Art Is Everything

The Clarion-Ledger just did an article on the new Mississippi Folkways site:

Managing editor Jennifer Jameson, folk and traditional arts director for the MAC, said her goal is to move beyond “inward conversation among scholars” and focus on the stories of emerging traditions.

That includes, she said, “even a small group that is of particular interest, whether that is a group of Vietnamese fishermen on the Coast or quilters in Port Gibson or more emergent traditions in urban settings; things like graffiti are just as much traditional art forms passed down informally as quilting is.”

…“(Mississippi) is a state that is impoverished in many things but is deeply wealthy in culture, tradition and stories,” said Rankin, who is now the director of experimental documentary arts at Duke University.

“Folklife is anywhere, but Mississippi has a particular hold on traditional culture in this country in part because it is the origin of so much — music, issues of race and cultures of the Deep South have developed such storytelling traditions.”

The site includes Heartbeat from the Hills: Pat Jarrett Photographs 65th Turner Family Picnic (fife and drum band tradition), Gulf Coast Mardi Gras: Tammy Mercure Captures the Krewe of Nereids, Formed at the Kiln: A Gulf Coast Ceramics Apprenticeship, A Time to End All Things:

…and a piece called ‘Art is Everything: A Portrait of Elayne Goodman

“One of them told me you can not do art wrong and it was like opening a prison door.”

I’ve seen Elayne many times at art festivals and purchased this piece, ‘The Schoolmaster’s Desk’ at Lesley Silver’s Attic Gallery in Vicksburg:

…which started out as a jewelry box with a music mechanism (which still works).

Her Elvis shrines are among her most popular, even deserving a mention in Afterlife as Afterimage: Understanding Posthumous Fame. In Catfish Alley, she was quoted:

“I was terribly upset a few years ago when they had a poll and they announced that Oprah Winfrey was the most famous personality of all times … that’s just not true. She will never eclipse Elvis. There are people in the Outback who know who Elvis is and don’t know who Oprah is. That upset me. Someone said Elvis, Coca-Cola and Jesus were the most three recognized images ever. I think I agree with that.”


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