Artistic jack-of-all-trades Fred Baldwin passed away Feb. 15 after a protracted battle with cancer. The Mobilian was a key component of Mobile’s cultural scene for most of his 67 years.

Baldwin’s most noted work was musical, as vocalist, composer and instrumentalist. He also worked in theatre of all realms — musical, dramatic and comedic — as performer and director.

His forays into visual art and design were common at charity auctions and other functions. Baldwin’s literary musings were easily found; he served as Lagniappe’s initial arts editor from 2002 to 2003.

A resounding baritone, Baldwin’s voice often cropped up in unexpected places. He worked for years in the booth at WHIL-FM, Mobile’s publicly supported fine arts radio. Likewise he supplied the recorded messages that greeted visitors to Mobile’s Saenger Theatre and was the narrator for the commissioned documentary film commemorating Mobile’s 2002 tricentennial.

Baldwin was honored with an event featuring many of his contributions at Bernheim Hall on Sept. 24, 2015. Mobile Opera, another institution that benefited from Baldwin’s talent, sponsored the salute.

Baldwin died at a Pensacola hospice after spending his more recent years on the Eastern Shore. A memorial service took place Feb. 27 in Fairhope.

Auditions at ESho playhouse
Fairhope’s Theatre 98 will hold auditions for its production of “The Glass Menagerie” on Monday, March 7, and Tuesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. The classic work by Southern Gothic playwright Tennessee Williams centers on the usual tattered and dysfunctional family and bittersweet nostalgia.

Director Timothy Guy will be searching for men aged 20-60 and women aged 22-35 and 42-65. Auditions are held at 350 Morphy Ave., Fairhope.
Performances will run Friday-Sunday, May 6-22.
For more information email

WGAS show at Auto Alley gallery
Innova Arts (505 St. Louis St.) will play host to the Watercolor and Graphic Arts Society of Mobile’s annual Spring Exhibition for 2016. The opening reception is March 11, 6-9 p.m., and the show runs through the end of March.

The combination showplace/teaching space normally features work by 30 local artists. Also available are classes on painting and silversmithing.

Jeffrey Babine will serve as the juror. The native New Yorker turned Ozark, Alabama, resident earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Awards will be presented during the opening reception. Light refreshments and music will also be supplied. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

The Watercolor and Graphic Arts Society began in 1948; membership is allowed by recommendation only. The Spring Exhibition also serves as an annual display for prospective new members.

WGAS noted its sponsors with special thanks to the family of the late Ruth Bruckmann, a longtime member of the society. Bruckmann family members will donate the Best of Show award.

For more information contact or go to or

Local bookstores make Southern Living
Hats off to Fairhope’s Page & Palette and Mobile’s Bienville Books. The locally owned retailers made a list of the South’s 19 best bookstores in the February issue of Southern Living.

The venerable periodical noted Page & Palette’s racks filled with not just new and used books but also art supplies and greeting cards. Southern Living gave a nod to Latte Da, the attached coffee shop, as well.

Southern Living called Bienville Books “a ‘mad scientist’ of a shop, chock full of interesting reads that will send your imagination in all sorts of directions.” It mentions the assortment of first editions and regional authors plus The Haunted Book Loft’s “impressive sci-fi, fantasy and horror collection.”

Sidewalk competition coming to LoDa
April 9 will feature the first LoDa Squares: Sidewalk Art Competition on the streets around Cathedral Square in Mobile from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artists will create chalk masterpieces during the SouthSounds Music & Arts Festival as a function of the Mobile Arts Council’s spring fundraiser.

Each artist will get a box of chalk and a lunch for the five-hour event. Photos of the entries will go online afterward.

A cash prize and trophy are at stake with more prizes to come. Registration is free but there are a limited number of available squares.

Sponsorships are available for businesses, organizations and individuals. Entries are due by March 14.

Interested artists and sponsors can call 251-432-9796, ext. 8002, or email with questions. More details about the competition can be found in the entry forms at