Wallace State Community College on Tuesday will kick off its second annual Cultural Arts Week, a series of events celebrating this year's theme, "Preserving our Southern Culture."

President Vicki Hawsey said the event was well-received last year, but she expects even better things for the 2006 lineup.

"Last year was a big hit with Frank Stitt (a Cullman native, now a renowned chef in Birmingham), and this week's activities will prove the be an even larger success, I believe, because of the varied kinds of activities we have going on," Hawsey said Friday.

Wallace State will host lectures, drama, music, art and cuisine celebrating Southern heritage.

"We need to teach our children and other persons within our community the value of being Southern, especially as other influences threaten to change the way we live," Hawsey.

Events include:

• Tuesday: Wayne Flynt, noted Auburn University professor emeritus and historian, will speak at the Bailey Center auditorium at 1 p.m., with an introduction by the Wallace State Dixieland Band. Admission is free.

• Wednesday: The Wallace State Players, directed by Rob Metcalf, will perform "Excerpts from Southern Classics," including scenes from Tennessee Williams and other Southern playwrights, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Bailey Center auditorium. Admission is $5.

• Thursday: A literary luncheon will be held in the Banquet Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with local writers of "Ordinary and Sacred as Blood," hosted by the English, speech and world languages faculty. Advance tickets are $5 for students and $10 for the general public. Call 352-8219 for tickets or more information.

• Friday: The Wallace State Jazz Band and Singers will perform "An Evening of New Orleans Jazz Featuring Bourbon Street Musicians" at 7 p.m. in the Banquet Hall. Admission is a $10 donation.

• Saturday: Award-winning artwork from local creators will be shown in the Bailey Center Foyer. Music from Beau Bristow, a Nashville singer-songwriter, will accompany the art from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mell Johnson, associate dean of teaching and learning and an English instructor, said 85 pieces were submitted for the juried art festival in five categories: drawings, paintings, photography, ceramics/sculptures and computer art. Ribbons will be awarded for children, classified by school grade, and adults.

"The computer art I thought was very interesting because that's something we're emphasizing as a way of building interest in our graphic arts program," Johnson said.

Some of the art deals with the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Southern culture, she said.

"We have a lot of talented people here, particularly people who have a need to express themselves," she said.

Johnson described Bristow's music as resembling that of laid-back pop guitarist John Mayer.

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