BayArts 2002 a Unique Kind of Festival

Artists from all over the Southeast have converged on the Bay for BayArts 2002. The four day event is designed to promote the art community in Bay St. Louis

Artists of all kinds have come to town to perfect their skills and share their talents with other artists. Stone carving is just one of many art workshops offered during the celebration. Designing and creating mosaics is another. In fact, for the next four days, the experts will teach inspiring artists the tricks of their trades.

Mike Cuevas, Cultural Affairs Director for Bay St. Louis says " It's economic development pure and simple. Our artists are a very valuable part of the economic structure of Bay St. Louis. Every community understands their value, but they often don't understand the huge economic impact that they make on a community. We've chosen as a city government to invest in our artists and their livelihoods exactly the same way that we would offer tax incentives to other industries that would choose to locate in the community."

City leaders are in the process of compiling a list of artists who call Bay St. Louis home. So far that list tops 100. Victoria Tackett, a painter is just one of them. She moved to the city two years ago from North Carolina. Her main reason?

"It's near New Orleans which is a wonderful stimulus and also a place for artists to show and sell their work. You've got that, with the combination of the beauty and peacefulness of being right on the water, and there are so few artist colonies that are actually affordable and on the beach. This is really one of two in the country."

The BayArts celebration also includes a rare kind of tour for art lovers. City leaders say visitors should pick up a tour map from the Hancock County Library on Highway 90.

"With the tour map, they'll be able to find 14 artist studios, 12 of which are normally never opened to the public. There'll be five special exhibits and 10 galleries exhibits, so it's going to be a really full day in the Bay on Saturday," says Cuevas.

BayArts 2002 wraps up Sunday with a musical art festival at Gulfside Assembly in Waveland. For more information about the events, contact the Bay St. Louis Cultural Affairs office at 463-7120.