Contact: Sasha Steinberg
STARKVILLE, Miss.— A watershed education summer program led by Mississippi State’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio will culminate this weekend with a multi-media art exhibition in Hancock County.
Located at 122 Blaize Ave. in Bay St. Louis’ Depot District, the “Magnolia Bayou, Bay St. Louis Hidden Watershed” exhibition represents a collaborative effort of several community artists, along with teens and pre-teens from the Hancock County Unit of the Boys and Girls Club.
On Saturday [Aug. 5] at 5 p.m., the community artists, Boys and Girls Club participants and their families, project partners, and members of the media will participate in a private walkthrough of the exhibition.
The exhibition will be open to the public from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday the 5th, as well as 1-2 p.m. Sunday-Friday [Aug. 6-11] and 4-7 p.m. Saturday [Aug. 12].
Interested community members unable to attend during those times are encouraged to call 228-342-7668 to schedule an exhibit tour.
Along with science, technology, engineering and math, the exhibition incorporates elements of art and culture that are significant to Bay St. Louis and the larger Mississippi Gulf Coast Region.
Features include a video documentary, interactive 3D sculpture of watershed dynamics, water quality exhibits, and a species wall with paintings of more than 50 species found in Magnolia Bayou, an important urban waterway in close proximity to the Boys and Girls Club’s Hancock County Unit.
As part of the summer education program, the young adults from the Boys and Girls Club have been learning about watershed dynamics, the impact of stormwater runoff on water quality and quantity, and the importance of watershed planning and action.
In addition to experiencing a drone flight over Magnolia Bayou and water quality testing alongside National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, the youth have been participating in field trips to unabridged Architecture and Starfish Café in downtown Bay St. Louis.
Steve Barney, creator of the STEAMpunk Pottery Project and Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center, is among the community artists who have assisted with the exhibition.
“This project was a great opportunity to use artistic expression to teach kids about the science and conservation of the bayou in their backyard,” Barney said. “Leveraging subject matter expertise from Stennis and the artist community of Bay St. Louis, we are able to create engaging and effective learning programs.”
As the lead on the project, MSU’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio was awarded a NOAA-21st Century Community Learning Center Watershed STEM Education Partnership Grant through the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Support was provided by NOAA and the U.S. Department of Education 21st CCLC STEM Initiative.
“We tried to find ways to engage students with a wide variety of interests and talents in STEM experiences by bringing in unexpected elements of art and culture,” said Kelsey Johnson, community planner at the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio.
“It has been amazing to witness what our community partners and the young adults at the Boys and Girls Club have accomplished together over a couple of short months this summer,” Johnson added.
Located in Biloxi, MSU’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is a professional service and outreach program of the land-grant institution’s College of Architecture, Art and Design.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.