Art & Soul starts swinging Friday

Published 1:17 am Saturday, October 6, 2007

NATCHEZ — Art, music and food blended together Friday night to kick off this weekend’s Art & Soul festival.

Red Bryant is an Art & Soul veteran. For the second year, he displayed his handmade wooden bowls and vases at the downtown festival.

“This is the last of the (Hurricane) Katrina blowdown wood,” Bryant said. “People think I’m crazy for asking them for dead trees.”

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Bryant has been creating his bowls for about 10 years.

“This is just a hobby,” he said. “It keeps me out of trouble.”

This is Natchez jeweler Lana Morgan’s first Art & Soul. She’s been creating beaded jewelry for roughly seven years.

The festival is an opportunity for her to share her wares.

“For me, it’s getting my name out and showing my jewelry,” she said.

The festival hosted out-of-town artists, too. This was New Orleans photographer Margot Castaing’s first art show. One of the festival’s organizers asked her to display her work, which focuses mostly on the French Quarter.

“I did a lot of photography in college,” she said. “I never really thought about selling it.”

Locals, like Dickey King, came by to check out the music, art and food. His two daughters and two grandchildren are driving in from Jackson and Madison just for the art event.

“I try to do every event, from the balloon race to the Bowie Festival to St. Patrick’s Day,” King said.

“Natchez needs more festivals like this.”

Not all the festival-goers were locals, though. Katie O’Rourke, from Boston, stopped in Natchez to visit a college friend on her way to the Louisiana State University. She stumbled upon Art & Soul.

“I love to eat, and I love art,” she said. “What more could a girl ask for?”

The festival, sponsored by Natchez Downtown Development Association, continues today from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.