Mississippi College

East Campus Welcomes Mississippi College Art Studio

February 4, 2013

Joyce Bledsoe is proud of the art work she created at Mississippi College. And the MC senior from Pelahatchie is also delighted that her printmaking classes are now held at the university’s East Campus Art Studio.

“It’s a long walk, but I like it better,’’ she said of the new home of the art studio and a number of classes for dozens of students on the old Clinton Junior High property.

Bledsoe and her classmates worked on pieces of plywood and advanced their printmaking skills under the guidance of Art Department instructor Guy Stricklin in late January. MC studio art major Casey Clark of Madison, who owns two pet turtles, was busy nearby creating a print with the image of her favorite animal.

Casey says she’s pleased to have more space on the East campus to polish her craft.

In the new year, the first wave of art students began classes at the old Clinton Junior High property that the Mississippi College purchased from the Clinton School Board for $3.5 million in September 2010. MC’s art studio in recent years was in the McGuffee House near the Hilltop Theatre.

 The home is named for the late Dr. Frances J. McGuffee. She began her career at Mississippi College in 1942 and guided the formation of the Department of Home Economics and served as department chair from 1965 until her retirement in 1984. McGuffee was the first female department chair at MC and was honored in 2001 with the Order of the Golden Arrow, MC’s highest award. She died in 2009.

While the home in Clinton was a nice place for the art students for several years and brought back  good memories, they needed more space, and felt fortunate when the East Campus became available.

“The addition of the East Campus Art Studio is one of the most exciting events to occur in the recent history of the Department of Art,’’ says art professor Steve Cook. “It comes at a time when many new initiatives have begun. Spirits are very high and the new space is very welcome.’

The possibility of having an East campus Art Studio that’s “a showpiece for creative energy, available for prospective students and even at times to the university community and the public is very energizing,’’ Cook said.

The MC administration and staff is to be applauded for seeing that the new facility is accessible, secure and with Internet access, among other things, he said. “We thank everyone involved in the project, and we know it will be a success.’’

Parking at the East Campus is convenient and that’s another plus.

MC Art Department Chairman Randy Miley is happy to be teaching some of his classes at the studio’s new home. About 30 students are now using the facility for printmaking, papermaking, pastel painting and graduate printmaking on the East Campus and there are plans to locate graduate student offices in the building.

The old Clinton Junior High property has been used in recent years by other MC students. It is the home of Mississippi College’s Band Hall.

The property was used as the Clinton Junior High campus until 1996. It served as headquarters of the Clinton Alternative School that relocated to the old Clinton library a couple of years ago. The site also housed the Clinton district’s maintenance, child nutrition and special education programs, among other things.

The MC Art Department is presently based in Aven Hall. Looking ahead, there will be more art students coming to the East Campus for classes. It’s a plus for undergraduates, “and this is a tremendous help to our graduate programs,’’ said Cook, a Mississippi College graduate.

Photo: Joyce Bledsoe

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