There’s news from the perimeter of Cathedral Square, fitting since it was long ago decreed the artistic heart of Mobile’s entertainment district. Time sweeps across it, budding trees, raising temperatures and changing events and labels.
On the north side of square, the Mobile Arts Council (MAC) is proceeding along without Bob Burnett at the helm. The search for his successor continues with a precise timeline unstated but hints have leaked of an announcement in a few months.
Meanwhile, MAC will take a new direction in a midsummer offering and is already seeding the local creative fields. The annual members show is opening possibilities by requesting member submissions regardless of medium.
“I know visual artists respond but I would love to see some inclusion of artists in other disciplines, whether it’s dance, or music of theater or literature,” MAC Associate Director Charlie Smoke said. “While it’s not quite as easy to convey those things in a static exhibition, I figured a dancer could do a series or half a dozen still shots and a written statement or a video on a monitor or laptop, or a literary artist could print some text or have a reading available in audio form.”
Previous versions of these shows have been limited to paintings, drawings, sculpture — the usual routine. Last year, they tried to spread it out across the calendar utilizing zodiac assignations.
Undoubtedly, there are MAC members who indulge in a variety of media. Every entrant would be limited to one submission, though.
“If they have a lot more, they could always put together a group show or one of their own,” Smoke said.
The month circled for the show is July, with entries due by June 27.
It’s open to all MAC members. Artists could even join when they drop off work.
“We may go back to a different format next year but we just wanted to show that one of the benefits of membership is the opportunity to show at least once a year that they can take advantage of,” Smoke said.
Also on tap for that month is a show by Jillian Crochet, the artist who created the gigantic knit heart on display at MAC throughout the last month. She promises to swell the space with her wildly creative vision.
“She’s talking about filling a room with some sort of environmental piece, kind of an immersive piece as opposed to pieces around the wall of the room. She’s still working on the logistics,” Smoke said.
MAC members thinking about participating best start gleaning their work now. Boiling a body of work down to one submission is no easy task.
For more information or guidance, contact Charlie at Mobile Arts Council.
On the southern border of Cathedral Square, changes are brewing in the old Press-Register building. New times mean a new moniker apparently.
An announcement for the new show in the gallery at 301 Conti St. landed in the Artifice mailbox at March’s beginning. The invitation to their latest exhibit opening wasn’t as eye-catching as the inserted announcement the showplace has now changed its name to the Alabama Contemporary Art Center.
When the facility first opened in late 2003, it was deemed Space 301. It belonged to the Centre for the Living Arts (CLA), an organization that also managed the Saenger Theatre on the next block.
After Bob Sain was named director for CLA in 2011, the organization grew tired of the difficulties posed by managing an aging and underutilized performance venue in addition to the exhibit hall. Two years ago, CLA ceded management back to the city of Mobile, who then contracted HUKA Productions and SMG to run the show house built in 1927.
It wasn’t long after that CLA dropped the Space 301 designation for the spot that was renovated in the last decade to house offices, meeting and rental facilities in addition to the exhibit hall. It looks like the last vestige of its first decade has now passed.
The new exhibit is entitled “History Refused to Die” and features “over 75 works by Alabama self-taught artists from the collection of William S. Arnett and Souls Grown Deep Foundation.” It premieres in mid-March and features work that has shaken the art world by its lapels in the last few decades.
“We just felt like we needed a new identity to have clarity about exactly what we do and where we are and where we’re going,” Bob Sain said. “I think it does a terrific job of clarifying who we are, not just locally but on a state and national level and states exactly what we do.”
Sain said there was no internal restructuring involved. Most of the operating logistics will still be conducted under the old label, with the re-branding not taking place on formal filings.
On the western edge of Cathedral Square sits the site’s namesake, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. While the archdiocese doesn’t have to change any stationary, it appears they have a new member of the clergy, if only in the comedic sense.
Everyone kiss the ring of Archbishop Bling. South of the Salt Line founder Tom Perez has taken to the web with a pair of new characters whose satirical ripostes come in small doses, about three minutes or less. The amusing musings are posted to YouTube weekly and available through the South of the Salt Line Facebook page.
The aforementioned archbishop is both doltish and effete yet above all vain. For instance, his homily on Lent tells of the sacrifice he’s made by forsaking a pair of pinkie rings until Easter. The diamond one is particularly hard to give up since it “flashes” so well.
Perez’s other character is the Last Southern Gentleman, a seersucker-bedecked raconteur who holds court on a variety of topical matters. The mysterious brown liquid in his ever-present rocks glass completes a character as familiar to Mobilians as Spanish moss and humidity.
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