Downtown prepares for swarm of artists

TUPELO – If you’re going to the Lee County Courthouse today, you’ll find a hive of activity.
Portions of Broadway, Court and Spring streets are closed as volunteers prepare for the CellularSouth GumTree Festival, Tupelo’s 38th annual celebration of the arts.
The festival opens at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Today, painters, potters, photographers and other artists from throughout the Southeast will set up their tents and booths on the courthouse lawn.
As artists unload trucks and vans, volunteers will put up the music stage, youth stage and kids’ activity tent, and food vendors will take their places.
A few hundred yards from the square, another set of busy people will turn the GumTree Museum of Art into a juke joint.
The 2009 GumBall begins at 7 p.m. today, and tickets are $20 each. It’ll feature music by the Eric Deaton Trio. Festival artists often attend the event and donate original work for auction.
“The GumBall is one of our main fundraisers,” said Tina Lutz, festival director. “It supports the educational programs we do all year.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

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