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Regional artists earn reasons to BRAG

Brookhaven’s Maxine Minter was known for many things, but especially over the last 14 years of her life as an award-winning artist.

Minter served as an inspiration to many in the arts community, so it seemed only fitting for one of the entries in Brookhaven Regional Arts Guild’s annual show and competition to be a painting featuring Minter.

Ava Jane Newell painted a portrait of Minter from a photograph she took of the artist at work. Minter intended to paint from the photograph, but didn’t get to it before she died, said Newell. So Newell painted the portrait and gave it to Minter’s son, James Minter. He entered the painting in the competition under the title “Artist at Work.”

“She was a great lady and that picture was where she sat at The Art Barn every Thursday morning,” said Newell. “I normally don’t paint the background so busy, but there’s a lot going on in the background and that’s the way she always had it. So that’s the way I wanted to paint it.”

Newell’s painting is of Minter sitting at an easel, painting a self-portrait while looking at a reference photo of herself. It is a painting from a photo of Minter painting from a photo. The unique portrait catches the eye of visitors to the Lincoln County Public Library’s gallery, and it caught the eye of competition judges, who awarded the work “Best in Show.”

Newell’s entry is one of many gracing the walls and display tables in the gallery that will showcase the works until Oct. 30.

“We had a lot of unique stuff this year and a lot of great entries,” said show co-chairman Derek Covington Smith. “We had entries from Meridian and from North Mississippi. We have a good reach, and that’s exciting.”

BRAG focuses on artists from the more immediate region throughout the year. The guild’s primary shows in January and August focus on local artists and their work. 

“We try to provide a lot of support for our local artists,” said Smith.

But the annual competition has a further reach, allowing artists from the larger area to submit their works and expand their own reach.

“Why not see what’s available across the region?” Smith said.

The guild’s monthly meetings — on the third Thursday each month — provide tiny art workshops and opportunities to further develop the guild. This month’s meeting is Thursday, and will feature a guest speaker.

January’s meeting is BRAG’s annual membership drive, but interested artists can join the guild any time for $25 per year, by visiting the group’s Facebook page or through their website BRAGarts.weebly.com.

This year’s annual competition offered prizes in seven categories — acrylics, oils, water media, pastels and drawing, mixed media, photography and 3D — plus the “Best in Show” award and “People’s Choice,” decided by votes placed from gallery visitors. The “People’s Choice” award was presented to a young artist who prefers to be identified by a pseudonym — Gildmalus — for his work, “Breathe Not for Breathing.”

Newell was awarded $150 and Gildmalus $100 for their winning entries. Newell returned the prize to BRAG in Minter’s memory.

First place winners in each category received $100 each. Second place winners received $75 and third place winners received $50. Honorable mention winners — two per category — were each awarded ribbons.

First place winners in each category were: acrylics — “Dennis Stewart’s Place” by Stasha Ezell; oils — “Need Milk” by Cherie Langston; water media — “Garden Gate” by Theresa Beaubouef; pastels and drawing — “Human” by Pam Whitacker; mixed media — “Control Chaos” by Rhonda Rich; photography — “Out for a Morning Stroll” by Becky Corkern; and 3D — “Penny” by Emily Goss.

Below is a complete list of winners.

Best in Show

Ava Jane Newell, “Artist at Work”

People’s Choice

Gildmalus, “Breathe Not for Breathing”


First place — Stasha Ezell, “Dennis Stewart’s Place”

Second place — Joshua Hamilton, “The Wolves at Bay”

Third place — Roberto Bonilla, “Road to Nowhere”

Honorable Mention — Beth Breeland, “Can You Feel the Music”

Honorable Mention — Kelsey Mason, “Georgia Lee”


First place — Cherie Langston, “Need Milk”

Second place — Suzzane Shumate, “Big sur Surf”

Third place — Sam Barton, “Cabin in the Woods”

Honorable Mention — Gayle Quick, “La Dame de Fer”

Honorable Mention — Kelly Parks, “Quiet Place”

Water Media

First place — Theresa Beaubouef, “Garden Gate”

Second place — Janet M. Smith, “Downtown Cycling”

Third place — Ed Patten, “Beach Laundry”

Honorable Mention — McKenze Ritchie, “My Father’s House”

Honorable Mention — Amy Greer, “Crepe Myrtle Kitten”

Pastels and Drawing

First place — Pam Whitacker, “Human”

Second place — Theresa Beaubouef, “HMMM”

Third place — Emma Lynn Powell, “Out of My Mind”

Honorable Mention — Phidales Hill, “Study in Library”

Honorable Mention — Rosemary

Kahlmaus, “Forgotten”

Mixed Media

First place — Rhonda Rich, “Control Chaos”

Second place — Prudence McGehee, “Red Reflection”

Third place — Elizabeth Kaplan, “Ballet Vert”

Honorable Mention — Gildmalus, “You Excel”

Honorable Mention — Kay Calcote, “A Glimpse of Beauty”


First place — Becky Corkern, “Out for a Morning Stroll”

Second place — Samantha Alsbury, “Puddle of Clouds”

Third place — April Alsbury, “It Ain’t Easy Being Green”

Honorable Mention — Nancy Hank Myers, “Another Saturday Night at the Hog Pen”

Honorable Mention — Bill Perkins, “Deb”

3D (Ceramics, Sculpture, etc.)

First place — Emily Goss, “Penny”

Second place — Joshua Hamilton, “Wisdom”

Third place — Nan Lusk, “Moto Bike Mama”

Honorable Mention — Rhonda Rich, “Birds Ballad”

Honorable Mention — Stephanie Gustavson, “Esther”