VSA Mississippi and glass and mixed media artist Jennifer Thomas. An opening reception honoring the artists is scheduled for Thursday, July 23, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mississippi Library Commission, which is located at 3881 Eastwood Drive off Eastover Drive on the grounds of the Mississippi Education and Research Center in Jackson. The pubic is invited. Artwork can be viewed Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Established in 2001 with eight students, the VSA Mississippi Community Art Group provides opportunities for all adults with disabilities to participate in art experiences and art making according to their needs and abilities. The group offers professional instruction and guidance to participants while utilizing a variety of techniques including individual and group instruction by the teaching artist, visiting artists, use of instructional books, and tours of museums and galleries to observe masterworks.
The program has increased to over 40 registered students. Initially, classes were for two hours once weekly. Currently, they are offered two full days per week. It has provided art opportunities to over 85 different artists during the past fourteen years. Some artists have been with the program for over ten years. Three artists have become successful professional artists with gallery representation. The program meets social as well as educational needs. Students have exhibited works in the Municipal Gallery, the Arts Center of Mississippi, the Mississippi Library Commission, the V.A. Medical Center, and the Methodist Rehabilitation Center.
Born and raised in Texas, Jennifer Thomas graduated from the University of Houston. Thomas' love of the arts led her to have two main studies: interior design and painting, both of which she still loves. She soon realized her specific focus in the arts was the field of decorative arts; stained glass would become her passion.
A God-ordained trip to Mississippi yielded a job for Thomas as a full-time stained glass artists at Pearl River Glass Studio in Jackson, where her knowledge and abilities in the discipline were developed. In time, she was introduced to glass fusing and loved everything about it. Each project was like a quick painting study, except it was executed in glass. In 2007, Thomas left the studio to focus on the strong vision she had for producing beautiful yet functional pieces for daily use. Thomas has since been accepted into the Mississippi Craftsmen's Guild.
The Mississippi Library Commission is a state agency with the mission to ensure that all Mississippians have access to quality library services, consults with and advises local entities on library issues, supports electronic access to information through public libraries, and manages state and federal grant programs for public libraries. Visit the Mississippi Library Commission's website at www.mlc.lib.ms.us.