Exhibition to highlight Mississippi high school artists

Published 8:15 am Sunday, June 4, 2023

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Museum of Art presents the “Make Your Mark” Exhibition, featuring a collection of drawings created by talented high school students from across the state of Mississippi. The exhibition will run from June 12 through August 12 at the Gallery of Art and Design on the Hattiesburg campus.

The exhibition will honor the exceptional talent on display with an awards reception to be held on August 12 at 2 p.m.

Juried by renowned local artist, Andrea Kostyal, this year’s show will showcase a remarkable selection of 53 drawings by high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, representing various schools throughout Mississippi. The exhibition celebrates the exceptional creativity, talent, and drawing skills of these young artists.

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“The show features a rich variety of styles and approaches to drawing. From portraits and landscapes to captivating abstract and fantasy drawings, the exhibition showcases an array of mediums, including graphic art, color pencil, pastel, pen and ink, and mixed media,” said Mark Rigsby, curator at the USM Museum of Art. “I am impressed by the quality of work in this summer show.

Rigsby emphasized that the exhibition serves as a platform for these young artists to have their artwork showcased in a professional gallery setting, exposing them to a wider audience and encouraging their interest in artistic endeavors.

“We are happy to provide this opportunity for high school students to have these works of art showcased in a professional gallery exhibition,” said Rigsby. “It not only celebrates their artistic achievements but also serves as a platform to inspire and encourage their passion for the visual arts.”

Kostyal, the exhibition’s juror and a native of Hungary, conveyed her enthusiasm saying, “This exhibition holds a special place in my heart as I have spent numerous summers hanging and curating it during my time as the Gallery Assistant at USM’s Gallery of Art and Design. Over the years, I witnessed the emotional depth conveyed by the students through their drawings, particularly during the challenges of the pandemic. It has been a privilege to witness their creative journey, and I am honored to be part of it once again as a juror. I’m curious to discover the new works that the high school students are currently working on, as they have the power to express their unique interests and impressions through art.”

Kostyal has been creating art since early childhood. Being a shy child, music, drawing, painting and crafts were important ways to express herself. After taking private art lessons for a year, she was accepted to Secondary School of Arts in Pecs, Hungary where she majored in textile. The four-year school also included drawing, figure drawing, painting, and weaving. In 2001, she moved to the United States.

This major change in her life impacted her art. Previously painting nonrepresentational, emotional, expressionistic works, her curiosity towards the new environment led her to find interest in different techniques. She had her first juried exhibition in Atlanta before moving to Connecticut where she started to exhibit in the surrounding areas, including Willimantic, Tolland, then Providence, Boston, and New York.

Since 2008, she has called Hattiesburg, Miss., her home. She immediately became involved in the regional and local art scene through nonprofit art organizations like the South Mississippi Art Association, Hattiesburg Arts Council and the New Orleans Arts Council, joining the Mississippi Art Colony in 2012 and Women’s Art Collective in 2016. She has been invited to solo and group exhibitions at universities and her art has been accepted to juried art competitions in museums across the country.

Summer Hours: The exhibit can be viewed at the Gallery of Art and Design in the George Hurst Building on Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Friday at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For questions about the exhibit, contact Mark Rigsby at 601-266-5200.