‘Magnolias’ are artfully chosen

     (PNAN) – History has a way of opening our eyes to marvelous accomplishments that were completed without all of the essential materials held so dear to us today. ‘Pinetop’ Perkins is probably one who can recall no computer or electronic communication devices at his fingertips when he first got started in the music business. Nonetheless, he got around while not only enjoying his gift, but also others like, Robert Nighhawk, Earl Hooker, Little Milton and Otis Spann, who also produced great works of art.

     More interesting still and so remarkable is Joseph William “Pinetop” Perkins’ ability to keep alive high standards, including passing on a reserved and dedicated tradition of paying forward with his Pinetop Perkins Foundation, a non-profit that provides support to young musicians and helps provide care for elderly musicians at the twilight of their career.

     Of course, many of us have known at least one person in our lifetime, even those like ‘Pinetop’ who grew up on a farm, far from the city, out in the sticks, who taught themselves how to do what has made them great, and when you meet them at the top on their mountain; they emit an aura of unselfishness with a tireless energy in their speech in their mission to be of service to others.

     Undoubtedly, ‘Pinetop’s’ career path roars with accomplishments, and as the Lifetime Achievement recipient of the 2011 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts from his home state of Mississippi, I am confident Governor Haley Barbour, including Malcolm White and Susan Dobbs of the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) will also feel those inspirational twinges that comes from bestowing honor on one of their own.

     On the other hand, there are others; in fact, many who have stepped up to the plate, changed courses for the better and those who like ‘Pinetop’ are also being justly honored. In the Arts in Education, the award goes to Charles A. Rhoads of Brandon. He has worked in public education for 17 years as an art instructor and has not only produced talented young artists, but also has inspired students to give back to their community. He has personally built a visual arts program at three of Rankin County School District’s more impoverished areas; McLaurin Attendance Center, Pisgah High School and now at Puckett High School.

     For the Arts in Community award, it went to the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration. Annually they have provided a five-day conference of high quality, cross-cultural, multi-faceted programs, spanning the creative arts of literature, film, music, theatre and visual art with hundreds of original programs have followed themes of Southern life. Annual artistic outreach programs include the Ellen Douglas Writing Workshops, the Chocolate Milk Café for young writers, including a summer workshop for young writers and filmmakers, the Richard Wright Ramble, a tour of locations associated with the famed author, and many more programs.

     Gwendolyn A. Magee of Jackson is the honoree of the Artistic Excellence award.  Magee was 46 when she decided to take her first quilting class. With her exacting eye and assured hand, she quickly mastered appliqué and free-motion embroidery techniques and discovered those radiant colors she had always imagined. The scope of her art ranges from abstract to narrative. Her use of color and design with representational African-American imagery is the format she blends with the cultural and historical heritages; thusly are what make her work so compelling. Her work has evolved from hand-stitched traditional quilts to illustrative and highly texturized narrative textile art that can now be found in the permanent collection of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.

     The Excellence in Music award goes to Mac McAnally, formerly of Belmont, who now resides in Nashville, Tennessee. He was a guitar and piano prodigy who performed in clubs at 13, wrote his first song at 15 and landed as a Muscle Shoals studio musician at 18. Mac signed his first record deal at 20 and launched two successful singles that were on the Billboard Hot 100. He has an accomplished registry of credits that includes Roy Orbison, Hank Williams, Jr., Amy Grant, Jimmy Buffett, Travis Tritt, Linda Ronstadt, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dolly Parton and many more. In 2007, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the following year the Country Music Association named him Musician of the Year.

     “We are proud to announce the five outstanding recipients selected to be honored during 2011 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts,” said Malcolm White, Executive Director of Commission.  “As always, we were amazed by the incredible nominees submitted this year.  It only reconfirms that this state is filled with an unlimited amount of artistic riches.”

     The group will be honored at the 23rd annual public ceremony on February 24, 2011 in the auditorium of the Mississippi Department of Education in downtown Jackson.

     Culture, professional art, helping hands and historical significance are all qualities these honorees have to offer plus that closeness of life individuals share with their ideas and proven road not taken acclaims. These are the people,Pinetop’, Charles, Gwendolyn, Mac, and all of those under the umbrella of unity at the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration are who French novelist Colette had in mind when said: “By means of an image we are often able to hold onto our lost belongings. But it is the desperateness of losing which picks the flowers of memory, binds the bouquet.”

Published by on September 2010. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, News (Time related). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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