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Curtain rises March 1 on Majesty of Spain' exhibition

By Staff
MAJESTY OF SPAIN Jack Kyle holds a print of the world-renowned painting, "Crucifixion of Christ" by Antn Rafael Mengs. The original painting is one of the show-stoppers set for display at the Majesty of Spain exhibition. Photo by Kelly Quackenbush/The Meridian Star.
By Kelly Quackenbush/The Meridian Star
Feb. 8, 2001
Mississippi is preparing to raise the curtain next month on what is billed as one of the most appealing cultural exhibitions in the nation this year  the $9.8 million Majesty of Spain exhibition.
The exhibition, which opens March 1 and runs through Sept. 3, will be held at the Mississippi Arts Pavilion in Jackson. It will bring together more than 600 items, including art, sculptures, clocks, porcelains, room re-creations and a huge gold leaf-adorned gondola once used by Spanish royalty.
Jack Kyle, executive director of the Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange, which is producing the exhibition, told members of the Meridian Kiwanis Club Wednesday he expects Meridian to share in the economic benefits of the project.
For example, the 1996 exhibition Palaces of St. Petersburg drew some 86,000 visitors from Alabama, and many of them traveled through Meridian on the way.
The new collection, which covers the reigns of four kings  Fernando VI, Carlos III, Carlos IV and Fernando VII from 1746-1833 brings together items from the Prado Museum of Madrid, Spain and the Patimonio Nacional (the Spanish National Heritage). For many of the items, it will be the first display outside of Spain.
The exhibition will house the only re-creation ever accomplished of the Porcelain Room from the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. The room is decorated in a "Chinoiserie" style covered in mystical figures, birds, animals, fruits, flowers and dragonflies. The re-creation of the Porcelain Room was completed by a team of more than 50 artists that worked for more than a year.
The exhibit will also contain original letters from the time period of the American Revolution from George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock to King Carlos III of Spain.
Kyle, a Mississippi native, spoke about the influence the exhibition could have on Mississippi.
While it has yet to be official confirmed, reports are circulating that the king and queen of Spain will visit Mississippi during the course of the Majesty of Spain exhibition.
Funding for the project includes $3 million from the state of Mississippi; $1 million and monthly utility payments from the city of Jackson; corporate underwriting by BellSouth, the official sponsor; and other corporate contributions.
Tickets, which will be sold for specific dates and times, are now on sale through Ticketmaster by calling (877) 709-2639. Advance tickets are recommended. Prices are $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, $13 each for groups of 20 people or more, $10 for college students, $5 for children under 18 years, and $3 each for school groups.
Kelly Quackenbush is a staff writer for The Meridian Star.

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