One of the highlights each year at FestivalSouthTM is the art created specifically for the annual event. Since its inception, Mississippi sculptor Ben Watts has provided seven sculptures to the festival. However, due to his workload, this year Watts is passing the torch to a previous FestivalArtist, Jeremy Thomley. His sculpture for FestivalSouth’s eighths season is entitled “Muse.”
Watts noted, “I am definitely still a part of the festival, serving as Art Coordinator. When the dates would not allow me to create something new, Artistic Director Mike Lopinto and I immediately thought of Jeremy to bring his connection with the community and festival to this year’s event.”
Thomley describes his new creation as, “The Conductor…the Leader. He stands larger than life with the Hub City skyline at his back. Rooted to his home he is a builder, a contributor, a dreamer. He shapes the world with his talents and celebrates with those who know how. The sound is music. The medium is people. The time is now.” The sculpture is made of 20 lbs. of steel, this stature is 19 inches tall and 8 inches wide.
For Thomley, FestivalSouth celebrates achievement and provides opportunity to expand yourself. “FestivalSouth takes the hometown heroes hiding in plain sight and puts them on display, and celebrates all that is Mississippi” he said. “This year I want to see all the FSFX films. I want to hear jazz music while I look at sculpture. I want to see passion; and I will find all that at FestivalSouth!”
Watts continued, “FestivalSouth is an amazing pairing of work across media, which creates more than just the sum of its parts. It has created charitable giving, collaborations of performance and sight/sound/taste and movement intersections that result in this two-weeks of creative economy celebration.”
Thomley’s Sculpture and Amy Giust’s painting (see sidebar) will be available for viewing at major events and part of a silent auction throughout the festival. This year, FestivalSouth invited local galleries and shops to host special exhibits during the festival. Be sure to check out our brochure or visit festivalsouth.org and plan a visit during the festival on your way to or from an event.
Watts concluded, “The piece Jeremy has created for this year is one which features an iconic Hattiesburg image and which pairs beautifully with Amy Guist's 2017 FestivalSouth painting.”