Department of Art professors, galleries receive MAC Grants

July 27th, 2015 Comments Off on Department of Art professors, galleries receive MAC Grants

Bird web

The 2015-2016 gallery series includes “Looking Back To Go Forward: Recent Works by Pamela Venz,” a show of Alabama artist Pamela Venz’s alternative process photography, on view Sept. 17 – Oct. 30 in the Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery. Venz will be present at a reception in the gallery on Sept. 17 from 5 – 6 pm. (“Bird between Hands” is a Van Dyke print on paper created from a photographic negative and two x-rays. Approx. 16″x20″)

Four professors in the Department of Art at Mississippi State University have secured 2015-2016 grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission

Neil Callander, Marita Gootee and Gregory Martin were each awarded $4,500 visual arts fellowship grants, and Lori Neuenfeldt secured a $3,000 grant for the Department of Art Galleries.

The grants are a portion of the $1.61 million the commission awarded in 2015-2016 and are made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The arts in Mississippi are now being recognized as a key component to economic development and as a driver for creative strategies for the growth of our communities,” said Dr. Tom Pearson, Executive Director of MAC. “Individual artists play a vital role as really the backbone of this movement, and it is an honor for this agency to be a part of their professional growth.”

Gallery Grant
The $3,000 grant to the Department of Art Galleries will support a series of contemporary art exhibits.

“The MAC Grant gives us the funds to bring artists here to meet gallery visitors who learn about the works of art and the process behind their creation from the artist,” said Gallery Director Neuenfeldt.

“This year’s series brings over eight exhibitions of diverse artwork to the galleries and gives the community a chance to see amazing pieces and meet the artists who make them.”

The Department of Art Galleries are made up of three spaces on MSU’s campus: the Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery, the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall and the Visual Arts Center Gallery on University Drive.

Individual Grants
Gootee, who serves as the photography concentration coordinator for the department, will use her grant funds to continue her research in her “Talking to Ghosts” series, a body of creative research stemming from the loss of her mother.

“‘Talking to Ghosts’ is a series about my mother who was slowly drifting away in a world of her own. Her life was limited to a wheelchair, and she was dependent upon others for her needs. She was moving from speaking to me and telling her life stories to talking to those who are in the stories. The look and expressions are not for me but for the ghosts she remembers,” said Gootee.

The professor is currently working on a book around the photographic series and has a goal to bring the reality of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease to the public.

Gootee received a Master of Fine Arts from Indiana State University in 1985 and a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Mount Saint Joseph on the Ohio in 1981. She has been selected five times for the Mississippi Invitational at the Mississippi Museum of Art that showcases the state’s most significant contemporary artists. Her work was selected for the 2008 “Women to Watch” Invitational at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Callander serves as the foundation coordinator for the department. He has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions including Bowling Green State University in Ohio; MANIFEST Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio; Goose Barnacle in Brooklyn, N.Y,; and The Kentucky School of Art in Louisville, Ky. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Indiana University and an Master of Fine Arts from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2006. In 2005 he received a full fellowship to be a summer resident at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.  After graduate school, Callander worked as a painter for the artist Jeff Koons in his New York studio.

Martin’s work explores the relationship between human ideals and actions utilizing tropes of landscape painting, color field abstraction and dioramic natural history displays. He has exhibited at the Museum of Art and History (Lancaster, Ca.); The Carnegie Museum of Art; The Riverside Museum of Art; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Ruth Bachofner Gallery (Santa Monica, Ca.); and George Billis Gallery (Culver City, Ca.) among others. His painting “Spiral” was recently selected as Best in Show in the Louisiana Purchase Biennial.

About MAC
The Mississippi Arts Commission is a state agency serving residents of the state by providing grants that support programs to enhance communities, assist artists and arts organizations, promote the arts in education and celebrate Mississippi’s cultural heritage. Established in 1968, the Mississippi Arts Commission is the funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Endowment for the Arts at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and other private sources. The agency serves as an active supporter and promoter of arts in community life and in arts education.

For information from the Mississippi Arts Commission, please contact Susan Liles, 601/359-6031 or

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