Miller Art Gallery to spotlight Milly Moorehead West’s photography | Lifestyles

Nationally recognized photographer Milly Moorehead West will bring her works to Meridian Community College’s Miller Art Gallery for its next exhibit. 

“There is no way that I can explain the joy I had in putting this exhibit together,” West said in her artist statement. Some 30 images, ranging in titles from “Smiling People in a Dress Shop, getting ready for a special evening,” to “Pink Pontiac, Highway 16,” will be displayed when the show begins Wednesday, Oct. 13, and continues through Tuesday, Nov. 16. 

The opening reception is Thursday, Oct. 14, from 4-5:30 p.m. in the gallery that’s located in Ivy-Scaggs Hall. Campus and community residents are invited to attend. 

West, a two-time recipient of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Photography and former owner of Southside Gallery in Oxford, earned her master of fine arts degree in photography from the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. 

West said she had shot thousands of photographs in her craft primarily because of the energetic feelings about meeting others and experiencing how they respond to her and her camera.

“I feel a sort of magic when things go right. I will often take a picture just because it strikes me as vital. A landscape, a river, a street scene, a still life – all can be magic,” she noted. 

This Miller Art Gallery show contains some of her favorite works.

“Most were taken in the last few years, a few from many years ago, and yet none have been shown in a full exhibit like this. I found as I went through my files that I had a nice collection of peoples’ faces and interactions with others,” she added.   

A specific work is unique to the Meridian-based exhibit, an image of Aaron Henry’s Drug Store in 1982. With another version of this image, she won the Meridian Museum of Art’s Bi-State Competition, but this particular image has never been shown.

“It is powerful in that it shows how the faces of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, three murdered civil rights workers, are prominent behind the ‘soda fountain’ of what was a very typical pharmacy back then. The other one is also in Clarksdale, that of the young boy staring at me as he is headed to his home in Edward’s Alley,” she said. 

And there are images from her ventures to Cuba; she has made 40 trips to the island country in the past two decades, and her works have been shown in Old Havana. 

West added, “I want to thank Meridian Community College for this opportunity to put together a show that honors the value of relationships with family, friends, and special places.”    

The Miller Art Gallery is open Monday-Thursday, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free of charge. For more information, visit meridiancc.edu/millerartgallery

Robert G. Mull

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