SHEENA BARNETT: Turn lemons into art

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Northeast Mississippi is a funny little place, isn’t it?
We’re the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, but rock ‘n’ rollers are often still treated like outcasts, much like the way Elvis was when he was a kid here.
We complain there’s nothing to do even when we’re given the options of everything from theater to ballet to indie film screenings to improv comedy art exhibits to symphony performances to trivia nights to concerts of all sizes, genres and ticket prices.
Speaking of tickets, purchasing those in advance? Most seem to think that’s a silly notion.
So this past weekend was an interesting one in Tupelo.
It marked what is hoped to be the first-ever Art Rocks Tupelo, a weekend when nearly all of the major arts organizations in town offered an event: Tupelo Community Theatre staged “To Kill A Mockingbird;” Tupelo Ballet brought “Cinderella” to life; the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra wowed with a semi-staged version of “The Mikado;” and the Tupelo Concert Association welcomed Jason Coleman to Tupelo as he honored his grandfather, Floyd Cramer. The GumTree Museum of Art hosted a Japanese art exhibit as well as its annual Mustache Bash, and downtown Tupelo hosted an Art Walk.
The weekend came about because so many arts orgs selected this past weekend – just after spring break and before Easter – for their spring events.
Luckily for arts patrons, the organizations worked together so discounted ticket packages were offered,in and their events were cross-promoted.
Just from chatting up folks here and there and seeing plenty of Facebook status updates and Tweets, it looks like it was a success: several shows were sell-outs, and lots of photos and good times were shared through social media.
It’s not every weekend we have the choice of seeing an opera and a play, or hearing a concert and seeing an art exhibit, or going to the ballet before heading to a Mustache Bash. But we did this weekend, and it looked like it was a success.
We’re lucky to have some incredibly talented folks in this area, and I hope future Art Rocks weekends will include more of everybody, especially more of Tupelo’s young musicians, comedians and filmmakers.
The situation – every major event in the same weekend – may not have seemed ideal at first, but it worked out beautifully.
If these lemons can turn into a weekend of too much to do, that’s some lemonade I can appreciate.

SHEENA BARNETT writes for the Daily Journal. Contact her at

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