Alex Mercedes Emphasizes Arts

“Mercedes Emphasizes Arts in Holly Springs” – a Slice of Life article (text as printed in The South Reporter on March 6, 2014)

A performing artist inspired by every facet of life, Alex Mercedes teaches piano, gives lectures, and leads workshops that connect the mind and body.

With a dream to introduce art to a small town, Mercedes left San Francisco in the summer of 2012 to come to Holly Springs and do exactly that. Her plan was to start an artist residency called the “Artist Retreat and Conference Center”, which would present the community with original works of art, inspired by the South. The residency would have been open to painters, writers, musicians, and performers.

While the timing hasn’t been right for Holly Springs to host such a retreat, Mercedes’ dream to bring the arts to our town succeeds in a few unexpected ways. She shares her passion for music by teaching private piano lessons, playing piano at Grace Lutheran Church on Sundays, and by taking an active role in programs such as Behind the Big House.

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“It’s (creating art) about being open and inquisitive, and playful,” she says.

Additionally, Mercedes offers workshops (or “playshops”, as she prefers to call them) that use improvisational theater techniques for educational development. Currently, she has an eight-week theater arts program in development with the Powerhouse in Oxford, and a second workshop in May, in Panama City, Florida.

She’s also co-creating a performance project with Alisea McLeod, the Interim Chair of Humanities at Rust College, based on the freed African American families who stayed in Contraband Camps after the Civil War.

“I am interested, and eager, for the arts to have a higher profile in Holly Springs,” Mercedes says. “It (art) is catching like wildfire around us in Miss.”

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Megan Wolfe
About the Author:
I'm a San Francisco photographer and writer currently based in the South. My work is inspired by weathered history, interviews with locals, and wanderlust.


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