Project Southern Cross opens eyes, imagination for ‘tomorrow’s artists’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Inspired by bottles and dolls found in the Mostly African Market and constructed through imagination and their own personalities, six ninth-graders presented their own art exhibit Sunday at the market.

The six students who presented the exhibit, &uot;Tomorrow’s Artists,&uot; are part of Project Southern Cross, which operates the market and is an educational enrichment program for youth.

The students learn all the facets of running such a project, including the financial side, giving them experience and preparing them for jobs and the future.

Email newsletter signup

Also through the project, the students have taken trips, welcomed visitors and learned about their history and heritage.

For two of their five weeks, the students worked with artist Evans Dickey to produce bottles and dolls for their exhibit.

The dolls were inspired by Dickey’s dolls, which are sold in the market. The bottles were modeled after bottles on sale in the market that were made to symbolize the Haitian people’s religion.

The students wrapped bottles in fabric and then decorated them with sequins and such. Afterward, they set up the displays for the exhibit as well, draping African fabrics on the pedestals the displays sat on and adding accents of flowers and candles.

Carmen Campbell decorated her bottle in pink, her favorite color. She emblazoned her name on the bottle as well with sequins and pearls.

Margaret Riley and Diamond Morgan made dolls for display.

All six students said out of the five weeks, making the art was their favorite part of the project.

&uot;I liked the creativity and the colors,&uot; Deleshia Ford said.

And in the other room of the exhibit hung paintings painted by youth at the Juvenile Justice Center. The students brought in the paintings, which actually are from last year. New paintings now hang in the Juvenile Justice Center.

Juvenile justice was part of the six students’ educational experience. They wrote three articles about the juvenile justice program.

Many of the things they learned piqued their interest to learn more.

&uot;Everything I’ve been learning, I want to continue doing,&uot; Morgan said.

Riley was an eager guide, showed many of the guests around the exhibit, showcasing her knowledge of the items on display.

She said the project &uot;opened her eyes.&uot;

After the project, Riley said, &uot;I’m not going to take everything else for granted. I never knew some of the things that are from my ancestors.&uot;