Sculptor Joanna Campbell Blake, a Mobile native and Auburn University alumnus who helped create several major monuments, died in a motorcycle wreck in Italy on May 22. Blake worked for Maryland-based Kaskey Studio Inc., where she contributed to numerous large-scale projects, including the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Blake was on a trip to Italy celebrating her 39th birthday when the multi-vehicle accident occurred.

A 1995 Theodore High School graduate, Blake earned a bachelor’s in fine arts from Auburn in 1999. Though she began with a concentration in painting, she discovered a gift for sculpture while in college.

Blake returned to campus when she sculpted panels for the College of Science and Mathematics Building and the Chemistry and Biology Building. She also worked on the Pedestrian Portal Project for her alma mater.

Blake is survived by her husband, Ike Blake; her 5-year-old daughter, Myra; a brother, Alan Campbell; and her parents, Alan and Joleen Campbell.

JJP fundraiser takes to the sheets
The Joe Jefferson Players will premiere their latest musical comedy, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” June 10-26. However, they’re giving fans a chance to chip in on the funds and fun with good, old-fashioned Roman hedonism right before the play opens.

On June 3, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., The Merry Widow (51 S. Conception St.) will play host to a Toga Karaoke Party. All proceeds from the $5 cover charge benefit the historic playhouse in Midtown.

DJ Jamey Ward promises to deliver karaoke fit for Apollo himself. There will be Bacchanalian drink specials for everyone adorned in their best togas.

For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.

Classes added to MMoA summer curriculum
Mobile Museum of Art has become a locus for learning in Mobile, and new courses added to its summer curriculum feature a pair of fun skills. One can enhance your digital presence while the other might prove handy in enhancing your physical surroundings. Both classes are to be taught by Todd Duran, professor of art and design at Spring Hill College and Faulkner State Community College.

If you’re an admirer of Alexander Calder’s mobiles, learn how to make your own version of these delicately balanced wire and metal sculptures using cans, wire and monofilament. Class takes place July 16 and 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost is $175 for nonmembers, $150 for members.

The other class is aimed at teaching participants how to use traditional art techniques such as paint, chalk and collage along with a smartphone or tablet to enhance social media posts and boost following. The class meets July 30 and 31, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost is $125 for non-members, $100 for members.

For information on registration, call 251-208-5205 or visit

June Learning Lunch features marriage plaintiffs
The History Museum of Mobile’s latest Learning Lunch will focus on a famous pair of locals who have made national news in the last few years. On Wednesday, June 8, at noon, Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand will discuss their story in “Our Fight for Family Equality in Alabama.”

Videographer Searcy and marketing manager McKeand, along with their 9-year-old son, filed a lawsuit last year challenging Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage. In January 2015, Federal Judge Callie Granade ruled in their favor, touching off a battle in probate courts across the state.

The event is free and guests are asked to bring their own lunch. Complimentary beverages will be provided.

For more information on the Learning Lunch series, call the museum at 251-208-7510 to speak with Jennifer Fondren, curator of education, or contact her by email at

MMoA turns sound to written word
As part of the exhibition of Janet Cardiff’s “Forty-Part Motet,” the Mobile Museum of Art (4850 Museum Drive) is exploring the sound installation’s effect through usage of varied artistic media. This takes a turn toward the literary on Thursday, June 9, at 7 p.m. with “Reverberations.”

For the Thursday evening program in the facility’s Larkins Auditorium, a group of local poets, playwrights and writers of nonfiction and fiction have been invited to “climb inside the music” and write in response, elaboration or in any way they are inspired. They will be assembled for a public reading of their work.

Writers scheduled include poet Vernon Fowlkes, local author Janet Nodar, playwright and author Thomas Perez, journalist Lawrence Specker and Alabama Poet Laureate Emeritus Sue Walker. Lagniappe arts editor Kevin Lee will moderate.

A $10 donation is requested at the door. Beer and wine will be available by donation.
For more information, call Elizabet Elliott at 251-208-5200.