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“Cast of Blues” exhibit at museum will feed all the senses

New Albany, MS museum Cast of Blues exhibit Cast of Blues, an exhibit featuring forty life castings of Mississippi blues musicians' faces opens this week at Union County Heritage Museum.

Sharon McConnell-Dickerson’s “Cast of Blues” life cast exhibit has taken her all over the world: Cognac, France; Chicago, Illinois; Kansas City, Missouri; Albuquerque, New Mexico, and now the Mississippi artist is adding New Albany, Mississippi to her list.

The engaging exhibit will feature 40 of her life casts of Mississippi blues men and women in the gallery at the Union County Heritage Museum in New Albany, MS.

The “Cast of Blues” exhibit opens July 18, at noon, with a program featuring the blind artist working on a life cast of New Albany musician Sam Mosley. The artist will talk about her process and the 18 years she has put into creating this touchable tribute to the blues musicians of Mississippi. A light lunch will be served at 11:30, courtesy of Renasant Bank.

New Albany, MS blind artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson

Sharon McConnell-Dickerson, though blind, creates life castings of MS blues musicians.

The New England native was a flight attendant for people such as George and Barbara Bush, Henry Kissinger, Donald and Ivana Trump and other well-known people prior to losing her sight. She cooked fresh gourmet meals for the passengers. As her blindness progressed, she went to Santa Fe New Mexico, to study under well-known life casting artists Willa Shalit and Dan Ericson, who had life sculpted U.S. Presidents, Muhammad Ali and several famous actors. She learned how to use the direct casting method applying special molding methods directly to the faces of her subjects. A skin-safe silicone shell is created over the subject’s face that when the materials cure they will be removed and the final work on the cast will be done.

Cast of Blues features something for all the senses

There are things for all the senses in Cast of Blues. The faces in the exhibit are meant to be touched. The associated exhibit text material is in braille as well as optical text, and there are music tracks of the blues musician featured in the exhibit for the ears. This multi media exhibit is disability friendly one-of-a-kind collection of blues musician’s life cast masks which are an up close and personal view of the actual faces of the musicians.

The exhibit and life casting of the face of Mosley, a New Albany musician on the Mississippi Blues Trail, will be featured at Museum Moments with the actual life cast on Thursday, July 18 at noon. And exhibit opening will be on July 19, from 6 till 7:30 featuring live blues music of Wendy Garrison, slide guitarist. Several associated blues events will be held during the duration of the exhibit, including The Blues Doctors on August 30 in a Hot August Night performance. The exhibit will close November 9. For more information, call the museum at 662-538-0014 or come by at 114 Cleveland Street, New Albany, MS 38652.

This exhibit is made possible partially through a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission and Visit Mississippi and the museum’s Community Partners.

More about Sharon McConnell-Dickerson’s work: http://www.deltastate.edu/library/departments/archives-museum/a-cast-of-blues/

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