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Library to unveil latest addition to art collection

Artist J. Kim Sessums and library director Henry Ledet will rip away the cloth covering “Out Island Sloops” later today, giving the public another piece in the Lincoln County art collection to be admired and appreciated.

The painting by internationally-renowned artist Stephen Scott Young will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. today at the Lincoln County Public Library.

It is one of several pieces housed in the growing collection and the final piece to be purchased through the Dille Fund for Art Acquisition program. Avery B. Dille Jr. bequeathed funds to the Mississippi Arts Commission to be used for the acquisition of landscapes and seascapes by public entities and the library received a $20,000 grant for the purchase of “Farm Road” by Dean Mitchell. Mitchell’s piece was unveiled in April.

The paintings by Mitchell and Young join two bronze sculptures already on display at the library, one by Sessums and another by the late Bruce Brady. The four significant art pieces are the anchors of the museum-like displays by area artists and pieces on loan.

Board member Helen Lynch said the library is the perfect location for a permanent selection of fine art because more than 300 people visit the library every day and that number climbs in the summertime.

“The library has done an amazing job to begin to put together a permanent art collection of significant art and to get the likes of Dean Mitchell and Stephen Scott Young in that collection at this early stage is really remarkable,” Sessums said.

The pieces displayed at the public library have the potential to be a huge draw for those who keep up with American art, he said.

Following the unveiling, Sessums will speak about his friend and mentor Young, who could not attend the occasion today. Sessums will place the artist in the context of the American figurative traditions and discuss Young’s working methods.

During a friendship spanning 22 years, Sessums has learned much about the process the artist uses to create his pieces and explaining his use of materials for this piece will broaden its appeal, he said.

“This is a compilation of his painting technique in watercolor, his drafting technique with pencil and his copper plate etching technique by making diamond-shaped cross hatchings on the copper plate,” he said. “He creates an effect unique to his work and the results speak for themselves.”

Sessums is thrilled the Lincoln County library could purchase a piece by Young, who is one of only three living artists to sell at Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses.

None of the art purchased for the library has come out of the general coffers. The funding came through grants and donations.

“The community can have a unique sense of pride in having a growing legitimate art collection without it coming from any taxpayer money,” he said.

Artist Stephen Scott Young