About The Museum

The Meridian Museum of Art (MMA) is housed in the historic Old Carnegie Library building, which was constructed in 1912-13, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a Mississippi Landmark. The Museum seeks to promote and support the art, artists, and art programs of our area and region through art education, exhibitions, collections, collaborations with other organizations, special events, and community involvement. MMA programs are designed to further these goals and to make art accessible to everyone in the community. The Museum serves an audience from across the state and region, but primarily from Meridian and Lauderdale County and the surrounding counties: Kemper, Neshoba, Newton, Jasper, and Clarke (in MS), and Sumter and Choctaw (in AL).

Past Exhibitions

Meridian Museum of Art’s Facebook Page features exhibitions.

Southern Vernacular

October 10 – November 30

Charlie Lucas



Works featured from the private collection of Rand and Joyce Lane.


Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Caines Ridge, AL. 1910-2007.

Jimmy Sudduth is a folk artist who lived in Fayette, Alabama. With a vivid imagination, he painted subjects such as dogs, television personalities, the landscape and architecture near his home, and himself. Sudduth used materials as imaginative as his subjects, and he mixed mud with colors extracted from different plants to create his unique medium. In addition to making his own materials, Sudduth preferred to use something other than canvases or brushes and would use his fingers to apply his homemade paints instead.


Scott A. Blackwell, Anna Maria Island, FL.

Scott Blackwell is a contemporary artist living in Waveland, Mississippi. Blackwell takes his artwork seriously but likes to create with a lot of humor and color. He uses acrylic paint, Gypsum cement, found objects, wood, and metal to create his art, which often focuses on fish and coastal life. Blackwell attended the Ringling School of Art and the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. After graduating, he moved back and forth between Florida and Louisiana for some time, but he eventually settled in Waveland, MS, where he now creates artwork for Rip A Lip Fish Wear.


Bob Hart, Athens, GA.

Bob Hart is a former faculty member at the College of Education at the University of Georgia. Since retiring, he has had the time to create and support art, two activities that make him happiest. Hart’s first artistic passion was photography, but he now experiments with all kinds of materials as a self-taught artist. In addition to creating his art, Hart enjoys supporting other local artists through “The Art Place,” a gallery and studio in Crawford, Georgia. Hart also created a memorial trail for the victims of the attacks of 9/11/2001, which has seen visitors from all over the country.


Vannoy Streeter, Wartrace, TN, 1919-1998.

Vannoy Streeter grew up with his parents and five brothers on a horse farm. He learned the business of grooming and training horses from his father, and on their farm, they trained horses to prance in front of buggies. These horses became known as Tennessee Walking Horses, and Streeter took much pride in knowing that he and other African-American trainers helped develop this style. Streeter began making sculptures when he was relatively young; he said in a 1990 interview, “I saw a horse and wanted one, so I took wire and made me one.” He earned the nickname “Wireman” because he used coat hangers and baling wire to fashion these sculptures. By the end of his life, Streeter had achieved national exposure. He was commissioned to make twenty-five horses to be used as awards for a horse show in Jackson, Mississippi, made a custom set of camels for a Kentucky high school sports team, and even created a life-size Tennessee Walking Horse with rider, which is displayed annually in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.


Mose Toliver, Pike Road, AL, 1920-2006.

Mose Toliver, a highly regarded American self-taught artist, was born into a family of sharecroppers and farm overseers. He didn’t enjoy school but preferred working outdoors with his older brothers. After working for a truck farmer selling produce in his teens, he moved with his elderly mother to Montgomery, where he worked as a gardener and landscaper, known for his artistic flair. He occasionally painted houses and did repair jobs involving plumbing and carpentry. He met his wife in the early 1940s and had eleven children together. After settling down, he worked for the McLendon Furniture Company for years, mostly sweeping out the shipping and delivery area. However, in the late 1960s, a crate of marble fell on him, causing him to suffer damage to his leg, leaving him unable to walk without assistance. After a period of depression and drinking, Toliver was encouraged by one of his former employers, Raymond McLendon, to try out painting, even offering to pay for lessons. He decided instead to teach himself, and it quickly became a routine activity for him.  Since then, Toliver’s art has caught the attention of many, near and far, and his paintings have been included in major exhibitions across the country. Today, his paintings are housed in museums worldwide, and his contributions to folk art will not be forgotten.


Butch Anthony, Seale, AL, 1964-

Butch Anthony is a contemporary, self-taught artist, maker, and collector of objects and antiques. He grew up on his family’s 80-acre property in Seale, Alabama, where he lives and works today in a home he built by hand. His art involves creating one-of-a-kind masterpieces using various media and techniques, and he made a specific genre of work he calls “Intertwanglelism.” Anthony attended Auburn University and studied zoology, geology, and biology. While there, he took a class on comparative anatomy, to which he attributes his use of veins and bones in his art. His work has been featured in solo, group, and juried exhibitions all over the United States and even outside the country, and he is the creator of the Museum of Wonder, The World’s First Drive-Thru Museum, and The Possum Trot.


Peter Loose, Athens, GA.

Peter Loose, a former state park service worker, found solace in painting after struggling in school. He creates colorful and textured artwork, often depicting animals, on various surfaces including roofing shingles and birdhouses. Peter’s love of animals is evident in his work, and he is best known for his depictions of his dog, Bongo. His art has been exhibited at the Telfair Art Museum and the American Visionary Art Museum, and he has a wide range of collectors and fans.


Tom Steck, Harrisburg, PA, 1948-

Tom “Deacon Man” Steck is a self-taught artist living in Webster, New York. In 2002, he saw the branch of a Japanese maple on the ground, and he thought it resembled a snake. So, he carved it into the shape of a snake, painted it, and quickly sold it. Steck has been creating art ever since that moment, and his carvings and paintings have only increased in skill and complexity. Much of his work is spiritual in nature, and he believes God inspires his work. He shares his love for creating with his wife, Shelley. His work is a part of several institutional and private collections.


Leland Holiday, Navajo Reservation, NM, 1974-

Leland Holiday’s passion for art began at a young age when he was inspired by the paintings of his uncle, Howard Holiday. He started with pencil drawings at seven and continued learning more about art by reading library books. The work of artists like Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Georgia O’Keefe fascinated him, and he took particular interest in the art of Jean Michele Basquiat. At 16 years old, Leland’s passion for painting was ignited when his mother gave him a set of acrylic paints. He used anything he could find as materials and would forget to eat as he became engrossed in expressing himself through art. Leland was never concerned with others’ opinions of his work and enjoyed surprising himself with new color combinations and shading. He was classified as a folk artist due to the carvings he made with his brothers, but he wanted to expand his expression. This caused financial and internal struggles as collectors hesitated to embrace the changes. However, with the encouragement of his family, he persevered and is now enjoying the freedom of painting his vision.


Edith John, Sweetwater, AZ.

Edith John lives in Sweetwater, Arizona, with her husband and children. Daughter of contemporary folk artist Woody Herbert, she began carving cottonwood with him for fun in 1990. Together, they would make toys for children, but their work gained immense popularity and became an essential source of income for their family. Now working with her husband, Guy, they create stylized carved creatures in every color imaginable. She is known for her sculptures of owls, turkeys, and chickens but makes others, such as mules.


Bob Gray, Paint Rock, TN.

Bob Gray is a versatile artist renowned for his insightful and brightly colored depictions of Americana, as well as Tennessee life and culture. Gray grew up in Paint Rock, Tennessee, and spent much of his childhood on his grandparents’ farm without electricity or running water.

Gray’s work showcases the good in life, despite its challenges. His talent has been featured in numerous galleries and magazines, such as Time and the Oxford American, and he continues to hone his skills by writing songs and building guitars.


Dr. Charles Smith, New Orleans, 1940-

Dr. Charles Smith is a place maker who has transformed two properties through his art over four decades. His African American Heritage Museum + Black Veterans’ Archive contains over 600 concrete sculptures, many of which celebrate little-known Black public figures and honor everyday people like his neighbor and a friend who was killed in Vietnam. Dr. Smith is a consummate teacher who views all African American history as a valid subject matter. Smith’s sculptures are ever-changing and take on new identities as they deteriorate and are reinvigorated. Through historical research and meditations on current events, he uses his artwork to address pressing issues, giving sculptures new narratives and identities. Dr. Smith’s work is ongoing as an artist, activist, scholar, and educator. Smith relocated his sculpture project to Hammond, Louisiana, in 2000, resulting in most of the sculptures from the Aurora site being removed, conserved, and acquired by several museums. The Arts Center now holds 218 sculptures, making it his work’s most extensive institutional collection. Dr. Smith continues his work on his new site in Hammond.


Jason Stoddart, Cookeville, TN.

Jason Stoddart’s photographs capture the essence of traditional Americana culture by utilizing conventional photography techniques. His Americana style embodies the history, geography, folklore, and cultural heritage of the United States. His photographs depict a wide range of subject matter, including license plates, cars and trucks, barns, homes, household objects, artifacts, tools, instruments, flags, plaques, signs, and more. His work has been featured in private and corporate collections worldwide and is now a part of the permanent collection at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville. Stoddart and his family reside on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee.


Brother Mel Meyer, Florissant, MO, 1928-2013.

Brother Mel Meyer joined the Marianist Order of Monks when he was 19. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton. In 1960, he earned his Master of Art from the University of Notre Dame. In 1969, he opened his art studio and gallery on the St. John Vianney High School campus in St. Louis, Missouri. Meyer lived and worked in St. Louis until he passed away in 2013. Meyer created around 10,000 works of art during his career, ranging from metal sculpture and stained glass to watercolors and acrylic paintings.


Michael Banks, Guntersville, AL, 1972-

Michael Banks was born in Northern Alabama in 1972. As a child, he loved to paint and draw with whatever materials were available, and his mother encouraged him to pursue this interest. However, in 1992, Banks’s mother passed away, and he stopped painting for five years. Throughout those five years, Banks struggled with depression and alcohol addiction, but in 1997, he recalled his mother’s encouragement and decided to start painting again. Since then, Banks has experimented with various techniques and materials, developing his unique style. He uses an undercoat of roofing tar on wood and incises into the paint to create subtle details. Banks’s work has gained him many awards and honors, and his art has been exhibited in Atlanta, Denver, and New York.


Johnnie “J.L.” Nippers, Beechgrove, TN, 1935-2021.

For over twenty years, J.L. Nippers was best friends with Homer Green, another Tennessee folk artist. Early in their friendship, Nippers asked Green if he could help him cut some wood he was working on, and Green told him to come back the next day with a chainsaw. Since then, Nippers has been a self-proclaimed “wood butcher.” Following Green’s path, Nippers created various dotted creatures, from totem poles of owls to alligator benches. His wife Marie often helped him paint his carved sculptures.


Bobby Gaither, Locust Fork, AL, 1944-2023.

Bobby Jirald Gaither retired as a boilermaker in the steel industry. He became a pottery maker and owned and operated his own Gaither Folk Art Pottery. His work is full of personality, and no two pieces are alike. He was known for harvesting his clay near his home in Blount County, Alabama, and he also created his own glazes using materials such as wood ash and even tobacco spit.


Chris Beck, Dalton, GA, 1974-

Chris Beck is an Alabama native residing in North Georgia who has always had a deep passion for art. His parents supported his creativity from a young age, but after completing his BA in English, Chris began a career in homebuilding in Atlanta, where he encountered the world of self-taught art. In 2006, he met the renowned Alabama artist Charlie Lucas, who encouraged Chris to “find what’s inside.” Inspired by Lucas’ work, Chris bought a second-hand welder in January 2007 and began working with metal. His art has been widely recognized, with numerous awards, museum purchases, and public art installations under his belt. Today, Beck’s work is highly sought after both nationally and internationally.


Leonard Piha, Athens, GA, 1954?-

Leonard Piha, an artist based in Georgia, discovered folk art while studying at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he received his Master of Fine Arts in 1983. Learning folk art led him to create more genuine and personalized work rather than trying to keep up with contemporary standards. He has been an elementary school art teacher since 1995 and has worked as a carpenter for many years, now combining his love for carpentry with his passion for creating art. He builds his canvases with cast-off wood or rusted tin pieces and has filled up his yard and interiors with his artwork.


Mikey Welsh, Syracuse, NY, 1971-2011.

Mikey Welsh began his career as a musician, and he played bass for several bands. He is most well-known for his time with Weezer, for which he sang and played bass for five years. However, his rock-n-roll lifestyle took a toll on him, and in August 2001, Welsh had a nervous breakdown that caused him to leave his music career and almost ended his life. After this turn of events, Welsh began to paint to try and rebuild his life. His mother would bring him supplies and materials while he was in the hospital recovering, and he would paint as much as he could. He first painted quite scary figures, perhaps reflecting the inner battle going on in his mind, but he eventually turned to abstraction, preferring a style with fewer limits. Welsh’s artistic career became quite fruitful, and he sold many of his paintings and held thirteen exhibitions. However, Welsh’s time as an artist was unfortunately cut short, as he unexpectedly died in October of 2011, likely still struggling with the same issues that caused his retirement from music in 2001.


Lou Ann Toy

49th Annual Bi-State Art Competition and Exhibition

The annual Bi-State is a juried exhibition presented by the Meridian Museum of Art (MMA), offering over $3,000 in awards and prizes, including the $1,000 Best of Show Cash Award.  The exhibition aims to showcase contemporary artists in current and past residents of Mississippi and Alabama and reward their efforts.

JUROR GARY CHAPMAN is a Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  He received his Master of Fine Art from Cranbrook Academy of Art, a Bachelor of Arts, and a Bachelor of Sciences from Berea College. He has had over sixty solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group and invitational exhibitions with regional, national, and international venues.  

He was awarded and named a Joan Mitchell CALL Legacy Artist and has received numerous grants and fellowships, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Painting from the Southern Arts Federation and Individual Artist Fellowships from the Alabama State Council for the Arts.  His work has been reviewed extensively and has been published in over twenty catalogs and books, including the Four Editions of New American Paintings.

1              Alexa Lee                         Daily Bread    

2              Lasheka Payne                The Dahlia                    

3              Laurie Burton                    A Mighty Girl         

4              Paulette Dove                   Almost Human             

5              Kathleen Varnell               No One Told Me            

6              Kim Whit                           Unlikely Ecosystem        

7              Rebecca Korpita               Moove Over                       


Artists Included





















Terri H.














Mary Clare




Leigh Deen












Amber N. 






















George Ann


















Olin Perry












Mary Louise


Lana Lancaster






Ivah Leigh




Lesley K.






Robert A. (Tony)








Jessie L






JULY 2023 – SEPTEMBER 2023

48th Annual Bi-State Best of Show Winner Invitational

Carolyn McIntyre Norton spent her childhood observing the natural areas around the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and the mountains of North Carolina with a camera her mom and dad bought her from Sears and a box of watercolors. Her work is still highly influenced by the wonder of the natural world and the need to protect these areas.

She explores themes of grasslands and waterscapes through printmaking, photography, and handmade artist’s books. Her imagery results from responding to sound or observing motion and often eliminates visual cues of horizon and scale to invite the viewer to enjoy a commonplace experience differently. Beginning work with a somewhat unpredictable technique and continuing the work more deliberately is a favorite art-making approach.

Printmaking                  S.L. Dickey lives in Columbus, MS, where he teaches printmaking and photography courses while serving as Department Chair at Mississippi University for Women.  He received a B.S. in Biology, a B.F.A. in Printmaking from Mississippi University for Women in 1990, and an M.F.A. in Printmaking from Texas Tech University in 1993. Dickey has exhibited work in over 119 national juried exhibitions and has had three solo shows. His prints can be found in 12 regional/national collections, and he has won 13 awards and purchase prizes. He maintains memberships in The Boston Printmakers, Southern Graphics Printmaking Society, Mid-American Printmaking Council, and the Los Angeles Printmakers Society. 

JULY 2023 – JANUARY 24

Permanent Collection Printmaking Artworks – Printmaking Techniques – Etching, Silkscreen, Lithograph, Engraving, Serigraph, Photoetching, Color Woodcut, Linoleum Block Print, and Color Intaglio

Selected artists: James A. Shell, Jr., Zena Zaremba, Nell Blaine, Wilhelm Paul Eberhard Eggers, Jim Amash, Phillip M. Smith, Anne E. Wilkinson, Kenneth Hayes Miller, Jauneth Skinner, Naoka Matsubara, J M W Turner, Ronald Searle, Caroline Wogan Durieus, Phillip Sage, John E. Costigan, Edgar Parker, Homer Casteel, Deanna Douglas, Werner Berges, Leba Dang, Peter Milton, Anton Haardt, Thomas Eloby, Mel Alexander, Don Andrews, Glen Weber, and William Dunlap

 August – September 2023          

49th Annual Bi-State Art Competition and Exhibition  

Juror Gary Chapman was born in Xenia, Ohio, on July 25, 1961. Chapman, the son of a stay-at-home mother and a blue-collar father, had no formal art training as a child. He took one or two art classes as a high school student, but art became of serious interest when he got to college. (1) He received his undergraduate degree from Berea College in Kentucky, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Art and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Arts, Technology, and Management. In 1986, he attended Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and received a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing. From 1986 to 1990, he lived in Philadelphia and Baltimore, producing art and exhibiting in local galleries. He also taught painting at Interlochen Center for the Arts during the summers of 1986, 1987, and 1989. In 1990, he became an Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. 


Mississippi artists selected:  Pat Abernathy, J’Marcus Alfred, Rick Anderson, Mark Brown, Danny Brunt, Laurie Burton, Carolyn Busenlener, Claudia Cartee, Barbara-Ann Carver- Hunt, Terri H. Cribb, Anthony DiFatta, Leslie Dobbins, Tom Douglas, Paulette Dove, Mary Clare Evans, Keith Everett, Leigh Francis, Robert Gibson, Shelly Graham, Sandra Halat, Rowan Haug, Amber N. Henry, Gary Howse, James Kane, Rebecca Korpita, Andrea Kostyal, Sadako Lewis, Vanda McCormick, George Ann McCullough, Rosanne Mckenney, Drew McKercher, Joan McRaney, Nancy Mitchell, Gail Morton, Thomas Nawrocki, Susa Nawrocki, Olin Perry Norton, Anne O’Hara, Patt Odom, Magen Pierce, Mary Louise Porter, Lana Lancaster Pugh, Karen Rush, Martina Sciolino, Ivah Leigh Scitz, Ann Seale, Lesley K. Silver, Sabyna Sterrett, Susan Stevens, Patsy Temple, Kathy Tosch, Kathleen Varnell, Kim Whitt, Jacqueline Wooton. Alabama artists selected: Linda Baxter, William Dooley, Julia Gary, Martha Hopkins, Michelle Jones, Alexa Lee, Julie Plasketes, Robert A. (Tony) Sturgis, and Jessie L. Whitehead.




 A self-taught artist draws from both the people and the land of Alabama’s Black Belt region and the iron and steel industry of the Birmingham District.   Lucas was one of 14 children born into a sharecropping family.  Lucas often missed school because the family frequently needed his help on their small farm. Yet he was surrounded by an extended family of skilled craftspeople – blacksmiths, mechanics, quilters, and basket makers who provided the education to serve him later in his creative life.  His great-grandfather exposed him to metalworking at a young age, allowing Lucas to use his tools and materials to make his trinkets. 

Folk Artists exhibited from the Rand and Joyce Lane Private Collection.

Butch Anthony, Michael Banks, Bobby Gaither, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mose Toliver, Pike Road, Bob Gray, Johnnie “J.L.” Nippers, Jason Stoddart, Vannoy Streeter, Chris Beck, Bob Hart, Peter Loose, Leonard Piha, Dr. Charles Smith, Scott A. Blackwell, Brother Mel Meyer, Leland Holiday, Edith John, Tom Steck, and Mikey Welsh, and themselves, Rand, and Joyce.

December – January 2023          

Membership Exhibition

Works by Artists: B. J. Hatten, Bob Jeffares, Caulene Wilkinson, Charlie Muñoz, Cooper M. French, Denise Dengler, Ed Gough, Fuzzfur (Daniel C. Ehtridge), Gary Howse, Jill Hammes, Joy Greer, Judy Rayner, Judy Van Veckhoven, Keith Everett, Laura Holladay, Linda Baxter, Linda Muñoz, Larenzo Harry, Marsha Iverson,

Martha Hopkins, Marty McIntyre, Mouise Richards, Neil Hatten, Pam Prather, Patsy Temple, Ralph Weimer, Rosemary Kahlmus, Shelly Graham, Terrell Taylor, Terry Cherry, Tim Allred, Trish Frazier, and Winki Allen

Permanent Collection Works: Edgar Parker, Lallah Perry, Elizabeth M. Pajerski, Doris McKinney, Les Green, Robert Deen, Jr., Joey Horne, Alex Loeb, Mildred Keen, Lou Martin O’Leary, Jean Loeb, Homer Casteel, and Clo Ann Rabb.

February – March 2024

Revisiting the 60s and 70s 

Selected works from the Permanent Collection by artists: Edgar Parker, David D. Nester, Edith Frohock, Mario Avati, Arline Bailey, Malcolm Norwood, C. Frederick Hutchinson, R. Kirk Bondurant, Joseph Konopka, Andrew Bucci, Billy Ford, Stephen D. Cook, Caroline W. Durieux, Les Green, Jim Meade, Phillip Sage, Marie Hull, Karl Wolfe, Mildred Wolfe, Jacob Drachler, Tommy Mew, Michael Dorsey, Dan O’Leary, Helen P. Shapiro, Robert DeNiro Sr., Ke Francis, Jean Varda, Leroy Neiman, Jere Allen, Bill Harper, Pamela Scholz, and Helen Gerardia.


Donate to the Life Month Exhibition, which will coincide with The Allie Cat Run and Festival opening reception on March 23, 2024, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.  


Gary Chapman, Professor of Painting and Drawing, University of Alabama at Birmingham (MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art; BA and BS, Berea College)

Chapman has had over 80 solo exhibitions with institutions such as The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, The Arts Center of St. Petersburg, FL; the University of Cincinnati, the University of Georgia; and the Indianapolis Art Center. He has also participated in numerous group and invitational exhibitions with regional, national, and international venues.

Chapman was awarded and named a Joan Mitchell CALL Legacy Artist and has received numerous grants and fellowships, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Painting from the Southern Arts Federation and Individual Artist Fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. His work has been reviewed extensively and published in over 20 catalogs and books, including the 4 Editions of New American Paintings.


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628 25th Avenue
Meridian, MS

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