Dresden exhibit needs visitors

Published 5:00 am Thursday, July 22, 2004

Promoters of The Glory of Baroque Dresden exhibit areencouraging citizens to visit the Mississippi Arts Pavilion duringthe display’s final weeks in Jackson.

Jack Kyle, executive director of the Mississippi Commission forInternational Cultural Exchange (MCICE), said 92,000 tickets hadbeen sold since the exhibit opened March 1.

The budget to bring the exhibit to Jackson was $9.8 million,Kyle said. For the exhibit to come close to breaking even, he said,60,000 tickets must be sold before it closes Sept. 6.

“That’s a very doable thing,” Kyle said Wednesday following aspeech during the Brookhaven Kiwanis Club meeting.

The Glory of Baroque Dresden is the fourthinternationally-acclaimed art exhibit to come to Mississippi since1996. The previous three exhibits attracted over 1.1 millionvisitors to Jackson, but Kyle said attendance is down for theBaroque exhibit.

“We are having the lowest attendance of any of the exhibits,”said Kyle, despite fantastic media coverage.

The three previous exhibits produced almost $10 million in taxrevenue and generated an economic impact of $150 million.

One area where attendance is noticeably off this year is schoolstudent participation, Kyle said. He attributed that to teacheremphasis on preparing students for federal No Child Left Behindtesting in the spring and educational funding uncertainty duringthe four-month legislative session.

With school resuming in early August, Kyle was optimistic thatstudent attendance would pick up.

“There’s still time for us to get the school kids in there,”Kyle said.

One incentive being offered for student attendance is a $25,000grant. The recipient will be chosen in a drawing in September.

To be eligible, Kyle said a public, private or parochial schoolmust have 400 students and/or accompanying paid adults to theexhibit. The group visits can be over time.

One point of Brookhaven interest, Kyle said, that a bust ofTheodore Roosevelt, sculpted by the late Bruce Brady, was presentedto German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder during opening ceremonies inMarch. Busts by Brady and Dr. J. Kim Sessums were presented to theKing and Queen of Spain during “The Majesty of Spain” exhibit in2001.

Kyle said visitors to the latest exhibit will get a tremendousview of over 400 major art works from the late 1600s and 1700scovering the reigns of Augustus the Strong and his son AugustusII.

Included in the exhibit is the world-famous Dresden GreenDiamond, a 41-carat diamond surrounded by white diamonds, gold andsilver. Its trip to Jackson is one of only three times the diamondhas left Germany, Kyle said.

“It’s truly a rare treat for Mississippi to have some of thepieces of art that we do,” Kyle said.