Local artist looks to establish artist community in Starkville

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – The Headlands, Woodstock, and Taos. These are some of the places that come to mind when you think of artist colonies.

But a local artist would like to add Starkville to that list.

Starkville artist Joe MacGown believes that art doesn’t have to be a solitary pursuit. He thinks learning from and working with others can help all involved improve their work.

That love of collaboration has led him to invite artist friends to stay on his property for inspiration and to exchange ideas.

He and his son Joseph MacGown are now expanding on this idea by creating the MacGown Art Retreat and Studio (MARS) and hosting a residency program.

“We’ll show them our techniques and share them with the artist. It’s a back-and-forth. We love to learn and to teach and to interact. I love it. I love working with other artists,” said Joe MacGown.

The residency allows up to four artists a year to stay with the MacGowns and receive a stipend. Joe MacGown also helps them show their work.

The Del Rendon Foundation and the Mississippi Arts Commission support the project.

Joe MacGown said he wanted to be able to help artists.

“I’ve just seen the need here. Mississippi, to me, is the most creative place in the universe per capita. Everybody does something but there’s not great venues for everybody so anytime you can make an opportunity for them to showcase their work, I think is awesome,” said Joe MacGown.

They have hosted artists from all over the world through the residency.

Joe MacGown’s goal is to work with his fellow artists while providing them a place to stay and gather inspiration.

“You help out one artist, it’s a big circle it helps everybody. It creates a better environment for the arts,” said Joe MacGown.

Every artist who has stayed there has also left something behind from murals to artwork in MacGown’s home.

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