Describing what a visitor would encounter at The Frog Farm, Louise Cadney Coleman says about her creation, “When you first walk back into the garden, you would see some frog Beefeaters. They’re the guards. And they’re dressed in the costume, like the . . . British Beefeaters. But they’re frog Beefeaters and they guard The Frog Farm. And that’s the castle of The Frog Farm. It’s a garden, and, in that garden, [are] different attractions.”
Ms. Coleman’s imagination and wit drive the stories, environments, and activities that she invents for her sculptures. The installations also attract visitors, which is why she refers to them as attractions.
Past the Beefeater in the sculpture garden, a raised, wooden, plank walkway keeps visitors’ feet out of the mud and leads to the center of a clearing. Along the perimeter, under a grove of mulberry trees, four-feet-tall frogs appear on various structures and are painted sky blue, lime green, lemon yellow, and fire-engine red. Live frogs make themselves heard but not seen.
Ms. Coleman lists the attractions at The Frog Farm:
One of them is the Mud Rockers, which is a frog band. And then we have a bird arbor back there, and there’s a Penguin Hill. There’s an alligator hill. We call it the Gator Hill. And you’ll see frog houses . . . You’ll see the . . . G & P boathouse. That’s for George and Peewee because the frogs in that boathouse are called Peewee and George.”
Some of the outdoor attractions have been damaged by spring storms, fluctuations of the weather, insects, creeping vines, and time. The sculptures that cannot be spruced up with a fresh coat of paint are replaced. Ms. Coleman found that alligators made from logs or limbs were especially prone to decay, so she now uses treated wood for their bodies.
There are also attractions inside her showroom, the Frog Nest. She describes one of them:
When you walk into my atrium, the first thing you see is my aquarium. And that’s one of my favorite things because you don’t have to change the water. You don’t have to feed the fish. And it’s a stunning thing, I think, when you walk in there. It really shows my imagination in full.
The background is made from old tin and the fish are placed just along there. It’s about eight feet by eight feet. [. . .] It’s filled with tropical fish and some catfish. And there’s a couple of turtles in there, too. It’s called Tropical Fins.
She shapes her critters from sticks or limbs that she finds, “Wherever I am and I’m looking around.” The natural shape and curve of the stick suggests the bird or fish it will become. Sometimes, Ms. Coleman uses a pocketknife and a wood file to shape it. She likes colors, so she coats each creature with acrylic paint. “I try to be true to nature or what people would like,” she says about her color palette.
She hopes that visitors to The Frog Farm will leave with “Joy and an appreciation for the art world and for art, especially folk art . . . This is another form of art that I want people to appreciate and to understand . . . For most folk artists, it’s a natural thing.”
Louise Cadney Coleman works in her studio at The Frog Farm every day that she’s not at her cytology job, which she does on Mondays and Wednesdays. The regular admission fee is $10.00, the discounted fee for seniors is $3.00, and coupons are available at the Mississippi Museum of Art. The Frog Farm is located at 186 Old Highway 61 Road, which is south of Lorman as you travel on Highway 61 South. The Frog Farm is on Facebook and can be reached by phone at 601-493-3420.
All artwork is copyright (c) Louise Cadney Coleman. All photographs are copyright (c) Beth Batton and the Mississippi Museum of Art.
Articles and other blogs about The Frog Farm:
- Cotton, Gordon. “The Frog Farm,” The Vicksburg Post, April 17, 2011, sec. C.
- Gause, Sam. “No croaks, no changing water at this Frog Farm,” The Natchez Democrat, May 19, 2015. http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2015/05/19/463066/#.
- Gover, Brett, “The Frog Farm of Harriston, Mississippi,” On the Road, Rand McNally, http://blog.randmcnally.com/2009/09/24/travelogue-the-frog-farm-of-harriston-mississippi/.
- Gover, Brett, “The Frog Farm of Harriston, Mississippi,” Rand McNally Pix,
- Justice, William, “Fayette, Mississippi: Folk Art Frog Farm,” Roadside America, http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/35118.