Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Local artist Patricia Wynn's passion for life pervades everything she touches. Her artwork, volunteer efforts and the community in which she lives thrive under her care.
Wynn was born in Laurel, Miss., but moved with an aunt to New Orleans not long afterward. After returning to Mississippi in 1964, she attended Piney Woods, and then went on to enroll at Tougaloo College.
At Tougaloo, she became involved in the Civil Rights Movement. While at the college, Wynn met Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, heard Bobby Kennedy speak and traveled to Sunflower County to register voters.
The now 60-year-old says of her involvement in the Movement: "I was just living my life at the time. I was an unknown person struggling to express myself. There were millions of us all over the country, but we were all important."
After she graduated, Wynn and her husband moved to Minnesota. The move by no means meant that the artist was finished with her home state.
"The Lord kept giving me visions of returning to Mississippi to become an artist," she says. "I didn't even know I was an artist. I hadn't taken one art class."
Wynn let those visions lead her, and in 1970, with her infant son Frederick in tow, she headed back down south to live in Newton County. As she walked to work each day, she would think about the world and the art she felt compelled to create.
"I was doing leather crafts in my spare time and some crochet, but I knew there was more for me," Wynn says. "Then, one day at the Newton library, I checked out this book called 'Quiet Power' and started writing poetry while I walked."
In 1977, Wynn married the "man of her dreams," Brezelle Wynn, and her passion for life turned into a blaze. The two spent 24 years together capturing their country life on film, until Brezelle passed away in 2001. Wynn then moved to Jackson to be closer to her son.
"I hated to leave the country, but I've met so many wonderful people in Jackson," she says.
Some of the people Wynn interacts with regularly are the other members of her church and The Mississippi Artists Coalition—a network of artists around the state—of which she is the president. When she's not making new friends, Wynn paints, writes and quilts. She's also learning to play the guitar.
I'm in the twilight years of my life," she says, as pictures of angels she's painted look down on her from the walls. "It's a late blooming thing for me. I can't imagine just sitting around staring at the TV. I want to live life."
I like her, and I don't even know her. :-)