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“Shared Earth: The Ancient Mounds Project” is on display at the Masur Museum until Feb. 14.
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An image from the "Shared Earth" exhibit of an artifact found in the ancient mounds.
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More images of artifacts from the "Shared Earth" exhibit.
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The “Whispering Pines” exhibit documents the life of Blume Triplett, who owned Whispering Pines, a roadside bar in Crawford, Miss., and of the bar’s many colorful patrons.
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"Whispering Pines" photographer Birney Imes' works have also been collected by such heavy hitting art venues as the Museum of Modern Art and The Art Institute of Chicago.
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This sculpture stands outside the Masur Museum.
If you’ve never been to the Masur Museum of Art, you’re missing one of Monroe’s hidden gems. Tucked away quietly on South Grand Street, the building itself is a thing of beauty worth seeing. The residence was built in 1929 and donated to the City of Monroe for use as a museum in 1963. Its current exhibits, “Shared Earth: The Ancient Mounds Project” and “Whispering Pines” are both must-see fare for photography or history enthusiasts.
The “Shared Earth” exhibit features works by local self-taught Monroe photographer Jenny Ellerbe. In addition to having works in Masur’s permanent collection, Ellerbe’s works have been purchased for the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The pieces in the exhibit, which include Native American artifacts such as spear points in addition to the photographs, showcase ancient earthen mounds found throughout our region, built between 4000 B.C. and 500 B.C. Little is known about the mounds, which include Poverty Point, but according to Diana Greenlee, an archaeologist whose work involves the mounds, “They represent the earliest known attempts to permanently alter the landscape in the Americas.” It is believed that the Poverty Point mound – one of the largest of its kind – took more than 15 million basket loads of dirt for the ancient inhabitants of Northeast Louisiana to build.
Masur’s curator of collections and exhibitions, Benjamin Hickey, says of the exhibit, “As you can tell, we’re a small institution, and in order to make the ‘Shared Earth’ exhibition possible, because it’s cost prohibitive to frame 30 things, we (museum employees) all learned how to build the frame stock and build the frames and mount everything. So, it’s a soup to nuts effort.” Hickey says the exhibit has the potential to garner national attention, with interest being shown by the Smithsonian Affiliates Program and the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. “Our little show that’s very centered on Northeast Louisiana has the potential to travel to some pretty good art and science venues throughout the country,” added Hickey.
The Masur Museum is also exhibiting “Whispering Pines,” a showcase of renowned photographer Birney Imes, whose works have also been collected by such heavy hitting art venues as the Museum of Modern Art and The Art Institute of Chicago. The “Whispering Pines” series documents the life of Blume Triplett, who owned Whispering Pines, a roadside bar in Crawford, Miss., and of the bar’s many colorful patrons. Both exhibits are on display until Feb. 14. Admission is free.
By Frank DeVaalt