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Mississippi Treasures: Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort To Host Exhibit

CARE Charleston


 The Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort (CARE) will host a book signing and art exhibit featuring titles by Dr. Ed Meek and Malcolm White and an exhibit of pottery by the late Rachel Ballentine. The exhibit will be on Friday, Jan. 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Charleston Arts Center on the Charleston, Mississippi, Court Square.

Rachel Ballentine

CARE Charleston Rachel Ballentine was a gifted clay pottery maker from Sardis, Mississippi. She graduated from Ole Miss with a Masters Degree in education and a Masters Degree in Art Education in 2000. In September of 2013, Ballentine passed away, leaving behind a disabled child. The handcrafted clay pottery will be on sale during the event, and proceeds will go towards her family.

Ballentine’s work has been exhibited in Illinois at the American Craft Council show, American Women’s Expo, Black Women’s Expo. Ballentine has also exhibited work in museums and galleries across Mississippi and in Tennessee.

Ballentine was one of seven artists chosen to create the “Highway 61 Project” that was exhibited at the George Ohr Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi. The gifted artist was a member of several art organizations and a board member of the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education, a field advisor for the Whole School Initiative through the Mississippi Arts Commission, and was inducted as a member of the Mississippi Artist Roster.

Other organizations Ballentine was involved with is the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, where she was a member and board member. Ballentine also conducted workshops for teachers and students from Gulf Coast of Mississippi to Olive Branch, Mississippi.

Ed Meek

Meek is a native of Charleston, Mississippi. His book, “Riot: Witness to Anger and Change,” is a photo history of the 1962 Ole Miss riot when James Meredith enrolled at the university and features Meek’s own photographs. Meek is the CEO of New Media Lab, publishers of www.HottyToddy.com.

CARE 1Edwin E. Meek’s photograph album, Riot: Witness to Anger and Change, was chosen by USA Book News as best independently published book in 2015 for U.S. History. Meek was nominated for the 2015 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters photography award.

Meek is a former Vice Chancellor for Public Relations and Marketing and Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Meek and his wife, Becky, both alumni of Ole Miss, provided the financial support for establishment of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

As a publisher, Meek has published 13 niche magazines, including Oxford Magazine, Satellite Opportunities, PC Opportunities, Mississippi Pharmacist, Restaurant Marketing, Nightclub & Bar and Salud’ and his latest Experience Oxford.

Meek was instrumental in getting legislation passed to create the Small Business Development Center, an agency that now has its counterpart in every state. Meek is the founder of the Tupelo Furniture Market that became one of the largest trade show facilities in the nation.

Other mentions are that Meek is an Eagle Scout, American Council On Education Fellow, recipient of the Governor’s Distinguished Mississippian Award, author of numerous professional articles and is author, or co-author, of three books on the art of Theora Hamblett. His expanding businesses have included an advertising agency, warehouse facilities and most recently New Media Lab LLC, and Hottytoddy.com, an on-line newspaper reaching 1.2 million readers.


Malcolm White

CARE Charleston White is a native of Stone County, Mississippi. Whit’e book, “Little Stories,” is a collection of Mississippi photos. White is the former director of Visit Mississippi (the state’s tourism agency) and former executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission. White has also been a member of and served on the committees of numerous civic organizations during his career

“My love of photography and Mississippi moved me to put these little Instagrams into a book form. It is my way of telling stories through captured images, design and the familiar subject of the land I call home,” White said.

“What I present in this little book is how I see my postage stamp of earth; the place I call home and where I have made my life. The light, the story, the vantage point is a collection of experiences, a perspective of my journey, of my time spent looking and pondering. Eudora Welty once wrote, ‘To know one place well, is to understand all places better.’ Here I share what I know — and in this case it is a geography known as Mississippi, a place of phantasmagoric change and historic resistance to change; a place beloved and a place despised and detested — a place of paradox, home,” White said.

Book Review:


“… it is a personal exploration and delightful compendium of visual images that provide insight into an array of unique facets about The Magnolia State. It’s a treasure trove of visual imagery that delights, mesmerizes and spurs inner dialogue.” -Clarion Ledger


Alphonso Sanders

Alphonso Sanders will provide live entertainment for the event. Sanders has been involved in music education for over 25 years. Sanders is the Chair of Fine Arts and Director of the B.B. King Recording Studio at Mississippi Valley State University. As a performer of both woodwind and brass instruments, he is rooted in the cultures of blues and jazz. Sanders has played at highly recognized festivals, both nationally and internationally and is currently on the Mississippi Arts Commissions Mississippi Artist Roster.

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