Main Gallery Exhibit – April 2021

April 2021 Main Gallery Exhibit

A Cast of Blues is a multi-media, disability friendly and interactive educational, one-of-a-kind collection of blues musicians’ life-cast masks.  This exhibit presents an up close and very personal view of the actual faces that the musicians themselves modeled for and left to us.  This is a “please touch” exhibit.  The artist invites everyone to touch these masks.

Sharon McConnell-Dickerson has devoted the last 14 years of her life, creating lifecasts of some of her closest friends. These friends happen to be some of the most influential blues musicians of our time. Most of them are now gone.

You can hear the blues in rock, soul and in jazz. The music will last forever; but the musicians, that made it legendary, are dying.

If you ask anyone who knows about Sharon’s art, they will tell you that she is single handedly preserving the blues in this medium. The lifecasts include a mask of Bobby “Blue” Bland, Little Milton, “Honeyboy” Edwards, Jimbo Mathus, Super Chikan, and Pinetop Perkins, just to name a few – almost 60 musicians total.

LIST OF LIFE-CASTS (Please click on the names to launch the musician profile page)

PLUS, A FREE CONCERT FROM JAMES "SUPER CHIKAN" JOHNSON OPENING NIGHT!

To celebrate this brilliant exhibit, one of Sharon’s close friends, Mississippi blues guitar legend Super Chikan will be playing a FREE SHOW on opening night starting at 6:30 pm! Limited seating will be placed out and social distancing is encouraged. 

Super Chikan is a Blues Music Award winning musician, artist and guitar maker based in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He is the nephew of fellow blues musician Big Jack Johnson. James Louis Johnson was born in Darling, Mississippi on February 16, 1951. He spent his childhood moving from town to town in the Mississippi Delta and working on his family’s farms. He was very fond of the chickens on the farm, and before he was old enough to work in the fields, he would walk around talking to them. This led his friends to give him the nickname “Chikan Boy”. At an early age, Johnson got his first rudimentary musical instrument, a “diddley bow”, which was simply a piece of wood with a piece of baling wire stretched from end to end. As he grew up, he came up with new ways to improve and vary the sounds he could make with it, and finally, in 1964, at the age of thirteen, he bought his first guitar, an acoustic model that had only two strings, from a Salvation Army store in Clarksdale.