Special to the News Messenger

The Marshall Regional Arts Council is celebrating its 40th year serving Harrison, Marion and Panola counties by providing arts and humanity experiences to all.

“We are excited to invite our new and renewing members to a celebration of the visual art talent of our region at our annual Judged Art Show Reception, at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 25 at the (Marshall) Visual Arts Center in downtown Marshall,” said MRAC Executive Director Madeline Marak.

“It’s the kickoff for our membership drive,” added Nancy Simpson, chairman of the MRAC art competition.

More than 24 area artists submitted to the exhibition. The show features the stunning pieces of artwork of artists from Marshall, Avinger, Jefferson, Carthage, Hallsville and more.

“As part of the event, we will be raffling off one of the artworks in the show,” said Marak. “For every $25 donation to MRAC, donors receive one chance to select the artwork of their choice.

“The artist whose artwork was chosen will go home with $1,000 as a contribution and recognition of the hard work and dedication of our area artists.”

The show will be judged and awarded cash prizes for first, second, and third place.

“Our judge this year is Lily Thompson, fine arts instructor at Bossier Parish Community College,” said Marak.

Thompson was born in Arlington to an artist mother and musician father.

She attended Centenary College and received a degree in both sociology and fine art. She has her master’s of fine art from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She has been an instructor of fine art at Bossier Parish Community College for the past three years.

Thompson hosts a standing Thursday night “art night” for some of her friends in hopes of inspiring others to create art regularly and about subjects that are important to them. She believes that, by creating in this way, art can serve not only as a means for personal expression but for education as well.