Hobbs Freeman made lasting impression on Vicksburg

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hobbs Freeman “could create art from items only he could imagine,” Annette Kirklin, executive director of the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, said in describing the longtime Vicksburg artist who died in 2009. On Saturday in front of the Southern Cultural Heritage Center, the Hobbs Freeman Arts and Nature Festival will be the culmination of a year of art and artful activities to honor the spirit and works of Freeman, a nature artist.

More than a year ago, the National Park Service’s Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative awarded the SCHF a $24,200 grant. With that money, the SCHC has produced programs, workshops, naturalist seminars, music and more leading up to Saturday’s festival. Bands, arts and food vendors, lecturers, storytellers and children’s activities will span from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

The goal of the event is to preserve the natural heritage of the region and promote local tourism, all the while honoring Freeman.

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He served on the board of directors for the Vicksburg and Warren County historical societies, the Vicksburg Art Association and the SCHF. He was an artist, sculptor, builder, jewelry-maker, cook and gardener. An avid outdoorsman, he was an art and nature ambassador, and his spirit will be seen and felt on Saturday.

Crawford Street between Cherry and Adams will be closed to vehicle traffic, which only will add to the family-friendly festival’s feel.

The festival is a tribute to the contributions Freeman made to this community in life — and the lasting influence his art has had on so many in death.

A yearlong effort will be coming to a close with a street festival trumpeting the arts and nature. We’re confident Hobbs Freeman would be smiling.