Two works in progress show promise for arts viewers this month. A JSU graduate’s unique mixed media art is on display at the Gadsden Museum of Art, while new interest in the historic renovation of an Anniston mansion is the subject of the Calhoun County Historical Society’s May 20 meeting. In both art and preservation, one thing seems clear: The possibilities are endless.

Exhibit features art construction

An artist who wishes to grow creatively can do so only by seeking out new ideas and methods. Wes Bowen’s sculptural mixed-media display is resplendent with pieces that should be new and different to most viewers because, in addition to painting and drawing, he constructs. In his one-man show, Bowen, who received his bachelor of fine arts degree from JSU last December, recycles elements such as metal, wool, ceramics, nylon, string, glass and wood to create shapes with fresh meaning.

According to Allison McElroy, a teacher and advisor of Bowen’s, children at the exhibit opening especially found wonder and recognition in the re-use of familiar, everyday objects.

“I’ve seen Wes develop his technique from the beginning,” McElroy said. “He takes ordinary objects — things you’d throw away — and then makes amazing things from them with hard and soft juxtaposed.”

Bowen’s installation, titled “Redefined Identities,” contains 27 pieces, which combine materials to make viewers see them in a new light.

“I work with any material that strikes my fancy and present it in a different way in sculpture,” he said. “In class we explored how to ‘think outside the box’ and I guess that’s what I’m doing.”

Bowen, whose family lives in Oxford, is also working with Anniston artist Pat Potter on mixed media pieces for a January exhibit in Charleston, S.C. The pieces will be included in a book and film in Charleston, he said.

The exhibit will be up through June 13. The museum is open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During First Friday in Gadsden June 8 it will stay open until 7 p.m.

Kilby Home celebrates 100 years

The next meeting of the Calhoun County Historical Society will be held May 20 in the Ayers Room of the Anniston-Calhoun County Public Library. A hospitality mixer begins at 5 p.m. and the meeting begins at 5:30. The public is invited.

Bill Couch, a member of the Anniston Historic Preservation Commission, will speak on the history and importance of the Thomas E. Kilby House. Built in 1914, the Kilby House is located on the grounds of Anniston High School and owned by the Anniston City Board of Education. The former home of Thomas Kilby, the only Annistonian to become governor of Alabama, is currently occupied by the Cheaha Creative Arts, an after-school program offering multidisciplinary fine arts programs.

Couch’s presentation on the home once known as the “Queen of Anniston” should be overflowing with history. Thomas Kilby, a leading industrial and business force in the city and state, made a stellar career of overseeing improvements in issues still relevant today including education, mental health and veterans’ benefits. Kilby lived in the house until his death in 1943 and his widow, Mary Elizabeth, continued to reside there until her death in 1962.

The Kilby House has been growing old gracefully, but is in need of repairs.

“We are looking into the feasibility of funding for the restoration of the home and considering its possible uses that would benefit the community,” Couch said. “We are open to suggestions as to the use of this home.”

Cheaha Creative Arts president Rose Munford, who has done research and worked to raise awareness of this historic building, will be at the meeting and available for questions.

For more information, contact Judy Draper at 256-237-5657.

CAST auditions May 17 and 20

The magic felt backstage is a performer’s reward after the long theatrical process — a process that begins with the audition. CAST is holding general auditions for its next season May 17 at 3 p.m. and May 20 at 6 p.m. at its new headquarters at 131 West 11th St., the former Waterworks building.  

Actors, singers and dancers of all ages are needed for roles for the five-show season, as well as seamstresses, choreographers, musicians and more. CAST has also made a special request for armor for its production of “Spamalot” in September. For more information, call 256-820-CAST.