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Brazilian artist CADU creates bars of magnolia scented Button Soap with Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell and Natchez artist and entrepreneur Ann Grennell of Scent From Natchez. Right: Natchez artist Johnnie Griffin and his grandson Daniel J. Hartwell carve the wood buttons from magnolia branches to be inserted into the soap bars. 

Artists Utilize Over 750 Pounds of Soap for Project HEAL Natchez
from Staff Reports - NEWS
September 13, 2017 - ListenUpYall.com

NATCHEZ, Miss. — Project HEAL Natchez Art Exhibit and Performance Series launches on Thursday, September 14th in Natchez.

After a yearlong collaboration between Louisville, KY-based IDEAS xLab, the City of Natchez and over 10 community artists and organizations, Project HEAL Natchez launches with an art exhibit and performance series featuring art pieces, photographs, food, music, and stories lifting up culture heritage in Natchez, MS.

The exhibit includes a sculpture, Equity Platform, made from over 750 lbs. of Natchez-made magnolia scented soap, hand-carved buttons made of magnolia wood, cast soap hand sculptures housing a single pearl and metal plate, photographs and narratives. The exhibit will be activated by a performance of the "Girls'n Pearls" (girls ages 8 to 18 mentored by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Southwest Mississippi Chapter) entitled "We'll Rise Up."

The goal of Project HEAL Natchez is to positively impact racial equity and to build new community wealth in black-owned businesses and organizations through capacity building in arts, culture and heritage tourism.

"Project HEAL Natchez has been transformative in its approach to engaging arts, culture, and heritage in Natchez," said Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell. "It has been amazing to witness the collaboration between so many different organizations and individuals throughout the community. Black and white. Young and old. All brought together by artists to lift up the cultural heritage narrative of the African American community while seeking to expand economic opportunities, especially as it relates to tourism."

Project HEAL Natchez is supported by a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant, with additional support from Humana Inc., the MS Humanities Council, and the We Shall Overcome Fund.

Learn more about Project HEAL Natchez and September-October activities here.
Participating Artists and Entrepreneurs for Project HEAL Natchez include:

Brazilian artist Cadu conceptualized and co-created the Equity Platform, Girls’n Pearls Soap Sculpture, and Button Soap.
Louisville, KY artist, author and spoken word artist, Hannah L. Drake designed "We’ll Rise Up".
Cultural Liaison for Project HEAL was Natchez artist Leon Hollins III.
Natchez artist and entrepreneur Ann Grennell of Scent From Natchez produced the magnolia soap.
Natchez artists Johnnie and Loraine Griffin created the soap molds for the platform and individual hand sculptures.
Natchez artist Johnnie Griffin and his grandson Daniel J. Hartwell carved the wood buttons.
Natchez artist and entrepreneur Jeremy Houston, in collaboration with the Natchez Historic Foundation, wrote the text of the Button Soap Story.
Natchez cultural producer Jarita Frazier-King of Natchez Heritage School of Cooking
Mack James, Natchez photographer, worked with 12 girls mentored by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women to develop PhotoVoice: Girls 'n Pearls Explore Their Natchez.
Mark LaFrancis, Natchez author and filmmaker, worked with 9 local high school students from 3 different schools to develop PhotoVoice: My World, My View, My Natchez.




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