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Brookhaven Regional Arts Guild gets off to a strong start

DAILY LEADER / RHONDA DUNAWAY / There are a variety of artistic types in BRAG. One of the founding members of the Guild, Nancy Hanks-Myers, is the artist who created these fabulous shoes designed after masters such as Picasso and Monet.

DAILY LEADER / RHONDA DUNAWAY / There are a variety of artistic types in BRAG. One of the founding members of the Guild, Nancy Hanks-Myers, is the artist who created these fabulous shoes designed after masters such as Picasso and Monet.

Since its beginning in January, the Brookhaven Regional Arts Guild, also called “BRAG,” has had a strong start, and guild president Sue Minter said it’s because of so many talented people living in one area.

“This area has got more talent per capita,” Minter said, “than any other place I’ve ever lived or been in.” Many painters were recently featured in a silent auction, which began during the guild’s Art Walk on Friday, May 9 downtown, but there are also local potters, metal artists, 3-D artists and mixed media artists.

BRAG was born of the old Arts Council, Minter explained, which was affiliated with the Brookhaven Trust.

“Brookhaven Trust was established for the preservation of the arts and history in Brookhaven. This is our parent organization. We act independently of them, but we are a part of the Trust.” She said Arts Council member Nancy Hanks-Myers was the one who brought the idea of a guild to the table.

“Nancy is one of the original people who wanted to start a guild,” she said. “We decided a guild would be something we could form that was just for the support of the arts.”

There are 30 members in BRAG, many of whom are artists, but many who are not, said Minter.

“The membership is made of artists and supporters of the arts,” she said. “We are open to anyone 18 and older who is interested in the arts. And, for artists it means getting to be around others who are passionate about the same things you are.”

Minter is a painter but said she wasn’t always the artist. She used to be just a supporter of the arts, including that of her husband, metal artist James Minter who also owns and operates B&O Machine Welding.

“We make our living in the dirty nuts and bolts of the industrial arts,” she explained, “but we have a creative side business, Imagine Ironworks.”

Minter said it was her mother-in-law, painter Maxine Minter, who got her into painting.

“So, no one has to be a master to be a part of our group,” she said. “We are beginners and experts. Used to, as long as I had a ruler and a pencil, I could draw a stick figure,” she jokes.

Several retailers downtown have been displaying artwork for sale in their store windows the past week, and a silent auction in the Brookhaven Little Theatre ran from Friday, May 9 to Saturday, May 17, in conjunction with the Art Walk downtown on May 9. Minter said the silent auction has been a success. The proceeds of the event go to benefit the Brookhaven Little Theatre and BRAG.

Future goals for BRAG include a gallery, Minter explained.

“We want to have a gallery downtown,” she said. “I would love to see multiple galleries. We would love to see artists who live and work downtown with their own store-fronts.” She said they also plan to coordinate their artists’ displays and future Art Walks with other local events.

Providing workshops will also be a regular occurrence, Minter said. BRAG’s next workshop will feature abstract artist Bob Thompkins of Jackson who will be at Lemenadi at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 22.

“It’s going to be a demonstration of an abstract style,” Minter said. She invited members and non-members to attend. But she asked that non-members call and reserve a spot for the event.

For more information about BRAG, or to reserve a spot at the upcoming demonstration, call Minter at 601-757-8550 or email BRAG members at brookhavenregionalartguild@gmail.com.