State Senate honors local artist

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 16, 2006

Dr. J. Kim Sessums was recognized by the Mississippi SenateThursday for his artistic talents.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 524 commends the “extraordinaryartwork, sculpture and statues” created by the Brookhaven physicianand artist. The resolution’s principal author was District 39 Sen.Cindy Hyde-Smith.

“I’m a little embarrassed by all this,” Sessums said. “I washonored to be recognized, but I felt a little strange aboutit.”

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The strange feeling, he said, is because most artists whoreceive similar honors are awarded them for lifetime achievements -and usually posthumously.

“I’m still alive,” Sessums said with a chuckle.

Becoming more serious, Sessums said he believes it was hissculpture commemorating the service of the 1st and 3rd MississippiInfantry Regiments, African and all Mississippians of Africandescent who participated in the Vicksburg campaign that sparked theresolution. The larger-than-life monument was unveiled at VicksburgNational Military Park in February 2004.

“I think that probably had a lot to do with it,” he said. “Noneof the other military parks have a monument honoring thosesoldiers, so it has brought Mississippi some notoriety.”

The Vicksburg monument is not the first of his works to receiveartistic acclaim.

Sessums made three busts early in his career of famed artistAndrew Wyeth, Mississippi author Eudora Welty and evangelist BillyGraham. Those busts are now in private collections.

Sessums said despite his artwork accomplishments, he willcontinue to practice medicine here.

“My primary passion is still health care,” he said, adding thathis artistic projects do occupy much of his time away from theoffice.

Sessums’ art career began in 1976 with drawings and painting. Hehas been doing sculptures since 1995.

“I have several other monumental busts I’m presently workingon,” he said.

Among them are a sculpture of Emmitt Till for a tribute inGreenwood and a sculpture of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame fordisplay at that university. The Notre Dame sculpture is based onthe famous 1924 photograph of the legendary football players.

Sessums and his wife, Kristy, have been married for 25 years.They have four children: Jake, 23; daughter Joey, 21; Stewart, 18;and Price, 17. The family attends Faith Presbyterian Church, whereSessums is an elder.

For more information on Sessums or his work, visit his Web siteat