realized the museum had been static up to that point. We decided to introduce constant change to the museum by opening a traveling exhibit area that would fit in with the theme of the Mississippi Delta.”

The exhibit and new gallery will be unveiled at an April 25 open house at the Tunica RiverPark. Many of the artists featured in the exhibit will be present to talk about their work, and visitors will be able to tour the exhibits and meet the artists. The event will be held at the RiverPark’s Mississippi River Museum from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. and will include light hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine, and entertainment will be provided by Good Company Trio.

T. Clifton Art in Memphis, Tenn. curated the exhibit, and the traveling space was designed by Design 500, Inc., also of Memphis. Pat Brown, co-owner of T. Clifton Art, said she selected a diverse range of artists and art for the exhibit.

“In looking at the richness of all the Delta artists, we wanted visitors to see different mediums and styles,” said Brown. “Each of the artist’s area of emphasis truly epitomizes the diversity of the region. Just as rivers and streams from Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee all converge into the Mississippi River, this exhibit reflects artistic convergence. I also selected artists with a wide range of experience; some are emerging artists and some are well established.”

Brown chose 25 artists who have an association with the Mississippi Delta. The artists were either born in the area or are living around the region. The flood was at the top of her mind as she thought about art selection.

“The flooding was so massive, so I was trying to visualize the flood plain and choose artists from that area,” said Brown. “The flood is the thing that unites all the artists. Each of their communities or cities was touched by the flood, but the flood hasn’t darkened their artwork. In fact, it has gotten much brighter and lighter.”

Included in the exhibit are two and three-dimensional pieces made with glass, acrylic, oil, watercolor or mezzo fresco (plaster with acrylic). Brown asked artists to submit pieces that represent them and are a signature of what they try to achieve with their art. Throughout the exhibit, the art will be sold at price points of less than $1,000, and the artists will replenish what is sold. The Delta Artists exhibit will be on display at the museum until the end of August.

A few of the artists with pieces in the Delta Artists exhibit include:

  • Jamie Tate of Stoneville, Miss. Tate incorporates the iconic Shot Gun House into many of her acrylic paintings.
  • Donna Blackard of Memphis. Blackard’s acrylic “Tributary” piece was inspired by old topography maps of the Mississippi River.
  • Tom Clifton of Memphis. Clifton’s mezzo fresco work will be displayed.
  • James Hayes of Pine Bluff, Ark. Hayes works with blown glass and studied in Murano, Italy.

Also in April at the Tunica RiverPark, “From Plantation to Prosperity: A Black Family History in the Mississippi Delta” was introduced and is now open for visitors. This exhibit tells the little-known story of opportunity, cooperation and success in the Delta towns of Davis Bend (now known as Davis Island) and Mound Bayou, Miss. The exhibits explore the founders, builders, lifestyle, hardships and successes of the oldest independent all-black communities in the Delta. The Tunica RiverPark and Design 500, Inc. worked with members of the African and African-American Studies Program at the University of Memphis to develop this exhibit.

The final exhibit of the 2013 series will reflect on the 2011 Mississippi Delta flood. The opening date for this exhibit will be announced in the upcoming months. In addition to the exhibits inside the Mississippi River Museum, the Tunica RiverPark also offers cruises on the Tunica Queen and walking tours along its EcoTrail.

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