Mississippi artists featured in traveling music exhibit

Published 6:07 am Sunday, September 5, 2021

A Cast of Blues, an exhibit featuring 15 resin-cast masks of blues legends and photographs of blues performers and juke joints, will be featured at the Historic Eureka School in Hattiesburg this month.

The resin-cast masks were created by artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson, and the exhibit will feature photographs by photographer Ken Murphy, who both hail from Mississippi.

“We decided to bring A Cast of Blues exhibit to Hattiesburg because of the exhibit’s ties to the history of blues music in Mississippi, and because the featured artists of the exhibition are Mississippians,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission.

The exhibit will be located at 410 E. 6th St. beginning Sept. 11. The exhibit is free to the public, and will be open until Oct. 9 from on 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

“A life cast is like a 3-D photograph to someone who is blind,” McConnell-Dickerson, who is visually impaired, said in a news release. “It captures the flesh, muscle, bone, hair and subtle expressions of emotion. I wanted to discover the faces behind the music I love, so I went to Mississippi to map out the visages of the real Delta blues men and women.”

The exhibit features braille labels, a music playlist and a closed-captioned film about the Cast of Blues project. Visitors are encouraged to touch the resin-cast masks, McConnell-Dickerson said. Among the artists spotlighted are Bo Diddley and Bobby Rush.

Georgia-Pacific’s Leaf River Cellulose is the sponsor for A Cast of Blues.

“Anyone who knows music knows the blues were born in Mississippi and we are excited to see how this display will celebrate the rich history of so many blues artists who set the foundation for American music,” said Bill Glenn, Leaf River Cellulose’s public affairs manager.

The exhibit is also accompanied by the 2008 documentary film, “M for Mississippi: A Road Trip through the Birthplace of the Blues.”

“There will be fun, interactive components that will allow children the opportunity to learn about the blues through hands-on play,” said Latoya Norman, director of museums for the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. “A Cast of Blues comes with musical instruments that children will be able use to create their very own music and performances. We are excited to see what they will imagine.”

The exhibit was curated by Chuck Haddix, music historian, author, radio personality, and director of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

For more information about A Cast of Blues, call 601-450-1942 or visit hattiesburgeureka.com.