Artist gears up for festival

Published 11:38 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2007

NATCHEZ — Brad Harris might not be a famous name in the Miss-Lou art scene, but the Adams County potter wants to help change that.

That’s why he decided to participate in this weekend’s Art & Soul fine arts festival in downtown Natchez.

“For me, the exposure is really great,” Harris said. “Most people do it for the income. For me, being a local artist, it is really great getting my name out there.”

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This will be Harris’ second year to display his work at Art & Soul.

With roughly 40 artists from all over the region displaying their works, Harris considers himself one of the lucky ones.

“I don’t have to go to some strange city and sleep in a hotel room,” he said. “I get to come back to my house and sleep in my bed.”

A potter for three years, Harris hopes the festival will spark the interest of those attending.

“It’s nice to get more people interested in the arts and, more specifically, interested in my art,” he said.

The festival this year will be a little different, festival chairman Kevin Miers said.

As usual, the Natchez Downtown Development Association is sponsoring the event, but this year, the children’s area will be bigger, Miers said.

“We have a 20-foot-wide, 6-foot-tall mural that’s going to be set up on the street,” Miers said. “The kids will be able to paint it.”

Like the festival itself, the mural, along with sidewalk chalk areas and Japanese stamping lessons will be free. The space jump and inflated slide will cost, though.

Along with the 40 artists, selling everything from sculpture to woodcarvings to handbags, the festival will feature bands and food vendors.

“The festival’s continuing to grow,” Miers said. “It’s one of the few chances for an event that’s really in the heart of downtown. Lots of other events are on the bluff or other parts of the city, not in the main shopping district.”

Art & Soul draws attendees not only to the artists, but to surrounding merchants, many of whom will keep their doors open later to accommodate festival-goers.

“We want this event to stay free,” Miers said. “It’s nice for NDDA to give something to the community for free that improves the quality of life.”

Art & Soul will close off Main and Commerce streets Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information, visit the calendar link at or call NDDA Director Carrie Lambert at 601-442-2929.