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Mississippi Welcomes Royalty.

The Mississippi Room and the Queen's Room at the Mississippi Arts Pavilion were designed in honor of the visit of His Majesty, King Juan Carlos I, and Her Majesty, Queen Sofia, of Spain to the Majesty of Spain: Royal Collections from the Museo del Prado and Patrimonio Nacional on Saturday, March 31, 2001. Jack Kyle, executive director of the Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange, engaged the services of interior designer Sharon Stingily Green of Sharon Green Interiors to coordinate the renovation and refurbishing of two offices to become a private lounge for the Royal Couple, and later a VIP Room for other dignitaries attending the exhibition. Recognizing the limited time to make arrangements prior to the King and Queen's arrival, Green contacted Ruth Hurt McMillin of McMillin Interiors to assist her in the design process as well as in the solicitation of furnishings, finishes, and labor.

Green and McMillin sought to create a sanctuary representing the beauty and elegance of Mississippi while maintaining a certain dignity worthy of its occupants. The room that would become the Mississippi Room lacked any architectural features, other than an odd column placed toward the back of the room. Building upon this "opportunity," Green created a special nook for art and conversation, enlisting the aid of another professional, Brian Heffner, a residence designer. Adding another column for symmetry, a header, substantial crown molding, and impressive doors, all donated by Frierson Building Supply, gave the room a sense of interest and importance that it needed. Beautiful entrance sets from Ridgeland Specialty Hardware became the jewelry for the new doors. Flourescent two-by-four fixtures needed to be replaced, so new lighting donated by Irby Lighting and installed by Ernie's Electric set the background for what was yet to come. Green and McMillin culminated their search for, inspiration when they found two incredible landscapes by Dutch artist, Alwin van der Linde at Washington Street Fine Arts Gallery. Above C.W. Fewell's American federal sideboard, circa 1800, hung "The Grounds of Longwood at Natchez." A pair of 19th Century Louis XIV carved candlesticks and other exquisite antique accessories from Annelle Primos and Associates adorned the room along with floral arrangements provided by Central Mississippi Allied Florist and Personal Touch Flowers. Opposite this wall, "The View of Fort Hill at Vicksburg" hung above a tailored sofa upholstered in a heavy silk weave. The walls of whispery blue and the soft, understated carpet, donated by Jimmy Lyles Carpets, complemented the rich Mississippi landscapes of vibrant greens, smokey amethyst shadows, and brilliant citrine, creating an illusion of space in a room barely over eleven feet wide.

At the far end of the room a classical style Bettis Brooke mirror with pediment, a replica from the collection of frames from the Forbes estates in France and England, reflected a Susan Ford cobalt blue bowl and citrine green vase and was flanked by Italian sconces borrowed from Pat Stevens of Graham Lighting. Carved in Spain, F. Schumacher and Co.'s Modena chairs sat on either side of a French directoire style gueridon table from St. Martin's Gallery, where the the King and Queen sat and enjoyed refreshments. Bruce Brady's "Bust of T.R." (Theodore Roosevelt) stood guard in the corner, a reminder of a hunting expedition here in Mississippi where Roosevelt chose not to shoot a baby bear, and thus the first "teddy bear" was created in his honor.

In the Queen's Room, a landscape by Sharon Richardson, on loan from Brown's Fine Art and Framing, entitled "Sunset Meander," hung above a dramatic sofa, one of many pieces from Batte Furniture and Interiors, clothed in shades of rose coral, gold, and lavender, the Queen's favorite colors. Contrasting with walls of a gold bouillon paint donated by Polk Decorative Center, the landscape revealed another sight of Mississippi with its rose colored azaleas blooming among a hedge of lavender shaded trees. Other paintings from Nunnery Galleries grace the room's walls and an in-laid mahogany dressing table from Reave's Oriental Rugs and Antiques provided a place for the Queen to make adjustments.

The numerous benefactors from in and around the state truly made the rooms a welcoming gesture to the King and Queen: from craftsmen like Bob Yelle and retired volunteer Billy Jim Thompson to artist Lorrie Drennan who gave the powder rooms a hasty decorative finish in the final hours before their arrival. Many pro bono weeks orchestrating the flurry of activity on the part of Green, McMillan, and Heffner made the transformation of these two rooms a success. The entire effort signified the tremendous honor felt by Mississippians to be a part of this momentous occasion. According to Jack Kyle, as the royal visitors paused for a brief rest during a very busy day, they did indeed savor a peaceful moment among two elegant rooms created entirely for their enjoyment.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Downhome Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:design for rooms for Spain's King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia at the Mississippi Arts Pavilion
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 1, 2001
Words:805
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