Viewers Encouraged to Study ‘Brief Encounters’ at UM Museum

'Brief Encounters' to debut later this month at the University of Mississippi Museum.

‘Brief Encounters’ is debuting this month at the University of Mississippi Museum.

The University of Mississippi Museum is debuting a brand new exhibit this month. “Brief Encounters” by Martin Arnold is a collection of nearly life-size oil paintings of human subjects. Viewers will be left in awe as the paintings, as clear as photographs, capture their attention.

Arnold, originally from Michigan, has lived in Mississippi for eight years. He received his undergraduate degree in art education from Mississippi University for Women and a master’s degree in fine arts from UM.

For 37 years, Arnold’s career was designing automation machinery for the automotive industry before he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of figure painting. In addition to painting, he teaches art at East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle Campus.

“The human figure, in all of its expressiveness, is the language that I use to graphically parse our mental, physical and spiritual human facets,” Arnold said.

Arnold’s subjects include people of all ages, ethnicities and genders, and his goal is to make viewers wonder about the subjects, as he does while painting them, asking “Who is this person?” and “What is going through this person’s mind?”

“With little else to ponder, the viewer’s attention is left to linger on the stark humanity of the person before them,” he said. “Viewers must become incrementally aware that my subjects reciprocate their curiosity and scrutiny. Metaphorically, my paintings function as psychological mirrors, wherein viewers may recognize and examine aspects of their own psyche in its penetrating, unrelenting reflection.”

Arnold adds that the intention of his painting, unlike conventional portraiture, is to probe both the individuality of the subjects as well as common traits that bring everyone together.

“Martin Arnold’s figural paintings are extraordinary representations of the human form and his work has received numerous regional and national awards,” said Robert Saarnio, UM Museum director. “As an artist, Arnold strives to create ‘a psychological mirror’ with his almost life-sized oil paintings. The University Museum is honored to exhibit the work of this deeply talented north Mississippi artist.”

The exhibit is up for viewing through May in the Lower Skipwith Gallery. A grand opening reception is set for 6 to 8 p.m. during the monthly Oxford Art Crawl on Tuesday (March 24). Arnold will also give a lecture about his exhibit at noon Wednesday (March 25) at the University Museum as part of the Brown Bag lecture series.

In his lecture, Arnold will describe how he approaches his paintings as psychological studies and how they differ from portraits. He wants viewers to study the paintings and sense that the subjects are returning their scrutiny.

The University Museum is offering free entry as part of its celebration of 75 years of service to the community. The UM Museum is opened from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information about exhibits, how to become a museum member and other activities, visit the museum website.

Museum’s Buie Bacchanalia Raises Project Awareness

The Buie Bacchanalia event was filled with fun, food and dancing and was a huge success for the University Museum.

The Buie Bacchanalia event was filled with fun, food and dancing and was a huge success for the University Museum.

Last month, the Friends of the University of Mississippi Museum hosted the Buie Bacchanalia event to raise awareness of the pre-installation of the museum’s Mary Buie wing, and it was a huge success.

Attendees experienced a night filled with Greek food, wine and dancing.

“The Buie Bacchanalia event to celebrate the ongoing project of reinstalling the museum’s Greek and Roman antiquities in our signature 1939 building was a massive success,” said Robert Saarnio, the museum’s director. “Its capacity attendance speaks volumes about the growing awareness of these collections being the finest and largest of their type in the entire South. The event built community and regional enthusiasm for one of the most significant exhibition projects in the museum’s 75-year history.”

The museum is home to the David M. Robinson Memorial Collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, one of the finest of its kind in the nation. The collection includes more than 2,000 items. Unfortunately, only 134 of those are on display. The reinstallation of the original Mary Buie wing will remedy that, allowing for more space to show these unique items.

The night brought the community together, and the museum staff looks forward to ongoing support for the project, said Rebecca Phillips, the museum’s communications coordinator.

The next big event planned by the Friends of the Museum is the third annual Harvest Supper this fall on the grounds of Rowan Oak. The event has become an Oxford tradition. Patrons will enjoy a beautiful night at William Faulkner’s home with local dishes and entertainment, as well as an opportunity to purchase paintings at auction. All money raised will support museum projects.

To donate to either of these projects or to get more information about supporting the museum, visit the website or contact the UM Museum at 662-915-3181.

UM Museum, Meek Hall Featured in Monthly Oxford Art Crawl

Lee Renninger's A Light Passage will be featured at the UM Museum during the January Art Crawl.

Lee Renninger’s ‘A Light Passage’ will be featured at the University Museum during the January Art Crawl.

Art crawl season returns today (Jan. 27) with the first Oxford Arts Crawl of 2015. The free event kicks off at 6 p.m. with plenty of exhibits spanning a wide range of visual arts.

The University of Mississippi Museum will feature Lee Renniger’s “A Light Passage,” which uses ceramics to portray elements of the garden. This will also be the last opportunity to view “Bloomingdale’s Fashion Touchdown: NFL Haute Couture Helmets,” featuring unique football helmets created by world-famous designers.

Also on campus, Gallery 130 in Meek Hall will feature Cliff Tresner’s “Notes from the Road.” Tresner earned his MFA from Ole Miss in 1994, and his exhibit features sculpture, painting and drawings that he says balances functional crafts, such as furniture design, with fine art practices.

Here’s what you can find at the other stops:

The Powerhouse Community Arts Center will feature a fiber arts show of quilts from Piecemakers Quilters Guild of Lafayette County. City Grocery will feature works from Tammy Oliver Cook, and Frame Up Gallery will feature Jeri Carter and Lisa Paris. Southside Gallery will feature various artists from around the region.

Art Crawl participants can park at one spot and the double-decker bus will shuttle art them to all the exhibits.

Art crawls are set for the fourth Tuesday of each month, so upcoming crawls will be held Feb. 24, March 24 and April 28.

The University Museum, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Gallery 130, Southside Gallery and Community Trust Bank are sponsoring the events.

Museum Mini Masters Make Masterpieces

The UM Museum's Mini Master's program allow children to create works of art with their parents.

The UM Museum’s Mini Master’s program allow children to create works of art with their parents.

Young artists are invited to unlock their creativity this semester at the University of Mississippi Museum. The museum, in conjunction with the Powerhouse Community Arts Center, is hosting Mini Masters, a drop-in workshop series for toddlers and their parent or guardian.

The workshops give children ages 2 to 5 chances to create their own little masterpieces using works from renowned artists as inspiration. Tuesday workshops are at Powerhouse, ant the University Museum hosts the Thursday sessions.

Each workshop is $5 per family, and no pre-registration is needed. Sessions are from 3:45 to 4:40 p.m.

Workshop themes for the spring are:

Feb. 10, Powerhouse: Eric Carle-Style Mixed-up Animal Collages

Feb. 26, UM Museum: Messy Monet Prints

March 26, UM Museum: Under the Sea: Walter Anderson and Me

April 14, Powerhouse: Corduroy the Bear Paintings and Collages

April 30, UM Museum: Theora Hamblett’s Spring Games

May 12, Powerhouse: Olivia Splash Paintings

For more information, contact the University Museum at 662-915-7073 or the Powerhouse at 662-236-6429.

UM Museum Unveils 2014 Collectible Keepsake

William Faulkner's Hollywood typewriter design celebrates his screenwriting period

The University Museum unveiled its annual ornament, this year featuring a design of William Faulkner's typewriter.

This year’s University Museum ornament features a design of William Faulkner’s typewriter.

OXFORD, Miss. – For the 14th year, the University of Mississippi Museum is offering a new collectible keepsake for the holiday season. This year’s design features the typewriter that William Faulkner used while writing screenplays in Hollywood in the 1930s and ’40s.

Altogether, Faulkner wrote 20 screenplays, notably including “To Have and Have Not,” “Gunga Din” and “The Big Sleep.” The typewriter eventually came into the care of Nancy Norris-Kniffin, a Faulkner scholar who in turn gifted it to Rowan Oak. Visit Rowan Oak to see it for yourself and to learn more about Faulkner’s work in Hollywood.

Faulkner’s Hollywood typewriter keepsake is available for $25, plus tax. Previous collectible keepsakes are also available and are 50 percent off for a limited time during the holidays. These designs feature the Barnard Observatory, Old Skipwith House, Brandt Memory House, Ventress Hall, Lafayette County Courthouse, Oxford City Hall, the Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Jersey, William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak, Theora Hamblett House, Theora Hamblett’s “Christmas Trees” and Walk of Champions.

The collectible keepsakes can be purchased at the museum store or by calling 662-915-7073. Orders to be shipped before the holidays must be placed by Dec. 12 and require a shipping and handling fee.

For more gift ideas, check out our other items in the museum store, such as the official Rowan Oak scarf or the Theora Hamblett puzzle.

Museum members receive a 10 percent discount on all merchandise in the museum store.

The University Museum is at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Hours for the museum and shop are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.  For more information, visit or call 662-915-7073.

UM Museum Launches New Program for Middle Schoolers and Teens

Workshops combine art projects, music and milkshakes

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum is launching a new after-school program for students in grades 6-12. One Friday a month, the museum will offer a workshop featuring a mashup of two different artists or styles into one fun project that allows students to explore new media, techniques and forms of art.

These workshops are led by a team of university students eager to work with younger students as they explore their creativity. To add to the fun, museum workers will play music and make milkshakes as a delicious after-school treat as participants create their own works of art.

“We know as kids reach the middle school and teen years their schedules get packed with different activities and commitments, so we wanted to offer an easy, registration-free opportunity for teens to explore their artistic voices and experience the museum in new ways,” said Emily Dean, the museum’s curator of education.

The workshops will be held this semester from 4 to 5 p.m. Sept. 26, Oct. 24 and Nov. 21. The cost for each workshop is $10 per participant, which includes milkshakes and art materials for the projects. Pre-registration is not required, but space is limited, so participants are encouraged to contact Dean at to reserve a space.

The University Museum, which is celebrating 75 years of exhibition and service to the community, is at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. For more information, visit or contact Dean at or 662-915-7073.

Fall Football Touchdown! Kicks Off at UM Museum

Semester's first family day features fun activities for all

Local children enjoy painting outside the UM Museum.

Local children enjoy painting outside the UM Museum.

OXFORD, Miss. – Football season is in full swing, and the University of Mississippi Museum is getting into the spirit with a new exhibit featuring one-of-a-kind football helmets, entitled “Bloomingdale’s Fashion Touchdown,” and a fun day of family activities inspired by it.

The helmets were created by world-famous fashion designers for an auction to benefit the NFL Foundation. The museum’s first Family Day of the semester is inspired by this fun, family-friendly exhibit. Kids can design their own football helmets, participate in an obstacle course and taste healthy tailgating snacks. Families can pick up spirit gear and prizes donated by Ole Miss Athletics, meet surprise guests and enter a raffle to win free Ole Miss football tickets.

The event runs 10 a.m. to noon Saturday (Sept. 20) at the museum. Families can drop in any time within the two hours; this event is free and registration is not required. All ages are welcome, although children must be accompanied by an adult.

Children show off art projects they made at the museum.

Children show off art projects they made at the museum.

This event is supported by the UM Department of Athletics and is part of the museum’s involvement in the “Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens Initiative.”

“This exhibit and family day are very different than what many may expect to see at the museum, but we are so excited for the opportunity to celebrate fall, football and art all in one fun day for families,” said Emily Dean, curator of education. “We have been really fortunate to have wonderful partners in athletics who have added to the spirit and fun of this event.”

The University Museum, which is celebrating 75 years of exhibition and service to the community, is at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. For more information, visit or contact Dean at or 662-915-7073.

University of Mississippi Museum Exhibition Advisory

UM Museum presents "Our Faith Affirmed - Works from the Gordon W. Bailey Collection"

Purvis Young, Angels Playing Music (detail), Gordon W. Bailey Collection

Purvis Young, Angels Playing Music (detail), Gordon W. Bailey Collection

The University of Mississippi Museum presents “Our Faith Affirmed – Works from the Gordon W. Bailey Collection” (Sept. 10, 2014-Aug. 8, 2015), which celebrates, in our 75th anniversary year, a major gift by Gordon W. Bailey of inspired artworks created by African-American self-taught artists from the South. This exhibit features works by 27 artists, all born between 1900 and 1959. Many of the artists are widely known and several, most notably, Thornton Dial Sr., Roy Ferdinand, Bessie Harvey, Lonnie Holley, Charlie Lucas, Jimmy Lee Sudduth and Purvis Young, are internationally exhibited.

“As a leading scholar, collector and curator, Mr. Bailey is uniquely positioned to make an impact in the life of this university,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director. “His generosity of spirit and vision are extraordinary and its meaningfulness to our museum and to the communities we serve, both academic and public, will surely be felt for generations to come. His astute assessment that an academic campus-based museum with educational programs for schoolchildren, the general public and university students stands uniquely positioned to leverage its collections for broad educational impact will prove prescient.”

Bailey states: “I considered the history of the region and the nature of the race-based incidents that still, on occasion, shake the university and became convinced that this was the right place to make this commitment. I believe that the arts are the cultural mortar that connects diverse communities. There are many good people here – of all races and socio-economic levels – pulling, or in some cases pushing, in the same direction. The University Museum is a terrific place to pay tribute to African-American, Southern self-taught artists who persevered and, against the odds, created works of genius.”


“Our Faith Affirmed – Works from the Gordon W. Bailey Collection,” curated by Gordon W. Bailey and David Houston, underscores the significance of Southern vernacular artists whose influence extend far beyond the realm of aesthetics. Confident, singular and insistent, the artworks created by the African-Americans honored in this exhibition exude an authority of experience and directness of expression that bear witness to the considerable weight of Southern history, the saga of American politics and, most clearly, to their faith and clarity of vision.

David Houston comments: “With this gift, my friend and co-curator, Gordon W. Bailey, a respected scholar and collector, has considerably broadened the scope of the museum’s impressive collections. As he intuited, the university’s geographic location sets the framework for the further exploration of Southern self-taught artists whose works are emblematic of the region’s culture. Some of the artists have daunting personal histories and were dually stressed by the adversities of poverty and oppression while dealing with the daily tribulations of living in a legally segregated society. All, though unique individuals with decidedly different iconographies and points of view, share context. Whatever their motivation – inner necessity, visionary impulse, political activism, faith in God, nature or nurture – it is clear that they did not need the mechanisms of the art world to either inspire their works or validate the importance of their efforts. For them, the raging authenticity and soulful expressiveness that is chiefly responsible for their newfound popular and critical acceptance is solid evidence that they never bowed to limitations or expectations. In fact, they seldom altered their content of purpose, whether cut off from the larger culture by geography or by law.”


Leroy Almon, Hawkins Bolden, Richard Burnside, Charles Butler, Archie Byron, Arthur Dial, Thornton Dial Jr., Thornton Dial Sr., Roy Ferdinand, Charles Gillam, Ralph Griffin, Bessie Harvey, Lonnie Holley, Robert Howell, Edwin Jeffery Jr., Joe Light, Charlie Lucas, Sulton Rogers, O.L. Samuels, Welmon Sharlhorne, Henry Speller, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, James “Son” Thomas, Felix “Harry” Virgous, Willie White, Luster Willis and Purvis Young.


The exhibition is complemented by an illustrated catalog, edited by Gordon W. Bailey, featuring insightful essays by David Houston, director of the Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University’s College of the Arts in Columbus, Georgia; W. Ralph Eubanks, editor of the venerable Virginia Quarterly Review and a UM alumnus; and Jason “PyInfamous” Thompson, UM alumnus and Sally McDonnell-Barksdale Honors College Scholar, an acclaimed hip-hop emcee and songwriter. The essays contribute substantially to understanding the challenges faced by African-American self-taught artists in the South.

The University Museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information, visit or call 662-915-7073.

High resolution images are available upon request.

University Museum Offers Enriching After-School Art Program

ArtZone draws from permanent collection and traveling exhibitions to inspire students

ArtZone will begin Sept. 9 and run through Dec. 4

ArtZone will begin Sept. 9 and run through Dec. 4

OXFORD, Miss. – Summer break is over and with schools starting back up, it is almost time for Fall 2014 ArtZone at the University of Mississippi Museum. This year’s ArtZone will revolve around exhibits from the museum’s permanent collection and traveling exhibitions.

The ArtZone semester begins Sept. 9 and runs through Dec. 4, with sessions going from 3 to 5:05 p.m. weekly. Participants will be inspired by ancient civilizations, folk art and special exhibits.

“ArtZone is a truly unique program here in Oxford as each week, children are inspired by art and artifacts from our collections and beyond in an educational, fun and hands-on way,” said Emily Dean, the museum’s curator of education. “The museum comes to life for these young learners in a way that they will remember for years to come. We travel back in time, dabble in modern art and push the limits of creativity, all culminating in a final exhibit of student work here at the museum.”

Fees for the 12-week ArtZone semester are $70 per family for museum members at the family level or higher and $150 per family for nonmembers. All supplies and snacks are included. Parents can choose to enroll their children in the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday classes. Each day will offer two different classes to suit different age groups.

Space is limited and the registration deadline is Sept. 1. Parents can pick up a registration form at the museum or download a copy here.

For more information about the museum’s Fall 2014 ArtZone, visit•-fall-2014/ or contact Emily Dean at

The University Museum, which is celebrating 75 years of exhibitions and service to the community, is at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. For more information, visit or call 662-915-7073.

University Museum Scores Fashion Touchdown

New exhibit showcases one-of-a-kind designer helmets created to benefit the NFL Foundation

An NFL helmet designed by Alexis Bittar is a highlight of a new exhibit at the University Museum. Photo courtesy of Bloomingdale's.

An NFL helmet designed by Alexis Bittar is a highlight of a new exhibit at the University Museum. Photo courtesy of Bloomingdale’s.

OXFORD, Miss. – Fashionistas and football fans alike will find reasons to celebrate with the University Museum‘s newest installation, “Bloomingdale’s Fashion Touchdown: NFL Haute Couture Helmets.” The exhibit is the only one of its kind featuring designer football helmets from Bloomingdale’s Fashion Touchdown, a project that benefited the NFL Foundation.

In celebration of Super Bowl XLVIII, the first Super Bowl ever held in the New York City area, Bloomingdale’s, the NFL and the Council of Fashion Designers of America seized an opportunity to highlight football and fashion for a great cause. Their collaboration engaged some of the world’s top designers to put their creative touches on 48 NFL helmets, which were auctioned off during an online charity event that raised more than $73,000 to benefit the NFL Foundation.

Robert Saarnio, University Museum director, took part in the auction and acquired three helmets for the museum’s collection. The exhibit will feature the actual helmets designed by Alexis Bittar, Fenton/Fallon and Lela Rose. High-resolution photographs of the remaining helmets – created by fashion icons Helmut Lang, Kenneth Cole, Nicole Miller and others – complete the exhibit.

“No other museum in the country is showcasing all of the helmets, and we are thrilled to be on the cutting edge of this unique concept,” Saarnio said. “The exhibit has the potential to draw in an entirely new audience for us, and we are grateful for the cooperation from Bloomingdale’s to help make this happen.”

Bloomingdale’s is supplying the museum with photographs of the entire collection, as well as an interactive video featuring rotating images of the helmets.

“When planning our marketing campaigns, especially those with a charity component, we hope they reach a large audience,” said Anne Keating, Bloomingdale’s senior vice president of public relations, special events and corporate philanthropy. “For the Bloomingdale’s brand and our commitment to giving back to be a focus of an exhibit in such a prestigious university is more than anyone could hope for, and we are proud to support this exhibit.”

The NFL haute couture helmets exhibit coincides with the 2014 Ole Miss Rebels football season, which includes much-anticipated home games against SEC rivals Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn and Mississippi State. The exhibit is free to the public and runs Aug. 1, 2014-Jan. 15, 2015.

The University Museum, which is celebrating 75 years of exhibitions and service to the community, is at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. For more information, visit or call 662-915-7073.

For more information on the Bloomingdale’s Fashion Touchdown project, contact Katie Nida-Rovano at or 212-705-2443, or Jamie Frankel at or 212-705-3911.