Mississippi Monday | Stray at Home Art & Music Festival

This #mississippimonday is a special one! We are interviewing our friend, Mary Claire Primos, founder/creator of Stray at Home Art & Music Festival! This local festival happens once a year in May and we have a booth! We are big fans of supporting local, especially when it's literally right around the corner!


What exactly is Stray at Home? MC: Stray at Home is an art and music festival. The name Stray at Home came from the idea of getting lost in creativity. The way you can bring a painting or a found object or some other piece of art you love into your home and how at times you see that piece of art and can get lost in how wonderful it is, or how it makes you feel or appreciate the talent that went into making it or how it takes you back to the time you first discovered it and the events that took place at that time – maybe even admiring the art reminds you of the makers journey? Either way, there is a sense of getting lost for a moment in its beauty. Stray at Home Festival is a day where people can “get lost” in the fun and creativity around them.. and they can Stray at Home (in their home town – Jackson town). We do hope that folks will purchase great art and then continue to Stray at Home in their homes from time to time. Our mission statement is: “We are a festival showcasing local and regional talents in visual art and music. As lovers of creative culture, we say it is not enough simply to discover. It is our belief that the beauty of art and music dwells in the relationship between the artist, the viewer, and their community. Stray at Home is a day in which those who create connect with those who enjoy, and stories and art are spread into our homes. We are here to share and celebrate their beauty – the designers and builders – the dreamers and doers – the musicians, artistic muses, and culture makers.” How did you get started and what was the inspiration to take the leap to create Stray at Home? MC: I lived in Nashville for 7 years and for 3 of those years I put on a little back yard festival called Off 12th. I lived just off 12th Ave South and had a big back yard and some friends of mine who were musicians and a few makers encouraged me to do it. We had a handful of really talented makers participate, one of whom, artists like Emil Erwin of Emil Erwin designs (www.emilerwin.com) participated and some a few really good singers. Emil I think now designs leather bags for J Crew. When I moved to Jackson - I thought about trying to do something like Off 12th and when I first drove downtown and saw the white brick wall behind the governors mansion, the cobblestone streets on Congress and Smith Park, I knew that it would be my ideal spot for a festival. Kristen Ley played a big role in Stray at Home becoming a reality! We met at Redeemer church and became friends instantly. She helped me chart out a plan for Stray, helped design the logo ANNDDD – created and laid out my whole website in one night! A true sister, she is!! Neil Polen helped me decide on the name for the festival. I had a few different names and he was very certain that it should be Stray at Home – He said, “Stray at Home – Jackson, that’s what it should be” 1004537_697725296908232_1824043914_n 1175310_697725010241594_660836765_n How does Mississippi play a role? MC: Well, I put on the festival and I’m from Jackson, MS ;) I love my home state and have loved promoting local and regional MS artists the last 4 years! It has been fun to spotlight local food trucks and bands and other small business through the festival. We want to encourage and perhaps be a small spoke in the wheel of progressive happenings in Jackson and that bleeding into a greater network of festival happenings. What are your goals for Stray at Home? MC: The high design, modern, festival market is a really growing around the country. Two of my favorites are Renegade Craft Fair (which originated in Chicago) and the Porter Flea, which is in Nashville. While those festivals are not near the same time as Stray at Home, there are other smaller festivals in Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas and New Orleans. It is still a challenge to get great designers from other cities to participate in Stray at Home – but we are working towards it. However we do have 4 out of State artists coming this year! I would love day to one day have 50 awesome makers in Stray at Home. I am excited about the local and regional MS artists that are participating this coming May 7th and can’t wait for everyone to get to shop their booths! IMG_0014_1 10342415_873994712614622_5210581410125267629_n What is your background? MC: I graduated Ole Miss with a Marketing and Psychology Major. Didn’t really know what I wanted to do and I guess I’m still trying to figure that out. Some folks say I am an artist, but I say I’m more of an art enthusiast and appreciator. I have worked in the art field before and there I sold other makers works and helped get local Nashville painters into a few galleries and design shops. Where do you find inspiration? MC: Inspiration is everywhere.. I’ll get excited and inspired over a pretty plate of food and a good meal. ;) I’m extremely visual always noticing details, etc. I love good design and beauty. I often will be driving through a neighborhood and will stop to take a picture of a yard, or an angle of a house or a front door. If I’m out in the country I’ll pull over and walk through a field to get a good landscape shot. I also love thrifting and finding treasures whether that be an awesome Danish modern chair or a neat piece of old pottery. I’m also inspired through other makers’ craft and paintings as well as good lyrics in a song and good tunes! And Poetry, specifically Wendell Berry. Check him out! 1239676_697708026909959_236303762_n What do you like to do when you aren’t at the office? MC: Some of the above, playing tennis, photography, fellowshipping with friends, watching a good film, watching sunsets, and fishing. What are some of your favorite local places to shop and dine? MC: I love shopping at Thimblepress®, Bliss Home, View Gallery, Arco Avenue and I love to walk through Summer House. Dining: Parlor Market, Primos Café, Saltine, The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen, Babalu, Sakura Bana (but there are a ton of great places to eat in Greater Jackson!) What are some of the reasons you call Mississippi home? MC: My family is here, dear friends, my church – Redeemer and my church family. There are so many fabulous writers and musicians from MS too. We as a State are going through a lot of trials right now but I do believe that there are a ton of good, positive, things to celebrate and I’m going to keep fighting and praying for reconciliation and joy and growth and creativity! I love the SIP’ !! 10270624_873996592614434_4450823760118708797_n IMG_4379_1 How do you think what you are doing is helping to shape your local community as well as the image of MS? MC: I hope that other makers & makers who don’t know they’re makers yet, will be inspired to create and start a business once they come to Stray at Home and see other creatives creating and doing. I hope these people will see good design and be inspired to create. I hope one day investors and artists will come together and help each other bring more small businesses to our city! Same goes with food trucks and other various vendors. People seeing creativity and invention come to life and be successful – it’s so inspiring for me to see all this birth in our hometown of Jackson, MS. One of the food trucks that was at Stray at Home last year 2for7 Kitchen told me that they were inspired to decorate the outside of their truck from being at Stray at home 2015. They were the only food truck that had nothing on the outside of their truck and realized they needed a makeover! Right After Stray at Home – they were embolded and approached the Museum of Art group and they helped them partner up with a some local school kids who then painted their whole truck. I was delighted to hear this story. We and a few other festivals have helped breathe a little life back into Smith Park – which is a fantastic park that is underutilized and also in need of some renovation BUT we love the setting and its location (right behind the Governors Mansion)! Our downtown is fabulous and we love being able to offer a day where folks who don’t live downtown can come hang out and enjoy it – and for many discovery it for the first time! There are several restaurants downtown that we hope people will go enjoy after the festival is over on May 7th! As with all things good and positive, which we think Stray at Home is, - people gravitate towards and want to eat, shop, play, and live in and around these things. We hope more people even through little Stray at Home Festival will be inspired to live in Jackson and be a part and contribute to the creative economy!

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If you're local, come out to Smith Park in the historic downtown Jackson and support your local artists, crafters and makers! We will have a booth filled with all kinds of goodies, just for YOU!


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