University of Mississippi

UM Senior Honored with Museum of Women in the Arts’ Scholarship


OXFORD, Miss. – An ability to use her artistic skills to raise awareness of those struggling with mental illness helped a University of Mississippi senior earn a prestigious visual arts scholarship from the Mississippi State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Charlotte Burge, of Saltillo, a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture, was nominated for the scholarship by the UM Department of Art and Art History, and she received the honor earlier this semester at a luncheon in Jackson.

“Last spring, the art department was asked to nominate female nominees for this award and a group of faculty got together and went through this list of nominees, and Charlotte really just rose to the top, not only because of her work, but also her presence in the department,” said Brooke White, department chair and professor of art. “We thought she was really deserving of this.”

Burge’s artwork revolves around the theme of mental illnesses. She creates sculptures that portray the life, mindset and struggles of those who suffer from mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.

Burge said that she has struggled with depression and anxiety in her life, so she uses the art she creates in an effort to illuminate what life can be like for those with a mental illness.

“Hopefully my art can be that picture for people who never dealt with mental illness, depression or anxiety, that they get a little insight of people who do deal with these things in their life,” Burge said. “I want people to get the stress and the reality of the world, that it’s not a perfect Instagram post. It’s not what we’re trying to portray to the world. It’s who we are.”

Burge incorporates colors throughout sculptures to attract her audience, which ends up being surprised once they realize the darker tone contained within her artwork.

“The work is inviting and whimsical at first encounter, while upon further investigation, the viewer realizes that there is deeper content dealing with often-overlooked life struggles,” said Durant Thompson, UM sculpture art professor.

Burge explained that the mindset of a person suffering from mental illnesses is normally darker than the person appears to the outside world. That’s why her art uses colors to represent how individuals may appear beautiful on the outside but actually could be a total mess on the inside, she said.

“A lot of my pieces represent the mind frame of these people,” she said. “We are all colorful blocks on the outside, but on the inside, it’s just like this really messy, gross house that’s too completely disorganized.”

The National Museum of Women in the Arts, based in Washington, D.C., brings recognition to the achievements of female artists of all periods and nationalities by exhibiting, preserving, acquiring and researching art by women and by teaching the public about their accomplishments.

The scholarship from the National Museum of Women in the Arts could assist Burge in achieving one of her primary goals, which is for her art to influence society and inform people about the realities of life for those suffering from mental illnesses.

Ideally, those who view Burge’s artwork will gain a greater understanding of how those who suffer from mental illness experience the world, she said. Perhaps they will see that a mental illness is not something that can be turned on or off at will, she said.

“I’m so tired of people saying, ‘Get out of that’ and ‘Get happy,’” she said. “It’s about letting yourself wallow and letting yourself feel this way rather than being like ‘I’m going to force myself to be happy.’”

If it wasn’t for the supportive atmosphere of the art department, Burge said she might never have sought help to manage her own mental problems. That’s why she is so thankful that she can openly be herself, express herself and have a support system there she can rely on.

“If I didn’t have the support that I have here, I definitely wouldn’t have reached to get help for my own issues I deal with,” Burge said.


Original Article:

Ole Miss Alumni Association Profile: Oscar Pope

Oscar Pope (BA Art ’10) has always wanted to create meaningful content that both defines culture and connects people.

“I don’t know where [that passion] comes from,” he said. “But I know I have a responsibility to create responsibly.”

He first developed an interest in art during his middle school years, a time when he found himself always creating. He took his first official art class in the seventh grade, and in the eighth grade he saved enough money to buy an actual design suite in order to begin to teach himself graphic design.

“I figured out that there were other arts outside of just hand-drawn and painted arts… that there were arts that involved computers,” he said. “And that’s when I shifted my focus.”

“By the time I started high school I was creating daily and I knew that once I graduated, I wanted to pursue a higher education in art.”

Pope began to put his talent to use by taking requests and making greeting cards, banners and flyers, and along the way, he developed an interest in sports graphics.

“At that time, I was in charge of creating all of the programs and bulletins for my church, but I was also interested in creating a lot of sports graphics–anything that had to with sports narratives… with sports photography… or photos of athletes with heavy typography,” he said.

“I think that’s where my interest in design and sports started.”

Pope, who grew up in Jackson, had friends who attended the University of Mississippi, and he visited the campus during the summer following his senior year of high school. After that visit, he was sold on the Department of Art and Art History in Meek Hall, which was the first place he visited.

“I took a right and literally the first classroom I ever saw was a graphic design classroom, and I remember being so enamored by the setup,” Pope said.

“I just saw myself working and creating and never wanting to leave that building,” he laughed. “Little did I know over the next four years I would literally never ever leave that building.”

Pope began his four-year journey as an art major with an emphasis in graphic design. From the outset, he was pushed to create beyond the boundaries of his comfort zone because the art department requires its majors to complete a comprehensive art curriculum that includes drawing, painting and sculpture. Early on Pope was not a fan of the comprehensive approach, but he later realized how essential the studio classes were to his development as an artist.

“Once I got to my senior year and [I took] a package design class, I leaned heavily on all of the skills I learned in sculpting. I could go back to the woodwork studio and build boxes to make professional packaging.”

“Looking back, I think those classes helped mold me more than the actual design classes.”

By his junior year, Pope had decided to double-major in broadcast journalism. He became a production manager for Rebel Radio and a news anchor for NewsWatch at the student media center, but it wasn’t until he accepted a role as visual editor of the Daily Mississippian that he understood how his two degrees could coexist harmoniously.

“I don’t regret anything. I just treated college like an opportunity to experience all the things I wanted to experience, and I think that all those things have to come together to work for my greater good.”

All of Pope’s hard work paid off. During his senior year, his artwork was featured in the Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition Exhibit. One piece of package design and one poster design was chosen and this, Pope said, was one of his proudest moments at the university.

“It was really cool because that school is not only full of so many really good undergraduate artists but also graduate artists, and everyone is eligible to enter and be chosen.”

“I think there was a consistent theme with my art throughout my junior and senior years. I always wanted my designs to be very thought-provoking… to have something that was deeper than just surface level.”

After graduation, Pope accepted a position as an advertising coordinator at a sports publishing firm in Atlanta. From there he went on to join the Atlanta-based startup Scoutmob as an advertising executive for four years before landing at Creative Loafing Atlanta as a multimedia marketing specialist. However, he made the biggest leap of his professional career when he joined Turner Broadcasting as content marketing coordinator of the NBA on TNT and NBA TV. In his role at Turner Sports, Pope handles consumer-facing creative messaging and branding for both networks in addition to Pope said his experience in graphic design is what set him apart.

“My design background is what ultimately landed me the role and has allowed me to progress in my career,” he said. “I never took a single marketing class at UM but my undergraduate training in design prepared me to master consumer-facing content, from color theory, to tonality and – perhaps most importantly – design aesthetics. I owe it all to the art department and its amazing faculty.”

According to Pope, the Department of Art is more than a department, it’s a community that encourages collaboration and breaks down the walls that so often separate people.

“That environment shaped the way I think, create and innovate today. From the faculty to the access of world-class facilities and tools, [the Department of Art] develops free-thinkers and leaders.”

These free-thinkers and leaders are important because they connect people through their ability to create, Pope said.

“Artists have so much to contribute to society because they are always putting so much of themselves in what they do. They are always cognizant of the feelings of others.”


Original Article:

MFA Graduate Travels to Jingdezhen, China

This October, MFA Ceramics student, William McKinney has been honored with representing the University of Mississippi at the Taoxichuan Creative Fair in Jingdezhen, China. He was selected by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts and is one of seven students chosen to represent Universities from the United States. When asked about his upcoming trip McKinney stated, “It’s a huge honor…it was pretty amazing I got this opportunity to do this.”

McKinney grew up around the mountains of Morgantown, West Virginia and received his BFA in ceramics from West Virginia University. In an interview McKinney said, “…it will be good to get myself out of another comfort zone. I’ve been at Ole Miss for [two and a half years] now and it was great to get out of where I was comfortable back home in West Virginia…I want to do that again…this trip is going to make me challenge myself again.”

McKinney’s work in ceramics is experimental in nature and investigates function verses abstraction, and explores the environmental changes that are happening across the United States, specifically in his home state of West Virginia. He is looking forward to new artistic ideas and perspectives and hopes that his experimental approach to ceramics will bring something special to the fair. “[I’m hoping] to show people that [yes] this is a traditional material for pottery, but it can be adapted into very sculptural means and [push] those boundaries…”

Photo courtesy of Olivia Whittington

Fall Portfolio Prep Review

Where the Roots Rise

July 24–December 1, 2018

The University of Mississippi Museum
Artist’s Lecture:
 Wednesday, August 22, 2018, 5:30 p.m. with light refreshments
Opening Reception and Gallery Walkthrough with Artist: Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, 6–8:00 p.m.

Where the roots rise, in a forest full of ecru bone, the woman of the woods awakes to a world of myth and ruination. Where the Roots rise and the sun seeds, decay runs rampant—seasons change—nature lies in await to stake its claim.

 My work articulates humankind’s capacity to decay as a marker of our identity. Set in the swamps and woods of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, natural places where one encounters life and death, growth and decay, I explore the intimate relationship of a wild woman and her surrounding nonhuman environment. The woman collects the bones, branches, and flora and treads with the animals, both dead and living. 
The cyanotype process shifts focus from potentially colorful landscapes and figures to patterns, textures, and the relationships of forms within the images. Tea-staining the prints dulls the blue and adds warmth. Printing on thin Japanese paper reflects the deterioration of nature and gives the prints a feeling of fragility, reflecting upon the forms, the impermanence, and the interconnectedness of natural life.

Jaime Aelavanthara is an Assistant Professor at the University of Tampa in Photography & Foundations. She received her BFA from the University of Mississippi in Imaging Arts and her MFA in Photography from Louisiana Tech University. Her work explores a connection with the natural world and reflects on our transient, temporal lives that are each connected through the shared human condition. Her work can be seen at

Myth of The Beast

by: Jonathan Kent Adams
Coming out felt like joining the circus. People wanted to see and hear about the spectacle.  A gay boy who loved God in Mississippi. The Myth of the Beast is my way of confronting insecurities and moving into love. The act of painting and imagery used allow an escape from judgment and transition to love.  
In this series, most of the paintings are at night. I want the viewer to feel like they are walking in the dark. The circus elements represent religion and judgment. I paint myself in uncomfortable circumstances and show the viewer that one can still be content. The figures are all self-portraits planted within the landscape with the exception of my love. Finally, the anatomical heart symbolizes that what is within us can unite and set us free. 
Most of my life, I believed I was a beast.  Many LGBTQ+ people feel this way in places that demonize their existence. I grow in confidence by freeing myself from the power of people’s judgement. If I survive the dark nights, I always have hope. My new work challenges the myth in my mind, ignites constructions into flames, and offers a window to where I go to find freedom. 
BFA alumnus Jonathan Kent Adams is currently showing at Southside Art Gallery located in Oxford, MS. 
Southside Art Gallery’s doors are open Tuesday-Saturday from 10AM-5PM and Sunday from 11AM-3PM.
The Artist reception is September 6, 2018 from 5-8PM.

Jonathan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 2014 from the University of Mississippi. From large scale installations to tiny works on paper, Jonathan Kent Adams presents his paintings in traditional and unorthodox ways. This presentation allows for viewers to imagine those who do not follow social constructions existing alongside those who do. “I love the unfinished moments and unconventional presentation. Those moments allow viewers a place to be themselves,” said Adams.  Adams’ work places emphasis on the figure, but also explores communication through still life, video, found objects, and poetry. Similar to contemporary artist, Lesley Dill, Adams creates realities that stem from words he encounters. His work encourages self-discovery amid traditions that often deny the outsider’s existence. (

Outstanding Student Awarded

Charlotte Burge, BFA Sculpture, is the recipient of a scholarship selected by the Mississippi State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Charlotte was selected for her outstanding achievements as an art student in the Department of Art & Art History.

Charlotte Burge transferred from Itawamba Community College to The University of Mississippi in the pursuit of obtaining a BFA with an emphasis in sculpture. She was nominated and selected by a group of faculty members in the Department of Art & Art History, not only for the globally powerful topic she has chosen to focus on with the work she is creating, but also because of her character.

Charlotte’s mixed media sculptures expose and the reality of mental illness, currently a very important topic for our country. She reveals the struggles individuals may encounter using a variety of materials, including children’s toys, such as building blocks, dolls and tiny houses.

Charlotte will receive her scholarship award on August 7th at a luncheon held by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Jackson, MS.

HGTV’s Erin and Ben in Gallery 130!


Join us for a talk with Erin and Ben in Gallery 130 on Wednesday, April 4th at 10:00 am (standing room only).

Justin Bowles lecture & reception – March 22nd

Justin Bowles, “Courtyard”
Lecture: Thursday, March 22, 5:00 pm – Meek 120
Reception: Thursday, March 22, after lecture – Gallery 130


Brooke White part of group exhibition at Ogden


The Do Good Fund, Inc. is a public charity based in Columbus, Georgia. Since its founding in 2012, the fund has focused on building a museum-quality collection of photographs taken in the American South since World War II. The collection ranges from works by more than a dozen Guggenheim fellows to images by less well-known, emerging photographers working in the region. Do Good’s mission is to make its collection of over 500 images broadly accessible through regional museums, nonprofit galleries and nontraditional venues and to encourage complementary, community based programming to accompany each exhibition.


Opening Reception: March 24 @ 6 – 8 p.m.
Gallery Talk: March 25 @ 2 – 3 p.m.
“Photography in the American South since WW II”

This exhibition is curated by:
Amy Miller, Executive Director, Atlanta Celebrates Photography
and Alan Rothschild, President and Founder of The Do Good Fund Inc.

Host Committee:
Steven and Erin Chevalier
Richard and Kristina Ford
Dr. Jerry and Carolyn Fortino
Benjamin Lowry and Shelly Gallender
Shirley R. Masinter
Don and Lola Norris
Holly-Anne Palmer

Featuring photographs by:
Rob Amberg
Oraien Catledge
Rineke Dijkstra
Carolyn Drake
Jill Frank
Preston Gannaway
Jennifer Garza-Cuen
Carlos Gustavo
Baldwin Lee
Builder Levy
Susan Lipper
Gordon Parks
Eli Reed
Mike Smith
Rosalind Fox Solomon
Rylan Steele
Brandon Thibodeaux
Brooke White
Vanessa Winship