OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Rodney Hedgecock has been painting professionally for only one year, but he's quickly gaining popularity in Ocean Springs, the place many people consider the epicenter of art on the Coast.
Hedgecock has found a niche in painting on reclaimed materials such as antique ceiling tiles and old wood.
He's also found the value of what the 23-year-old Ocean Springs Artwalk gives to artists and the buyers of their work.
"It exposes the artist to the people rather than just the painting to the people," he said. "So that's kind of what Artwalk is all about. It's meet us, don't just meet our work."
Katie Hinkel, who has coordinated the event for three years, said Artwalk typically draws up to 10,000 people. And, despite the occasional shower that sent artisans and visitors scurrying for cover, she's happy with the turnout, estimated between 5,000 and 6,000. There were 51 artisans who participated.
The festival takes place every August in the downtown area and features a mixture of painters, potters, sculptors and mixed media artists.
And, add in the restaurants, boutiques, refreshments and places to simply relax and you have the perfect mix for a late summer outing.
Artists Joyce King and Judy O'Neal have been coming to the festival for several years because of the connections with customers.
"We've always had a really good day at Artwalk," she said. "The customers are so great. I call it a friend reunion or a family reunion. We know so many people here and we've had so many good comments, people stopping and looking at our work."