Local artist uses work to paint history and bring awareness

WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) – A local artist and teacher is using her work to paint the history of African Americans.

The Black Prairie Blues Museum in West Point is displaying Sabrina Campbells’s artwork as part of its Black History Month exhibit.

While the exhibit showcased famous faces and figures in Black history, one piece, in particular, raised awareness about an important issue: mental health.

“The mental health piece is important because African Americans kind of shy away from this,” said Campbell.

Campbell has been using her gift of art to tell stories and celebrate history for decades. She said this piece is special. She wanted to encourage her community to stop the stigma surrounding mental illness.

“From seeing psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors and we just go to the church and talk to the pastor but I say God gave them the ability to help us and gave them that knowledge. If you are hurting it’s okay to talk to someone,” said Campbell.

As an art teacher in West Point, Campbell said she even encourages her students to use art as a way to release when they are struggling.

“I give them the opportunity to relax, relate, and release. Whatever is going on outside of this room today you can’t change it so we take that art and we just allow them to create things that would make them feel better,” said Campbell.

Her inspiration is paying off. The museum recently hosted an art contest for students across the Golden Triangle. Three of the top awards went to Campbell’s students.

Director Deborah Mansfield said Campbell’s love for art shines beyond her classroom.

“When anyone has a passion and they make it known to others people grab onto that energy and they take it in and they know something is good about that person and they want to feel good themselves so they take a little bit of her with them,” said Mansfield.

Campbell said the most important thing she can teach her students is adding value.

“The first thing they say is Mrs. Campbell says I can’t draw and I say don’t worry I’m not going to ask you to. I’m going to ask you to apply the value,” said Campbell.

To see more of Campbell’s work you can visit msvisualarts.org

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