Saturday, October 31, 2020

Oxford's Women On the Move: Beyond Art, There Is Nothing

Photo courtesy of Andi Bedsworth.

HottyToddy.com’s Steve Vassallo sat down with Oxford resident Andi Bedsworth to discuss her accomplishments as an artist.


One of my favorite quotes of all time is attributed to John Lennon. Lennon supposedly said once upon a time, “Before Elvis, there was nothing,”…of course, musically speaking. I’m not attempting to
compare Andi Bedsworth to “The Walrus”, but maybe there is a valid comparison. Andi is definitely one interesting and talented individual!
Vassallo: Andi, with your Baton Rouge roots, one would think that you would be miserable here. But that’s far from your reality.
Bedsworth: I love living in Oxford. It is easy to live a good life here. Schools are good, traffic is almost non-existent and there is often something fun to do.
Vassallo: Your childhood in Louisiana gravitated to theater at a very young age. Was Cinderella high on your popularity ladder?
Bedsworth: I was not as much interested in being in musicals and preferred plays without music, but I do love all theatre and attended many LSU productions when I was in high school. My high school was a performing arts school, and I took ballet for 3 years and theatre all four.
Vassallo: We almost did not get this interview in on time as the start of your eleven summer camps kicks off tomorrow.
Bedsworth: Summer is my busy time as I direct a summer camp program in partnership with Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. I love getting busy and messy in art projects with the kids. They are funny, and often uninhibited when it comes to making art which is inspiring to me as an adult. Somewhere we lose that spontaneity sometimes.
Vassallo: Someone I spend a lot of time with recently told me that “everyone in Oxford knows who you are.” Is that a fair assessment?
Bedsworth: I think it is easy to know people in this town. It is small, and I am active in the community which is probably why someone might have said that. However, there are still lots of people in town that I would like to meet.
Vassallo: Your educational background truly is impressive. Anyone with Tulane credentials immediately gets my attention.
Bedsworth: Tulane was where I got my MFA in Costume Design and Technology in 2004. I went back at age 30 after taking a school break when I graduated in 1993 from LSU with a BA in Theatre-Costume Design. Living and studying in New Orleans was a pleasure and I have many fond memories of my time at Tulane.
Vassallo: Tell us about your new studio.
Bedsworth: I am so happy to have space where I can spread out and work on art projects, paperwork, and sewing. It is located at the Orchard Church and is the perfect space for me. I think of it as my little treehouse as I am upstairs in a loft-like part of the building.

Photo courtesy of Andi Bedsworth.

Vassallo: What all will you be teaching the kids and adults who will be attending your summer camps?
Bedsworth: I teach 11 weeks of summer camps all with different themes for children and during two weeks, I teach afternoon sessions for adults and teachers looking for CEU credits. I started teaching these classes last summer, and they have been fun to teach and well received by those who participated.
Vassallo: With your background, name three places on your bucket list that you’re eager to visit.
Bedsworth: Ukraine-one of my dearest friends from my time in New Orleans is from there and is living there again. Europe-I have not gone to Paris, London, Prague or any of those famous places so many people visit during college, etc. An Olympic Games-I do not have preferences on Summer or Winter and not sure which country yet, but I have wanted to attend a live Olympics for several years now.
Vassallo: And for those top three most wonderful places you’ve been, what are those?
Bedsworth: I love New York City for its art museums and great live theatre and the energy of the city. I adore visiting Brasstown, North Carolina where I often teach at the John C. Campbell Folk School. New Orleans is one of my most favorite places I have ever lived and I have loved it for decades.
Vassallo: Referring back to our title comment, outside of art what is your primary hobby/interest?
Bedsworth: There is none! All of my hobbies are creative based. I embroider, sew, paint, collage, cross-stitch, and even was a volunteer DJ for a while at a local radio station several years ago. I do also love being a grandmother.
Vassallo: Andi is an unusual name. Is this a nickname, family name or something else?
Bedsworth: It is what my parents always called me so it is a nickname, but I do not remember them calling me by my given name, Andrea. Hardly anyone does.
Vassallo: You and Robert must share a great deal in common.
Bedsworth: It was evident right away that Robert and I share many passions including loving architecture and art, traveling, and listening to music.
Vassallo: Many people prefer to live here because of the cultural DNA that Oxford is so proud. Your thoughts along this line?
Bedsworth: I found my tribe in Oxford because it is so nurturing of the cultural arts-music, art. It is one of the reasons this town is so appealing to many people. There is a lot of fun things to do here.
Vassallo: What have I not asked you that you would like to share your thoughts or an opinion?
Bedsworth: I really enjoy my life here and was tickled to be asked about it.


Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.