In partnership with
the Hernando Animal Shelter

(for humans and pets)
Saturday May 1
1pm - 4pm
2465 Hwy 51 South, Hernando

Help the Hernando Animal Shelter rescue a new furry four-legged friend
  • View the art that reflects the habitats, creatures and people that enrich our lives.
  • Enter raffle to win a commissioned pet portrait (proceeds go to Hernando Animal Shelter)
  • Adopt a Pet or just love one while you are here
  • Observe Artists create pet portraits/sketches
  • Meet Artists Ann Burton and Terri Massey
Featured Artist Interview: Terri Massey
Art with a Purpose

by: Teresa Harris Cochran
Photos by: James Sentenn
Terri Massey and her dog Izzy met us at the front door, and we made our way back to her creative space- a room with large windows looking out on mature trees, lakes, and a Zen-like garden inviting you to just sit, breathe deeply and enjoy nature. Terri herself exudes Zen-like qualities of peace and calm even wearing a peace sign in the form of a rock necklace made by her father. Underneath the calm exterior, though, burns a passion for using her art to raise awareness of the plight of abused, neglected, homeless animals and contribute funding to the shelters charged with their care.

Close your eyes and imagine with me, if you will, furry little bodies eagerly watching and shaking with anticipation as someone walks by. You can almost hear them saying, “pick me, pick me”. Then that someone continues walking, and the furry friend is back to the reality of cages, overcrowding, concrete floors, and many times inadequate heat and air. That’s not a sunshine and rainbows image, but unfortunately, it is the reality of many shelter animals waiting for homes. This is what fuels the passion for Terri’s current project.  In her own words, “It’s not just for me or to sell paintings. It’s for the animals. It has a larger purpose.”

As a child she liked to draw animals, but it was her secret; art that she made just for her. No one even knew she could draw (not even her husband) until everything changed on New Year’s Eve 2011.
She and other family members were going horseback riding, and she chose to ride the newly acquired less experienced horse. She says, “I put my hands on his face and looked into his eyes. I told him I’m the boss.” Instead, he reared up and fell on top of her crushing three vertebrae in her lower back. After an extensive recovery period including a month’s stay in the Med and recovery at home in a full body cast and reclined wheelchair, boredom began to get the better of her. How much television can one person watch? So she gave her husband, Mike, a supply list that included a large clipboard, pastels, and charcoal and she began drawing again. A close photographer friend visited with her and saw the detailed drawings. He instantly became one of her biggest cheerleaders and encouraged her to exhibit her work in the Como Art Show. She sold some of her drawings, and that same day she started believing what others saw and told herself, “I can do this!”
A fortuitous phone conversation with the artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson quickly developed into a close friendship and collaboration. Sharon trained Terri to be an assistant with her project, A Cast of Blues, life casts of blues musicians’ face and hands, and a second collaboration on a bas-relief sculpture using broken glass and mirror entitled Broken, born out of the anger and frustration Sharon felt over her diminished eye-sight. Both projects are on exhibit at the Columbus Arts Council.  “Sharon taught me to loosen up and not be so formal,” muses Terri. While Terri’s earlier works tended to be incredibly detailed down to a horse’s eyelashes or individual bird feathers, her recent pet portrait project has a more whimsical quality.
The Animals’ Savior
I looked at all the caged animals
in the shelter…
the cast-offs of human society. 
I saw in their eyes
love and hope,
fear and dread,
sadness and betrayal. 
And I was angry.   

“God,” I said, “this is terrible! Why don’t you do something?”

God was silent for a moment
and then He spoke softly.
 “I have done something,” He replied…

“I created you 
Jim Willis, 1999
 Through her sister’s involvement with animal rescue, Terri became interested in the tragic conditions of animal shelters all across the United States but especially in Mississippi where leash laws and animal cruelty laws tend to be more lax. As Covid shut-downs hit and boredom set in, Terri put out Facebook posts to see if anyone might be interested in a pet portrait. Expecting only a handful this project quickly grew to 100 portraits in a year. She said, “I realized I can’t do anything like foster dogs, but I can help in this way, giving my time and talent. I started donating 100% of the proceeds from my animal portraits to the local animal shelters for a year.” However, supplies can get expensive and the artist’s time must be included in the cost so the Desoto Arts Council awarded Terri a scholarship, and she is in the grant application process for funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Her goal is to pay herself a small stipend, buy her supplies, and expand her shelter project statewide because after all, delta dogs need love too!
Art Style: I do commissioned pet portraits right now. The paintings themselves are not photo-realistic like my previous paintings were. These are whimsical. I want to represent the animal and its personality, but it’s not going to be like the photograph. I look a lot at the actual color of the animal and where the light comes from. I focus on those highlights, and there is some artistic license, but the most important feature for me in my portraits are always the eyes.  
Favorite part of being an artist: The creative process for me is like therapy, and it’s something I can do that’s enjoyable and productive. It’s something I can do sitting down, which makes a big difference because of my disability. A lot of artists have easels, but I can’t do that. I can’t stay on my feet too long, but I can sit down and get lost in my art for hours, and it feels good.
If you could pick 3 artists dead or alive to have dinner with, who would they be and why? Sharon McConnell-Dickerson- and I do have dinner with her whenever I can. Monet- I don’t paint or create anything like Monet, but I love the softness of his art and how he can make simple strokes come to life. Ansel Adams- He captured so much beauty in black and white. I think the black and white makes your eyes focus more on the subject and zero in on the face.

Who is your best friend? My husband, Mike; and my dog, Izzy-she sits right here with me while I’m painting.

Saturday, May 1 is a great day to be in Hernando. The Desoto Arts Council will be hosting Terri Massey as part of the My Best Friend Exhibit and will be raffling off a commissioned dog portrait with 100% of the proceeds going to the Hernando Animal Shelter. and there will be an all-star cast of lovable adoptable pets. Who knows? You might just find your new best friend!

Come by after the opening of the Farmer's Market on May 1st , see the wonderful new art and meet our talented artists.

Our Community Partners
2465 Highway 51 South Hernando MS
(Just north of the square) | 662-404-3361