By Andy Kanengiser
Costa Rica is a tropical paradise that’s home to the Poas Volcano, some of the best surfing on the planet, and breathtaking views of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
During their journey in 2011, a visiting delegation of Mississippi College art professors, graduate students and other local artists captured the essence of this country in the heart of Central America. Thirty of their art pieces now appear in a new summer exhibit at MC’s Gore Gallery through August 8.
Former Art Department Chairman Sam Gore, art professors Albert Smathers and Carrie Reeves, and Clinton artist Jeanette Jarmon were among the Mississippians making the trip in June 2011. MC graduate students Kellye Lewis and Jasmine Cole also contributed to the exhibit.
Among his favorite landscapes is a 30 by 40-inch oil painting of an abandoned stone bridge that’s hundreds of years old and once transported ox-carts, Smathers said. Buffeted by rocks on either side, “it floods when the rains come.” The Mississippi College professor from Raymond discovered the bridge on the group’s Rain Forest tour. “We were there as the rains started. You could see whole flocks of parakeets coming in.”
Gore Gallery Director Randy Jolly opened the Costa Rican exhibit at the facility’s Spaugh Gallery on May 23. A summer reception will honor the artists and give the public an opportunity to meet them.
Last summer, there was little time for the Mississippi visitors to play in the sand, go white-water rafting or see the wild monkeys climbing trees.
The Mississippians visited Costa Rica in 2008, and plan to return in 2013, Jolly said.
Their trip received the full support of architect and businessman Pat Pattilo, who’s with a large architectural firm in Georgia.
One of Dr. Gore’s longtime friends, Patillo owns a 4,500-acre resort in Costa Rica. More than 60 years ago, the two were classmates at Georgia Tech, and first became friends at a Baptist Student Union event on the Atlanta campus.
The Mississippi group stayed at his ranch house on the beach by night, and woke up early every morning to begin crafting their art.
They produced outstanding pieces of art, including watercolors of landscapes, views of city life and scenes of fishermen.
Well-suited for nature lovers, Costa Rica is a land of thick forests, tropical beaches and geckos, with the nation to celebrate 200 years as a democracy in 2021. Costa Rica borders Nicaragua and Panama.
The new exhibit is a must on the to-do list for Mississippians considering Costa Rica as a vacation spot. Summer hours at the Mississippi College art museum are 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The gallery will be open from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on June 15 and July 13, both on Friday. Summer hours began in early May and conclude August 24.
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