Bill Lauderdale’s art lives on in library exhibit

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 4, 2007

An art exhibit at the library is commemorating the life of a manthe community won’t soon forget by looking back at the decadesthrough his art.

The exhibit features paintings from each decade back through thesixties which will be on display at the Lincoln County PublicLibrary through the end of the month.

Late artist Bill Lauderdale was the kind of man everybody lovedfor his sense of humor, his intelligence, and his genuine nature.He was also an accomplished artist as well.

“He was always drawing, as much as I hate to say it, even goingdown the road,” said his wife, Cynthia Lauderdale. “It wasn’t justmaking works to sell, but creating was just part of his life.”

Lauderdale was an instructor at East Mississippi CommunityCollege at the time of his death in February.

“As a college instructor, he touched so many people,” CynthiaLauderdale said. “The memorial service they held on campus was justbeautiful.”

Longtime friend Don Jacobs said Bill Lauderdale was the kind ofman who could improve the world for others even when things weren’tgoing great in his own life.

“He didn’t let the excuse of having hardships keep him fromtouching many, many lives,” he said.

Lauderdale’s love for art was something he carried from a youngage, his wife said, and something that defined him.

“He did have a passion for it,” she said. “Even as a young boy,he was always drawing. He even got in trouble in school for drawingall the time.”

And those who knew him knew his art was not only that of thecanvas or the musical score, nor did it extend only to prints andpottery, but it was the art of reaching those around him in a verypersonal way.

“He had one of the craziest senses of humor I’ve ever known,”said Jacobs, laughing. “He had these catch phrases for everyone,and they lasted for years. Everyone had their individualized catchphrase he used to drive them crazy.”

And his heart was as big as his art, as was shown in hiswritings, said his wife.

“He read a lot and knew about so many things, and he was alwayslearning,” she said. “He always wrote his thoughts down. Some ofthem were silly, and some were serious.”

Cynthia Lauderdale said it is that gift of creation thatsometimes makes her feel as though her husband of 34 years is notso far away.

“Bill is everywhere in our house,” she said. “His presence isstill there. So much of what he created is all around.”

And part of the “Retrospective” exhibit was planned to coincidewith another important happening in the lives of those he loved, ayearly reunion-type event for Lauderdale’s high school friends andtheir friends called “Brookstock.”

“It’s an event that’s really about keeping in touch,” saidJacobs. “We had a really good group of friends in high school, andwe do this to keep our friendships alive.”

Brookstock will be held Saturday evening at The Ray’s on Highway51.

Cynthia Lauderdale said the timing on the exhibit was somewhatplanned to parallel Brookstock, but it was not necessarily plannedto coincide with the other memorable event taking place in her liferight now: The birth of their granddaughter, Olivia, to their sonDavid and his wife Piper.

“She could come any minute now,” she said. “I hope she holds onuntil we can get the exhibit set up.”