Written by Sherry Lucas | Photographed by Frank Farmer
Andrew Cary Young’s Pearl River Glass Studio has been an arts anchor in Jackson’s Midtown neighborhood for 43 years, but on the home front, Young’s art (and garden) belong in Fondren.
He’s turned the living room of his home on Galloway Avenue into an art gallery that, along with his garden, he opens to visitors during each Fondren After 5.
A prestigious award by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL) honors Young’s accomplishments up to this point. But, true to his name, Young at 65 is still working on what’s next, from glass art to garden bounty.
Young will share the 2018 Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by MIAL at its June 2 awards banquet at Two Mississippi Museums, with Robert Ivy, a Columbus native and executive vice president/CEO of the American Institute of Architects. See all the 2018 award winners at ms-arts-letters.org.
Young is lauded for his studio’s innovations in the use of fused glass and acid etching, and Pearl River Glass Studio’s work — the bulk of it in the creation, restoration and maintenance of church windows — brightens worship services around the state and beyond.
His other passion, a creative pursuit in the dirt, is a source of enjoyment and nutrition. “My life sort of focuses around the gardening, if you really want to know the truth,” Young says. His afterlife may, too. Wishes far into the future involve cremation and splitting his ashes between St. Columb’s Episcopal in Ridgeland and his compost pile.
“I’m still eating salads out of the garden. I had carrots up until a few weeks ago,” he says. The other night, he was out working in it till 9 p.m., tucking baby tomato plants into the bed.
Young moved into Fondren from Belhaven in 2015. He turned the old garage, enclosed in a previous renovation, into his studio with a skylight, and converted his living room into a gallery.
The house was previously the home of Bob Hand, a daylily hybridizer and grower of note. “There were a lot of the daylilies left, and I still have some of them.”
Young’s gardening principle: “Everything that exists in the yard, stays in the yard. It’s like this closed system,” using rainwater and recycling vegetation plus kitchen scraps in the compost, in an organic, self-sustaining approach. “I’m fascinated with growing things to eat, especially tomatoes. … And figs. Don’t get me started on figs!” he says, counting four producing fig trees, another six added last year, and plans for more.
He’s on the lookout for interested neighbors to help in the garden. “It’s kind of a Tom Sawyer thing — we’re going to have so much fun!” and with the help, he’s happy to teach all he knows about gardening. Reach out to Young through fondren.nextdoor.com (if you live in the neighborhood) and he’ll text with a heads up.
“I am never going to stop. That gardening is going to be going on forever because a gardener is never done with all the ideas that they want to do.
“If you don’t know doodly-squat about gardening, then it would be a great way to learn the basics.”