MGCCC’s Jefferson Davis Fine Arts Gallery to exhibit works of Herb Willey

“Bless You Boats” by watercolor artist Herb Willey

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jefferson Davis Campus is proud to announce the opening reception of its next fine-art exhibit, “Gulf of America – The Prequel,” featuring the artwork of watercolor artist Herb Willey. The exhibit will run October 2-26 in the campus Fine Arts Gallery, with a reception and artist’s talk on October 26 at noon.

Willey’s first structured art lessons were in high school in Miami, Florida. While serving in the U.S. Navy, Willey attended the University of Hawaii as a part-time art student and sold his paintings in the art colony at Ala Moana, primarily casein and acrylic paintings. After leaving the Navy he attended the University of Louisiana Lafayette (ULL) on scholarship as a fine art major with a minor in advertising art. While attending ULL, he worked as staff artist at the Daily Iberian in New Iberia, Louisiana. His collage work was selected by the Louisiana State Art Commission in 1963 for a one-year traveling exhibit in all the Louisiana State Art Museums. His acrylic paintings of Louisiana swamp scenes were chosen by the LaSalette Hospital Board to decorate their hospital in Loreauville, Louisiana.

A self-employed designer from 1965-2003, Willey won awards from companies including Mercury Outboard Motors and Cook Chemical Company. His primary watercolor-art instruction was with the well-known New Orleans watercolorist Harrel Gray and his work was on display at the Old Quarter Gallery in the French Quarter during the 1990s.

Willey is a full-time Bay St. Louis resident. His work is displayed at Gallery 220 in Bay St. Louis and other galleries on the Gulf Coast.

His watercolor pieces have been juried and honored in regional shows, including the Arts of Hancock County, The Gulf Coast Art Association Annual Shows and the River Road Show in Baton Rouge. He has also been featured in local venues, including the Hancock County Courthouse, the Bay St Louis Mayor’s Office and the Diamondhead Library.

In August 2014, Willey was selected as both The Seacoast Echo Artist of the Week and Artist of the Month.  He was a guest artist at the Whimsies 44th annual art show and sale in New Orleans at the Louise McGehee School and was chosen People’s Choice Artist in 2015 in The Arts Invitational Jury Show at the Waveland City Hall Gallery.

In 2016, he was chosen to appear in the Louisiana State University Brush with Burdin art exhibit, as well as this year’s River Road Show. He has been juried into international shows, including the Louisiana Watercolor Society annual show (the only Mississippi watercolorist to be chosen); The Water Tower Watercolor Show in Mendocino, California; the Mighty Tieton annual show in Tieton, Washington; the International Watercolor Society show in Taiwan; and the International Watercolor Society show in Hong Kong.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, contact Cecily Cummings, gallery director, at 228.897.3909 or cecily.cummings@mgccc.edu.

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