Image: Jerrod Partridge

Sam Beibers, help Paul Fayard, Ron Lindsey and Wyatt Waters. Image: Jerrod Partridge

Fondren Renaissance has announced the first installment of this year’s 2014 Four Seasons of The Cedars Visual and Performing Arts Series and the date for the opening reception of this year’s February art show.

The Artists of Clinton, opening February 6 with a reception from 5pm – 8pm at The Cedars, will feature Sam Beibers, Paul Fayard, Ron Lindsey and Wyatt Waters.

A portion of all of the proceeds from sales of artists work goes to the continuing maintenance and restoration efforts of The Cedars, Jackson’s oldest residential home circa 1840.

The Cedars is located at 4145 Old Canton Road and parking is conveniently available across the street at St. Andrew’s Lower School (a security crossing guard is available during opening receptions).

Opening receptions are free of charge and open to the public. This show will hang through February 21 and gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 until 4.

fa5-newFondren’s first Thursday evening shopping opportunity is getting some new energy for 2014.

Leading the charge to revamp Fondren After 5 is Swell-O-Phonic owner Ron Chane, along with a small committee of merchants, bankers, marketers and restaurateurs. “It’s getting it back to grassroots,” he says of the planned reboot of the monthly event. “Fondren got its new zest ten years ago through the arts and I feel, through development, the arts may have taken a back seat. Fondren After 5 needs activity, more art, new life and new participation to stir it up and make it happen.”

Fondren Renaissance, Fondren After 5’s creator and host organization, applauds Chane’s efforts. “It’s exciting that merchants and others are willing to step up and say, “Let’s re-energize something that had another life,’” says Jim Wilkirson, Fondren Renaissance Executive Director.

Among the planned additions to the February 6th Fondren After 5 will be a curated selection of Midtown craftsmen, who will set up shop in and around Fondren Corner, street musicians on various corners and Chane will give away tee shirts. As warmer months come about, talk of having fire engines kids could explore, more space jumps or a dog-based event are in the works.

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Color Me Rad 5k returns to Fondren’s Zippity Doo Dah® Weekend on Saturday, March 22, 2014.

Online registration is now open at Participants enter the promo code, FONDREN, for 20% of registration fees to be donated to Friends of Children’s Hospital.

The funky and colorful non-timed race, presented in part by Fondren Renaissance, was a huge hit last year and sold out prior to race day with over 8,000 participants.

Fondren Renaissance executive director Jim Wilkirson said his organization is proud to facilitate and welcome the family-friendly event. “We had a blast last March and knew before it was over we definitely wanted Color Me Rad back for this year.”

Adults and children alike will run or walk through Fondren to be “color bombed” at each kilometer, resulting in a neighborhood washed in a rainbow of colors. The colored dust is made of FDA approved colored cornstarch and washes off in the shower.

Color Me Rad was created by four friends who wanted a 5k that was more fun than pressure. Races are held in more than 30 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Last year’s Fondren event helped add to the $100,000 total donation from the Zippity Doo Dah® Weekend.

holiday-show-webPresented by Blackledge Face Center, approved join Fondren Renaissance on Thursday, order December 5 at 5pm for the opening reception of The Women of Fondren. From watercolor to oil and pastel to acrylic, this incredibly diverse show features female artists of Fondren.

Artists include Vicki Armstrong, Bewey Bowden, Ann Brock, Tammy Oliver Cook, Janie Davis, Kit Fields, Laurilyn McDonald Fortner, Carol Clark Hammond, Roxanne Hilsman, Kay Holloway, Sandra Murchison, Lisa Paris, Courtney Peters, Elizabeth Robinson, Roz Roy, Jean Seymour and Sally Todd, showing their latest works covering a wide range of genres and subject matters.

The opening reception will be held as a part of Fondren After 5 and is from 5-8 p.m. at The Cedars, 4145 Old Canton Road. Invite a friend and plan on making it a night of “gallery hopping” throughout Fondren as many of our area art galleries schedule openings on the same first Thursdays of the month.

A group of Fondren’s church leaders met last month to discuss the Phoenix Initiative. Deb Addington, Kevin Partridge, Ricky James, Erika Mannery-Barker, Father Mike O’Brien, Bill Scruggs, Sister Mary Dorothea Sondgeroth, Jim Wilkirson, Deidra Bell, Robert Green, Michael Tolleson, Mary Jo McAnally and Rob Hill

A group of Fondren’s church leaders met last month to discuss the Phoenix Initiative. Deb Addington, Kevin Partridge, Ricky James, Erika Mannery-Barker, Father Mike O’Brien, Bill Scruggs, Sister Mary Dorothea Sondgeroth, Jim Wilkirson, Deidra Bell, Robert Green, Michael Tolleson, Mary Jo McAnally and Rob Hill

St. Dominic Health Services has renewed their commitment to Fondren and in cooperation with Fondren Renaissance is asking our neighborhood’s houses of worship to join them in this worthwhile endeavor of taking “mission” to heart.

Begun in 2006 with $250,000 in seed money from St. Dominic’s and a focus on the West Side of Fondren, the Phoenix Initiative provides a four-to-one matching grant for owner-occupied residences to provide facade improvements. Facilitated and managed by Fondren Renaissance, this program is getting another shot in the arm – to the tune of $96,000 – but with a caveat: St. Dominic’s is asking the neighborhood’s churches to provide a dollar for dollar match.

Deidra Bell, St. Dominic Executive Vice President and CFO says the move is in an effort to stretch the health provider’s dollars and find a support system. Citing fifty-six homes that have been rehabbed through Phoenix thus far, Bell said it’s “wonderful what has happened here over the years through this program. You now see pride of ownership in what was once a dilapidated area.”

Jim Wilkirson, Fondren Renaissance Executive Director, issued a challenge to the faith community. “There’s always strength in the royal priesthood,” he said, asking, “Consider this as a very viable mission in your own back yard that could make a large difference in someone’s life. One at a time, with a group of you, we can do many things. Take this back to your congregations and let them see what a difference you can make in Fondren. Mission is not always far away; it begins at home.”

St. Dominic’s says there is no time limit on the funds and that they will dole out monies as matching donations come in. In the program’s early days, the total grant was just over $6,000, but with inflation and materials cost, that amount could be increased to $7,000. So, for every grant approved by Fondren Renaissance, half of the matched funds would come from a church and the remaining half from St. D.

Bill Scruggs, a project coordinator for St. Dominic’s, was a Fondren Renaissance board member during the program’s original run from 2006 to 2009. “I don’t want this to stop,” he said. “It’s a great thing and I see the fruits of our labor. I’m hopeful Phoenix will continue finding the right partnerships with the right people.” Of the fourteen Fondren area churches that attended the announcement luncheon, five have already stepped up to the plate to make a commitment to the project.

Applications for Fondren homeowners are available by clicking here or contacting the Fondren Renaissance office at 601.981.9606 or Bill Scruggs at 601.497.2806.

tgiveA Community Thanksgiving Service will be held on November 26, 2013 at 6 p.m. in the sanctuary of Broadmeadow United Methodist Church.  The service will be led by representatives from St. Richard Catholic Church, St. James Episcopal Church and Broadmeadow UMC.

An offering will be received which will benefit the the Phoenix Initiative.  Begun with seed money from St. Dominic Health Services in 2006, the Phoenix Initiative provides a four-to-one matching grant for owner-occupied residences to provide facade improvements.  Fondren-area churches have been challenged to take part in funding this project which positively impacts the lives of so many in our community.  Sister Mary Dorothea Sondgeroth, of St. Dominic’s, will be present in order to share briefly about the Phoenix Initiative.

Broadmeadow UMC is located at 4419 Broadmeadow Drive.  A nursery will be provided.

web_banner-unwrappedFondren Renaissance’s Fondren Unwrapped – the official kick off to the holiday season.

This year’s festive celebration begins with the arrival of Santa at 5:00pm and continues with an old fashioned Christmas tree lighting featuring the world renowned Jim Hill Singers held at the large cedar tree on Duling Lawn at 5:30pm.

Merchants will offer holiday hospitality with special prize drawings, food, drink and music of their own.

Fondren Unwrapped has become a favorite open house in the metro area with art, choirs and more, all throughout the historic business district.

Let us know you’ll be there! Visit our Facebook event page.

Lighting of the Fondren Tree – 5:30pm featuring the Jim Hill High School Choir – Duling Green

Santa’s arrival – 5:45pm – Duling Avenue

St. Lukes Stage – Duling Avenue
St. Andrews Steel Drum Band – 5pm
Jim Hill Choir – 5:45pm
MS Girlchoir (Bell Canto) – 6:15pm
Jackon Prep Madrigals – 6:45pm

Fondren Corner
MS Girl Choir (Lyrica) – 5:30pm
Jackson Prep Madrigals – 6pm

3000 Old Canton Road (in front of Nick’s)
St. Andrews Steel Drum Band – 5:45pm

Woodland Hills Shopping Center
MS Girl Choir (Lyrica) – 6:15pm

More Music
Earle Bell at McDade’s

student Rock Band at Fondren Guitars

The Vibe Doctors at Sal & Mookie’s

live music at Sneaky Beans

The Weekend Kids + special guest at Cups

ardenland presents Seryn at Duling Hall – 7:30pm – free

Stop by BankPlus corner for sweet treats compliments of BankPlus and Santa…and don’t miss a special treat from Campbell’s Bakery, a Fondren replica cake, to celebrate their 50th anniversary!

holiday-show-webFondren Renaissance’s annual holiday art show is presented as part of the Four Seasons of The Cedars Visual and Performing Arts Series and will feature the work of seventeen Fondren women.

Vicki Armstrong • Bewey Bowden • Ann Brock • Tammy Oliver Cook • Janie Davis • Kit Fields • Laurilyn McDonald Fortner • Carol Clark Hammond • Roxanne Hilsman • Kay Holloway • Sandra Murchison • Lisa Paris • Courtney Peters • Elizabeth Robinson • Roz Roy • Jean Seymour • Sally Todd

Opening December 5, 2013 from 5pm to 8pm at The Cedars, 4145 Old Canton Road.

The Women of Fondren Holiday Art Show will hang through December 20, 2013.

Gallery hours are Tue- Fri, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, call Kay Holloway at 601.366.5552.

Free, Onsite parking at St. Andrews Lower Elementary School.

Let us know that you’ll be joining us. Visit our Facebook event page.

eltaFondren’s longest native resident, Elta Livingston, was laid to rest on Monday after her death at the age of 83 late last week. Last night, at Fondren’s 13th annual Symphony at Sunset, Livingston was recognized as this year’s Symphony honoree.

Fondren Renaissance Executive Director Jim Wilkirson delivered a moving tribute to one of Fondren’s biggest fans:

“Tonight we honor Elta Livingston. Elta is one of our dearest friends. She has been in Fondren her entire life. Last week, she left dear Fondren for a life up above. We loved Elta and Elta was always there around the edges. She always had a hand in everything. She didn’t want to be the center of attention, but she sure did have some drive and determination.

She’d be sitting right out there at the (The Cedars) sign right now, right at the fringe. That’s what Elta would do. She’d be greeting every single person as they came up.

So tonight, we honor this beautiful legacy of Elta Livingston.

She was our oldest living Fondren resident She had been here her entire life. She was born right up State Street and attended Duling School.

She loved The Cedars and she loved this neighborhood. She’s seen it through the great times growing up here, also through a little bit of decay. She was one of the very first to say ‘It’s time to revitalize.’ And that’s what she did. With us, hand in hand, she has lead Fondren Renaissance for many years and you see exactly where we are today.

She was extremely proud of her church, St. Luke United Methodist Church, right across from her school where she grew up. We have given, in honor of her, a paschal candle. That candle not only represents her passing on to a better life, but also the birth of every new child that will go through that church. Exactly what any one would want to do to carry on their spirit.

I know she is here with us. It’s a wonderful night and I’m so glad you were here to share this with Fondren.”

Wilkirson recognized Livingston’s family, many of whom stayed in Fondren this week to be able to attend Symphony at Sunset. He then called to the stage Livingston’s niece, Daphne Lee, who spoke on behalf of her aunt’s family.

“Thanks for coming, thanks for supporting the family and Elta.

Elta loved Fondren and the people that lived and worked here. She loved her community, she loved her church and, I think, over the past few weeks, as we have reflected on memories of Elta and the legacy of the people that she has loved and the lives that she has changed, a perfect memorial is here tonight. And the people that are here together, take away, that (you should) encourage charity and cherish your friends and fellowship with your friends. And again, thanks for your support and your love of Elta.”


Flattmann, Melton and Lawrence and Jan Farrington

After 30 years in the chemical industry, Oxford’s Benny Melton has found his first love again. After hearing his name called last night at The Cedars 2nd annual Juried Art show, Melton found himself a winner, taking away the grand prize. “This is a fantasy for me,” he said on the front porch of The Cedars. “I can’t believe my name is getting called.”

His piece, an oil on canvas work, is titled “Though the Transition” and speaks of his life. “It’s everything in my studio I have collected over thirty plus years,” he explained of the painting. “You see books and materials, even the original pastel set (art professor) Sammy Britt made us buy at Delta State in the fall of 1976 when I was a student there. That’s a little bit of me in every one of those things.”

Esteemed juror, pastel artist and New Orleans native Alan Flattmann says he chose Melton’s piece out of all eighty-three for its composition and paint handling. “It’s the intimacy of it,” he said of the work. “You took something very ordinary and made an exciting piece.” Flattmann said it was an honor to judge the show and that he was impressed by the quality of the 2D and 3D works. “I just wish there were more awards to give out.”

A Yazoo City native, Melton said he entered the juried show over the summer after meeting Jerrod Partridge, a Fondren artist and Fondren Renaissance board member. Melton and Partridge were both attending an artist talk and show at Ole Miss when Partridge shared a link to Fondren. Melton thought it would be a great opportunity to expand his reach beyond the University of Mississippi campus where he is in the masters program.

When next summer’s call for entries rolls around, it seems Melton may be the biggest cheerleader for participation. He says, “If you don’t give it a try, you’re missing great opportunity that’s promoting Mississippi artists. It’s very important in our community…we have to get art out and establish value for what we do. We need (art) now more than ever.”

Other winners in the 2nd annual show presented by Fondren Renaissance and sponsored by Jan & Lawrence Farrington were: 2nd place – Janice Neil Dean; 3rd place – Susan Russell; 4th place – Paul Fayard; Honorable mentions – Diane Bryan, Becky Pate, Victoria Ramjes and Andrea Kostal.

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