ArtsNatchez Gallery celebrates life, artistic passions of Barbara Kaiser with reception on Saturday

Published 2:19 pm Friday, November 12, 2021

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Local artists and art lovers will gather Saturday evening to celebrate the life of Barbara Kaiser, a creative spark who colleagues say will continue to brighten and inspire for generations to come.

ArtsNatchez Gallery will host a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the gallery on Main Street to honor Kaiser’s devotion to the arts and showcase her many talents.

An accomplished photographer, painter and potter, Kaiser was one of the founding members of the ArtsNatchez Gallery, where her work has been showing for 13 years.

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“She loved ArtsNatchez and she loved the artist community in Natchez,” Barbara’s daughter Tia Kaiser Ferguson said.

Tia, her brother Hayden III and other family members will be at the reception to hear stories about their mother and her love for the arts — a passion that didn’t fully blossom until after Tia and Hayden graduated from high school.

“It wasn’t until after we left for college that she got serious about her art,” Tia said.

Tia and Hayden said their mother’s passion took her across the globe — to artist retreats in Bali, Peru and beyond.

“She was a proponent of the arts. It is what she loved to do,” Hayden said. “She loved it so much, she traveled the world to pursue it.”

Introduced to Louisiana artist Douglas Walton, Bar-bara took several small group tours organized by Wal-ton to a variety of international destinations.

Tia said she traveled with her mother on one of her artist tours — this one to Nepal — where students tried to capture the spirit of the place and its people.

“I am really glad that I got to experience that with her.”

Many of the paintings Barbara created on her travels will be on display and for sale during the reception.

Other works, including photos, paintings and pottery from the family’s collection and from Barbara’s studio, will also be for sale.

Instead of leaving many of the pieces in storage, Tia said she and other family members wanted to share her mother’s art with others.

“I would rather people enjoy her art,” Tia said. “I hope people will find something that will remind them of my mom, that they can enjoy in their houses and homes.”

Photographs on display include images from the early days of the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race, pictures of Mississippi Queen, Delta Queen and other riverboats docked Under-the-Hill and various downtown scenes.

Fellow photographer and ArtsNatchez member John Larson said Kaiser was “a natural” when it came to her photography and painting.

Larson said the wide range of work on display shows how multi-talented Barbara was.

“She wasn’t afraid to tackle any situation,” Larson said.

A large selection of pottery pieces Barbara created since her first lesson with Natchez potter Conner Burns will also be for sale.

Burns said Barbara’s adventurous spirit in the pottery studio and beyond made her unique among artists.

“She was fearless in her learning and joyful in em-bracing each process,” Burns said.

Burns said what also made Barbara unique was her willingness to learn and to teach.

“Barbara was always good at listening to others and had a heart to help and to teach,” Burns said. “Alt-hough she took clay classes from me (and was a part of the studio for years), I also took a photography class from her.”

“I can still see her looking at me … then she would have her sweet smile, her gentle laugh and a glimmer in her eye.  it was always a joy to interact with her.”

Tia said she hopes people will come to the reception Saturday to share similar stories about her mother and to visit the art gallery that her mother treasured so much.

“She put a lot of love into ArtsNatchez and into the arts community,” Tia said. “To see that community continue to be vibrant and successful would be what mom wanted.”