Mapping a Modern Mississippi < Places < Smith and Lens

Smith and Lens

An art gallery in Bay St. Louis run by Ann Madden and Sandy Maggio.

The Stories

After leaving my New Orleans home for college in Tucson, AZ, in 1992, I studied and worked in France, Washington, D.C. and New York City. I never thought I would live in the South, again. I certainly never imagined myself in a small town in Mississippi, so I kind of can’t believe that I am here and that I am in love with it.

I know it sounds cliché, but moving here gave me the gumption to begin to call myself an artist. I feel encouraged and inspired. I have mentors. Not just one, but a handful. Right here. That’s abundance! I am busy. I can barely keep up with my workload, but the ideas keep coming and things are really exciting right now. If I post on social media that I am looking for a few folks who are willing to dress in costume and trespass for a shoot in some remote location, I have takers. If I want to start up a random festival having no idea what that even entails, friends and other vendors here are willing to help! That’s how great these people are. They make everything seem possible. And they buy art.

One of those lovely people is Sandy Maggio, a silversmith, neighbor and friend, who talked me into opening a gallery with her right in the middle of my busiest time, the holidays. She came up with the name, Smith & Lens, and we have located ourselves right smack in the middle of Old Town in the cutest building in the world...

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Credit to: Ann Maden, Visit Mississippi

SURRENDER, a collaborative art show, is captured by Ellis Anderson.

Credit to: Ellis Anderson

The owners of this place have done a fantastic job of creating an arts community that support their artists. This gallery is small but bursting with energy and creativity. Their quaint patio is a social hub for many a Friday nights. Don't miss visiting and talking to these lovely ladies!

Credit to: Archana Sharma, Facebook Reviewer

Ann Madden and Sandy Maggio are the owners of Smith and Lens in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Smith and Lens is a city favorite, but Ann and Sandy have done more than just a run a business. Their contribution to Second Saturday, a Bay St. Louis tradition, is Frieda Fest. An annual event happening every July, Frieda Fest shows the modernity of Bay St. Louis.

“We wanted a place where people felt welcome, and there are so many creatives. And we have many friends who are business-women right here, and we just collaborate with each other. Turning an event that’s already happening, like Second Saturday, amping it up a bit…Everybody’s game.”-Ann

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