A downtown Mobile cultural cornerstone might be up for grabs as Bienville Books (109 Dauphin St.) owner Russell Adams contemplates selling his business. He opened the independent store near Bienville Square in 2002.

Adams has battled health issues “for a year and nine months” and recuperation from a pair of imminent procedures will make his presence at the business tenuous.

“I may not be able to move around a lot. I’ve told employees I might not be there after late June,” Adams said.

Since he also owns the building, Adams has mulled selling both but would prefer to sell the bookstore first. Independent booksellers have been decimated by online sales recently but Adams’ diligence with specialty finds has kept Bienville Books going.

In 2008, Adams opened the Haunted Book Loft on his second floor, the name a nod to a storied Mobile institution that closed in 1991 after a 50-year run. Though they’ve ditched the moniker, the loft’s feature remains horror and science fiction/fantasy.

Adams said his first surgery would prevent him from answering inquiries until April 15.


“Art After Hours” at new locale

This year sees the rebirth of the Mobile Arts Council’s “Art After Hours” events every other month. What is it? Think “happy hour” with an artistic flavor.

The next unfolds Monday, April 9, 5:30-7 p.m. at the new spot for Gallery 450 (300 St. Michael St.). Appropriately enough for National Jazz Appreciation Month, the gallery is joined in hosting “Art After Hours” by the Gulf Coast Ethnic and Heritage Jazz Festival, the Jazz Studio and the Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed. There will be complimentary wine, light appetizers and live entertainment from Jazz Studio students.

Door prizes will be awarded. Admission is free.

For more information, call 251-459-2298 or visit mobilearts.org.


Exploreum merges cultural concentrations

The Gulf Coast Exploreum (65 Government St.) has a superb summer camp program ready for youth to grow their smarts while having fun. Kids ages 4-14 can learn about topics ranging from astronomy to chemistry to avionics.

They’re also unveiling new Culture Camp 2018, a collaborative effort between Mobile’s hallmark institutions. Campers 9-11 years old will interact with, observe and explore various disciplines.

Session One: June 25 will feature the Mobile Carnival Museum; June 26 the Bragg Mitchell Mansion; June 27, the Alabama Contemporary Art Center; June 28, the Joe Jefferson Players (at the Exploreum); and June 29, the Exploreum Science Center.

Session Two: Aug. 6 will feature the Exploreum Science Center; Aug. 7, the Bragg Mitchell Mansion; Aug. 8, Mobile Opera; Aug. 9, Mobile Museum of Art; and Aug. 10, GulfQuest National Maritime Museum.

Parents are responsible for dropping children at the correct location each day.

For more information, call 251-208-6818 or visit exploreum.com.