Bizarre at Bozarts
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder at this
quirky Water Valley attraction
Story & Photos by Mike LEE
Arts | November 2015
Primarily guided by the efforts of Mickey Howley, in the summer of 2008 he reorganized the art gallery and expanded it into a collective, forming the Bozart Alliance — a group of 15 artists who lead and decide the direction of both displays and special shows.
Currently, they organize and manage between seven and nine themed-shows each year; the most current one being “the sofa show: (Finally) Art That Matches”, a clever spin on displaying art where individual paintings are hung behind furniture to give a better feel of what the art would look like in a potential buyers house. The warmth and personality that it brings to the artwork adds a positive touch to envisioning how the piece would appear in a home setting.
The theme was envisioned as a means to answer the question, “…what would the painting look like in my home?” and visitors are encouraged to take ‘selfies’ of themselves, seated on the furniture with the artwork in the background.
Much like many national galleries, where benches are provided for patrons to sit on and view artwork, Bozarts placed the furniture along the walls right under the paintings so that guests would see how each piece would look in a more natural setting.
“the sofa show…” opened on September 19 and runs through November 21, and is worth a visit to Bozarts Gallery in Water Valley to see the unique display by local and regional artists.
Too often, local small art galleries are shunned due to the lack of quality art. But in this case Bozarts is filled with some of the finest art pieces in the state, produced by some of Mississippi’s best and most talented artisans.
After the current show is finishes on November 21, Bozarts will display the “Miniature Show” which will run from December 5 through late February. A variety of small-scale art, graphics, and sculptural pieces will be on display for viewers to enjoy and it promises to be a success.
Mickey Howley and Annette Trefzer have invested much of their personal lives into the fabric of Water Valley, and it is very evident. Mickey also writes a column for the North Mississippi Herald newspaper and Annette is a professor at the University of Mississippi, Oxford. They have made Water Valley their home, and, in doing so, have given back to the community much more than they’ve received.
Bozarts Art Gallery is open Thursday: noon — 5 p.m., Friday: noon — 5 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. and on special occasions, by appointment, by phoning (662) 473-2484. Their website is also assessable at bozartsgallery.com
In 2005, husband and wife Mickey Howley and Annette Trefzer purchased the building at 403 North Main Street, Water Valley with the goal of establishing an art gallery and immersing themselves in Yalobusha county culture, art, and its literary scene. However, their efforts were put on hold when, two months after acquiring the property, hurricane Katrina struck the greater New Orleans area.
To help out as much as possible, they headed to the gulf coast where they spent the next two years building homes, cleaning up debris, and assisting locals in relocation and in getting their lives back in order.
Then in 2007, Mickey and Annette began renovation of the building in downtown Water Valley, first as a dance studio / dance school with the occasional art show, utilizing the front half of the space. The success of that effort convinced them to convert that part of the building into a permanent art gallery, and thus was born “Bozarts Gallery” as it is known today.