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Russian artists uniting history and art with Natchez workshops

Internationally renowned Russian artists Aleksander and Lyuba Titovets will teach three-day drawing and media workshops this December at the Mississippi School of Folk Art on Franklin Street.

Participants will receive 9 hours of instruction broken out over three days for $250 tuition per student and will take home their finished piece after each lesson. Classes will be taught Dec. 9 through 11 and Dec. 12 through 14 from 9 a.m. to noon or 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with approximately 12 students per class.

Fred Kent, a long-time friend of the Titovetses and former owner of the historic Prentiss Club building, said he and his wife, Melinda, invited the couple to visit Natchez earlier this year and both were amazed.

“My family has been collecting their art for years,” Kent said. “… I showed them a lot of the historical properties and the Natchez trace. (Aleksander Titovets) was amazed by all of the beauty here and I invited him back to do a workshop. He does them very infrequently, but wanted to participate and help out the community.”

Kent said students would also be invited to a meet-and-greet reception at Regina’s Kitchen to dine and socialize with their instructors on the second day of lessons.

Lyuba Titovets said she and her husband originated from St. Petersburg where she first started taking private art lessons at 5 years of age. Aleksander graduated Summa Cum Laude from St. Petersburg Pedagogical State University, Department of Painting.

Lyuba said they’ve lived in America for the past 27 years, created an art studio in Charleston, South Carolina and today live in El Paso, Texas where they taught at the El Paso Museum of Art and El Paso Community College.

Aleksander also famously painted a portrait of the former First Lady Laura Bush while she was still First Lady.

Their art has been featured galleries throughout the nation, including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.; Proctor and Gamble and the El Paso Museum of Art and can also be seen in the art collection of the king of Spain.

“Mr. and Mrs. Kent invited us to come and see Natchez and we really didn’t have any expectation,” Lyuba said. “… All of the architecture and landscapes were amazing. … We love it, and we felt it’s an incredible place.

“When we came to Charleston for the first time, it was famous for its antiques but there was no art. We were the first artists there … now it has become an artists’ destination. So, we want to help Natchez get to the point where all of this beauty, all of this history and art are united and give the community a whole new reason to celebrate.”

Lyuba said the three-day intensive courses would walk students step by step from how to hold their brush or pencil to how to present their work. Each class is presented in a universal manner, Lyuba said, so students would have an equally informative experience whether they are at a beginner, intermediate or expert level of skill and knowledge.

“We have more than 25 years experience teaching, and we teach people from six years old to 100 years old,” she said. “… The class also depends on the people who come and what their needs are. … It’s a very universal idea, not just subjective based on how we think the art should look and feel. … Art, especially visual art, is a universal language and is one of the things that unite people. … We were inspired to use art to help people come together, do something wonderful and feel good about themselves and unite in that respect.”

Class reservations can be made at https://www.msfolkart.org/paintingworkshops or by calling the Mississippi School of Folk Art at 601-392-0362.

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