Walt's Look Around: Gum Tree Festival - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Gum Tree Festival

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
TUPELO, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

“The people of Tupelo are used to having the streets closed off and they’re used to all this stuff going on. So the community really helps out as well throughout the whole fest," said Belle Naugher, the Executive Director of the Gum Tree Museum of Art.

Well the “fest” that Belle is referring to is the annual Gum Tree Festival. This year over a hundred artists set up booths around the Lee County Court House and displayed and sold their creations.

Now, this isn’t a flea market. People don’t come here expecting to find a bargain. But they do come here expecting to find value, value in a piece of fine art.

“No, this is a juried fine art festival," said Belle. "That sets us apart from a lot of the flea markets or arts and crafts shows.”

There are several of these type fine arts festivals around the state during the year. Crosstie in Cleveland, Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival, Prairie Arts Festival in West Point, The Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford, Peter Anderson in Ocean Springs, Threefoot in Meridian, and Chimneyville in Jackson.

A festival like this is very convenient for people who are looking for something to decorate their homes, and something that may well turn out to be a valuable investment at the same time.

Clinton artist Rick Anderson has participated in the Gum Tree Festival since 1975.  

“The good thing about having the collection of work, the fine craftsmen and the fine artist here at one place is that people can have a choice," said Rick. "They know that the art is of a certain quality and a certain standard and they don’t have to go a lot of different places. It’s all here at one place.”

“I enjoy seeing the artists sell because they are selling parts of their soul, their creations, their things that they love that they do," added Belle. "And to see the artists get the positive feedback from the community, that’s what I like the best.”

And that’s worth noting. It may not be blues, but there’s just as much of the artist’s soul in these creations as the music from here that Mississippi is more known for. And you can catch a piece of that spirit from the artist themselves at one of our fine arts festivals.

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