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Brookhaven artists, classmates from Mississippi School of the Arts exhibit in New Orleans

Seventeen seniors from Mississippi School of the Arts — including two from Brookhaven — have left a piece of themselves at a prestigious, nationally known museum in New Orleans.

The exhibit, “Stories of Our Generation,” will be on display at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art through March 5.

The exhibition includes 17 self portraits that voice each artist’s experiences through paint, opening a window of their lives in  24-inch-by-48-inch frames hung on the museum wall.

The students attended an opening of the exhibit earlier this month along with MSA Executive Director Suzanne Hirsch. “When you see the artwork, there’s a big voice there,” she said.

Hirsch said this is the first time an art class from MSA has been invited to show their work at the Ogden.  Their instructor, Kelly Walters, was instrumental in making it happen, she said.

The experience gives them a taste of what it’s like to be a working artist and shows them what they can accomplish.

“It gives them the ability to think beyond the right now,” she said.

Seniors Emmanuel Williams and Ryanne Britt are former Brookhaven High School students who are studying visual arts at MSA. 

The 17-year-olds transferred to the arts school before their junior year.

Their pieces are dramatic.

Williams’ piece, an acrylic on a wood panel, is called “Oddity” and shows the struggle the teen went through to choose art over basketball. 

In the piece, the basketball has been pushed into the upper left corner while his art is front and center.

Britt’s piece in mixed media is called “Wow, Queen, You’re So Beautiful. ” It’s Britt surrounded by flames. 

Why flames? Because she likes them, she said, matter of factly.

While she enjoys drawing flames, when it comes to her art, she’s willing to experiment. MSA has taught her to do that. 

“To try new things instead of what I’m comfortable with,” she said.

She offers that advice to others.  “Step out of your comfort zone,” she said.  “You need to try new things.  You never know what you’re going to enjoy doing.”