Artists, buildings on downtown display

Published 12:09 am Saturday, November 8, 2014

NATCHEZ — The realtors selling buildings downtown want people to see their buildings. Artists want people to see their work.  It was a match waiting to happen.

The Possibilities Tour — a partnership between Alcorn State University, Natchez Inc. and the area’s real estate community — will showcase Natchez’s open downtown business spaces from to 2 to 5 p.m. today.

The tour has the stated goal of helping potential buyers see downtown’s open spaces in a light in which they can imagine themselves opening a business in those spaces.

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At the same time, local artists will have their work set up inside the buildings on tour in an effort to be seen and maybe sell a few pieces.

“Gov. Phil Bryant has declared 2014 the year of the creative economy, and we decided it would be a cool partnership to take these buildings that have so much creative potential and pair them up with creative people,” said Ruth Nichols, ASU’s assistant vice president for educational and community partnerships.

“It was sort of a natural connection.”

Painter Kaitlee Laird was one of the participating artists in the inaugural Possibilities Tour last year, and said her participation in the event helped garner painting commission work.

“I sold a lot of art,” she said. “I think it is a great idea, because it is a combination of helping the community and the artists of the community.”

Nichols said the artists were included in the tour for a second year after organizers discovered “creative people were a pretty strong attraction.”

“We are hoping it will become a tradition that you can look at the empty buildings and also have a real positive exposure to other things that are available in town,” she said.

Carolyn Gwin went on the tour last year, but joined as one of the community artists for 2014.

“I think it is a wonderful pairing,” she said. “It adds interest to the tour when people can look at the different artists’ products as they look around.”