Remembering Louis “Gearshifter” Youngblood

In Memorium Jackson-based blues guitarist and singer Louis Arzo Youngblood aka “Gearshifter” passed away on March 3, 2021 from heart-related issues. Youngblood was steeped in the blues tradition of southern Mississippi, but mixed in a variety of musical styles into his performances, including R&B and country. Born on Valentine’s Day of 1953 in Picayune, Miss., […]

Mississippi Roots and Wings: Raphael Semmes

The roots of American music run deep through Mississippi and are well planted in the soul of Raphael Semmes. For a successful 40-year career as a musician and for promoting Mississippi’s music culture, Raphael Semmes will receive the 2021 Governor’s Award for Cultural Ambassador. Raphael was raised in Grenada by parents who nurtured his love […]

Elevating Black Cinema: Arthur Jafa

Filmmaker and artist Arthur Jafa has achieved the kind of success in film, video and digital movie cameras most artists only dream about. For his long-term success in cinema, television, and in the world of fine arts, Arthur Jafa will receive the 2021 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Media Arts. Born in Tupelo in 1960, […]

The First Lady of Bass: Nellie “Mack” McInnis

For a successful 40 year music career and for shattering gender stereotypes for jazz, funk, and blues bass players, Nellie “Mack” McInnis will receive the 2021 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Music. Known to her fans as Nellie Mack, McInnis grew up in Jackson with a love for music. Though she was steered toward the piano, […]

Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough: Benjamin Wright Jr., Lifetime Achievement Award

For his extensive, award-winning career as a producer, musician, composer, and arranger, the 2021 Governor’s Arts Awards Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Benjamin Wright. This particular award always goes to an artist who has amassed a body of work that will stand the test of time. The work of musician, composer, producer, and arranger […]

Tutwiler Quilters: Building Community through the Arts

Fabric, needles, and thread, in the skillful hands of community members, have created beautiful, functional art and an economic boost for the Delta community of Tutwiler.  On February 19, 2021 at 8 p.m. CST, the Tutwiler Quilters will be honored with the award for “Arts in Community” as part of the 33rd Governor’s Arts Awards, […]

Director’s Message: Fall 2020

Greetings Arts Community, I’m thrilled to introduce myself as the new executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission. Since starting with MAC on Nov. 2, I’ve been learning all about the state’s artists, arts organizations and MAC’s many partner organizations. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of you, and I look forward to more introductions and […]

Open MAC Positions: Fiscal Officer and Systems Manager

As MAC begins a new era under the leadership of Executive Director Sarah Story, the agency is looking for new team members to join the agency’s administrative staff. We are looking for business-minded and arts-inspired individuals to fill the roles of fiscal officer and systems administrator positions. “As we move forward, we need team members […]

Shirley Smith retires after 28 years with MAC

After a 33-year career with the State of Mississippi, Shirley Smith is retiring as systems administrator of the Mississippi Arts Commission. As the agency’s longest tenured employee, Shirley has worked for MAC since 1992. For a number of years, Shirley worked in the role of executive assistant and later moved into the systems administrator position. As […]

Mississippi Artists Let Their Light Shine

In the midst of COVID-19, we could all use a little more light. MAC’s latest video features artists across the state of Mississippi who answered a call to share glimpses of what brings them joy during this time. The inspiring result shows an array of Mississippi artists shining their light while a variety of musicians […]