FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 31
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
MUW staff showcase their talents at Farmers’ Market
By Anika Mitchell Perkins
Take a trip to the Hitching Lot Farmers’ Market in Columbus and you are sure to find some of the best produce the area has to offer. You are also likely to discover one-of-a-kind arts and crafts created by homegrown talent, a few of whom are a part of Mississippi University for Women’s campus community.
Human resources specialist Sharon Foster, who describes herself as “an avid shopper and sample taster,” sells her original paintings and greeting cards at the market.
“I use a lot of the flowers and vegetables from the market in my paintings. Then I get to eat the veggies,” she said. “I print the greeting cards myself and most are prints from my original paintings--suitable for framing.”
Foster said she began selling her prints at the urging of two MUW co-workers.
“It's great fun to meet people, buy fresh flowers, produce, pottery, salsa, cookies, bread and to have a local venue for my art. My online stores are great. However, nothing replaces the happiness I receive from seeing how people respond to my art,” she said. “It's a wonderful opportunity to introduce children to music, art, fun, food and activities while supporting local growers and artisans.”
Retiree Richard “Rick” Wright currently serves on the Farmers’ Market Advisory Board and has been involved with the market for three years. He also was encouraged by an MUW co-worker to sign up as a vendor.
Wright started working as the campus landscape manager in 1993, just after a tornado had taken down many of the big trees on front of campus. Another tornado took down trees on back campus and straight line winds damaged trees in the middle of campus. It was his job to handle the clean up and removal, and he thought there had to be a better use for all of that wood.
“I have always been interested in working with wood. I had an old wood lathe and decided to give turning a try. That's when I decided to start bringing much of the wood home,” he said. “Now I recycle it into useful and decorative items. Many of the items I make are from those damaged MUW trees.”
He has transformed limbs and trunks into vases, bowls, lidded boxes, miniature birdhouses and much more.
This year, his wife, Susan Wright, joined him at the market with her custom cards. She started working at MUW in 1995 and serves as secretary for the Associate of Science in Nursing Program.
“Photography is a hobby of mine and I have been photographing the buildings on The W campus, as well as the Pilgrimage homes and churches. I started using my photographs to make postcards and note cards to sell,” she said.
For more information about the Wrights’ work, visit rickswoodart.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Foster’s creations can be found at sharonfosterart.etsy.com.