• 48°

Jackson offering a little taste of Germany, France for a little longer

[8/1/2004]If you haven’t been to Jackson lately, go.

Why Jackson?

I’ll get straight to the point.

If you haven’t yet seen The Glory of Baroque Dresden exhibition, go. You’ve got a little over a month left.

It’s easy to find.

It’s in the Mississippi Arts Pavilion at Lamar and Court streets next to the big Andrew Jackson head.

In October, I was fortunate to travel to Dresden, Germany, for a preview of the exhibition.

Led by Jack Kyle, the executive director of the Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange, a group of print journalists from around the region spent five days touring the State Art Collections Dresden.

By the end of the week, I felt overwhelmed in the way that only spending days looking at priceless objects and amazing art can make me feel.

I worried that I would remember nothing about the week but the Frankfurt airport and the strong German coffee I drank by the pot every morning for breakfast.

I shouldn’t have been concerned. The hardest part about previewing this exhibition was envisioning how it would be presented once it was in Jackson. The State Art Collections Dresden is actually 11 museums and an art library throughout Dresden not all housed under one roof. The Glory of Baroque Dresden is drawn from eight of these collections.

By the end of five days in Dresden, our group had been through all eight plus other culturally significant sites.

To put it in some perspective, there are more than 400 objects in the exhibition. Martin Roth, the director of the State Art Collections Dresden, said this represents less than four percent of Dresden’s art.

And yet the exhibition fills 15 galleries in the Mississippi Arts Pavilion.

Best of all, this exhibition is one of the most elegant I’ve ever seen.

And it’s the first time in 25 years that any of the collection has been outside Dresden. And they picked Jackson, Mississippi.

You usually have to go up North to see an exhibit of this significance, but it’s right in our back yard.

As of last week, the exhibit had sold 100,000 tickets. They need to sell 60,000 more to break even.

If I haven’t convinced you, let me tell you a little more.

Just across the parking lot from the Mississippi Arts Pavilion is the Mississippi Museum of Art. Above on this page, you’ll see Lauchlin Fields’ article about the MMA’s Paris Moderne exhibit.

A completely different era but significant in its own right.

As with the Dresden exhibit, some of the pieces in the Paris exhibit have rarely or never been seen outside France.

Two significant European exhibitions are in Jackson.

Why Jackson?

Why not New York or Boston or D.C.?

That was the question that got tossed about a lot back in October as we made our way through Germany.

We got various answers.

As a journalist, I support questions, but right now, when I hear, “Why Jackson?” I think, “Who cares? Just go.”

Sonya Kimbrell is features editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail her at skimbrell@vicksburgpost.com.