Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Covid, Art, and Change

 Wowzers! What a year. I retired from my job as a scientific illustrator/research technician on July 1, I got remarried on October 10 to Jennifer, a wonderfully creative lady, and we have made lots of progress on building an art retreat at our property located in Sessums, Mississippi. 

Joe and Jennifer MacGown

Yep, I have long wanted to create an art retreat of some type where people can come look at art, create art, participate in art and music events, to enjoy and learn about nature, and even to start an artist in residence program. The idea sounds a bit crazy, but I believe it is feasible. 

the front of our art house

living room area with art on wall and art border


We plan on turning the existing house into a place for resident artists to stay while visiting and using other rooms as inexpensive sleeping options for various guests who may be at an event or something. We will be building a small cabin near the pond to live in, which gives us this amazing option! If all goes well, we are hoping to be ready by the fall of 2021. We already have a functioning studio, are about 80% complete on a cool art cabin/studio, have started building a gallery/workshop, and have a cool pavilion on the pond, which would be perfect for musicians to play on! 

pavilion on a snowy  day

art cabin

gallery/workshop started



One goal is to have an artist in residence come stay for one to three weeks, with perhaps 3-4 artists per year. I would like each artist to leave their footprint on the property in same way such as creating a sculpture, painting a mural (or helping), doing a painting, or some other expression of what they do. Also, I am hoping to have artists conduct workshops in the gallery/workshop building that I recently started building. 

a fun view of studio and pavilion from pond

painting in the canoe! 

I am looking forward to completing these projects so we can get started on hosting art events as well as showcasing our own art! 

current work

love my inks

some of Joseph's whimsical ceramic pieces

Happy new year! 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Selling Art During a Pandemic

Wow, it has been a crazy spring with the Covid 19 Virus Pandemic effectively shutting down many businesses either temporarily or permanently. Of course, all festivals, art walks, and gallery and museum exhibitions have been canceled or postponed. This has made selling art difficult. Fortunately we have social media. Never has there been a time for an artist when social media was more important than now, and boy I have been posting a lot of art. And guess what, this spring has been my best art selling year ever, already! So, thanks very much to all of our great followers, supporters, buyers and others who have helped during this difficult time.

Here are some fun shots from my studio from the last week. Many of the originals in the photos have been sold! No worries, I have plenty left as does Joseph. But if you want something, don't wait, cuz it moving. Thanks.

Almost everything in these pictures was framed at Chalet Arts! If you are an artist around here and you are not framing your work there, then you are making it more difficult to sell your art. A great frame that showcases your work makes it much easier to sell and showcase your art. And the staff at Chalet Art are fantastic about working with local artist. Talk to them and form relationships. You will thank me later.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Arthrobryozoic Naiad heads to the Meridian Museum of Art

So I entered the 46th Annual Meridian Museum of Art Bi-State Art Competition, 2020 and got my Arthrobryozoic Naiad piece accepted. This is a fun piece I did last year that can be viewed at different angles and has lots of cool layers. It is 24 x 48 inches and done entirely with blue ink on primed birch plywood. 

I often enter this competition and have had some luck with awards. It is always a great show with lots of talented artists from Alabama and MIssissippi. As in other years, quite a few art faculty members will have art in the show, which is great! 

This year's juror is Stephanie Smith, an artist, printmaker, and educator. She earned her B.F.A from the Atlanta College of Art and a M.F.A. with Distinction from the University of Georgia in 1997. Smith is a Senior Lecturer at the University of West Georgia where she teaches drawing, 2D design, printmaking and book arts as well as serving as gallery director. In 2005 she co-founded the non-profit arts organization the Atlanta Printmakers Studio and served as President for the first five years. I imagine selection of accepted pieces was not easy with 322 entries by 114 artists entered. At the end of the day Smith selected 65 works by 51 of those artists. 

Definitely come check this show out and the historic museum itself. Exhibition dates are March 10 - May 16, 2020. There will be an awards reception from 2 to 4 pm on Saturday, May 16, 2020. Please come and join us for what I am sure will be another great show. I personally am looking forward to the reactions to my piece, which could be considered a little risque. 

Arthrobyrozoic Naiad

Arthrobyrozoic Naiad, upside down

Arthrobyrozoic Naiad, detail of top area

Arthrobyrozoic Naiad, detail of central area

Arthrobyrozoic Naiad, detail of bottom section, upside down

Arthrobyrozoic Naiad, detail of bottom left area 

Here is the  list of artists who will have work in the competition/exhibition: 

2020 Meridian Museum of Art BiState Artists

Abreeza Thomas
Addie Louis
Andrea Kostyal
Anne O'Hara
Barbara-Ann Carver-Hunt
Bo Kyle
Brittany Davis
Carolyn Norton
Cecelia Moseley
Charlotte Wegrznowski
David Diodate David
David Stevens
Debra Eubanks
Dee Falls
Euphus Ruth
Gail Morton
Gary Howse
George Ann McCullough
Hanna Lewis
Hannah Wegner
Jill Hammes
Joan McRaney
Joe MacGown
Joe Morzuch
Joely Corban
John Bateman
Leslie Burns
Maria Hughes
Mark Brown
MarySaphrona Grey
Melissa Thorson
Michelle Jones
MJ Dobbins  Morgan
Pat Brown
Pat Gavin
Rachel Strain
Randy Hayward Jolly
Rick Anderson
Robert Gibson
Rowan Williams Haug
Sadako Lewis
Susa Nawrocki
Thomas Nawrocki
Tiffany V. McPeak
Tom Wegrzynowski
Victoria Nichols
Virginia Rougon Chavis
Wesley Ortiz
Whitson Ramsey
William T. Dooley

Thursday, February 6, 2020

2020 Upcoming Art Activities for MacGown Art

Whew, 2019 was a busy year, so busy I did not do much with this blog even! 2020 is shaping up to be no different. My son Joseph MacGown who is in his senior year (or should we say first senior year?) and I have numerous festivals and art walks coming up.

If all goes well and our application is accepted, our first outing of the year will be March 21 in Starkville at the Queer Art Market, which is part of the PRIDE event. We participated the first year, but missed last year due to a conflict. The next Saturday, March 28, we are hoping to be a part of the Hub Fest in downtown Hattiesburg, MS! Then on Saturday April 4 we will be setting up two booths at the Threefoot Festival in Meridian, MS. It is not too late to enter this and registration fees are reasonable ( Also in Meridian, I entered two pieces (Arthrobrozoic Naiad and Surreal Tree of Life) to the Meridian Museum of Art's BiState Competition! Wish me luck.

Arthrobryozoic Naiad
Surreal Tree of Life
We will take the second weekend of April off, but will be back at it on April 21 in Starkville with two tents at the Cotton District Arts Festival. We have lots of cool art stuff for sale including originals, prints, tapestries, books, metal prints, postcard, ceramics, and more! You won't want to miss this one!

Then the next weekend on April 28 we will be at the Double Decker Festival in Oxford, MS. We did this one last year and it was fantastic!

Of course our awesome once a month Sunday Funday starts back in May and will run through October. Big changes this year as I stepped down from my two-year term as Director of the Sunday Funday board and artist liaison, though I will still serve in an advisory sense. The new director is Robert Camp, who is a large reason that Sunday Funday is even an event to begin with as it takes place in Starkville's Cotton District, which is primarily owned by the Camp family. We asked Josh Herrington of Dunkington Art to take over the artist liaison spot and he will be amazing. This guy is full of knowledge and enthusiasm. So look for us to be there selling art this year, but look to others for details on participation. I will gladly send inquiries their way!

In other news, we have been in the process of restoring the old pond at our place in Sessums, just outside of Starkville. We built a cool pavilion and pier, which will be ideal areas for hosting art and music events. We are currenting building Joseph a small studio/cabin and in the future plan to build a small gallery to showcase our work and do workshops. Our  studio is located on the property as well, but it's so jam packed with art it is difficult to properly show our art to folks!

A view of the in progress studio/cabin we are building

A view of our studio

Looking across the pond toward pavilion and studio
Pavilion at night

Another shot of studio (left) and pavilion. Check out the beach!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

MacGown Art has been popping this summer!

2019 has been so busy, I have not had much time to blog about the numerous exhibitions, artwalks, festivals and other activities I have been involved with. Starkville and the region in general is booming with artistic opportunities. What a great time to be an artist! My studio and property is gradually becoming more art friendly, and within a year I plan on having more art and music related events out there! Also, I recently revamped my website, so check it out if you have time at Here are some highlights from the last couple of months!

INTERNATIONAL SHOWS: For me personally, it is always great to have my art included in cool exhibitions, and this year has been wonderful again in this regard! The Eurasion Art Union has been fantastic about organizing superb shows in spectacular venues. I was fortunate to have had art included in three fancy smancy group exhibitions featuring visionary and surreal artists from around the world this year including shows in Moscow, Russia; Belgrade, Serbia; and St. Petersburg, Russia! Thanks to organizer Oleg Korelov for inviting me.

Moscow House of Artists, Moscow, Russia

Exhibition in St. Petersburg, Russia 

Exhibition in Belgrade, Serbia
My amazing French art friend Bernard Dumaine, who is a master at collaborative works, had a spectacular show at the Phaneros Gallery in Healdsburg, CA that featured his own art and numerous collaborations he has done with others including me. The piece of ours included in the show is called "Honeymoon." Check out Phaneros Gallery if you are out that way!

Honeymoon, collaboration between Joe MacGown and Bernard Dumaine
REGIONAL SHOWS: Following the Meridian Museum of Art Bi-State Exhibition that ended in early April, I have had art in several other regional group shows including the Cotton District Arts Festival (CDAF) Juried show in April at the Visionary Arts Center in Starkville, MS; an extended version of the CDAF show held from April 15 to May 10 at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership Gallery in Starkville, MS; and the Mississippi Presenter's Network "2019 Mississippi Touring Arts Show" at various venues including the O'Keefe Arts Center in Ocean Springs, the Powerhouse Arts Center in Oxford, the Visual Arts Center in Starkville, and the Bass Cultural Arts Center in Greenville. Below are images of the three pieces I had in the CDAF show, all of which are ink on wood pieces sized 24 x 48 inches. 

Disparate Progeny, ink on wood, 24 x 48  inches, by Joe MacGown

Arthrobryozoic Naiad, ink on wood, 48 x 24 inches, by Joe MacGown
MINERVA ART GALLERY: A small local gallery called Minerva opened up in April. The gallery is located at 203 Maxwell Street in the Cotton District of Starkville, MS. Minerva is owned by Tammy Carlisle, and I help out with the art in various ways including inviting artists, promoting events, maintaining the website and social media, and in other manners. Both Joseph and I have numerous pieces in the gallery, and we are building a nice selection of art by other local artists and several international artist friends including Peter Gric, Otto Rapp, Chris Dyer, A. Andrew Gonzalez, and KD Matheson! In addition to the art in the gallery itself, Minerva has hosted several pop up type shows where several of us had tents and other displays outside on 20 April, 18 May, 8 June, and 22 June. Our  next event is an evening market on 26 July from 6 to 8 pm. Come check it out!  

Minerva logo and sign, designed by Joe A. MacGown

Here is a view of one of the walls of art in Minerva!

ART FESTIVALS: Each year, Joseph and I try to participate in several regional art festivals and this year has been no exception. Our first festival of the year was the Three Foot Festival in Meridian, MS where our booth won best of show! The following week we had planned on being at the Cotton District Arts Festival, but unfortunately that event was canceled due to severe weather. However, two we weeks later we attended the Double Decker Festival in Oxford, MS and had a really good time!! Two weeks later we were at the Gumtree Festival in Tupelo, MS, which was moved inside of the Bankcorp South Arena due to potential bad weather. Overall, our experience there was less than spectacular, especially due to our booth placement, which was essentially hidden behind a stage. While we were glad they had an indoor alternative for the festival the booth placement and several other issues left a sour taste and it's unlikely that we will be returning anytime soon. We have at least there more upcoming festivals this year with the next one being the MissiHippi Fest at the Foxfire Ranch in Waterford, MS on 24 August; then the Prairie Arts Festival in West Point on August 31, and  finally the Peter Anderson Festival in Ocean Springs on November 2-3.

Joe and Joseph MacGown at the Double Decker Festival in Oxford, MS

CHALET ARTS: One of my greatest supporters of all time is Mark Wood, owner of Chalet Arts in Starkville, MS. Without Mark's continued support over the years, I would not be able to do what I do today. People often ask me where we make our beautiful archival postcards and prints and where we get our framing done, and I enthusiastically direct them to Chalet Arts. In addition to their great work, Mark goes the extra mile in supporting local art events. He even let me set up my art and the work of various other local artists on display in his store! Go check out the small gallery area and consider buying a piece of local art! Also, remember Chalet Arts when you need amazing prints and custom matting and framing! Awesome people!

Opening reception for art show at Chalet Arts 

Awesome art by local artists for sale at Chalet Arts

STARKVILLE SUNDAY FUNDAY: This is our third year for Starkville Sunday Funday, which is picking up great support and continues to grow. Currently, I am serving my second term as chair of the group, with Blair Edwards, Joseph MacGown, Robert Camp, John Bateman, Rosa Dalomba, and Caleb Hutson filling out the board. The event takes place from 1 to 6 pm the last Sunday of each month from May through October. The first two of 2019 on May 26 and June 30 were by far the best ever as measured by attendance, vendors, and art sales. Our next one is coming up on July 28 and it should be spectacular as well. Come see for yourself! Art, food, beer, live music, live painting, kids' art activities and more! Volunteers are welcome!

Sunday Funday in Starkville!! 

ART WALKS: So far, in addition to various pop up shows, we have done a handful of other artwalk type deals this year such as the Meridian Art Walk on June 1. Coming up soon on July 18 from 5 to 7 pm we will be setting up for Third Thursday in downtown Meridian, MS! We will be set up this coming Sunday afternoon (July 21) from 2 to 6 pm in the outside pavilion area of Mugshots in Tupelo, MS with Tupelo artist Belle Naugher for the Tupelo Sunday Funday! Swing by and see us if you are in the area!

The MacGown Art booth at the Meridian Art Walk

COMMUNITY MURAL: In May, I collaborated with Joseph H. MacGown on continuing a mural that he had started the year before on a retaining wall on Lampkin Street in Starkville, MS. This was part of the local art council's mission to start providing community art. The other sections of the wall were completed by Allison Julian and Gerard Woods, an elementary arts class, and a local high school group. We essentially finished up the wall. Go see it! FUN colors. 

Part of a mural by Joe and Joseph MacGown

mural by Joe and Joseph MacGown

Part of a mural by Joe and Joseph MacGown (Joe standing to the left)

Part of a mural by Joe and Joseph MacGown (Joseph painting)

INTERVIEWS WITH JOE: I had two wonderful interviews done this year about me and my art! The first was a video interview in April with Lori Neuenfeldt, Mississippi State University Art Galleries Director, for a program called "From the Gallery." It turned out pretty good and if you want to know a bit more about me, I invite you to view this 13 minute video below. 

I had another cool interview done by Efrat Cybulkiewicz, director and founder of a fun international art organization based in Italy called ArtMoire. The interview is available online at

So, yes, it's been a busy year art-wise thus far, and I have not even touched on the cool artwork we have been creating! Here is a snapshot of a large 48 x 48 inch piece I am currently working on!

WIP: Mayan Explosion, 48 x 48 inches, ink on wood, by Joe MacGown