Seeking to better connect with the area's natural environment, Mississippi State's newest artist-in-residence is beginning a month-long visit at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge.
Between now and her scheduled July 3 departure date, Marian S. McLellan, a New Orleans-based artist and critic, said she is learning all she can about the more than 48,000-acre refuge located 12 miles south of the university campus.
Established in 1940, the federal land reserve spanning Oktibbeha, Noxubee and Winston counties serves as a feeding and resting area for migratory birds and resident wildlife, including white-tailed deer, alligators and beaver. Wetlands, cypress groves, prairie grasslands and forest also are among its many features.
McLellan will be creating works to be donated to the Friends of Noxubee Refuge volunteer organization and displayed in the auditorium of the refuge headquarters, located on the south end of Bluff Lake. In addition to meeting regularly with staff members there, she will work one-on-one with interested artists and visitors during a free Saturday [June 21] workshop at the location.
"I will walk amongst nature's bounty, taking visual and textual notes, which I will translate into drawings, paintings and prints," McLellan said. "An important part of my stay will be the compilation of area residents' drawings to accompany a guidebook I have in mind, titled 'An Unspoiled Glimpse of Noxubee,' which in turn is a companion to a more global piece, 'An Unspoiled Glimpse.'"
McLellan, a studio art graduate of Tulane University, teaches at both the University of New Orleans and Delgado Community College that serves the Metro New Orleans area. She also holds a master's degree in fine arts from the University of Mississippi.
In 2009, she was honored at New York's Carnegie Hall with a Scholastic Art and Writing Teacher Award. More recently, she has served as juror for a student juried art exhibition sponsored by MSU's art department.
The Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge artist-in-residence program is a collaborative effort of the art department, the refuge and its Friends organization, along with the Starkville Area Arts Council.
Previous participants in the artist-in-residence program have included painter and Webster County native William "Bill" Dunlap; printmaker Kathryn Hunter of Decatur, Alabama; Pennsylvania ceramicist Lilly Zuckerman; and mural artist and illustrator Michael Roy of Jackson County.
For more information about the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, visit www.fws.gov/noxubee/ or telephone 662-323-5548. Project leader Steve Reagan also may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow the Refuge on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NoxubeeNWR and Twitter https://twitter.com/USFWSsoutheast.
Information about MSU's art department is found at www.caad.msstate.edu/caad_web/art/home.php.
MSU is online at www.msstate.edu.