The Arts, Hancock County
The Arts, Hancock County, a fast-growing, active organization that offers sponsorship and genuine support in the form of shows, classes, events, and other instructional ventures, boasts over 300 members—all of them either artists or lovers of art.
If not butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers, the organization's governing board is comprised of business owners, a photographer, an architect, a teacher, potters, a writer, and professional volunteers. This diversity reflects the spirit and fast-growing membership of a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting art in everyday life in Hancock County, Mississippi.
The vision spearheaded by Steve Barney, president of The Arts, Hancock County, and founder of the STEAMpunk Pottery Project—an educational program for children—is to “reinvent the organization to support the entire spectrum of artists and capture the artistic buzz centered in Hancock County.”
The buzz goes beyond traditional forms of art to include all types of creative expression and performance. For example, the rapidly growing 2018 Arts Alive! festival, the largest annual Arts, Hancock County undertaking, highlighted the burgeoning scene of artists, makers, and performers from across the region.
Happy festival-goers found a riot of live demonstrations, hands-on activities, and artist showcases/marketplaces, from musical performances to belly dancers. At hands-on MakerSpace stations, festival- goers practiced the art of screen printing and drum-making, and volunteers of all ages engaged in public art projects such as the one at Ruth’s Garden on Court Street. Other participatory art experiences include on-site painting of beach-bound trash cans and the creation of a public mural.