The work of a Mississippi artist is now celebrated in a book and fashion line.
“Worlds Beyond My Window,” published by University Press of Mississippi, features over 150 paintings and a dozen poems by Collins-native Gertrude McCarty Smith.
Prior to Smith’s death in 2007, she was a columnist for years for the Hattiesburg American, where she wrote about her childhood on a Covington County farm during the Great Depression. She produced hundreds of paintings during her lifetime, many of which represent the nature of the state.
“Trees, water and everything inspires me,” Smith said in a 2004 interview with Southern Living Presents.
“I know the Lord did it, and he gave me a talent. It’s natural – my hands and my arms just want to work, just sink.”
The publication of the 212-page hardback will feature an art exhibition at the Oddfellows Gallery in Hattiesburg. It opens with a reception on Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will run until December 31. The exhibition features more than 70 works of art that have not been exhibited locally for almost 15 years.
Oddfellow’s exhibition curator Rick Wilemon said Smith’s works reflect a long-standing passion for Mississippi culture.
“One cannot see her paintings or read her poetry without feeling the pure joy she felt for life,” he said. “His legacy of creative work deserves a place in the history of Mississippi’s long and distinguished list of artists and writers.”
Smith’s artwork has also been made into a fashion line, available for purchase online. Profits from the book and the fashion line will be donated to the Gertrude McCarty Smith Foundation for the Arts. Its mission is to bring access and passion for literature, performance, and the visual arts to underserved communities in Mississippi.