If you've visited the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame, you may be at least a little bit familiar with the work of Como, Mississippi, artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson. There is a bust in the permanent exhibit for 1981 inductee Bobby "Blue" Bland that's more than just a rack supporting the "Stormy Monday" artist's signature captain's hat. The detailed life cast of Bland's face depicts every fleshy fold and worry line. It was taken by Dickerson in 2002 during a session at the Malaco recording studio in Jackson, Mississippi.
McConnell-Dickerson's "Cast of Blues" exhibit is 15 years in the making. It collects 40 white composite resin life-cast masks of blues musicians in the exhibit, and one bronze cast of Johnny Winter's hands. Blues legends collected for this series include Ruth Brown, James Cotton, Bo Diddley, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, John Hammond, Robert Lockwood Jr., Taj Mahal, "Little Milton" Campbell, Charlie Musselwhite, Pinetop Perkins, Bobby Rush, Hubert Sumlin, Koko Taylor, and Johnny Winter.
- “Cast of Blues” at the Blues Foundation Friday
McConnell-Dickerson is a blind artist, and visitors to the exhibit are encouraged not only to look at the masks but to explore them through touch, and the masks will be installed at a height accessible to children and people in wheelchairs.
There's no admission charge to visit the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise Gallery, which is located in the Blues Foundation lobby, upstairs from the paid Hall of Fame exhibit.