Gulfport students experience ins and outs of art business

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -  Their creations range from contour paintings to candid photographs.   Forty-one Advanced Art students at Gulfport High School are intently working on their masterpieces.  Many of them are aspiring artists.

"I want to major in art. I want to go to college for it. I want to get into animation," said Gulfport High Senior Ashton Gibson.

This month, Ashton and his talented classmates get to live and act like real artists, thanks to Dr. Martha Mabey.  As a curator at the Williams Gallery in Gulfport, Mabey is inviting the students to put on their own art show.

"Many kids never even get an opportunity to go to a museum, or an art gallery, let alone display their work," said Mabey. "I've been the principal of a school three times, and I have seen personally what art can do to change kids' lives."

Mabey once owned two art galleries before becoming a curator in downtown Gulfport.  She met Gulfport art teacher Joyce King during one of her shows recently and brought up the idea of letting King's students experience the art business.

As part of the program, the students have to go through every step leading up to the exhibition, from creating and choosing their favorite works of art, to designing the invitations.   They must also host the opening reception, which involves answering questions from guests about their paintings, drawings, or photos.

"I'm pretty excited about it because it's a once in a lifetime experience, especially when you're in high school," said Gulfport High Junior Jordan West.

"You hear a lot of stories about how artists that really never make it and they're like starving artists and stuff like that, and it gives us a great chance to really do what successful artists do," said Ashton.

"If kids have real, tangible connections with the gallery, not just go as a visitor, and not just study art in a class, something will happen that can transform them, and it really may change their lives," said Mabey.

The students' art show is on Friday, April 3rd, and the exhibition will run throughout the month of April.  Their theme is "Florescent Minds."  They are still looking for a sponsor for the show.  If you are interested, contact Dr. Mabey at

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