The Mulberry Vicksburg will soon be home to the Jackson Street Gallery, an outpost of Paula Jackson’s Ridgeland Gallery of the same name.
Jackson is no rookie when it comes to operating art galleries, having worked in art galleries for 20 years. During this time, she said she developed relationships with artists that are critical to the success of such an endeavor.
The art Jackson chose for the new gallery represents a wide variety of styles.
“Personally, I don’t like entering a gallery where everything looks the same,” she says. “And that’s a comment I get all the time in my gallery: ‘It was so nice to see different styles.'”
Jackson said the reason she decided to pursue a career in art gallery operation was simple.
“I love artists. I love customers. I love art,” she said. “I like the talent of the artists. I appreciate it so much.
Currently, all artists represented at The Mulberry Gallery are from Mississippi. However, Jackson said she was open to including work from artists from neighboring states.
The Mulberry, which once housed the Margaritaville Hotel and Resort, has been undergoing renovations for a year. Owned by Guangzhou-based Certified Hospitality Management, LLC, the property has been renovated to include 52 apartments and 41 hotel rooms. The entire lobby has been remodeled, and so has the pool area.
The hall ends with a pair of double doors which open onto the gallery. A wide hallway is interrupted in the center by a large rotunda bathed in natural light. Every wall is adorned with art.
“We brought about 110 paintings here last week,” Jackson said Thursday.
Lenore Barkley is one of the artists whose work will be featured at the gallery. Now retired, Barkley worked at the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau for 28 years and has lived in Vicksburg for 49 years.
Her pieces presented at Mulberry are three-dimensional sets of eggshells that have been carefully broken in half and cleaned. The concave surfaces are delicately and vividly painted. She said she was heavily influenced by the Japanese concept of “Kintsugi”, the process by which broken pottery is repaired with lacquer which is then sprinkled with a precious metal like gold. The repair highlights the damage and beautifies it rather than covering it up.
Barkley currently has work on display at Jackson’s Ridgeland Gallery and has known it for several years.
“When I heard about this project, I dusted off my tourism brain and tried to help them promote it,” Barkley said. “To let Vicksburg know what they’ve done, what investment they’ve made.”
The inauguration of the gallery does not yet have a definite date; however, Jackson said she expects it to be in the coming weeks.
Jackson has been married to her husband Sandy for 44 years now. It helps with a wide variety of tasks associated with gallery management.
Sandy said he’s confident gallery visitors will enjoy what Paula has to offer.
“She has unique abilities,” he said. “(She) can bring joy and happiness to people that they take and put on their wall, which they can look at every day. It’s very special.