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Igniting a passion for the arts

All things artistic are picking up around Brookhaven.

The week kicked off with news about a new Lincoln County Choral Society that’s looking for talented singers. The group will hold its initial rehearsal Sept. 8 at First United Methodist Church from 6 to 8 p.m., with continuing practice sessions every Monday leading up to a holiday performance Dec. 1. If you have singing talent and are 15 or older, they need you.

For more information, contact choir director Jens Oliva at 601-497-3959 or email her at joliva1@comcast.net.

The new community choir will join the existing Ole Brook Wind Symphony for performances, adding yet another layer to our social calendar in the city.

News about the arts in recent days also included an announcement of the annual art competition sponsored by the Brookhaven Regional Arts Guild. Entries can be submitted in five categories – oil, acrylics, pastels, photography and mixed media/3D. Registration will be held Oct. 1 in the Vernon Room of the Lincoln County Library from 1 a.m. to noon and from 2 until 4 p.m. For more information, email BRAG at brookhavenregionalartguild@gmail.com.

Entries in the art competition will hang in the library through the month of October, and local residents will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite artwork to receive the People’s Choice Award.

Also on BRAG’s agenda for October is a full weekend of painting workshops on Oct. 24-25. October is such a full month for the visual arts, Ava Jane Newell of BRAG and The Art Barn has laughingly dubbed it “Artober.” The Art Barn is joining with BRAG in sponsoring the late October seminars, which will feature Golden Artist Colors’ instructor K.D. Tobin.

“This is a great opportunity for artists of all levels and also to promote the Brookhaven art community,” Newell said.

Visiting The Art Barn Wednesday, I was swept back into my college art classes by the smell of paint as I walked into the door of the art-filled studio and work area. BRAG president Sue Minter, who’s recently taken up art herself after promoting it among her family of artists and in the community for years, joined me in admiring Newell’s latest work, a canvas covered with rows of textured painted swirls.

Minter asked, “How did you do it?” Newell picked up a wide plastic palette knife and demonstrated the proper twirling technique. The texture comes from the extra medium added to the paint, and she noted that the upcoming workshop will include discussions and demonstrations of the gels and pastes used with Golden’s acrylic paints.

“A lot of time people buy the pastes, the gels and never know how to use them,” Newell said. “They’ll know how to use the materials after the workshops. They will probably not come away with a finished piece, but they will know how to use them.”

Joining Newell and Minter for a freshly brewed cup of very good coffee, I kept noticing more and more details around the colorful, eclectic room. Which got me to thinking about things that took me back decades to my days working in the college painting studio, the drawing studio, the ceramics studio and the printmaking studio – one memory I’d just as soon forget is dropping a lithography stone on my foot and being rushed to the college infirmary.

There also were the hours spent viewing slides of thousands of masterpieces in my art history classes. Each picture was taken by my professor, who could describe not only the artwork but the setting where each piece is displayed.

Makes me want to get out those pastels, paints and pencils right now – I know where they are; it’s just making time to use them that has been the problem for years.

So what’s your passion, and what’s keeping you from doing it?

Rachel Eide is editor/general manager of The Daily Leader. Contact her at rachel.eide@dailyleader.com.