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Sculpture by Millsaps Professor Makes Debut

by Web on October 17, 2018

Eudora Welty Wreath, a large-scale sculpture created by Millsaps College Professor Kristen Tordella-Williams, is on display through March 2020 at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

Installed in front of The International Center, the work is part of the 2018 USM Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition that features four artists.

Tordella-Williams, assistant professor of art, designed the sculpture that blends castings of handprints collected from patrons of the Eudora Welty Library in Jackson and cast-off books from the library's book sale. The work is a tribute to the Jackson community, specifically those who go to Welty's namesake library.

A Creative Artist Grant from the Greater Jackson Arts Council and a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission helped make the project possible. Tordella-Williams received the Richard A. Smith Award for Scholarship or Creative Work after she produced the sculpture.

The wreath form was cast at Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum and then finished with a grinder, wire brush, and coats of enamel.

"Gerre Masse, the founder and director of Sculpture Trails, was instrumental in the support of creating this sculpture by creating the workspace, materials, equipment, and community required for casting iron," Tordella-Williams said. "It took a large group of people working continuously for two weeks in order to complete this project from making a mold off of the pattern to a cast iron sculpture. This work would not be possible without the amazing Sculpture Trails community."

Tordella-Williams, who teaches drawing, digital arts, sculpture, performance art, and papermaking at Millsaps, has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been an artist in residence Salem Art Works, the Visitor Center, and Franconia Sculpture Park.