It makes people take notice, she says. A tall woman standing on a stool in a remote spot in the Mississippi Delta in front of a historical marker along the Mississippi Blues Trail. Law enforcement officers and neighborhood children tend to stop and ask what she is doing, or simply observe. She is tracing the surface of a blues marker as part of her work to create art for all 55 markers in the Mississippi Delta. B.B. King's Birthplace, W. C. Handy and Ike Turner are among the more recognized markers present in the mixed media works.
Millsaps College Professor of Art and Art Department Chair Sandra Murchison is the 2011 Humanities Teacher of the Year at the College. The Mississippi Humanities Council gives the award each year in celebration of Arts and Humanities Month and to recognize a faculty member who represents the very best among faculty. In connection with the award, Murchison lectured about "Tracing the History of the Delta Blues" on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. in room 215 of the Ford Academic Complex.
Murchison is well qualified to trace the history of the blues as she has spent the last three years making rubbings of markers along the Mississippi Blues Trail and incorporating those impressions in her two- and three-dimensional, mixed media works of art. Her work has led her to visit a variety of places such as Willie "Po' Monkey" Seaberry's old juke-house in Boliver County and Dockery Plantation near Cleveland, which is widely regarded as the place where Delta blues music began.
Murchison joined the Millsaps faculty in 1999 after completing her master's of fine arts at Louisiana State University and her bachelor's of fine arts at Alfred University. She was recognized this past spring with the Richard A. Smith Award for Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Work. She has been a visiting artist at several institutions and has had solo exhibitions throughout the region and in venues in the Northeast. Her work can be seen at http://www.sandramurchison.com/.
Murchison is an accomplished teacher and a leader both on the Millsaps campus and in the greater artistic community. She has served in several important capacities in SGC International, an educational non-profit organization that is committed to informing its membership about issues and processes concerning original prints, drawings, book arts and handmade paper.