Disconnect/Reconnect: Horn Island 33

Disconnect/Reconnect: Horn Island 33

Explore. Discover. Create. MCA’s Horn Island is more than a trip. It’s a tradition.

This unique, signature program sets MCA apart from any other college. For more than thirty years, students have followed in the footsteps of American artist Walter Anderson to Horn Island, a remote barrier island off of the coast of Mississippi. Participants leave cell phones, bathrooms, and expectations behind.

It sounds daunting, but, as alumnus Casey Matthews said in a recent Country Roads article, “It’s taking yourself out of the mundane day-to-day activities and placing yourself in this different situation where you’re subject to a higher power—in this case nature. The island is more relevant today than it’s ever been. Because we’re so connected to everything.”

The experience of disconnecting and getting back to nature reflects the unique philosophy of MCA: Challenge leads to creativity and triumph.

Associate Professor and Horn Island Director Don DuMont explains why unplugging is key: “One must disconnect in order to reconnect. That is what the island can provide – the chance to get away, to look inward as well as outward, and to focus on one’s surroundings. That’s when creative transformation takes place.”

Horn Island isn’t a vacation. It’s an artistic journey. This year, over 40 participants made the 11-day excursion, immersing themselves in the isolation and beauty of the island.

Horn Island is open to students (supported by sponsors), alumni, faculty, and staff. Following the trip, participants create works of art inspired by their experience on the island. Those works culminate in a popular and beloved yearly exhibition, celebrated this year as “Horn Island 33” for its thirty-third installment.

Select Horn Island works from previous years are exhibited at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Mississippi through August 22. The exhibition brochure for “The Islanders: Memphis College of Art and Horn Island” has quotes and images from our artists.

Horn Island 33 opens in Rust Hall’s Upper, Lower and Alumni Galleries on August 14 and runs until September 29. The Horn Island 33 Reception, held on Saturday, August 26 from 5:30-8:30pm, features grilled SPAM, an island tradition.The reception is free and open to the public. Artwork will be on sale while the exhibit is on view, and remaining artworks will be listed on shop.mca.edu from October 9 to October 30. Visit mca.edu for more details.

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