The Laurel Arts League is excited to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. Founded in 1969, this non-profit organization is dedicated to supporting and celebrating the visual and performing arts through public education and events within the city of Laurel and throughout Jones County.
In November of 1969, the 14 founding members of the Laurel Arts League held their inaugural meeting; electing Mrs. Pat Westover, Mrs. Bobbie Lou Green, Mrs. Susan Openshaw, and Mrs. Marda Burton to their first executive board. The Laurel Arts League was originally founded as an arm of the Laurel Arts Council; a group of organizations focused on arts education and cultural development within the city of Laurel.
Since its beginning, the Laurel Arts League has continued to grow and expand its impact throughout the community. The Arts League is now comprised of 59 volunteer members and supports many area projects such as the Art on Masonite Contest, the Heritage Arts Festival, the Very Special Arts Event, and the City Wide Art Contest. In 2018, the Laurel Arts League was proud to award $2,000 in scholarships to student artists within Jones County.
The Laurel Arts League sponsors many arts programs and events throughout the year including exhibits at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, arts classroom programming in our community's schools, and the creation of the Leontyne musical park downtown.
New this year, the Laurel Arts League supported the Mississippi Plein Air Painters during their painting event in Laurel. On November 2nd, the city hosted nearly 100 artists who created their masterpieces in downtown Laurel.
The crowning jewel of the Laurel Arts League’s season is the family-friendly Day in the Park festival; a day of fun, art, music, food, and community fellowship. 2020 marks the 48th annual Day in the Park, making this event the longest running festival in Laurel history. Proceeds from Day in the Park are used throughout the year to support student art programs, museum exhibits, public art projects, and give scholarships to aspiring artists. Mark your calendars now for May 2, 2020 for the 48th annual Day in the Park.
“I am proud to serve as President of an organization that has a 50 year history of celebrating arts in Jones County,” stated Kim Knobles, current President of Laurel Arts League. “As Laurel Arts League continues to grow, our commitment remains strong to the community we serve, and we are always looking for additional opportunities to support and enrich artistic appreciation and education.”