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Library joins others in furthering the arts

The arts are an important part of Brookhaven’s and Lincoln County’s fabric of life.

The state’s arts school is located here, there’s a thriving theater, live music is bursting on the scene and countless artists call this place home.

In a reflection of that, the local library has sought to bring “real quality art” from Mississippi artists to town. The library will host an open house today to unveil its most recent addition to the art collection.

A bronze bust created by Brookhaven sculptor, the late Bruce Brady, will be on display during the event that will be from 5-7 p.m.

Brady’s sculpture of Mark Twain is the first significant piece obtained for the art collection, according to Henry Ledet, director of the Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library System.

Showcasing Mississippi artists has been a goal of Ledet’s for the 40 years he’s been with the library. The problem is that the library’s budget didn’t allow for it.

So the library’s Board of Trustees decided to raise funds to purchase the art.

“People have been very generous,” he said. “They apparently agree that great art is important to our community.”

More than $26,000 was raised to purchase art for the library, he said, and $9,000 of that went to Brady’s sculpture. It was on sale at an art gallery in Jackson.

Ledet would also like to add a piece by local artist Kim Sessums.

The library may seem like an odd place to house an art collection, but it’s a good fit. The library is a public space with a mission to serve the public.  And it’s been more than just books for years now.

Brookhaven, like most small cities, doesn’t have a dedicated art gallery that can purchase and display art like Brady’s or Sessums’. The library can help fill that void.

For the arts to thrive locally, efforts by the library and others to collect and display works from area artists must continue.  If children aren’t exposed to art, how will they be inspired to create their own? We’re thankful that the library, its board and generous donors recognize that and have invested in the arts.  The same goes for the many artists, the arts guild and the others who support the arts locally.